Last week we had a very important visitor in Worcester.

Queen Camilla’s presence in our city made me think about other very important visits we’ve received in Worcester. For me, two names stand out – Nelson and Churchill.

The Mayoress and I visited Hereford on Monday and we happened upon a guided tour of that city. It was a very interesting tour where we were told about Nelson’s visit to Hereford in the summer of 1802 when the city was hoping to bask in the reflected glory of the successful war hero. It made me think about Nelson’s visit to Worcester to receive the Freedom of the City just a few days later. The Worcester Journal reported how he was met by cheering crowds who lined the streets and filled the windows as he approached the Hop Pole Inn at Foregate Street, where he and Lady Hamiton stayed. There were reports of the city’s church bells ringing and canons being fired to welcome the hero.

Some have said that war time hero Churchill’s 1950 visit to Worcester was in Nelson’s footsteps. It’s easy to think, when looking at the old black and white photos of Churchill and the then Mayor standing in the car coming up the High Street that this is something from a history book. But for many that visit is a cherished memory.

I happened to be chatting to one such lady at an Age UK Christmas meal event. She told me her memories, as a young girl, of Churchill and the Mayor driving from the Mayor’s house at Bennett’s Dairies, the two of them standing up in the back of the car as they went through St John’s and on their way to the main event at the Guildhall. It’s great that there are still some people for which it’s not just a photo and I’m honoured to have heard that firsthand account – thank you.

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