My thoughts this week have been with our young people who have been returning to school and college and those who will be going to university within the next few weeks. It is so important that they feel safe and secure in their place of learning, and I would like to thank all the headteachers and staff who have worked hard to ensure that the school environment is ready for the large number of pupils who will be arriving.  I hope it goes well for you all and wish you every success for the coming months of study.

I was born in Worcester and have lived here all my life. For some of you this may seem rather unadventurous, but I must say that Worcester is far from a dull place to live. I was very interested to hear from the Battle of Worcester Society members whom I met on Thursday evening about the extent to which Worcester was a very significant place in the English Civil War.

This year is the 369th anniversary of the last battle of the Civil War which was fought here in and around Worcester. I attended the Drumhead Service of Remembrance in Fort Royal Park on the site of the royalist fort, where a plaque is in place to remember the 3,200 soldiers who were killed in that last battle of the Civil War.

I tried to imagine what a terrible event it must have been. Soldiers were killed at the royalist fort and in the streets of the city, where it is said the streets ran red with blood. Those of the royalist army who were captured were imprisoned and often transported to New England, where they became slaves on the plantations.

We observed a minute’s silence in memory of those soldiers. It was an excellent and enthusiastic turnout from a group of people who are determined that this bloody and unhappy period of our history is not forgotten.

On to things more modern tomorrow, when I shall be present for the opening of the newly refurbished tennis courts at Cripplegate Park.  Any sport which involves the hitting of a moving ball has never been my forte so stand clear when I take up a racket tomorrow!


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