Mayor’s Week, 22 – 28 August 2011

Mayor’s Week, 22 – 28 August 2011

Monday 22nd: Back from a relaxing two days in a mill B&B beside the River Wye in Wales, just south of Builth Wells.

Remembrance Sunday is on 13th November. Meticulous planning goes into the arrangements so a meeting was held in the Parlour with representatives from the Cathedral, The Royal British Legion and the Police. The length of the service in the Cathedral needs to be timed carefully to ensure everyone is in place around the War Memorial for wreath laying and the 11am two minutes’ silence.

Tuesday 23rd: A day off!! Fantastic crop of lovely red crab apples: ideal for jelly making!!

Wednesday 24th: The International Day of the Disappeared focuses on those who are missing for whatever reason: disaster, migration, war and imprisonment. The British Red Cross Society marks the Day on 30th August. The International Tracing and Message Service (ITMS) run by the Red Cross and Red Crescent and is crucial for the location of lost family members. The success of the ITMS is demonstrated by its finding family members as far back as World War II.

It must be terrible not to know the whereabouts of a loved one especially if they are thought to have died. I have great affinity with this having spent time in Uganda and especially Rwanda over the last 40 years. In both these countries people have been killed and the places of their remains are unknown to this day.

Today I helped Penny Thompson, Andrew Roche and Tom Malone, of Red Cross Society Worcester, with the planting of an oak tree sapling in Gheluvelt Park. The planting of a memorial “family tree” is aimed at reminding us of the anguish of families facing these problems.

For more information see the web site: www.redcross.couk/trace.

A word about Gheluvelt Park: it was a lovely day and families were out in force enjoying the water feature facilities. I was impressed especially by the beds of drought resistant plants including the sedums and grasses. Just the year to test them out and it has worked. The Parks Department is rightly proud of what it has done.

Jane and I were delighted to welcome Katie Love and her parents for “tea” in the parlour. We all remember Katie taking part in the TV competition “So You Think You Can Dance” earlier this year. She came out as the top girl dancer. What an achievement by this Worcester lass. She started dancing at two years old and by the age of 16 years was studying theatre performance at Bird College before working front of house at Wicked in the West End. She used to be a member of Worcester Operatic and Dramatic Youth Society. Katie now teaches theatre workshops in Bird’s and has formed her own company, Default Theatre.

On 9th and 10th September Katie’s Default Theatre presents “Cabaresque!” at the Swan Theatre. Come and see this dance and music cabaret for the whole family…not to be missed!!

Thursday 25th: I discovered the “Mayor’s Prayer Book” in a cupboard in the Parlour. It’s huge and contains the Book of Common Prayer, the Psalms and New Testament. Printed in 1700 and bound in crimson “turkey” leather. Well, I wonder if this story of “turkey” leather is true really? Maybe there is an origin from the Turkish word s??r?/ç??r? ‘rump of a horse’ or the prepared skin of this part. I have also found another reference of interest: Ostrich Foot Leather (often called “Turkey” foot) is made from German raised Ostrich. It is beautiful, tough and is available in a wide range of colours.

Among the pages of this “Prayer Book” were three pieces of paper: one is dated “1707 – 08”, but that cannot be right because it is written in biro!! It states “Pd. Mr. John Mountfort for a Book of Common Prayer, New Testament and Psalms on Royal Paper and extraordinarily bound in Turkey leather for the Mayor’s use. £03.04.06d” (£3.23p). The second paper is headed “WORCESTER CATHEDRAL. June 26th, 1902” and records  Psalm 71 sung at “MORNING PRAYER”. The third document was for the “Thanksgiving for Victory, Order of Service 1945”.

The cover and binding of the “Prayer Book” is not in a good state so I took it along to David Morrison in the Cathedral Library. We have decided to have the cost of renovation estimated.

The Frontispiece of the Mayor’s Prayer Book

Friday 26th: Friends from the City’s twin town of Kleve in Germany are here on a week’s visit. This evening we had a most enjoyable meal and very pleasant social event held in St. George’s Catholic Church Hall. It all ended with an hilarious game of Bingo!!

Our twinning with Kleve is now in its 24th year of which we are all very proud. Kleve (Cleves in English) is in the Lower Rhine region of north-western Germany near the Dutch border and the River Rhine. The name “Kleve” may originate from the German word “Kliff” perhaps referring to the promontory upon which the Schwanenburg was constructed. The city’s coat of arms shows three clovers (German “Klee”) so that may be a link. The Schwanenburg, built on a steep hill, is where the dukes of Cleves used to live resided.

Night view of Schwanenburg and Stiftkirche, image from Wikipedia.

Kleve’s famous daughter is Anne of Cleves (1515-1557), who briefly (6 January 1540 to 9 July 1540) was one of Henry VIII’s six wives.

Anne of Cleves, image and caption from Wikipedia: Portrait by Hans Holbein the younger, 1539. Parchment mounted on canvas, Louvre, Paris.

Saturday 27th: Some years ago the people of Kleve gave the City of Worcester a statue of a black swan. This was placed on a plinth beside the river on what has been named Kleve Walk. Sadly the Swan was stolen but then through the kindness of Peter Telford was replaced. But disaster struck again when the plinth itself was badly damaged by an earth-moving vehicle. At last all is back in place thanks to the stone masons of the Cathedral. The Worcester Twinning Association, our visitors from Kleve, Jane and I gathered around the statue to celebrate and renew our gratitude for the original gift. As we were speaking it was amazing that about a dozen white swans flew past along the river….a wonderful “fly past”.

(The “Black Swan” statue was presented to the City of Worcester approx 14 years ago in celebration of the twinning with Kleve in Germany. This is the second casting because the original was stolen some years ago. The sculptor is Dieter Von Levetzow.
© Copyright Derek Bradley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

Sunday 28th: Another day of rest!! Well, not quite as I had to catch up with some editing jobs for the South Sudan Medical Journal (SSMJ). South Sudan gained its independence only recently. The SSMJ is the only regular quarterly medical journal easily available: it is a privilege to be on the Editorial Board with colleagues in South Sudan and the UK. See

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