A highlight of the Christmas season is always the Cherry Orchard School Carol Service held in the Cathedral – and this year was no exception! It is a bit of a military exercise getting that many children to and from the Cathedral safely and without losing any – and ensuring they are all in the right place with the right equipment, on time. However as always, it went off without a hitch.
The children sang beautifully and this year, we were treated to a performance by the staff choir, which was also very good. Those in the nativity, the Tableau actors, were dressed in some splendid costumes and they really looked the part. As we have seen in other schools’ carol services, the children enjoy performing and taking part was obviously great fun for them. The mix of traditional carols and popular songs was new and worked very well, giving a slightly different slant to previous years. Those in the group singing “Oh Happy Days” were excellent, and the boy soloist was superb. Well done Cherry Orchard – another excellent year!!
St Paul’s Hostel put on a film and poetry show in St Paul’s Church, on the corner of Spring Gardens and St Paul’s Street. Firstly I must comment on the building, this being the first occasion I have entered this church, I’m sorry to say. It is the second largest religious space in our City, after the Cathedral, and in its former days it had the Revd. Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy as its minister. A hero of World War 1, he was awarded the Military Cross for bringing in wounded troops under fire and is better known, of course, as Woodbine Willy. As a military Chaplin he not only gave out copies of the bible to those along the troop trains at Rouen, but packets of the famous Woodbine cigarettes from which his nickname came.
Back to the Church – it is a magnificent building and well worth a visit, you will be surprised! The St Paul’s Hostel performance was impressive, not only were the videos and brilliant photography excellent , the poems were written and read with incredible feeling, and so well presented. One member of the group has a placement at the Heart of Worcestershire College to further his skills as a poet and special thanks has to go to Claire Badsey for both her writing and the reading of her work. The host and mentor of the group, Gerry Lowman, led us through an enjoyable evening.
Simon Geraghty and I met at the Wainwright Road GPO main sorting office, to thank our postal staff for the incredible hard work in getting our parcels and letters delivered on time and before Christmas. There are 225 employees working out of Wainwright Road and they handle one million items to be delivered each week. Throughout the year they close on only one day: Christmas Day. They are the unsung heroes of Christmas.
Our visit to Worcester Royal Hospital on Christmas Day was a lovely experience. Patients and staff alike were so welcoming and it was great to see how happy and positive everyone was. One lady over from Ireland for a family Christmas sadly found herself in hospital rather than the family home, but she was smiley and happy and so pleased to meet the mayor, she said how she was looking forward to telling her family all about our encounter! It was quite humbling really – a lovely lady, hope she is home with friends and family very soon. Another lady was about to be discharged and looking forward to going home when I made a very unthinking remark, saying, “You’re on the way out then are you?”!! Fortunately she saw the funny side and we all had a good laugh; must choose words more carefully in future….
My thanks to all our hospital staff for their dedication and work – may I take this opportunity to wish them all a very happy and healthy New Year.