Monday 19th: Doris White was born on 21st. March 1912. Today Jane and I attended her 100 years’ birthday celebration in the Bromyard Road Methodist Church Hall. Doris has been a longstanding member of the West Worcester Live at Home Scheme. She still lives at home alone but with the dedicated support of her nearby daughter Carol. For 17 years she was secretary to the Head of Pitmaston School and later St. John’s School. Her husband, Randolph White, was a Worcester City Councillor and Alderman from 1938 until the mid 1970’s.
1912: what a year in which to be born! The Republic of China was established, the African National Congress was founded in South Africa, Captain Robert Scott and his team reached the South Pole, the “Titanic” sank and Lawrence Durrell (British writer), James Callaghan, (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), Perry Como (American singer), Walter Sisulu (South African anti-apartheid activist) and Enoch Powell (British politician) were all born in that year.
Wednesday 21st: The University of Worcester and the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) over the last two years have arranged an educational partnership. UMD’s “Study in England” programme is now based in Worcester. I was pleased to welcome to the Parlour UMD’s Chancellor Dr. Lendley Black and his wife Connie and also Dr. Kathryn Martin the retiring Chancellor. In the evening Jane and I attended a Reception for the Chancellor held in the Riverside Building. There is no doubt that this relationship between our universities is of great mutual benefit.
The Rotary Club of Worcester South invited Jane and me for lunch in the Worcestershire County Cricket Club Suite. I was the guest speaker and gave a talk based on a “scamper through my life”.
Thursday 22nd: The team of three (Alan Stuttard, James Blackwell and Richard Hopkins) going to the Adentan Municipal Assembly in Ghana met this morning, with my Chairmanship, to finalise plans for their visit in three weeks’ time. All is set now to take forward the Masterplan for the Adentan area and to draw together all the strands of this very successful Local Economic Development project funded by the DfID.
Dr. John Harcup, OBE (Chairman of the Elgar Society) is a longstanding friend. He was a General Practitioner in Malvern while I was a Consultant Physician in Worcester. John is an enthusiastic medical historian and came to the Parlour for a chat. He was particularly concerned as to how we can raise the profile of the Hurd Library in Hartlebury Castle. We had a number of ideas.
A quote from the web site (www.hurdlibary.co.uk): “The Hurd Library, founded in 1783 by Richard Hurd, Bishop of Worcester from 1781-1808, at Hartlebury Castle, Worcestershire, is open by appointment to students and scholars by kind permission of the Bishop of Worcester and the Church Commissioners. This magnificent and nationally important library is a unique example of a working library, formed by an 18th century Anglican bishop of wide interests, still on its original shelves in the room built for it. It holds some 5,000 volumes on extremely varied subjects, ranging in date from 1476 to the early 19th century, and includes over 40 volumes from the library of Alexander Pope.”
We also discussed the idea of an annual medical lecture for the people of Worcester and to demonstrate how much our City has contributed to medical science. The first lecture will be given by Professor Richard Lewis, FRCP, on 9th. May in the Guildhall. It will tell the story of medicine in Worcester based upon the portraits in the old Board Room of the Worcester Royal Infirmary (now the City Campus of the University). We would like more ideas about medical topics but here is a “starter” list we have put together:
History of the Worcester Royal Infirmary.
- History of “Hospitals” in Worcester.
- Campylobacter and gastroenteritis.
- Sir Charles Hastings.
- Medical Mayors.
- The first President of the Royal College of Surgeons from Worcester.
- Public health.
- Powick Hospital and the treatment of schizophrenia.
- Elgar and Medicine.
- The History of Nursing in Worcester.
- Worcester’s contributions to clinical trial research.
- Dr. John Wall.
- The medical books in the Hurd Library.
Friday 23rd: The Rotary Club of Worcester had arranged with St. Barnabas’ CE Primary School to have “Junior Youth Speaks” and “Poetry Reading” competitions. This was a brilliant idea and enabled the twelve finalists to demonstrate their abilities. It is a great challenge to stand up in front of your school friends and speak for five minutes. Jane and I were two of the judges….a very difficult task judging on a wide range of factors including clarity of speech, smoothness of delivery, expression of ideas, richness of vocabulary, grammatical accuracy and general demeanour. The children and the school should be proud of themselves. The prizes and certificates were presented by Anne Pooley, President of the Rotary Club.
Doug Hamilton-Cox was a sapper with the Royal Engineers. He has just begun an attempt to walk the 2,500 miles of the canal network of the UK. This current part of his challenge takes in the Worcester to Birmingham canal. So I was delighted to see him when he took time off to come to the Guildhall. With his other walks, including one from John O’Groats to Lands End, he has raised £50,000 for such charities as “Help for Heroes” and the Military section of the Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital Birmingham. For more information see Doug’s website www.dougwalking.co.uk. Donations can be made to Doug’s charities on www.bmycharity.com/hamiltoncox
Saturday 24th: “St. John Passion” is one of the greatest works by J.S.Bach. It was performed in the Cathedral by the Worcester Festival Choral Society and the Westminster Chamber Orchestra and conducted by Adrian Lucas. The soloists were Nicholas Mulroy (tenor), Peter Savidge (Baritone), Julie Cooper (Soprano), Kate Symonds-Joy (Mezzo-soprano), Nicholas Sharratt (Tenor) and Robert Rice (Baritone). This was the last concert to be conducted by Adrian as the Society’s Director of Music. A most moving and enjoyable evening.