Monday 26th: We have long looked forward to the redevelopment of Lowesmoor that part of the City separated by the City Walls Road. The site of the old Vinegar Works is now an “ASDA” store with the historic buildings being sensitively incorporated. Paul McFarlane was nominated as the local hero for his work with children in care. Paul and I “cut the ribbon” to open the store which quickly filled with shoppers.
The Worcester Technical College runs courses for people with acquired brain injuries. Debbie Morris brought a group of students to the Parlour to hear about the history of the Guildhall. I was impressed by their interest and the way in which they were not allowing disabilities to get in the way of their further education.
St. Peter the Great County Parish Council met this evening. I was asked to give a talk on “Being Mayor”. So much has happened it really is difficult to describe a representative picture of the year. However I hope, with the aid of slides, I gave a flavour of what the Mayor and Mayoress do.
Tuesday 27th: I had the opportunity to practice my dozen or so Japanese words and phrases today when 27 young Japanese visitors came to the Guildhall. They were here on an annual visit arranged by the Shizuoka Prefectural Overseas Research Association.
This organisation was set up in 1972 with the support of the Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. The aim is to arrange excursions to foreign countries, foreign language education, international cultural exchange in Japan and promotion of international awareness with the help of the local government education ministry.
The Full City Council meeting this evening seemed to go pretty well and we managed the business in one minute short of two hours!! It could have been difficult given that we were discussing the review of the City Council’s Constitution. However we had planned a clear procedure which worked and still allowed a wide debate. Colleagues from all sides of the political spectrum respected that and for which I was grateful. This was my last Full Council to chair before Annual Council in May.
Wednesday 28th: Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain. The city’s Cathedral has been a special place to visit throughout history because of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James. Since 1985 the Old Town has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So it was especially interesting to welcome ten students on an exchange visit with the Worcester Sixth Form College.
The Oxfam shop in Mealcheapen Street held an “Open Day” to enhance the profile of the organisation and the importance of the money raised to help some of the most needy people in the world. Jane and I have a particular interest in developing countries, and especially in Africa, so we were pleased to be invited by Julie Skipp and Maureen Cooper to the shop to see behind the scenes. The way in which items for sale are processed and made ready for attractive display was impressive. There really are some great bargains to be had. For more information about Oxfam see its website: www.oxfam.org.uk.
Since taking part in productions during my school days I have continued to enjoy Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas. It was a special pleasure to attend “Pirates of Penzance” (alternatively named “The Slave of Duty”) this evening at the Swan Theatre. The Great Witley Operatic Society, directed by Roberta Morrell and Donald Hunt as the Musical Director, put on a very entertaining performance. The Society is celebrating its 60th. Anniversary. For more information see www.gwos.net
Thursday 29th: “Tea and cakes” in the Parlour and a tour with the Mayor and Mayoress always seems to be a popular prize in a raffle draw. Mrs. Rowberry was a lucky winner at a fundraising event in December and came along with some friends this afternoon.
The Poppy Appeal each year is crucially important. Many Countywide Cadets made huge efforts to raise money. This evening the cadets who had raised the most during the 2011 appeal were rewarded at a ceremony held in the Guildhall: this was the annual Lord Lieutenants’s Cadet Award evening.
Friday 30th: The portrait of Hubert Aloysius Leicester, discovered in the store room of the City Library, has been hung in the Lower Hall of the Guildhall. He was Mayor of Worcester five times in 1904, 1905, 1913, 1914 and 1915. He was a life-long friend of Elgar, closely associated with the Worcester Festival Choral Society and the first flute and leader of the Elgar’s quintet which became known as “The Brothers Wind”.
Saturday 31st: Over the centuries from the Iron Age through to the present day Worcester has been part of royal journeys. An exhibition (open until 14th July) has been created in the Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum that demonstrates these Royal Journeys. Jane and I were invited to the opening this morning and were really impressed. There is more information on www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk