We were sitting next to a couple of guys in the pub on Thursday who were talking about Worcester politics and the mayor etc, when a third person said: ‘well that bloke next to you is the new one’. They were so thrilled and interested in the role and my views; it was a real eye-opener to what the year may bring. We talked about beer and Californian rock bands, cricket and rugby – and most importantly, Worcester and how great it is, with so much to offer. If the mayoral year ahead of me provokes similar conversations in pubs across the city, or better still, across the country, I will be happy.
Talking of music, my first official engagement was at St Clements Primary where Severn Arts had parked their Music Box Bus – full of technology for the pupils to make music with professional guidance. We went to their Year 4 drumming class too. Drumming is important. I was a drummer.
Severn Arts is one of my charities. They are the force behind Light Night and other Arches projects and we plan to do a range of activities through the year across music, art, theatre and culture, fulfilling their aim of offering inclusive activities that focus on widening access to the arts for all, with a particular emphasis on children and young people.
My other charity is OnSide, an advocacy organisation that works with people who find it difficult to navigate the world of bureaucracy we have created. They work in employment support, dementia, loneliness, mental health and wellbeing and I am going to their open day at the Guildhall on Saturday 28 May.
This coming week is all about Elgar and the Queen. When The Hive opened 10 years ago I chatted to Her Majesty about her predecessor’s visit in 1575. I was also pleased to go to a Palace Garden Party before the pandemic (I hope Stephen and Lucy enjoyed their day there despite everything). And the Elgar Festival is back, over the same Jubilee weekend so I hope to see many of you at one or other of the events lined up.