I do believe that the Mayor’s role is all about inclusiveness: not forgetting smaller groups in society who appreciate support but are not always in the public eye. Therefore it was a pleasure to visit the Ex-Servicemen’s Club in Barbourne last Friday to help celebrate the work of those in the community prepared to assist previous members of our Armed Forces. If you were in any of the services and would like to make contact, then you would be made most welcome there.
On Saturday I was pleased to host the Holocaust Memorial Day at the Guildhall. Organised by Rev. Doug Chaplin and ably assisted by James Atkinson, the morning was spent listening to readings from students of Bishop Perowne School and a remarkable account from Barbara Winton of the work of her father, Sir Nicholas Winton, who became known as the English ‘Schindler’. Through his work many children were rescued from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War. It was not only a moving ceremony but also informative, acting as a reminder of what can happen if people do not speak out against tyranny.
During the week the Guildhall was also used by members of Sight Concern to hold their AGM and supporters meeting. We heard from a young lady who is working hard to overcome her sight loss with the help of Sight Concern. Their services are allowing her to become more engaged within the community. After this came an explanation on how technology is supporting those who have little or no vision – such as computer applications which not only give verbal information but can also control electrical devices around the home. Such advances are invaluable for many with disabilities.
On Friday afternoon Alison and I hosted volunteers from the Citizens Advice Bureau at the Guildhall. This was a large group who provide a great deal of free confidential information to the public on financial, legal, consumer and other issues.
Now returning to the subject of inclusiveness: during the evening we visited the Yelland Theatre at the Worcester University to hear Lord Christopher Holmes (a superb Paralympian) speak on that very subject. As a teenager Lord Holmes lost his sight practically overnight.
He had been a keen swimmer but after this tragic event in his life, he chose to overcome the boundaries and take on those that would exclude people with disabilities. As well as winning Gold medals in Spain he took on a huge role in organising the 2012 Paralympics in London. There really is not enough room in this column for me to describe how his involvement made the Games the success they were. Suffice to say it has made me think of how we as a council must continually address the needs of all.