Each year, the Guildhall receives a lot of international guests, but this week saw the arrival of two very special Australian visitors with a personal connection to Worcester and to the Guildhall.
Mr Garry Convery and his aunt, Mrs Grace Alettin, came in search of their ancestor, John Skeen. Mr Skeen was convicted at the Lent Assizes in 1819 – held in the Guildhall – and transported to Australia. It was that decision that led, generations later, to my visitors being born in Australia.
Mr Convery and Mrs Alettin were able to see the Mayor’s Parlour, which was used as a court room at the start of the 19th Century, and the cells under the Guildhall, where John Skeen would have been held before his trial.
Since then, Mr Convery has sent us further details of John Skeen’s story, which will be added to the Guildhall archive.
Many thanks to Mr Convery and Mrs Alettin for sharing their family history with us. Tours of the cells will never seem the same again, now that I know of such a personal connection to them.
As I was away for part of the week, some of my duties were taken on by the Deputy Mayor, Paul Denham.
Paul Denham writes:
As Worcester’s contribution to National Volunteer Week, 40 voluntary groups descended on the Guildhall on Friday. The purpose was to attract new volunteers and share ideas. I heard how volunteers really enjoyed helping local people to cope with illness, old age, loneliness and money worries, and how carers are supported.
This small army of volunteers provides services not available from councils or government and they all deserve our heartfelt thanks.
The Swan Theatre was filled with sounds of the 1970s by Voices Unlimited singing to a full house on Saturday evening.
This fantastic, energetic city vocal group of 120, coached by Ria Keen, raised the roof. Elvis Presley was brought back to life by Kevin Paul and the deputy Mayoress and I thoroughly enjoyed this nostalgic two hour rollercoaster.