Monday 19th: The City Council’s Local Economic Development project (funded by the Department for International Development) with the Adentan Municipal Assembly in Ghana has been a great success. Officially it has now ended and our “Final Project Report” has been sent to the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF). However there is a significant resource left over and we are hoping that the CLGF will approve our using it to take forward a Master Planning initiative in Adentan. With that in mind I met James Blackwell, an officer in our Planning Department, to discuss the next possible steps.
Christmas is a time to bring as many colleagues together so I was pleased that a number from the City Council took up my invitation to come to the Parlour in their lunch break to share some festive cheer. We really do have a great team working for the City: I am proud of every one of them!
Students from The Regency High School Sports College came to sing in the City after which Jane and I were delighted to welcome them to the Parlour. As always children are so interested in the treasures.
The Worcester District Scout Carol Service took place in the Cathedral this evening. This was combined with a special interpretation of the “Nativity”. The readers were excellent although there were times when the acoustics didn’t do them justice. Well done to them all.
Tuesday 20th: “A Celebration of Christmas” for the Worcester College of Technology was held at 11am. in the beautiful All Saints Church (Deansway). I have lived in Worcester for 35 years and this is the first time I have been into All Saints….what an admission!!
Wednesday 21st: The Cathedral was packed this evening and that included the side aisles. This was the occasion of the “Worcester News” Traditional Christmas Carol Service. The Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, Dean of Worcester, welcomed the congregation and then followed a magnificent service. As always the Cathedral Choir was outstanding. This was truly a community event! Afterwards Peter John, Editor of the ”Worcester News”, brought his team and guests to the Parlour for “mulled wine and minced pies”.
Thursday 22nd: It is important to support local companies so I was pleased to attend a reception given by “Titania” at their offices in the County House, St. Mary’s Street. “Titania” is indeed a rapidly expanding software development company trading worldwide and “bucking the economic gloom and doom”.
There are no words to adequately describe the wonder of The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in the Cathedral this evening. The huge congregation enjoyed music by The Boy Choristers and Lay Clerks of the Worcester Cathedral Choir, Christopher Allsop and George Castle at the Organ and Jonathan Holland playing the Trumpet with Adrian Lucas conducting.
Saturday 24th: The usual “last minute” dash to get everything ready for Christmas…only this year it was even more “last minutish”!!
Our son William arrived around 11pm. with his wife Yuri and four-year-old twin daughters, Kimi and Yumi. Mercifully this meant that that slept late the next morning!!
Sunday 25th: It is a long time since I have been to hospital on Christmas Day. Jane and I were invited to tour the Worcestershire Royal Hospital this morning. It was a pleasure to greet the staff and patients… five babies (all girls!!) born already today and four more expected.
The rest of the day was spent in our traditional Christmas family way.
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I was elected Mayor on 17th May 2011: how quickly the time has passed. Jane and I have enjoyed every moment of more than 300 engagements.
The “View from the Parlour” is a privilege. We have met large numbers of people of all ages and backgrounds from across Worcester all of whom love our City. Visitors from many parts of the world, and especially our twinned towns in Europe and USA, have said how much they enjoy Worcester. This was clearly shown during the recent very successful Victorian Fayre.
Music has formed a large part of our enjoyment over these last seven months: The Three Choirs Festival, The Worcester Festival, The Music Festival, concerts by the Worcester Festival Choral Society, Worcester Male Voice Choir and Elgar School of Music; the Cathedral Choirs and performances by schools such as Tudor Grange, Bishop Perowne and The Royal Grammar School.
Then all the entertainment that “Worcester Live” provides through The Swan Theatre and Shakespeare at the Commandery. And of course the first Worcestershire Literary Festival.
The expanding University, The new Library and History Centre in “The Hive” (yes, I do like it!!), the renewed Riverside… I constantly receive favourable comments about all of these.
I take the opportunity, at this time of giving, to express my sincere thanks to everyone involved with fund-raising for my Mayor’s charities: Worcester Farmers’ Overseas Action Group and Leukaemia Care. In spite of these difficult financial times people have been so generous.
The Mayoralty cannot function efficiently without a lot of support. My PA, Susan O’Kane, continues to run an efficient office and Rachel Conway has done an outstanding job during Susan’s absence. I am also indebted to Frank Southam, my Sword-Bearer, the mace-bearers and other members of the Guildhall staff who are always on hand to help.
We have stated aspirations to become a First Rank Cathedral and University City… I think we are one already!!
The Mayoress and I wish you all a Very Happy New Year.