Saturday was probably the most intense day of my calendar so far: a mammoth five events in six hours in the blistering heat – a challenge which soon caught up on me.
I started with a visit to Horizon Community Centre to see the wonderful work the Joy Project at Worcester Community Trust do with female victims of sexual and domestic violence.
Then I moved on to the opening of Henry Sandon Hall – a much-anticipated project delivered thanks to the vision of Colin Kinnear and his wife Brenda. Colin, a long-serving selfless citizen of the city and founder of the Bransford Trust, has regenerated and invested in the dilapidated buildings at the Royal Porcelain – and my, what a wonderful transformation it has been. The beauty and serenity of the landscape and the investment in a community arts space at a time when arts funding is hard to come by, is a real bold statement for Worcester. This will fast become another jewel in this fascinating City’s crown.
As the heat intensified and the burden of the suit and chain became apparent, the old saying ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun’ came to mind.
Next stop was the awards ceremony at New College Worcester. By then the day had caught up with me and I was physically and mentally flagging. Despite my age and fitness, the intensity of the events and the strict and regimented nature of affairs was a sobering experience – and a lesson to myself to maybe take it a little easier and avoid burnout.
A mention also must go to my Consort for the Day scheme, which I have introduced to open the Mayor’s office to those who would never traditionally have got the opportunity. Jessica, who has Asperger’s, accompanied me, keeping up the pace and me on track. It was a fascinating experience for both of us, as we caught a small glimpse of each other’s lives. A little bit of empathy goes a long way in spreading Love not Hate, and dispelling fears of the unknown.
Finally, I just want to say that football definitely is coming home – good luck to England today!