Monday 12th: The day began by assisting the Worcester Virgornia Rotary Club to deliver Christmas parcels to the lonely and needy in various parts of the City.
The “Carols at County Hall” took place at noon in the Council Chamber. A most enjoyable occasion accompanied by Haybridge High School and Hagley Primary School.
Tuesday 13th: Claire Neville of the City Council’s Communications Department came to the Parlour to interview me in order to put together a “Mayoral piece” for the Council’s magazine “City Life”.
New employees of the City Council receive a routine induction course. Included is a session with the Mayor so it was a pleasure to welcome fifteen new colleagues and show them the treasures of the Parlour and Guildhall.
Lt. Col. Gerry Taggert, Cllr. Roger Berry and I met to plan a briefing meeting on Thursday concerning ideas for Armed Forces Day in June next year.
The University held its Christmas Season Reception in the new Riverside Building. A great occasion to celebrate what the University is achieving, its expansion and the building of the Worcester Arena. All these assets are and will become so important for our City.
In the evening Jane and I attended The Bishop Perowne Church of England College Carol Service in the Cathedral. The College Chamber Choir, orchestra and readers were really special. Yes, another example of Worcester’s musical prowess.
Wednesday 14th: Nativity plays are for the joy of children and the pride of their parent. That is what Jane and I saw when we were invited to see “The Nativity” performed by the St. Peters Pre-school in St. Peters Village Hall.
The plethora of carol services with their high attendance is a reflection that, yes, we are at heart still a Christian country. Jane and I attended the Bromsgrove District Council and Churches Together Community Carol Service this evening. The Spadesbourne Suite, which is a large hall, was packed. Children of Finstall First School formed the choir.
Thursday 15th: Armed Forces Day briefing of a wide number of interested parties. Now the hard work begins to try to make it all a reality!
The Oaks in Malvern is accommodates about six people with learning and life skill problems. Jane and I were invited by Andrew Dykes (Chairman) and Donna Taundry (Manager) to a “Mulled wine and mince pie morning”. It was good to meet the residents and learn about the important care that takes place there.
My Mayor’s Charity Christmas Concert in the Guildhall was a great success. At first I was worried about the numbers that would be attending. However on the evening the Assembly Room was full. Dr. Donald Hunt and the Elgar Chorale were magnificent. We were treated to Appalachian Carols and Carols from the West Country, Wales and Africa. The readings included works by John Betjeman (”Christmas”), Benjamin Zephaniah (“Talking Turkeys!!”) and John Julius Norwich (“The Twelve Days of Christmas”).
Friday 16th: Fort Royal School (on the site of the former Thornton House School, Wylds Lane) provides for about 150 children with special needs (learning and physical) from nursery age up to 11 years old. Jane and I were delighted to visit, with Father Christmas, to meet the children and have a tour of the school. Jane Long (Head Teacher) and her staff are doing a magnificent, difficult and vital job. Since 2007 the school has raised £20,000 enabling phase 1 of the playground and outdoor facilities to be completed. I had the privilege of opening it with the children. It is acknowledged that this outdoor environment is a crucial element in how the children learn, socialise, behave, play and develop. Phase 2 is now needed and fund raising is underway. If anyone would like to help do let me know.
Another meeting with representatives of “Leukaemia Care” and “Worcester Farmers’ Overseas Action Group” to discuss more fund raising initiatives.
As an honorary member of Worcester Rotary Club, I, with Jane, attended a “Wassail” evening organised by the Club in The United Reform Church (Albany Terrace). Great entertainment, great food and punch (the “wassail”)! “Wassail” refers to a number of things. Wassailing is an ancient southern English tradition performed to ensuring a good crop of cider apples next year. The Middle English phrase wæs hæl, meaning ‘good health’. The drink of wassail is a hot mulled cider traditionally drunk during the wassail ceremony.
Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th: A “free” weekend to catch up on some of the pre-Christmas jobs…the last minute Christmas cards in particular.
Since I was encouraged to write this weekly “Blog” the “unique visitors” has risen from 73 to 147!! Oh, the wonders of modern cyberspace and technology. Today’s technological wonders are so different to the time of the original Christmas Nativity, but what if….
Times change, feelings remain the same!
Happy Christmas Everyone.