Monday 15th: Twenty two Italian students came for a tour of the Guildhall. They were here on a month’s English Language Course including cultural and educational visits. One is never quite sure if the presentation has been sufficiently appropriate for the particular audience. Have I taken into account the standard of the visitors’ English and above all have I made the history interesting enough to hold the attention? I am always relieved after these tours to have favourable feedback. Descent into the cells is never without interest. These cells may have their origins in the Tudor era although the present ones probably date from 1721 when the Guildhall was rebuilt. They were used to hold prisoners awaiting trial in the Court Room above.
Tim Clark, of the Worcester Standard, and I had our routine monthly meeting in the parlour when we discussed recent and forthcoming events. It’s always a pleasure Tim: it makes one realise just how much is going on!
As part of the Worcester Festival there was a Choral Mass celebrated at Old St. Martin’s Church. A most uplifting experience.
Tuesday 16th: No mayoral duties but plenty of other things to keep me busy! First thing I chaired the committee of colleagues organising the next visit to Adentan Municipal Assembly in Ghana. The plan for the week next month is gradually coming together. There will be a huge amount to do in those few days: assistance with forming a “Federation of Small Businesses”, enhancing their production of a local newspaper (“Adentan News”), a course on how to run business efficiently and the beginning of a “Master Plan” for Adentan.
I chaired the Committee of the Worcestershire Branch of the Oxford University Society this evening. We’re planning a visit to Bletchley Park next month: the home of the vital team that broke the “Enigma” code. The Germans used the Enigma machine during the Second World War to keep communications secret. The machine is an electro-mechanical device based on a series of rotating ‘wheels’ so that text is scrambled into incoherent ciphertext. The key is to determine how the machine has been set up then the ciphertext can be interpreted. Some Polish mathematicians managed to get hold of a machine before the War and code breakers at Bletchley Park managed to crack the Enigma code. It is likely that this achievement shortened the War by two years.
Wednesday 17th: Each year recruits to the Army receive their certificates of selection. The ceremony is held in the Guildhall. I met Major H.L.Kennedy, MBE, Rifles, Area Recruiting Officer and Warrant Officer 1 Dale Norman this morning to plan this important event.
Thursday 18th: Viewing the riverside from the river itself is quite revealing. This is what Jane and I experienced when we joined the Rotary Club of Worcester for its Annual River Cruise for the elderly and less able. Everyone had a most enjoyable and relaxing few hours as we sailed south from North Quay and some distance beyond Kempsey. The new Diglis foot/cycle footbridge looks most elegant. The riverside of the “southern loop” is such an asset and a marked improvement from a year or so ago.
Friday 19th: Councillor Barry MacKenzie-Williams died on 14th January 2010. He was first elected to the City Council in 2002 and served on the cabinet from 2003 becoming deputy leader in 2006. A devoted servant of the City and as one councillor said at the time he was a “voice of reason”. It was therefore very fitting for a lasting memorial for Barry to have a bench placed on South Quay near the fountains and beside the river.
The Right Reverend Christopher Mayfield (retired Bishop of Manchester) conducted a short service of dedication today in lovely sunshine.
Councillor Roger Knight spoke words for all of us saying “How fitting it is to have this memorial to Barry in a location he enjoyed and in a city he loved and served. Barry was a good man, a good Councillor and more importantly a good friend. He achieved more in his life by far than most people would in three lifetimes, yet was quite humble about this, to learn of his life one had to drag information from him and as he spoke the significance of his achievements never failed to impress. I miss him as do our colleagues.”