The Inge family are very much in our thoughts and prayers this week after the sad news that Denise, wife of Bishop John, died a few days ago. It feels much too soon to lose this vibrant lady.
It was a special pleasure to welcome a group from Asha Women’s Centre to the Mayor’s Parlour in the Guildhall, this week. This knowledgeable group was especially interested in the roll of honour, which lists all of the city’s mayors since 1836. The date is important because the great Reform Act of 1832 meant that local government became democratic for the first time and local councillors had to be elected, rather than appointed.
Just before Easter, Lisa Ventura and her husband Russell launched Worcester’s newest charity, Frankie’s Legacy. As readers may know, Frankie did not survive birth. He had a cleft palate and an abnormality on chromasome 15 that causes a range of disabilities. Frankie’s Legacy hopes to provide some comforte for parents who find themselves in a similar situation to the Venturas. Details of Frankie’s Legacycan be found at www.frankieslegacy.org.uk.
Worcester’s choral heritage is safe in the hands of the next generation of young singers – the Young Voices choir practically levitated with enthusiasm as they sang. This impressive young choir is still recruiting singers. You can find them in St George’s Church, Barbourne, on Saturday mornings.
Rotary President’s Night at the Guildhall was a splendid affair, as they celebrated 90 years of Rotary in Worcester. I wish I had made notes! We heard so much about the early years of Rotary in the city and about the strong link between the early Rotarians and the mayoralty. Rotary’s service to our local community and far beyond has been outstanding.
How can we make the most of Worcester’s rich heritage and attract more visitors to the city?
This was the question on the minds of everyone who attended the City Council’s presentation of “Worcester, the Civil War City,” at the Guildhall. Consultants confirmed something Worcester people already know: The Civil War is in Worcester’s DNA.
The Commandery is at the heart of our city’s story. When you visit this atmospheric building, you can almost smell the gunpowder. And where else can you find a civil war battle in a cathedral city with a riverside and a wealth of historic buildings? The shopping is terrific, too! In short, Worcester is unique. Encouragingly, 70% of people recently surveyed were keen to visit a city with heritage assets like ours.
Dancers at the Blessed Edwards’ Performing Arts Evening performed tap, modern and ballet routines, while music and vocals ranged from classical to pop, as well as musical drama. I particularly enjoyed the selection of songs from their previous bravura performance of Les Miserables.
Worcester Concert Brass gave us a wonderful evening of music with a local flavour in aid of the mayor’s charities. They played favourites, such as Elgar’s Nimrod, Holst’s Jupiter, and the Malvern Suite by Philip Starke. The concert concluded with the world premiere of Faithful City by Chris Licence – you can clearly hear the river and the bustle of the city centre in this lively work. Many thanks to the band for a memorable evening!
Finally, I would like to say two very big thank yous to Frankie Tsang and the Worcester Chinese Association, and to the Worcester Male Voice Choir, who have raised a total of £4,300 for the Mayor’s charities. It was a magnificent effort and greatly appreciated.
This was a week of new and varied experiences. Fashion from Boutique 25 and chocolate appreciation were on the menu at a Friends of Three Choirs Fundraiser. Key looks this season include monochrome geometrics, neon colours, layering and beautiful flowered blouses.
We tasted rare types of chocolate and learned to appreciate which beans went into its manufacture. This delighted Phil, who enjoys his chocolate. Also, as the only gentleman at a ladies’ fashion show, he coped pretty well!
Verdi’s Requiem at the Cathedral was spectacular. The Festival Chorus was in excellent voice and conductor, Peter Nardone, bristled with energy throughout. The vocal power of the soloists was astonishing – it felt like live wrap-around sound.
On Friday evening, we attended a pleasant dinner at La Brasserie in Kidderminster, in aid of the Chair of Wyre Forest’s charities.
Visitors to the Parlour this week included a group of Chinese students from Worcester University, some of the Cathedral bell ringers and the Afro-Caribbean Association. All of the groups proved fascinated by English history and traditions – it was a pleasure to share tales of the Guildhall and the city’s history with them.
The Ability Learners Awards, held in the Countess of Huntingdon’s Chapel, was a lively and informative occasion. Students gave a presentation on Guildhall history and told me a few details that I did not previously know. They have produced a booklet for future visitors to the Guildhall, which will be available soon. Many thanks to them for their efforts!
My consort Phil and I greatly enjoyed a visit to the Richard III exhibition in aid of the Mayor of Gloucester’s charities. Guests were able to see the reconstructed head of the monarch and a royal charter which he had given to the City of Gloucester. Worcester’s new City Centre Premier Inn received its official opening after a busy Gold Cup week. Guests can enjoy superb views of either the cricket pitch or the river, as well as superior accommodation and friendly, professional staff. A pair of exhausted canoeists staggered into the Anchor Inn in Worcester this week after a two-day paddle along the River Severn, all the way from Welshpool in Wales. They had braved freezing rain and extreme fatigue to raise money for Sport Relief. Congratulations to them for their heroic effort! I spent a wonderfully entertaining morning with the young people of WODYS (Worcester Operatic and Dramatic Society’s Youth Section), who were rehearsing their next production, Footloose. I’ve never seen a poor WODYS performance and they did not disappoint this time. Theatre goers will not want to miss this exhilarating musical. Worcester University Wheelchair Basketball team visited the Mayor’s Parlour at the Guildhall this week. This impressive sports team are current national champions of the Universities’ Wheelchair Basketball League. They tell me that their biggest asset is the quality of their teamwork. While I feel sure that is true, I imagine there is more to their success than that – it probably involves hard slog and a large helping of skill, not to mention sweat and tears.