Monday 30th: The Worcester Porcelain Museum is an important collection and asset for our City. The problem is that it is a little “cut off” geographically from the city centre. At the last Museum Trustees’ meeting in November I suggested that perhaps we should consider a display of Worcester porcelain in the Guildhall. This could then encourage visitors to the Museum to see more of these treasures. Today I met Wendy Cook, who is the Curator, to discuss various possibilities.
Thursday 2nd: A very short Planning Committee meeting this afternoon.
Friday 3rd: Peter Shearon and Donald Hunt came to discuss the “The Elgar Festival” and the English Symphony Orchestra in May/June this year. This should be fantastic in this Diamond Jubilee Year. So we hope to have a special reception in the Guildhall on Thursday 31st. May to launch the Festival prior to the concert in the Cathedral.
Later I saw Major Mark Cubitt of the Queen’s Royal Hussars and Lt. Col. Gerry Taggert to discuss further plans for Armed Forces Week in June. Things are really coming together now and Wednesday 27th June should be a day to remember honouring our troops.
Saturday 4th: Over hundreds of years Worcester has had many talented citizens. But there is one about whom many, perhaps most, people have not heard. His name is John James Cam (1850 – 1919). He joined his father, John Cam (1827 – 1850), at the Excelsior Works at 32, The Shambles. John James became an amazing engineer and inventor. He built the engines for the organ of Worcester’s Public Hall as well as the Cathedral and was founder member of the Worcestershire Camera Club and Worcester Tricycle Club. A remarkable man. In order to recognise these important facts a “Blue Plaque” was acquired by the Worcester Tourism Association and unveiled today on the wall of 4, Charles Street which was “JJC’s” purpose-built works. I was privileged to be present and to address guests at the Tudor House Museum over a light lunch reception.
Sunday 5th: The Dragon is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dragon runs from 23rd January 2012 – 9th February 2013 is considered the luckiest year with harmony and happiness. The Year 2012 is the 4,709th Chinese year. The Chinese believe that the first king of China was the Yellow King who became king in 2697 B.C. (2,697 + 2012 = 4,709)
Jane and I were invited by the Worcestershire Chinese Association to take part in the celebrations of the New Year of the Dragon at the Guildhall. In spite of a dull damp day with slushy snow in the streets the turnout was huge. For three hours we were entertained beginning with ear-piercing fire crackers on the forecourt of the Guildhall. This was followed by the Lion Dance, Chinese acrobats, playing of the guzheng, straw hat juggling, face mask changing and much more.
You can find a good selection of the event on the Worcester Facebook Page.
There is a debate currently about our National Health Service and how it is to cope and respond to the increasing needs and demands put upon it. When I received the Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMM)
Newsletter this week it set me thinking: no matter what we think we are very fortunate in the UK. This is not to say that we should not strive for greater quality and quantity of healthcare and especially for the “hard to reach” groups.
As many people know I have worked extensively in Uganda and love the country. I have also worked with a wonderful MMM Sister, Sister Carla Simmons, who is a physician providing palliative care in Masaka, Uganda. The World Health Organization has declared that Palliative Care is a right of everyone. Yet Sister Carla tells us:
“When asked to write about the MMM core value of justice in relation to my work here in Uganda, I immediately thought that it is easy to talk about rights, but it is a different story when it comes to helping people access those rights.
“In Uganda there is one doctor per 33,000 people. So even though everyone has a right to health care, it is not possible to provide it for most of the population. In the greater Masaka region where we work, the population is approximately 1.5 million. This means that about 150,000 people are suffering from cancer or HIV. Of these, about 15,000 need palliative care. Kitovu Mobile is the only organization offering a dependable and regular palliative care service at present. While two or three hospitals have trained personnel, usually morphine and other drugs are not available.
“In 2011 we cared for 386 patients. That means that over 14,000 people were suffering in silence at home. Family members also suffer because when we have a seriously sick relative, we are not at peace.
“‘Justice is compassion in action’, but how do we reach all the people that are out in the villages suffering? Many things need to be done. First of all, as a team we educate as many people as possible about palliative care: what it is, who needs it, and how it can be accessed. We talk to our own community volunteers, community leaders, catechists, and congregations at churches. This year we met with Seventh Day Adventists and Evangelicals. If we are to be just we must open our doors to everyone, whatever their beliefs.
“Secondly, we must ensure that no one is turned away because of costs. ‘Being attentive to the cries of the poor’ is not difficult in the rural setting in which we work. The majority of our patients are very poor. That is why they come to us. They cannot afford to go to the clinics and
hospitals. Instead, they live with their disease as it progresses and come to us when palliation is all that is possible.
“What a privilege it is to serve these people, to offer them comfort and peace at the end of their lives, and to allow them to die with dignity, which is everyone’s right.”
Makes you think doesn’t it?!