Over the last week and a half, much of my workload and excitement has been connected with the local elections. Our various electoral officers have been working long hours to meet immovable deadlines for several weeks, but they are made of stern stuff and seem to have thrived on the challenge.
This week, I welcomed several local groups to the Parlour, including young members of the Filipino Association, the Worcester Operatic and Dramatic Youth Section and two friendship groups. WODYS’ dramatic flair was very much in evidence when they tried on the regalia, and the young Filipino Association were a very polite, knowledgeable group who are energetic fundraisers for local charities.
Phil and I also had lunch with local Rotarians, who were keen to hear about the Mayoral year and about the future of the city. Personally, I would like to see the Faithful City become better known for its fascinating civil war heritage and to see more visitors attracted to Worcester in the future.
Sadly for me, this is my last week as Mayor of Worcester. End-of-the year engagements include an auction of promises in aid of the Star of Hope Transformation Centre in Lagos; the Volunteer Centre’s Fair; unveiling a plaque on the Cross to commemorate the Droitwich turnpike; joining the Oakville Singers on Sabrina Bridge to honour their link with the German Dionysius (Choir) from Krefeld in Germany, and attending a women’s question time event called “Worcester Woman Talks Back.”
I have thoroughly enjoyed my year as Mayor, and in particular writing this weekly Column for the Worcester News, in which I’ve hoped to share some of the fun with readers. A special thank you to the Worcester News for giving me that opportunity.
Worcester Motor Show was bigger and better than ever this year. It was a great family day out. There were cars to suit every taste and budget, as well as vintage vehicle enthusiasts who brought added glamour to the show.
When I say glamour, I mean you could admire a gleaming white 1932 model Jaguar or the latest F-Type Jaguar Coupé, which is rather like an Aston Martin with superior road holding. It was easy to feel like a film star for a day.
There were several impressive new models of car on display. Attitudes towards customer service were equally important to dealers. One exhibitor said that he wanted to sell a customer the right car for their needs not just any car. He told me about one customer who needed to transport his cherished St Bernard dog, so he advised him to buy a more spacious vehicle.
It was a real pleasure to welcome all of the staff and organisations who did so much to help during the recent floods to tea in the Guildhall.
Staff from the City and County Councils got together with teams from the Environment Agency, Countryside Centre, Tesco (St Peter’s) and several other organisations, including volunteers. Many of them had not spoken to each other since the floods, because they only come together during flooding emergencies, so they were able to have a pleasant reunion.
My sincere thanks to all of them for their hard work and genuine community spirit.
Veterans of the Home Guard joined me for tea in the parlour this week. Although they are aged 90 plus, they still display the sense of humour, fighting spirit and comradeship that saw them through World War II.
Some of them are trained engineers, who took on a variety of work, including working in munitions factories. Apparently, the young women on the munitions production line were at least as dangerous as the enemy.
In case readers were wondering, most of the Home Guard veterans and their families are huge fans of Dad’s Army. Will we ever forget, “Don’t tell them, Pike!”
Last week, Phil and I attended the installation of the Bishop of Dudley in Worcester Cathedral. The Bishop of Dudley brings a wide range of experience to his new role from both this country and abroad.
My guests this week also included a lively group from Soroptimist International. This high-powered sisterhood has a keen interest in philanthropy, their community and world events. All of this makes them formidable fundraisers and lobbyists for good causes, as well as tireless community workers. And they seem to have a lot of fun doing all of it too!
On Sunday, Phil and I attended the Mayor of Upton’s civic service, which celebrated Upton’s festivals through folk song, jazz and blues, and were charmed by the choir of the local primary school.
We spent the previous evening at a very pleasant charity dinner given by the Mayor of Droitwich, Councillor Tom Noyes. I acquired a spa voucher in the charity auction and plan to have a pampering day sometime soon.
Mr John Black, a past President and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, kindly gave the annual Mayor’s Medical Lecture on Wednesday evening. The audience was spellbound by his account of Surgeons, War and Worcester.
During his working life in Worcester, Mr Black pioneered keyhole surgery in the city. My thanks to him for a memorable lecture.
I was honoured to receive the salute from the Scouts’ march past, following a St George’s day service at the Cathedral. One scout troop joined Phil and I for tea in the Parlour and tried on the regalia. They had some interesting questions about the Parlour and the city’s history.
On Saturday, I attended the launch of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Crowngate. I am intending to participate myself, this year, so I will see you on the starting line on Sunday 6 July! Wolverine fans will be glad to know they will be at the race, too.
WODS production of Guys and Dolls was superb! If you are a fan of the original film, you are sure to like this production. There are strong performances from all of the principals and barnstorming musical numbers like Sit down, you’re Rocking the Boat; Luck, Be a Lady; Guys and Dolls, and Sue Me. Tonight’s the last night. Don’t miss it!
Last Friday, the Mayor’s annual charity dinner was held in the Guildhall, co-hosted with Worcester Rotary. The Volcano choir energised guests with their high octane performance. Many thanks to them, to Worcester Rotary and to our guests for their generosity to our charities.