Pre-Christmas activities help us to overcome the depressive effects of shorter days, longer nights, colder weather and the recent heavy rain. The High Street in front of the Guildhall was thronged with a large happy crowd of children and adults last Thursday when Pudsey Bear helped me switch on our Christmas lights. BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester presenters Elliott Webb and Matthew Boyden hosted two hours of live entertainment before the High Street was flooded with light from our beautiful gold and silver Christmas decorations.
The mayor of Ross-on-Wye invited us to their Christmas Market on Sunday afternoon where we witnessed the lighting of their Christmas tree. Whilst on a completely different scale to our own Victorian Fayre, Ross is a charming town and their Christmas Market had about 40 stalls selling a wide range of goods to enthusiastic visitors.
I opened Worcester’s annual Victorian Christmas Fayre on Thursday which, as usual, attracted large numbers of visitors to our city. I was also delighted to welcome guests from our twin towns in Germany, France and Lithuania. Every year groups of people from Kleve, Le Vesinet and Ukmerge sell their traditional wares from stalls in our Fayre. They are most welcome here and I arranged to fly their national flags in Cathedral Square and over the Guildhall in their honour.
Jeffrey Carpenter, Clifford Lord, Derek Prodger and Robert Rowden are four former councillors who served our city for a combined total of over 100 years. I was delighted to host a ceremony at the Guildhall in their honour and to confer upon each of them the title of Honorary Alderman. Councillors work long and antisocial hours for the benefit of local people – work which few are prepared to do, so it is right that we thank those who give long service. Friends and families came to support our new aldermen at a very happy event.