Monday 29th: Last Wednesday (24th. August) I helped the local Red Cross Society with the planting of a “Family” oak tree in Gheluvelt Park to raise awareness of the International Day of the Disappeared (30th. August) and the International Tracing and Message Service. Today Jane and I visited the Red Cross stall in the High Street set up to yet further remind us of the plight of the “Disappeared” and their families.
I spent a couple of hours writing an article on “Poisoning with drugs and chemicals in South Sudan: how big is the problem?” for the South Sudan Medical Journal. It’s a big problem in parts of Africa: kerosene (paraffin) in children and organophosphates (herbicides and insecticides) in adults. We need to know more of the situation in South Sudan.
The “Worcester Festival” has been a resounding success: we all owe a great big “Thank You” to Chris Jaegar and his team. And what a fantastic fireworks display enjoyed by thousands of people assembled in South Quay beside the river! There were patterns and colour combinations I certainly have not seen before.
We have the Chinese to thank too because it was in China that fireworks originated in the 7th century. The Chinese firework-masters (pyrotechnicians) became a highly respected professional class developing many kinds of fireworks and explosions, effects and colour.
Royal Fireworks – Image from Wikipedia
Tuesday 30th: A day of planning for future events. I met representatives of my three chosen charities (Leukaemia Care, Noah’s Ark and Worcester Farmers’ Overseas Action Group). The two main events are still on track: A “Murder Mystery Evening” on Friday 14th October and a “Business School Evening” and talk on “The History of Medicine in Worcester” at the Castle Street campus of the University on Wednesday 9th May 2012. If you know of anyone who would like to contribute by sponsoring part of these do let me know.
Susan O’Kane, Cllr Roger Berry (Deputy Mayor) and I gathered in the Parlour with Lt. Col. Gerry Taggart RE (Retired) who has worked tirelessly with the planning for Armed Forces Day celebrations next year (30th June 2012). He has “put out feelers” to the various organizations and has had a most encouraging response. Now comes the hard work of putting everything together. And we are also thinking about what we may do in 2013!!
The third meeting was to discuss, with the Rotary Club of Worcester, our joint charity dinner event on Friday 10th. February 2012. The plans are going well and it should be a great evening to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee of her accession to the throne. Food, entertainment, costumes (“Coronets and Tiaras”) and decorations all in the style of the 1950’s: don’t miss it!!
Wednesday 31st: Mike Harrison, Head of the Cleaner and Greener Department of the Worcester City Council, leaves tomorrow after 34 years’ service. He is the last of the Senior Officers who were here when I was first elected in 2004. He has helped to guide the Council through difficult times. I was privileged to speak at his farewell party in the Guildhall.
Thursday 1st: A most memorable day. Twenty eight Junior Army Enlistments came to the Guildhall for a ceremony to swear the Oath of Allegiance for joining the Army. They had been carefully selected by Major H.L. Kennedy MBE Rifles (Area Recruiting Officer) and his team. Although life will be tough for these young men and women during their training over the next year or so I have no doubt that they will all get through. I had the honour of presenting each one with their Oath Certificate. The City, County and their families should be proud of them. To reflect the importance of this event I invited the recruits to sign the Mayor’s VIP Visitors’ Book.
Professor Omar Faruque, Editor of the “Dhaka Post”, is visiting friends in Worcester. He paid a courtesy visit to me in the Parlour and presented a copy of his recent publication of a detailed study of the Bangla Deshi community in the UK.
Friday 2nd: The “Big Bag Donation 2011” appeal is made by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). From today until Friday 16th. September “Big Donation” bags will be available from the Cathedral Plaza Shopping Centre. Everyone is asked to fill a bag with saleable goods from books and CD’s to bric-a-brac and then return it to the BHF shop on Mealcheapen Street. Jane and I attended, with John Kendrick, Centre Manager of the Cathedral Plaza, the launch of this appeal and to donate bags of books and clothes. BHF shops have a problem with maintaining their stock due to commercial collectors – companies that collect stock on behalf of charities for financial gain. The need to extend research into heart diseases and improve care continues to out outstrip the resources available so the BHF is vital. For more information visit www.bhf.org.uk.
Saturday 3rd: For the first time since the Battle of Worcester on September 3rd 1651 a Service of Commemoration was held in the Cathedral at 11am. The procession, which Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Jane and I joined as it passed the Guildhall, was spectacular with pipes and drums and costumes of 360 years ago. Canon Paul Tongue conducted the service beginning with the construction of a Drumhead on the Quire steps. Prayers of Oliver Cromwell and King Charles I were recited and Canon Tongue gave a history about Thomas Tomkins (1572 – 1656) who was organist of Worcester Cathedral from 1597 – 1654. Lord Faulkner spoke of the fascinating story and importance of 3rd September 1651, this being the date of the last battle of the civil wars which had begun in 1642. We also enjoyed organ music composed by Thomas Tomkins. The proceedings ended with a “March Past” the Guildhall with Lord Faulkner, Robin Walker MP, Jane and I and others taking the salute. Great Britain is as it is today because of the defeat of Charles II by Oliver Cromwell.
This evening there was a gathering of the Battle of Worcester Society at the Commandery. From there we processed to the top of Fort Royal Hill with its wonderful views of the City and where a short Drumhead service was conducted by Canon Paul Tongue and Ben Humphreys to commemorate the closing stages of the Battle of Worcester.
Ben reminded us that in 1786, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (became the second and third presidents respectively of the USA) visited Fort Royal Hill. John Adams was disappointed at the locals’ lack of knowledge of the battle and said “And do Englishmen so soon forget the ground where liberty was fought for? Tell your neighbors and your children that this is holy ground, much holier than that on which your churches stand. All England should come in pilgrimage to this hill, once a year”. We too should take note of this.
Sunday 4th: It seemed as though most of the Mayors and Chairmen across Worcestershire were at The Blue Lagoon in Evesham this evening. It was a “Curry Evening” to raise funds for the Mayor (Cllr. James Bulman) of Evesham’s charities.