Monday 30th: No Mayoral engagements on this Bank Holiday so I had time to do some catching up and especially on the City Council’s Local Economic Development project with the Adentan Municipal Assembly in Ghana. It is progressing well at zero cost to Worcester and fully funded by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum through the Department for International Development. I am so grateful to the team (20 or so) of Worcester City Councillors, Officers and others who have volunteered to assist. The visit to Ghana in October last year was a great success as was the visit by an Adentan delegation in February. Already we are seeing fruits for our joint efforts and the programme has been running for only 10 months: groups set up to oversee business development and especially “Women in Business”, a Business Newspaper, monitoring of increase in employee numbers and we are hoping to assist with a Master Plan for this 150,000 populated district which has been an administrative assembly (i.e. a district council) for only four years.
Tuesday 31st: Worcester City is twinned with Worcester Massachusetts. Lord Faulkner of Worcester undertook a visit to Worcester Massachusetts last August. He “was greeted with great warmth by everyone (he) met, and without exception were keen to establish new contacts and renew existing ones”. There are so many opportunities and suggestions: sport, cultural, business, churches, schools and colleges, the University, councillor visits, Rotary Club links, etc. I was so pleased to meet Lord Faulkner with William O’Brien (an attorney serving on the International Centre’s Committee in Worcester Massachusetts) and Councillor Jo Hodges, chairman of the Worcester Twinning Association in the parlour this morning. We considered many issues. As someone who is passionate about international links I will do all I can to assist.
In the Randall room of the Guildhall we have on display a letter dated 2nd April 1999 from President Bill Clinton in which he says:
“….. This special relationship reflects the warm friendship between our two nations, based on shared values and ideals. We have the same commitment to liberty and a common belief in the promise of peace and prosperity and we share the same hope for a bright future. I am confident that your Twin City status will offer all your citizens an exciting opportunity to learn more about our common bonds and strengthen the ties of friendship that have linked our two countries for so long.
“I am delighted to extend warm greetings to the citizens of Worcester, Massachusetts and Worcester, England as you officially establish your Twin City relationship”
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is a major supporter of heart (cardiac) diseases research and those who suffer from them. I used to be a consultant cardiologist at the Worcester Royal Infirmary and many years ago president of the Worcester Branch of the BHF. I met Jemma Curran (Regional Events Organiser of the BHF) at the Guildhall for a photo call to advertise the Worcester Bike Ride that will take place on Sunday 26th June. Heart diseases affect thousands of people of all ages from childhood to old age. We all know someone. So much more can now be done effectively…what a change I have seen since I came to Worcester in 1976!! If you would like to know more or get involved then contact the BHF Events team on 0800 1693672 or go online at www.bhf.org.uk/worcester
The Mayor’s parlour is a treasure trove of wonderful objects and children love coming in to see them: the ceremonial sword (1655), the maces (1760), the Mayor’s chain and Mayoress’ chain and the Silver Tank which originally contained the scroll of honour for Colonel Hankey when he received the honorary freedom of the City in December 1917. Mrs. Isobel Maher brought her two grand-daughters, Hatty and Elizabeth, to the parlour for a brief tour and “cup of tea”.
This evening I attended the Countess Huntingdon Hall with Lord Faulkner and William O’Brien for a “private” performance of a thirty minutes play by Chris Jaeger about the Battle of Worcester. Brilliant with a minimum of props: an important history lesson. The ‘Worcester City of Liberty’ project is a Heritage Lottery Funded project that is the result of a partnership between The Battle of Worcester Society and “Worcester Live”. The project utilises a TIE Schools Tour, Street Theatre, Guided City Walks, and a Radio Docu-drama to engage members of the public with the heritage surrounding the Battle of Worcester and its ramifications. The project is being delivered by Worcester Live and is completely free of charge to take part in as a school or member of the public. For more information please visit http://www.worcester-cityofliberty.t83.net
Wednesday 1st: I called into the Castle Street campus of the University to take some photographs of and within the old Worcester Royal Infirmary (WRI) buildings for a talk I am to give on 16th. June. John Black FRCS, PRCS, (President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England) will be making his last Presidential visit to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. John was a Surgeon for almost the same period as I was a Physician at the WRI. This is a great opportunity to highlight what Worcester has contributed to medical care.
Thursday 2nd: The Queen’s coronation took place 58 years ago today: 2nd June 1953.
Friday 3rd: This is Volunteers’ Week and a Volunteering Fair was held in the Guildhall today. Sally Ellison (Worcester Volunteer Centre) guided Jane and me around the thirty stands so we could meet the representatives and hear more of their work. They deserve our support as their contributions to our communities are huge. More help is always needed. So if anyone would like to get involved then find out more from www.worcestervolunteercentre.org.uk. To quote from the website: “Volunteering is about giving some of your time to help others in the community. Develop new skills, feel valued, meet new people, improve existing skills”
Saturday 4th: There is nothing like music and singing to bring the community together and that is what happened in the Cathedral this evening. The English Association of Male Voice Choirs (hosted by the Worcester Male Voice Choir) with 250 choristers gave a concert to a packed audience in aid of St. Richard’s Hospice and Acorns. James Landale, the BBC’s Deputy Political Editor, was the celebrity compere and all supported by Claire Bessent, the Guest Soloist and Holborne Brass, the Guest Brass Ensemble, with Darren Hogg as Guest Organist. A perfect evening in a glorious setting that Jane and I thoroughly enjoyed.
Sunday 5th: An emotional day saying our farewell to Ellie and Duncan Ballard from St. Philip and St. James Church (Whittington) and St. Mark’s in the Cherry Orchard. The Rev. Duncan Ballard will be greatly missed. We wish him and Ellie all happiness in their new work at Hampton in Arden (where he will be installed on 5th July) and as Chaplain to Birmingham Airport.