Monday 13th: The Mayor is Honorary President of the Worcester Twinning Association. A meeting was held this evening in the parlour to discuss plans for taking forward our relationships with our twinned cities. Worcester City is twinned with Kleve – Germany, Le Vesinet- France and Worcester (Massachusetts) – USA and most recently with Ukmerge in Lithuania. In 2006 Worcester entered into a friendship agreement with Vernon, in France, where the Worcestershire regiment established a bridgehead in August 1944. This led to the liberation of Northern France and the Low Countries. These links between communities are important as I have said before and will go on repeating! Understanding, culture, exchanges, sport, learning, language, politics, peace…… all aspects of a twinning arrangement. Membership of the Association is open to anyone interested in improving international relations. So if you are interested more information is online at www.worcester-international-link.org.uk
Tuesday 14th: The “Take Pride in Worcester 2011” campaign was launched this morning with Mike Harrison (Head of Cleaner and Greener City) and me squatting in front of a huge pile of rubbish outside the Guildhall. This was a heap that had been collected that day from the streets of the City. And the cost: £25,000 each week. The cost could be reduced massively if we all took responsibility and did not drop our rubbish!!
“Worcester Live” is renowned for its Shakespeare play productions and especially outdoors at the Commandery. “Twelfth Night” was no exception…it was superb. Chris Jaeger and his team are to be congratulated. A wonderfully balmy evening…some competition between the actors and rather loud blackbirds singing away in a nearby tree.
Wednesday 15th: The Battle of Worcester Society held a planning meeting this morning. This year is the 360th. Anniversary of the Battle of Worcester. This was the last battle of the Civil War and was fought on 3rd. September 1651. It was a pivotal point in our history and everyone should know about it. The celebrations, including battle re-enactments, later this year will help us all understand this time in history more clearly. If you would like to know more about the Society then log on to www.battleofworcestersociety.org.uk. Why not join?
Thursday 16th: Worcester has contributed significantly to medical care for almost a thousand years from the time of St. Wulstan. There have been many establishments for the care of the infirm and some of the buildings remain to this day for example The Commandery, St. Oswald’s, Berkeley’s Hospital, Wyatt’s and Nash’s, Queen Elizabeth House. Worcester was one of the first cities to establish a County Hospital on 11th. January 1746 by Bishop Maddox. The building, in Silver Street, is still there and it is hoped that it will be restored.
Eventually a new hospital was designed (by Anthony Keck 1767), built in 1771 and became our much loved Worcester Royal Infirmary in Castle Street. It served the city well for over 200 years. My time working there (1976 – 1998) was a very happy period.
My friend, Mr. John Black, came to Worcester as a newly appointed Consultant Surgeon in 1978. I had arrived as a Consultant Physician two years earlier. John has made an enormous contribution to Worcester. He has been the President of the Royal College of Surgeons for the last three years. Today he was welcomed back to Worcester for a special meeting in the Charles Hastings Education Centre. I had the honour of opening this event. The highlight of John’s and my collaboration began when, with Dr. Doug Rosewarne (Consultant Radiologist), we launched the “CT Scanner Appeal” in 1987. It was an amazing next two years during which we raised in excess of £2 millions. The “Evening News” (now the “Worcester News”) got right behind the campaign. I am so grateful to the “Worcester News” for providing me with a number of the original photographs taken during the campaign.
Friday 17th: A very busy day! I began by welcoming Cllr. Angela Altair. Angela is a councillor in the Williamstown Ward of Hobsons Bay City Council (Australia) and is the Founder and President of the Williamstown Literary Festival (www.willylitfest.org.uk) in Melbourne. She came to the parlour with Lisa Ventura, the Director of our Worcestershire Literary Festival. We talked about the initiatives in Australia and the excitement about our literary festival that is launched today.
This is National Eye Health Week. Jane and I were really pleased to attend the “Sight Concern” “Eyes Right” project team’s stand in Bell Square (Crown Gate): simple eye tests were carried out as well as the provision of advice on sensible diets that promote the health of our eyes. There are some important facts about which we should be aware: 50% of sight loss in the UK is avoidable!! Seventy three per cent of people with sight loss of working age are unemployed: that’s 15 times that of the general population. If you want to know more contact “Sight Concern Worcestershire”; www.sightconcern.co.uk
I launched officially the first “Worcestershire Literary Festival” in the Cathedral this evening. The initial event was to select from ten finalists the first Poet Laureate for Worcestershire, “Bard of Worcestershire”. Amazing poetry, performances and talent!! A tough choice for the judges. The winner was Theo Theobald. Over the next ten days until 27th. June there will be over 100 literary events to enjoy. Well done Lisa, we are proud of you and your team! More information on www.worcslitfest.com.
Saturday 18th: A “catching up” day!!
Sunday 19th: The Civic Service took place in the Cathedral today (also Trinity Sunday and Father’s Day!) It was a most wonderful occasion on a lovely day with the Cathedral bells in full peel. Fifteen Visiting Civic Heads, eleven past Worcester City Mayors and in all 25 current Worcester City Councillors joined the procession. It was also a great honour to have the High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant with us. Jane and I were delighted. We are so grateful to the Clergy and staff of the Cathedral for all the work and preparation that went into creating this event. A special “thank you” to the choir and the Dean, The Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, for his sermon that included an emphasis on pride in our City. Indeed this was a day to make us proud of our City.