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Category: 2018-2019 Mayor Jabba Riaz

Mayor’s Week – 17 – 23 October 2020

Mayor’s Week – 17 – 23 October 2020

This week started off with Dave and I visiting the Wildgoose Rural Training Centre at Grimley.  What a joyful and encouraging educational setting this is.  It has livestock, gardens, workshops and classrooms for the students to study and enjoy.  All the students we met were engaged in a sponsored walk to raise money for a tarmacked pathway around the facility – and what fun they were having at the same time!  I would like to thank the staff, students, trustees and volunteers who showed us around and made us feel so welcome.  Good luck and I hope you reach your target.

On Monday I was also pleased to welcome some friends into the Parlour.   It is easy to forget how unique a room it is – I do enjoy sharing it with others.  I can also report the Parlour saw its first streaker, little Harry Hatt – albeit he is only four months old!

This week saw another step towards the re-launch of the TalkToMeWorcester initiative.  I recorded a message for the website encouraging everyone to spare a thought for their neighbour – young and old – who might be lonely and isolated and feeling down, especially at this difficult and frightening time.  Have a chat directly or remotely with a neighbour, go for a walk together or think up a new and different way to make contact -you might win a Christmas shopping voucher!  You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at .  Go on, give it a go.

Its been a week for recording!  On Thursday I created a message for new staff and took them on a virtual tour of the Guildhall.  I hope that they will watch it and have a happy and productive time with the City Council.  The Guildhall is a beautiful building, which the tour demonstrated.

Winter seems to be setting in and the nights are getting longer.  This is a time of year when we start to prepare for Christmas – but who knows what we will and won’t be allowed to do when Christmas comes?  This is why we must all try to follow the rules which this seemingly endless pandemic is forcing upon us – with the hope that things will get easier as we approach the festive season.


Mayor’s Week: 27 March – 3 April 2020

Mayor’s Week: 27 March – 3 April 2020

The majority of us are approaching the end of a second week of staying at home.  We are gradually developing new routines and different ways of keeping in touch with one another, where face to face conversation isn’t an option.

As by nature we humans are a fairly social species, staying at home can be really challenging.  It may sometimes also feel that being at home = doing nothing constructive.  But I do want to urge you all to stay with it – because for every day that you follow the guidance and socially distance yourselves from others, you are indirectly helping to save at least one person’s life.

My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one during this crisis.  This virus will only continue spreading from person to person if we let it – we are all in the front line fighting this same battle.

Of course, many people who are running essential services to keep Worcester functioning do not have the option to stay at home.  In addition to all the amazing staff at the NHS, I’d like to thank all City Council staff who are working hard to collect our bins, keep areas clean, make sure homeless people have a roof over their head and make sure our hard-hit businesses get the support they need.  Their roles may not be as visible as those in our hospitals, but their work is nevertheless vital.

In times of crisis, our city has and I believe always will come together.  The last few weeks have seen thousands of individual acts of kindness take place in Worcester.  Whether you’ve been able to buy a loaf of bread for a neighbour, chatted to someone in isolation or waited patiently in a queue to pick up someone’s medication, you have played a part in this city’s recovery.  We can and will get through this – and when we do, our communities will be even stronger as a result.  Keep it up, citizens of Worcester!  And for now, Stay at Home – and Stay Safe.

Mayor’s Week: 3 – 10 May 2019

Mayor’s Week: 3 – 10 May 2019

A year to remember

We are moving closer to Tuesday’s Annual Council meeting, when my mayoral year will end.  Who would have thought a year could pass so quickly?  Looking back it’s been a spectacular twelve months, full of surprises, challenges and unforgettable moments.

It began with a brilliant summer last year, with the colourful Giraffes and the Worcester Festival getting things off to a flying start.  Other highs were the awarding of the Freedom of the City to Basil D’Oliveira, public recognition for Frank Southam, a loyal Sword bearer and servant of the City for many years; a great Worcester Show and Victorian Fayre; Worcestershire winning the T20 cricket final, and judging children’s designs for the Mayor’s new Christmas card.


