The Dionysius Choir from Krefeld sang to me in the Parlour last Friday. They brought greetings from the Burgermeister (Mayor) of Krefeld and presented the city with a plaque showing Krefeld’s traditional textile industry.
Our German friends joined Shula Oliver and friends in the cathedral for a concert in aid of Clic Sargent. The evening began dramatically with Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, and just got better. The Mass of the Children was a particularly moving experience. TV presenter, Michael Collie, introduced the performances with wit, humour and an eye for detail.
Foregate Street Station officially re-opened this week with a short ceremony to celebrate its refurbishment. Rail travellers will now experience a clean, modern style station as they arrive in the heart of the city.
WorcesterWolvesBasketballAcademy was in action on Friday evening. Phil and I watched the under 14s game, which was hotly contested all the way to the finish.
Beacons held its annual conference on the theme of small farmers in the developing world at WorcesterUniversity. We heard how small farmers are being thrown off the land by big developers who grow bio fuels, palm oil and food crops for export. The good news is that small farmers are fighting back with the help of UK charities.
I went on to a retirement road show at the Guildhall. Stall holders had a huge array of products and information of interest to retirees. I learned a lot about pensions, health, adapting your home, adult care and much more.
Worcester University hosted a Question Time event with a panel drawn from the police and probation services, politics (myself) and the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Barrie Sheldon. A lively and well informed discussion followed on such matters as the privatisation of probation services, the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner, and so on.
I spent a wonderful morning at the Worcestershire Festival of Competitive Arts at the Royal Grammar School. Young performers played or sang with great enthusiasm. This festival just gets better every year!
Worcester flew the flag for Commonwealth Day, courtesy of our local army reservists. I was honoured to read a message from her Majesty, the Queen. Many thanks to Captain Morgan and 214 Battery for hosting this event, with flair and dignity.
At Worcestershire Group Training Association, I made a tour of the facilities, and met with staff and apprentices. Apprentices are able to earn while they learn, and said they had definitely chosen the right route into the world of work.
The 11th Worcestershire Guides visited the Parlour this week. Family members should watch out for photos of Guides wearing the mayoral regalia – they looked very elegant.
Phil and I watched Worcester Wolves win through to the finals of the National basketball League against reigning champions, the Sheffield Sharks. It was a tense match, as Wolves lost their team mojo, found it, lost it and found it again!
I also presented trophies to the university sports teams and the golden ball for Coach of the Month to Wolves coach, Paul James. Congratulations to all of them.
Last week, I was honoured to inspect the parade and present several awards to our local squadron of Air Cadets. The cadets also showed videos of their experiences during the year, including a visit to Normandy. Congratulations to all of the award winners!
Many thanks to the Glevum Big Band for a memorable night of jazz and swing in aid of the Mayor’s charities and Acorns Children’s Hospice. The audience was very appreciative and packed to capacity.
Saturday saw the Young Enterprise Fair on the High Street, with a range of attractive companies and imaginative products on display. Eco-friendly was a big theme. I came home with some gorgeous rose scented artisan soap, an ingenious lamp made from a bottle, jam and chutney. Congratulations to the fledgling companies for a superb effort – I am only glad I wasn’t one of the judges.
The Gormley family and friends spent Saturday at KGV raising money to support people who have MS. The football academy was playing a series of lively tactical matches – the WCT Raiders are through to the finals once again. The day included a disco in the evening for those adults who survived their afternoon football matches! Joking apart, I hope the Gormleys raised loads of money for this worthy cause.
This week, the Lions Club presented Community Service Awards and Grants of £300 to local community organisations to fund small projects that might not otherwise be possible. You can support the Lions fund raising efforts by attending one of their Guildhall coffee mornings. Their cakes are superb!
My first photo call this week was alongside a large inflatable banana. There was a second (human) banana in the picture – one of the perils of being a communications intern with the city council!
More seriously, the banana photos were all about the fact that the city is celebrating Fair Trade Fortnight. Worcester can feel proud of its status as a Fair Trade City, and many of us now buy Fair Trade items locally. As discerning shoppers will already know, FT products are good quality and pocket friendly, so look out for the Fair Trade logo!
If your city councillor has been a bit jet lagged in the last couple of days, it is probably because Tuesday’s full council meeting lasted into the early hours of Wednesday morning, as next year’s budget was discussed. Thank you to everyone involved for their participation and patience. A special thanks also to our council officers for their hard work, both before and during the meeting.
Two lively groups visited the Parlour this week: the KGV Grandees Club and the Weight Watchers Group from Pump Street. Phil and I spent a very pleasant few hours showing them the civic treasures. Several of our guests had fascinating connections with the Guildhall and will be exploring them further.
Phil and I attended the Twinning Association Annual Meeting on Wednesday evening. This year sees Worcester adopt a temporary twinning arrangement with Gouzeaucourt in France to mark a special relationship following World War I, when we helped to restore Gouzeaucourt’s fresh water supply.