Monday 18th: I think we should do more for Armed Forces Day next year. So with that in mind I met Lt. Colonel Gerry Taggart, Royal Engineers (Retired), in the parlour to discuss possible activities. We plan to meet again.
Tim Clark, of the “Worcester Standard” came for our routine chat about recent mayoral activities and what may be forthcoming.
Headway Worcester Trust Ltd. “provides the only specialist community services in South Worcestershire for people suffering from acquired brain injury, traumatic brain injury and related physical and mental disabilities”. This is a vital service and Jane and I were pleased to attend the AGM chaired by the President David Birtwhistle. It was also an education to see the art work and carpentry which is of immense value to those whom “Headway” supports.
Tuesday 19th: Giving a presentation to a group whose first language is not English is not always easy. You need to think clearly using short uncomplicated sentences and to speak more slowly than usual. That is not being condescending but rather putting yourself in the listeners’ shoes. This was essential when I gave a tour of the Guildhall to two groups of French students (aged 14 – 16 years) here on a language education course.
If the voluntary sector were to disappear the community would become inward looking and selfish and the economic consequences for the nation would be serious indeed. The Worcester Volunteer Centre, directed by the Chief Officer, Sally Ellison, is a vital organisation for the City. Jane and I were grateful to be invited to the AGM. Did you know that 73% of employers would employ a candidate with volunteer experience over one without? Worth thinking about!!
Wednesday 20th: Tudor Grange Academy Worcester is on a journey: and what achievements it has attained over these last two years. The KS3 Awards Evening, at which Jane and I were present, was a demonstration of how far it has come. Well done to all the students and the staff.
Thursday 21st: A day of tours of the parlour and Guildhall. This morning I met Joel and Annick Dulphy. Joel is Deputy Mayor of St. George du Bois, Charente-Maritime (near La Rochelle), France. This afternoon 32 Italian students (aged 14 – 17 years) came who are here on an International Study Programme.
Friday 22nd: The annual Inaugural Mayor’s Banquet took place this evening. It was a splendid occasion. The Assembly Room at the Guildhall looked wonderful.
The flower arrangers created the African theme I had requested: this included the beautiful Gloriosa Lily (sometimes also known as the Flame or Fire Lily) which grow wild in East Africa and the Proteas so common in South Africa.
Cllr. Roger Berry, my long standing friend Professor William Littler (Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Birmingham) and Chris Jaeger of “Worcester Live” spoke well and Cllr. Sue Askin proposed the Loyal Toast. Theo Theobald, our first Worcestershire Poet Laureate, recited his “Worcestershire Sauce” poem that pointed out its aphrodisiac, cure-all and stain removing properties! The whole evening really did enable us to celebrate the great things about Worcester City and especially what its citizens have done for medical care over hundreds of years. This is part of what I said in my speech:
“Worcester was one of the first cities to establish a County Hospital in 1746 by Bishop Maddox.The building is still there in Silver Street and I hope that it will be restored and incorporated into the Lowesmoor development.”
“A new hospital was designed by Anthony Keck in 1767 and the new Worcester Royal Infirmary was completed a few years later on a large artichoke field near the river. We, of course, now have another brand new hospital. I wonder if that too will still be standing in 200 years!!
“Several doctors and surgeons have been Mayors of this City: Christopher Hebb, William Moore-Ede, and Fred Spalding are just three. Thomas Carden (died in 1836) was also Mayor: his grandson, Henry Carden, invented the “Carden skin flap” for surgical amputation stumps. A great advance in those days before antibiotics.
“The record is endless for which Worcester can take credit. Dr. William Strange, Medical Officer of Health in the 1850’s, did pioneering work to prevent infections among children. Dr. Tony Vickers advanced the techniques of special lung Xrays in the late 1940’s. Dr. Patrick Kidd collaborated with the world famous haematologist, Dr. Rosemary Biggs, on blood tests in clotting disorders. Mr. “Hamish” Chalmers (in the 1960’s) worked on the vacuum extractor: a novel technique for assisting babies into the world. Dr. Martin Skirrow, who is here tonight, did vital research on the culture of Campylobacter being a very common cause of infective bacterial enteritis. Mr. Paul Smart and I worked on Clinical Audit methods, Worcester Royal Infirmary being one of the first hospitals to do this. Mr. John Black, a great friend and recent Worcester surgeon, was among the first to embrace the techniques of keyhole surgery. He is the most recent past President of the Royal College of Surgeons and sends his apologies for not being here tonight.
“Worcester has been majorly involved with clinical trial research, organised through the University of Oxford, into the use of “clot busting” / thrombolytic therapy and aspirin for acute heart attacks. The reduction in mortality was significant. I remember going to a conference in Atlanta when the results were presented and the thrill at such a major breakthrough.”
A big “Thank You” to Susan O’Kane, my PA, for meticulous organisation, to Plyvine, the caterers for an excellent meal, to Frank our Sword Bearer, the Mace Bearers and all Guildhall staff for making this banquet such a memorable occasion.