Mayor’s Week, 16 – 22 January 2012

Mayor’s Week, 16 – 22 January 2012

Monday 16th: It was really enjoyable to welcome many civic friends (the “chain gang”) and representatives of organisations from across the County and beyond to the Parlour for the Mayor’s Annual New Year’s lunch-time reception. It is great to have built up in a fairly short time such a “happy family”. I noted how valuable it was for networking purposes.

Tuesday 17th: Debt is a serious problem for so many people and sympathetic expert advice is greatly needed. Ted Duckett came to tell me about a “Christians Against Poverty” centre to be launched shortly in Worcester. Based in Bradford it is an award winning debt counselling charity with over 150 centres in the UK. I am sure this will be a valuable asset here: more information on

The Kay’s Theatre Group has an established track record for its annual pantomimes. This evening Jane and I attended “Humpty Dumpty” at the Swan, the Group’s 58th production. So much good clean fun! Look out for “Dick Whittington” next year.

Wednesday 18th: Our past mayor, David Clark, brought 22 of his “U3A” (University of the Third Age) group to the Parlour as part of a tour of the Guildhall. As one member said to me on leaving: “I have been here several times before but I learn something new every time”.

The pantomime season continues and Jane and I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of “Dick Whittington” by the Norbury Players in the Norbury Theatre in Droitwich. I always admire the hard work that so many people…. and children!!…. put into these productions. Congratulations to Joanna Hughes (Director) and the whole cast and crew.

Thursday 19th.: Our monthly meeting with “Leukaemia Care” and “Worcester FOAG” took place to continue the planning of future events…. watch these spaces!!

Lauren Billington was the fund-raising manager of “Leukaemia Care” and has moved on to another job. Lauren was always very enthusiastic with what seemed like unlimited energy. She came to the Parlour for “coffee” this morning to say “thank you” for our contribution to “Leukaemia Care”: there is no doubt that she will keep an interested eye on us while we continue to raise funds through the mayoralty.

Friday 20th: Well, we are almost there with the planning for the “Diamond Jubilee” celebration Dinner on 10th February. I am most grateful for the work that the Rotary Club of Worcester have put into this and what, I am sure, will be a great evening.

The Old Palace, in Deansway, dates from the 11th century. The rooms are magnificent and one of the city’s best kept secrets. The Great Hall was a wonderful setting for a reception given this evening by The 113th Bishop of Worcester, The Rt. Rev. Dr. John Inge.

Old Palace Worcester

Saturday 21st: I have never been to a live basket ball match before! Jane and I really enjoyed the match this evening between Worcester Wolves and the Cheshire Jets in the Sports Centre of the University. The Wolves are a tough team to beat and they won 97 to 87. Indeed they have been British Universities’ and Colleges’ Sport Champions five times over the last few years. Currently on points they are just ahead of the Newcastle Eagles in the Basket Ball League.

Last week I wrote about the “Adoption of Gouzeaucourt (France) by Worcester” on 1st February 1921. I am grateful to Derek Furby who has found an entry in the “Worcester Berrow’s Journal” (below) for 2nd July 1921:

Garden Fete at Perdiswell in Aid of Gouzeaucourt

Fine weather on Thursday afternoon favoured the opening of the fete at Perdiswell Park, the proceeds of which are to go towards relief of Gouzeaucourt, the French village destroyed during the war which Worcester has adopted.  There were present at the opening ceremony, the Mayor (Ald.Charles Edwards) and Mrs Edwards, Mrs Kirkham, Colonel W.R. Chichester, Ald. A. Carlton and Mrs Carlton, and many others who were helping to organise the fete.  So worthy a cause commanded a great effort, and it was made.  There were plenty of stalls with loads of good things and side shows, such as hoop-la, bowling, fortune telling etc without number.  In addition to this, the Committee (of which the Mayor is the Chairman) and Col. H.T.Clark the energetic Hon.Sec. had obtained the services of such people as Mrs Day (dramatic entertainments) Mrs Nancy Harrison (dancing display) Mrs Ernest Oram (concert), and the Sportsmen’s committee who organised a very successful program of sports.  The Band of the Depot Worcestershire Regiment played selections in the evening, and later played for dancing.  A tennis tournament was also played during the afternoon.  In such a way there was very little time for the afternoon or evening to become uninteresting and everybody appeared to enjoy themselves.

“The Mayor, in asking Col. Chichester to declare the fete open, said that he had played a great part in the war, and since his retirement from the Army he had proved himself on many occasions, a good sportsman and a good English gentleman.  He was one of those who was always willing to play his part in anything that was for the betterment of his fellow countrymen.

