Monday 10th: Tim Clarke, Editor of “The Worcester Standard”, and I had our usual monthly meeting in the Parlour. It is always interesting to discuss and review the activities of the previous four weeks and realise just how much has happened in our City.
Tuesday 11th: Lt. Col. Gerry Taggart, RE (Retired) is certainly not “letting the grass grow under his feet” as far as thinking about Armed Forces Day next year. He brought Chief Petty Officer Diana Cope (DNLO, Naval Regional HQ WWE, HMS Flying Fox, Bristol) to the Parlour to discuss her input. We do so want all three services represented.
It seems to be the season for AGM’s. The Worcestershire Council for Voluntary Youth Services held its AGM this evening and was hosted by Worcester Bosch at their premises on Cotswold Way. I was impressed by the range of voluntary and community sector activities undertaken. The key note speaker was Richard Soper, Chief Executive Officer of Worcester Bosch, who described the innovative and effective apprenticeship programme in the company.
Wednesday 12th: Two hundred people attended the Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust lunch in the Pitchview Suite of the Worcester Rugby Club. It was a most enjoyable occasion and raised much needed funds for this charity that provides a vital service for children with life-limiting conditions. Acorns for the Three Counties opened in Worcester in March 2005.
Care is tailored into a holistic package for each individual child including their medical and recreational needs. David Studley, CBE (Chief Executive) gave a passionate resume of the last year and the challenges for the future. He was followed by a speaker who used to be a banker but turned chimney sweep!! Find out more on the web site: www.acorns.org.uk
Thursday 13th: A last meeting to “tie up loose ends”. All is ready for tomorrow’s Murder Mystery evening.
Forty five 9 – 10 year olds from Warndon Primary School came in two groups for tours of the Parlour and Guildhall. Questions, questions, questions!! Wonderful. “How old are you, Mr. Mayor?” “Do you live in a castle?”
I opened an event in the Guildhall to launch the Polish Community Association “Polonia in Worcester” under the Chairmanship of Ryszard Wyrwa. This was supported by the Migration and Integration in Rural Areas (MIRA) project in Worcestershire. MIRA has as its main aim the support of local public sector organizations in relation to economic migration, mainly from Eastern Europe. Effective community integration is a key element a point that I emphasised as so important in my welcoming speech.
A very busy day was marvelously rounded off by attending a production of “A Chorus Line” at the Swan Theatre. This was yet another outstanding performance by the Worcester Operatic and Dramatic Society (WODS). Congratulations to Ian Crohill, President of WODS, and the huge number of people involved. Worcester is proud of you. Did you know that WODS was established in 1892?!! It’s first production was “HMS Pinafore”.
Friday 14th: David Green, Vice Chancellor of the University of Worcester, invited Jane and me for a tour of the University. “The history of our University is one of exciting achievements…”  was so well shown to us during this tour. Yes, the expansion of the University may seem alarming to some (with currently around 12,000 students) but let us for a moment stand back and look at all of the advantages brought to our City both in terms of the economy, employment, attraction of businesses and our importance in the field of tertiary education and research. The science facilities are outstanding and they include the National Pollen and Aerobiological Research Unit. The expanding work is of international importance! That in the Motion Analysis Research and Rehabilitation Centre and in sport is exciting and again of national importance. I thought I knew about most of what the University was doing but there was so much more!!
 Quote from the “Forward” in “the University of Worcester: An Illustrated History” by Paul Cheeseright.
I chaired a meeting of the Worcester – Adentan (Ghana) Group to summarise after the most recent team visit to Adentan Municipal Assembly. Everyone has made a valuable contribution over the last eighteen months of this Good Practice Scheme under the auspices of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and funded by the Department for International Development. We have achieved in Adentan more than we anticipated: a Local Economic Development Committee and a sub-Group especially for Women in Business, the first Federation of Small Businesses in Ghana, the first local newspaper (“The Adentan News”) in Ghana, the initiation of the first “Master Planning” process in Ghana, evidence of a significant increase in local employment, training in business management and increase in the capacity of the Assembly officers to continue this. Our maximum grant was to have been up to £40,000 but we have done it with only about £25,000. Value for money?… I think so.
Today we heard that “Noah’s Ark”, one of my three mayoral charities, has become a victim of the economic situation and is to enter voluntary liquidation. This is a major tragedy for the 900 bereaved children that this charity is supporting. I am greatly saddened.
The 1920’s Murder Mystery “Dinner at the Ritz” held in the Guildhall’s Assembly Room was a great success. About eighty guests got into the spirit, enjoyed entertainment by “Dangerous Liaison” and raised much needed money for my mayoral charities.
Lauren Billington of “Leukaemia Care” made a wonderful Mistress of Ceremonies and Malcolm Rankin spoke passionately about the “Worcester Farmers’ Overseas Action Group (FOAG)”. “Thank you” to everyone who helped put the evening together and to so many who came from across the County in support.
Saturday 15th: A “day of rest”: well, not quite as we used it to catch up on things we haven’t had time to do during this last week!
Sunday 16th: The Civic Service for Malvern Hills District Council and Councillor Mike Soley, Chairman of the Council, was held in the beautiful church of St. Matthias in the Parish of Malvern Link with Cowleigh. There was a wonderful attendance by many mayors from towns across Worcestershire. These civic events really do have the effect of drawing us close together in our common purpose of serving the people.