Monday 31st: Other mayoral engagements prevented my being there on Saturday 29th October for the official opening of the completed Riverside work. I remember, when I had the “Urban Renaissance” City Council Cabinet portfolio, how much hard work was done by Richard Hopkins and others to get the lighting right. A great job!
Obesity is a major and increasing health hazard that we cannot ignore. It is a leading cause of death worldwide. Obesity is stigmatized particularly in Western society but was widely perceived as a symbol of wealth and fertility at other times in history, and still is in some parts of the world. Jane and I were pleased to be invited to observe a meeting of “Weight Watchers”, held in the Lyppard Grange Community Centre. I was impressed by the enthusiasm of Debbie Bowyer and her team who were helping their members to achieve very significant weight loss. It was clearly making so much difference to their wellbeing and self esteem.
As Mayor, I am an honorary member of the Worcester Rotary Club. It normally meets on a Monday lunchtime but today we met for an evening dinner meeting in the Worcestershire County Cricket Club. And a most pleasant time it was too. The speaker was Leigh Robinson of the ATBRUSAR (All Terrain Bike Responder Unit Search And Rescue). He explained that this was a charity based in Worcestershire offering support to the emergency services through their trained teams of searchers, rescue technicians, and mountain bike and cycle ambulance personnel. They operate in Worcester City Centre and the wider county of Worcestershire, including the Malvern Hills. It was clear that they provide a valuable and highly cost effective service. See the website:www.atbrusar.org
Tuesday 1st: The Worcester Heart Support Group (WHSG) was formed in 1994 with nine members and now has over 200. They are affiliated to the British Heart Foundation. Trevor Cooper (Chairman) and his members provide a crucial service especially to people who are recovering from heart attacks (also called coronary thrombosis or myocardial infarction). Today I was involved with the handover of a Vital Signs Monitor to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. This gift from the WHSG is a valuable contribution to the Phase 3 exercise classes supervised in the McClelland Centre. This is based in the converted outpatients department of the old Castle Street Worcester Royal Infirmary which now forms the City Campus of the University. This is another example of the cooperation between the University and our hospital.
Four days of University of Worcester Award Ceremonies began today. After lunch in the St. John’s campus I lead a colourful academic procession from the Guildhall to the Cathedral. During today’s ceremony Professor Fay Weldon CBE was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters: she is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University in London.
Wednesday 2nd: China is the most populous country in the world at over 1.3 billion (that is 1,300,000,000). It covers about 3.7 million square miles. According to the International Monetary Fund China’s annual average GDP growth between 2001 and 2010 was 10.5% and the economy is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 9.5% between 2011 and 2015. Between 2007 and 2011, China’s economic growth rate was equivalent to all of the G7 countries’ growth combined. We cannot ignore these facts which were brought home to us at an “Opportunity China” conference this evening held at The King’s School and to which Jane and I were invited. It was organized by the Worcestershire Chinese Association and Worcestershire Ambassadors. Mr. Zhao Lei (First Secretary, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China) gave the opening address. The opportunities for businesses in China are enormous but to take full advantage the ability to speak Mandarin Chinese is vital. The problem is that we have not yet realized that Mandarin is so important in the teaching of our young students. I challenge all of our education institutions to address this. There are inexpensive online courses available, to get you started, such as that from “link-global.com”.
Thursday 3rd: The “Last Choir Standing” Corporate Event was held in the Malvern Theatres this evening. Fantastic and great fun. It was organised by Lauren Billington of “Leukaemia Care” with joint sponsorship from “Postcode Anywhere” and “English Mutual”. There were seven choirs competing and the judges were the musicians John Malcolm Goldring and Russell Painter. Dave Bradley was just right as an amusing Master of Ceremonies: he lists his “main hobbies as watching sport and sleeping, often at the same time…” Much needed money was raised for “Leukaemia Care”.
Friday 4th: The last of seven University of Worcester Award Ceremonies was held in the Cathedral this afternoon. As before the procession from the Guildhall was impressive. Professor Emeritus Judith Elkins was awarded a University Fellowship: she had been Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor of Children’s Literature 2003 – 2009. Dennis Mortimer, one of Aston Villa’s greatest ever football players, was awarded an honorary degree. As we were leaving the Cathedral the rain came down and Frank Southam, my sword bearer, had to remove the ostrich feathers from his Cap of Maintenance!!
Two recent graduates, Faye Boyle and Ruth Johnson at the Graduation Ceremony on Friday
Saturday 5th: The place to be this evening was Pitchcroft Racecourse. Thousands of all ages turned up to see the bonfire and firework display. Dr Greg Jones, Worcester Round Table Chairman, and his team, have worked incredibly hard to organise this amazing spectacle and raise funds for good causes. The bonfire was huge: I have always wanted to light such a conflagration and now I had my opportunity! Wow!
I lit it!
Fantastic fireworks at Pitchcroft!
Sunday 6th: Day of rest.
Don’t forget the “We Will Remember Them” concert in the Guildhall on Friday 11th. November at 7.30pm. There will be words and music marking the 90th Anniversary of the Royal British Legion. Admission is FREE and tickets by application to the Tourist Information Office: 01905 726311 or the Administrator, The Elgar Chorale: 01684 594570.