“In declaring the fete open, Col. Chichester said that his only claim to such an honour was that he had been connected with the Worcestershire Regiment for a long time. He briefly described why Worcester had adopted Gouzeaucourt. Two battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment were identified very closely with that village – the 2/8th Battalion and in a lesser degree, the 4th (?) Battalion. They must go back to the November days of 1917, when an offensive was arranged with Cambria as its objective.  It was the first offensive in which tanks were used to any great extent, in company with infantry.  The attack was successful to a certain degree, but about 6 miles from Cambria the offensive was held up.  For about a week “scrapping” went on.  The Boche then advanced a counter blow with a tremendous barrage, employing troops specially trained which they had brought over from Russia.  They broke our lines and drove through.  The position was critical for the Third Army.  The 61st Division, of which the 2/8th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment formed a part, were hurried from Arras and the 2/8th took up their position in front of the village of Gouzeaucourt.  They withstood the attack for a long time but through the troops on either side being driven back, they found themselves with their flanks in the air.  Captain Stallard, who was in command of the leading company of the Battalion withdrew by sectional rushes, and in this retreat Captain Stallard was very severely wounded.  The Battalion under Captain Holcroft reformed and made a counter attack, and so successful was it that the Boche offensive was stopped.  He thought that the attack was the means of holding the rest of the advance up for the winter.  The Battalion suffered very severely 400 or 500, including officers being killed.  In adopting Gouzeaucourt they were doing what was being done all over the country and he thought their choice was a very happy one.  He explained what the need of Gouzeaucourt was.  They wanted a pump to obtain water, and he hoped that the fete would go along way to realising the sum required.  He was in the neighbourhood of Gouzeaucourt last autumn, and if they had only seen the place as he saw it, with hardly a fresh blade of grass or a stick standing, they would feel very much for the poor inhabitants of that village.

 “On the proposition of the Mayor, seconded by Alderman Carlton, a vote of thanks was passed to Colonel Chichester.  Alderman Carlton remarked that none knew better than he did, the wonderful work which Colonel Chichester did, when he came as Commandant at Norton.  Not only did he do his military duties in the best possible manner, but was willing to give his best for the benefit of the City of Worcester.

“A vote of thanks was also passed to Mrs Kirkham, through whose generosity the Committee were able to use the gardens for the fete.

“The stall holders were:- Refreshments Mrs Knott and a very large number of workers.  Sweets:- Mrs Turner, MrsKnowles and Mrs V Ridlington.  Hoop-la:- Mrs Brimmacomb, Miss Brimmacomb and Mrs Sandy.  Produce:- Mesdames Hobbs, EC Harrison, Legge, Brettle, Clarke, Bennett, J Moore, Miss Heale and Miss Middleton.  Clock golf and Ladder croquet:- Messers E Oran, Kernaught, Jordan and Cartwright.  Tennis:- Miss Kirkham.

“The first entertainment of the afternoon was a dramatic one organised by Mrs Ernest Day, in which there were many well known amateurs.  The play – a play of the (?)teenth century was entitled “King Rene’s Daughter” and the plot evolved around the daughter who was cured of her birth affection of blindness.  Mr F Underwood played the part of King Rene very ably, and Miss Peggy Edwards Lolanthe the daughter, gave a natural and convincing interpretation of a difficult part.  Mr Maurice Webb was equally successful in his role as her suitor, Count Tristram of Vandermont.  In company with Mr LS Agington as Sir Geoffrey of Orange, his friend there was much interesting, and well expressed dialogues.  Mr Douglas Herbert as Eon Janis the Arabian physician, who cured Lolanthe’s blindness, had a severe and restrained part to play, and his interpretation of this character was very praiseworthy.  Mr WFS Underwood as Almerio; Mr Leonard Knowles as Bertrand, and Miss Southall as Martha, each contributed in their separate ways to what was undoubtedly a very successful entertainment.

“Miss Nancy Harrison’s pupils, whose popularity increases with each fete which they attend, gave an exhibition of dancing, similar to those which they have given elsewhere.  Their pretty and entertaining costume dances attracted a large audience.  Another well patronised event was a concert arranged by Mrs Oram. With Mr CH Baker she opened the program with a capital duet “Key(?) of Heaven”.  Miss Dona Lucking, whose delightful singing is well known to Worcester audiences, sang very sweetly “What’s in the Air”.  Mr E Davis’s “Senora” was very well received, and in response to an encore he gave a popular if rather light song “Wild Wild Women”.  Mrs Oram concluded the programme with a song which was very well received.  Mr HH Burgess was the accompanist.”


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