Monday 11th: Finding time to get to do the “weekly” grocery shop can be difficult: went first thing today. The cupboard was getting bare.
As will now be apparent much of the Mayor’s time is taken up with conducting tours of the Guildhall. This building is an amazing asset in our City so I am always happy to show anyone around. Today thirty Italian and two Spanish students arrived. They were on a Cultural and Language programme and were clearly enthralled by Worcester.
Marc Bayliss and Alan Stuttard are representing the Worcester City Team on a special networking conference in Accra (Ghana) beginning next Tuesday (19th). This is under the auspices of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (funded by the DfID) and an important part of the Local Economic Development Programme we are running with the Adentan Municipal Assembly in Ghana. We met for a planning briefing to ensure our input is as effective as possible.
The Worcester Twinning Association met this evening in the Guildhall. The members are a lively group but we do need more to join: check online at www.worcester-international-link.org.uk
Tuesday 12th: Members of the Worcester Tourism Association, Jane and I gathered in the parlour at 2pm and then walked down to the river. We called into Brown’s Restaurant and met Richard Everton who showed us the changes that he had undertaken. It seems that the riverside works really have made a difference to business. The PediTour owner, Marcus Sparrow, demonstrated his Pedi-Cab which should be a great attraction in this lovely weather. A stroll along the riverbank showed the almost complete works on the east side. This is a great improvement on what was there before: if you don’t belief me have a look at the “before and after” photographic records. We ended with “Tea” at the Diglis Hotel which is also now benefiting from the path improvements.
Wednesday 13th: No official mayoral engagements today. Jane and I decided to go to Hay-on-Wye, the little town renowned for its bookshops. We had a specific reason for going and that was to find copies of books written by Mrs. Henry Wood. She wrote about thirty novels at the turn of the 19th Century and they were printed in their millions: “East Lynne”, perhaps the best known, had 760,000 copies printed. I suspect few people know that Mrs. Henry Wood was a Worcester authoress: her portrait is in the Guildhall at the entrance to the Council Chamber. I have just finished reading “Dean Hollow” which is a fascinating story centred on a village (Hurst Leet) near Worcester…I do recommend her writings. We found several copies of her other novels in Hay-on-Wye for about £5 each.
Thursday 14th: Much of the morning was taken up reading the “Planning Committee” papers in preparation for the meeting that began at 1.30pm. and did not finish until 6.30pm. Even the Mayor has non-mayoral duties!!
The Swan Theatre is a central part of Worcester’s culture and funds are always needed. Jane and I attended the “Promises Auction” held at the Theatre. An amusing evening provided by Charles Robinson (from Griffiths & Charles) the auctioneer. There were 79 lots from a bicycle that someone had left behind to “Tea and cakes in the parlour and a tour of the Guildhall” given by the Mayor of Worcester…Oh, that’s me!! Maximum bid for this was £65!!!
Friday 15th: Learning about our history is so important: we are because of what we were! Roger Fairman and Brian Bullock came to see me today to discuss their future programme including “Living History Worcester VIII”. For more information visit the website: www.thebattleofworcestersociety.org.uk
The Elgar Chorale, directed by Donald Hunt, contributes a great deal to music for our City. The “A Time of Remembrance” (for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal) and Christmas Concert (for the Mayor’s charities) were resounding successes last year. Donald and I discussed plans for this year.
Chinese visitors love Worcester. Twenty four students from Yangzhou High School, Jiangsu Province, People’s Republic of China, came for a visit to the parlour and Guildhall. They were thrilled with what they saw. Their knowledge of the English language was remarkably good.
The day was completed by Jane and I attending the Tudor Grange Academy to see “Act 1’s” first annual Showcase: a great variety of performing art by the Sixth Formers. A roller-coaster of entertainment that stirred all sorts of emotions from Shakespeare to “Find Me” written by Olwyn Wymark in 1977. “Find Me” is founded on a story of Verity, a young woman, who had the multiple personality syndrome. It explored many issues and attitudes around mental health. Well done to Jenna Butler (Curriculum Leader in Performing Arts) and all her students.
Saturday 16th: The Battle of Worcester in 1651 lead to a parliamentary system we enjoy in the United Kingdom and elsewhere throughout the world. So Worcester truly is the birthplace of our current democracy. Jane and I joined a “Battle of Worcester Historic Walk” beginning at the Guildhall and thence to the Cornmarket (the site of public executions), St. Helen’s Church in the High Street, the Cathedral (used as a stable during the Civil War) and ending on Fort Royal and the Commandery: did you know that the Commandery has been there in some form for a thousand years originally established by St. Wulstan as a “hospital”? These walks are part of the “Worcester: City of Liberty” project financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Emma Campolucci, Joint Chairperson of the Relay for Life, Worcester, welcomed Jane and me to a promotional event in The Shambles to advertise the Cancer Research UK Relay for Life. This involved using a treadmill emphasising the importance of exercise in general health and possibly for the prevention of some cancers. The Relay will be held at the Nunnery Wood Sports Complex from noon on Saturday 10th September until noon on Sunday 11th September. Get a group of family and friends together and join in!! More information can be found by visiting www.cancerresearchu?k.org/relay/venues/worcest?er
A Summer Concert in the Cathedral by the Alcester Male Voice Choir was outstanding. Special guest performers were the soprano Caroline Causier, the organist Chris Alsop and the outstanding 15 year old violinist Dayna Townsend. The concert was in aid of Parkinson’s UK Worcester & District Branch. Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating condition and although much can be done to alleviate symptoms we still have no cure.
Sunday 17th: No civic engagements today. We are now two days short of our first nine weeks in this mayoral year. It really has been busy: 101 engagements.
A Squadron Royal Mercian & Lancastrian Yeomanry – Tri County Triathlon Challenge – Saturday 30th July 2011: This event focuses on the fitness, teamwork and endurance abilities of the Territorial Army Soldiers and at the same time will be raising funds for the Army Benevolent Fund (“The Soldiers’ Charity”). It is planned for the soldiers to ride, row and run the 90 miles between the three county towns of Stafford, Worcester and Warwick. The team should arrive in Worcester at the City Library on Foregate Street at about 3.30pm on 30th July. Shortly after that they will depart for Warwick. Come and cheer them on!!