Last Sunday I was very pleased to be invited to a Commemoration Service in Madresfield for the Polish Flying Officer Franciszek (Franek) Surma, who was one of the brave Flying Officers who defended our country against the attacks by German planes in 1940 at the Battle of Britain. It was a special occasion as it is 80 years since these events and in remembering Franek Surma, we also remembered all the brave pilots who were involved in protecting the UK. I was one of several speakers at the event – wreaths were laid and the Last Post was played before a minute’s silence was observed. The story of Franek Surma was uncovered by the local historian Dilip Sarkar and immortalised in his book, The Invisible Thread—A Spitfire’s Tale, and it pays due respect to Franek, one of many Polish pilots who protected our shores.
As I said in a previous blog, sport has never been my strength and so it was with admiration for the daring and skill of the young people present that I opened the refurbished Nathan Spiers Memorial Skate Park in Oldbury Road. This park was created thanks to the fund-raising efforts of his parents in memory of Nathan who tragically died in 2002. It is a fitting memorial as skateboarding was a passion of Nathan’s and the new installations mean that it can be used by young people of all ages. The new notice board I unveiled tells all users about how the park came to be built and Nathan’s love of the sport.
I hope that some of you will come to the Guildhall today to see the Parlour and other parts of the Guildhall which are not always open to the public. It is Heritage Week and many of our beautiful and historic buildings are open to the public to share their beauty and heritage. More about that next week.