Monday 23rd: In spite of the defeat of the Spanish Armada I still receive many visitors from Spain. Twenty two students came to the Parlour this morning as part of exchange arrangements with Prince Henry’s High School (Evesham).
It was a really enjoyable evening in the Town Hall of Evesham to celebrate, with the Mayor, Cllr. James Bulman, and guests, St. George’s Day: the “Best of British Celebration”: Worcestershire ham with Vale of Evesham asparagus…a great combination. We were entertained by the Avonbank Brass Band in the style of the “last night of the proms”.
Tuesday 24th: The last informal chat of my mayoral year with Duncan Sharkey in the Parlour, our Managing Director.
Students (14 year olds) from the H?lderlin Gymnasium in Stuttgart are at Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College and as part of their stay was a visit to the Guildhall.
New College Worcester (Whittington Road) has a worldwide reputation for educating students who have impaired sight. A small group came to the Parlour this afternoon: Jane was there to assist with the accompanying teachers. We had to adapt our presentation but it was great fun and I was impressed by the students’ knowledge.
The Training Ship Ark Royal unit 5 of the Navy Training Corps was launched on 9th November 2009. The Corps is a National Youth Organisation promoting adventurous activities for Junior Cadets 8 – 12 years old and cadets 12 – 18 years old. Youth of the UK are given opportunities for realising their potential, instilling in them a sense of pride. The cadets’ experiences and long-lasting friendships provide an excellent platform for adulthood. This is such an important organisation so I was pleased to attend a Cadet Presentation Evening held in the King George V Community Centre in Brickfields. I had the honour of presenting some of the awards with Captain R. Tyrrell and then to address the Ship’s Company.
Wednesday 25th: It was a cold damp morning to go to the official send off for the narrowboat “Lord Toulouse” from the Workman Gardens on the banks of the River Avon in Evesham. The “Lord Toulouse” has been selected to represent Worcestershire at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Thames Pageant on 3rd June in London. It will join a 1,000 boats from all over the Commonwealth (see more on thamsesdiamondjubileepageant.org/).
I have always had a fascination with things botanical. The children at Dines Green School are showing great enthusiasm too. Jane and I joined the children, head teacher (Steve Gough), staff and friends to scatter the first wildflower seeds on a newly prepared site for a wildflower garden. The “After School Garden Club” have worked hard to create this. They will learn so much from their endeavours.
“Measuring time is something all living organisms manage to achieve and they do this, remarkably, by using an internal clock which tells them time of day and time of year”. We, of course, realise this when we experience jet lag travelling rapidly by air from West to East or East to West. Professor Sir Brian Follett, Professor of Zoology at the University of Oxford, delivered a fascinating Annual Fellows’ Lecture at the University of Worcester entitled “A Question of Time”. He analysed a complex subject in a way that made it comprehendible to everyone.
Thursday 26th: The City Council’s Planning Committee met this afternoon: the last before the City elections on Thursday next week.
The Rotary Club of Worcester Severn invited Jane and me to their Annual Vocational and Community Awards Dinner held in the Grandstand Suite of the Racecourse. A thoroughly enjoyable evening when I presented the awards to four citizens who had contributed much to local activities. It is traditional at this event for the Mayor to give a speech about the past mayoral year and touch on matters of importance to Worcester. The latter I summed up with one word: “Pride”!!
Friday 27th: The River School is just outside the City’s boundary on the Droitwich Road in Fernhill Heath. Jane and I were invited to the opening of the Pond: “Water of Life Project”. Sir Ghillean Prance, former Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, was also present. The school is in a wonderful setting with eight acres of land mainly dedicated to wildlife. The Pond had been reinstated for wildlife having been abandoned in the 1980’s. The project was supported by a successful bid to the National Lottery.
Another visit to Dines Green Community Primary School, this time to open an area of the Playground upon which had been laid out a map of the world. This was divided up into twenty equilateral triangles in order to “flatten” the globe. Gavin Wade (international artist and director of Eastside projects in Birmingham) had worked with the children on the design. This is “to encourage new ways of looking at the world – it is a break from the standard globe format and it will promote new ideas and questions about borders, landmasses, population and cultures. (It is) a way of empowering children to look at the world afresh and think about the future and how we want to live in the universe”. (Nathaniel Pitt, Curator).
I first met Richard Wood on 28th February when he and Kath Wood (no relation), neurological physiotherapist, came to the Parlour to discuss their idea of setting up a charity to “enable individuals with long-term neurological disabilities the opportunity to access further, on-going rehabilitation”. Richard had rowed solo across the Atlantic in 2004 but in 2006 he had a stroke paralysing his left side. He has learnt to walk and remains an amazingly ambitious man. I was therefore delighted to host, in the Guildhall with about 20 guests, the launch of “ReActive” the name of this new initiative. More information on www.Reactive.org.uk
The Kings Norton Golf Club is an idyllic setting and that is where the Bromsgrove and District Council Civic Charity Dinner Dance took place this evening. Cllr. Caroline Spencer is the Civic Head and John Spencer her Consort. Peter Luff MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology) was the Guest Speaker. A most enjoyable evening that raised much needed funds for “Help for Heroes”.
Saturday 28th: Last year the Worcester Motor Festival was held on 21st May but this year, because of so many other events, it was brought forward to today.
Once more Jane and I had great fun going around the exhibitions with Nadja von Dahlen (Events Co-ordinator of VisitWorcester) meeting the representatives of dealerships from near and far and those who had brought their magnificent vintage cars for display.
Again I congratulate VisitWorcester in partnership with the “Worcester News”, for organising such a successful show. In spite of the cold weather and rising water level of the River Severn the event was well attended. See more on www.visitworcester.com/motorfestival
The enthusiasm of young people for drama was shown this afternoon at a double bill put on by the Perdiswell Drama Club in the Bishop Perowne School Theatre. The younger group (aged 8 – 12 years) staged a short production of “Ug”. Strange events unfolded when Harry spilt cherryade to reveal a stone-age boy. This was followed by a “Field Trip to Murder” that had been devised by the 12 – 16 year olds and played by them. An intriguing “who dunnit”: an unpopular PE teacher is found dead on a year 11 outward bound course……
Malcolm Goldring, Artistic Director “Sing UK”, conducted “Sing Encore” in the Cathedral this evening. Quoting from Malcolm’s introduction: “We in Sing UK want to do what we can to ensure that young people can access music and music-making of the highest order….and…come together to perform it with our local professional orchestra and three outstanding professional soloists….”. Roman Carnival Overture (Hector Berlioz), Mors et Vita: Judex Sedenti in Throno (Charles Gounod), Gloria (Francis Poulenc) and St. Cécilia Mass (Charles Gounod). The English Symphony Orchestra, the soloists (Rachel Nicholls (soprano), James Edwards (tenor) and Alexander Baker (bass)) and the choir gave the audience of 400 a wonderful time!
And do not forget the Worcester International Festival for Young Singers (WIFYS) that is coming for 19th – 27th July 2013. This will be presented by “Sing UK” in co-operation with the European Choral Association: Europa Cantat. For more information see www.singuk.org or telephone 07980 143272 or e-mail Malcolm Golding Malcolm@singuk.org or Anne Renshaw firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday 29th: The Civic Service for the Mayor of Upton upon Severn took place this afternoon in the Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. It was a lovely event with the local school children and choirs contrtibuting.