I hope everyone in Worcester will share my pride that two Paralympic UK teams are based in our city. In a few days, the men’s and women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Teams will be heading for Rio!
I was delighted to host a reception in The Guildhall on Wednesday to meet all 24 squad members and their support team to give them a great Worcester send-off. These are world-class athletes who train hard and have been very successful so far – the men’s team won the European Championships last year here in Worcester and we all hope they will win Paralympic medals in Rio and give us even more cause to celebrate their success.
The University of Worcester Arena is the teams’ home base and the university is to be congratulated for having the vision to build this world class centre of excellence for disability sport. I’m really looking forward to watching our own national teams taking on the rest of the world, which should be beamed back from Rio on Channel 4.
It was also great to open two events during the week, which are now well-established on our city’s calendar. The Worcester Festival started on Saturday, with 380 events planned to take place in 33 venues until 29 August. Two-thirds of these events are free and most of the rest cost less than £5 so there is plenty for everyone to enjoy. Many events are for children and will keep them occupied during the summer holiday.
On Sunday, in fine and sunny weather, the Worcester Show took place in our award-winning Gheluvelt Park. Bigger and better than ever, the show had around 1,100 competition entries of magnificent vegetables and fruit and there were 160 local exhibitors. More than 10,000 adults and children visited the show and it was a great honour to both open it and to present the prizes.