Being a relatively young whippersnapper to the office of Mayor brought its own expectations and pressures. I had to not only respect and uphold the traditions of office but also bring a fresh approach to it, appealing to a wider audience.

I went in with the intention of putting my heart and soul into the role and with three goals in mind:  to uphold and spread the message of Peace and goodwill that this city is renowned for; to open the Mayoralty up to a younger audience and to reach out to all our diverse communities and bring them together.

My message of Love not Hate has especially resounded in the current climate of hostility; there has been a rise in Hate Crime in South Worcestershire.  However, the EDL march through Worcester last summer was confronted by a response of solidarity and dancing.

Thousands turned out for the Vigil of student Tom Jones, and thousands turned up to see if they were a match for young boy Oscar Saxelby-Lee, who has a rare form of Leukaemia.  These are strong indications that the Love Not Hate message is getting through. My Mayor’s Consort scheme which gave young adults with a disability or known condition the chance to accompany me for a day was not only a treat to those participating, but an eye opener for me, stepping into their shoes for a day to see some of the difficulties they face.

I’d also like to thank my Community Ambassadors Malik Fayyaz and Tom Piotrwoski who have done a wonderful job helping to organise events which brought peoples of all faiths and none together.

I always say that Worcester is one of the best cities in terms of safety, quality of life, happiness and politeness.  I also believe we are one of the most generous in terms of volunteering and charity. During this year we have managed to raise in the region of £30,000 for my three fantastic nominated charities.  I could not have done it without your generosity and kindness.

Of course it’s also been a difficult year with personal circumstances at home and the fact that I have had to work on top of my Civic responsibilities.  The support I have received from family, friends, colleagues and hundreds of residents has kept me going through the toughest of periods.

I hope that I have served this City and its residents well and I seek your pardon if I have inadvertently upset anyone or didn’t perform to expectations!  But I hope you’ll agree that I wore my heart on my sleeve while in office; thank you for the opportunity to be your humble servant, the Mayor of Worcester.


Mayor’s Week: 20 – 26 April 2019

Mayor’s Week: 20 – 26 April 2019

I donned my Panama hat and jacket for the Worcestershire County Cricket Club Chairman’s lunch, to hear about the next phase in the re-shape at New Road. The new Chairman Fanos Hira spoke with authority and clarity regarding the changes that are planned in the next phase of transformation. He was ably backed by an experienced board room and New Club president Cecil Duckworth CBE, who gave full backing to CEO Matt Rawnsley’s new One Club vision. Change is always difficult and sometimes painful, but it was needed at Worcestershire and I feel confident that the Club are in good hands. I wish them every success.

I was invited to lead Worcester City FC out at the Allpay Park stadium by the Mayor of Hereford Cllr Sue Boulter against her local team Westfields in aid of her chosen charities.  I enjoyed a match that Worcester City dominated for large periods, the game ended in a 1-1 draw & I took the opportunity to talk with fans of the club about their hopes and concerns.  The irony was not lost on me that I was leading City out in exile. I firmly back the Bring City Home campaign and hope that a solution can be found as soon as possible.

An invite from Michael Underwood, my old boxing coach, for a visit and training session at Worcester Amateur Boxing Club transpired provided an entertaining evening, where I was brutally put through the paces of a boxer’s regime. All those memories came flooding back of the time I spent as a teenager sweating it out in his gym. I was able to keep up for the most part, but my pad work lacked sting and my legs felt like tree trunks. Feeling brave I stepped into the ring with England National Youth Champion Owen Cooper for a bout. I was felled along with my ego, with a clean upper cut within 30 seconds. Thank you, Michael, for the great work you and the club do in keeping the kids off the streets, teaching them discipline and respect and providing a place for them to belong.

I end with a prayer for the victims and families of the terror that emerged in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. I stand united with many others in condemnation of the attacks and in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka and Christians across the globe.  There are forces at work in the world that seek to divide communities, nations, races and religions and sow discord and the seed of hate amongst Humankind. We must use every opportunity we have to unite and grow stronger together and show that, despite the doom and gloom, love and good will defeat the hate and evil.