It was a terrible tragedy to hear the news of the body of Stuart Downing, the missing man from Kidderminster, being found in the River Severn on Wednesday. His is another tragic loss in this city of ours, when we are still raw from the shock of student Tom Jones’s death. My heartfelt condolences go out to his next of kin, family and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.
Worcester has also been remembering the fallen with some major events. I was honoured to be asked to launch the poppy appeal in Worcester. Dave Waldron, the Chairman of the Royal British Legion, rightly announced that the poppy is a symbol of universal remembrance and it represents all those who have fallen in all wars in this world of ours. These were fitting words as we prepare to mark the centenary of the armistice that brought to an end the First World War.
At Gheluvelt Park, I was invited by the Worcestershire Regimental Association to mark the 104th anniversary of the Battle of Gheluvelt, to pay respect and honour to the brave men who were the last hope and defence against German forces. A brutal and bloody battle ensued with many lives lost, and the Worcestershires emerged victorious from what seemed certain defeat and what was described by many as a suicide mission. They did us proud. Worcester will never forget its heroes. We salute you.
As we mark the 70th anniversary of our beloved NHS this year, I was delighted to welcome scores of NHS volunteers to the Guildhall. This was for an event organised by the NHS Trust in Worcestershire, to thank them for their incredible contribution to the county.
As with many organisations and charities, the NHS relies heavily on volunteers to spare precious hours to help to keep providing the excellent service we have come to expect. Theirs is a commitment that truly carries a message of Love not Hate, and I thank them for their brilliant effort.
It’s bonfire weekend, so please enjoy the Firework celebrations safely and spare a thought for neighbours and pets. Have a brilliant weekend.