Monday 26th: Boxing Day and no mayoral engagements.
Originally “Boxing Day” was the day following Christmas when wealthy people would give a gift box to their servants. But now Boxing Day is a public holiday on December 26th. or the first weekday after Christmas Day. It is the day associated with St Stephen, the patron saint of horses, so Boxing Day became linked with horse-racing and hunting.
Wednesday 28th: The origins of “Jack and the Beanstalk” may go back to the Vikings. It first appeared in print in 1807. Jane and I were invited to a performance at the Swan Theatre this evening and took our four-year-old twin grand-daughters: it was as much fun watching them as it was the stage!
Sunday 1st January 2012: Some wonderful news! In the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List was a great friend Sister Helen Spragg. I have known Helen for a long time and seen her work, as a Medical Missionary of Mary, of over ten years from the Kirambi Health Centre in Rwanda. She has transformed the health of the Community and the Batwa people in particular. She richly deserves this MBE.
We approach 2012 concerned about the economy but let us not allow that to dim our anticipation of so many good things: the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Olympic Torch coming through Worcester, the Games themselves, the completion of the Library and History Centre, the University’s Arena.
Let us also not forget those worse off than us especially in Africa. International aid may be controversial but properly targeted an enormous amount of good can be done with remarkably little resource. Worcester has contributed in no small way. The Worcester Farmers’ Overseas Action Group has assisted communities in Uganda, the Worcester City Council, funded by DfID, has made a significant difference to the economic development of a Ghanaian district council and I have worked with others assisting Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda.
My next mayor’s fund-raising event with the Rotary Club of Worcester is on Friday, 10th February: “A Diamond Celebration Dinner” in the Guildhall. It should be great fun as a “posh street party”. Do come. Book your places through the Mayor’s office: 01905 722001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have just finished reading “The Story of Worcester” by Pat Hughes and Annette Leach launched in the Commandery in October. The detail is amazing. I was struck especially by the very last paragraph: “The city flourishes and is a delightful place to live, large enough to have adequate amenities and set in attractive, easily accessible, countryside. Its history is fascinating; its future is in our hands. To borrow the motto from the Royal Grammar School, “Respice et Prospice” – “Remember the past and look to the future”.