Monday 5th: Time to catch up with domestic jobs!
Tuesday 6th: Steve Willetts came to the Parlour to discuss a proposal concerning a “Peel2Save” initiative. This involves discounts in various retail and restaurant outlets offered to those who purchase a booklet of stickers. Half of the money raised then goes to charity. We’re going to look into this.
A pleasant half an hour with Tim Clarke, Editor of the “Worcester Standard”, to discuss City issues and mayoral activities. It’s a tough time out there for small local newspapers.
The Carol and Christingle Service in the Cathedral for the Royal Grammar School The Grange (Years 3 – 6) was outstanding. All the hard work over many weeks by the pupils and staff in the School, Chamber and Senior Choirs produced performances of which everyone should be proud. Jane and I were amazed at the confidence of the young readers.
A Christingle has its origins in the Moravian Church and especially from Germany where Bishop Johannes de Watteville in 1747 wanted to explain what Christmas really meant to the children in the church. It has evolved since and in 1968 the Christingle was introduced into services of the Anglican Church. The Christingle consists of an orange (the world), a red ribbon (the blood of Christ), dried fruits or sweets skewered on cocktail sticks (the fruits of the earth and the four seasons) and a lighted candle (Christ, the light of the world).
Wednesday 7th: Our son, Mark, and his wife Sarah have a small bungalow hidden away on the side of Ankerdine Hill (Martley). It was a beautiful sunny morning so we went out there for coffee: a wonderful peaceful spot overlooking the beautiful Worcestershire countryside.
The Cloisters of the Cathedral came glittered this afternoon when the Dean switched on the Festival of Christmas Trees. This had been arranged by the Daisy Chain Benevolent Fund Trust (DCBTF) and sponsored by a wide range of organisations and businesses.
Christmas Trees at the Christmas Tree Festival at Worcester Cathedral
Jane and I had the very difficult task of picking the three best decorated trees out of the 43 entries. But they were all winners really. We hope the public will come and view the trees during this Festival which lasts until 4th January and give as generously as they are able. The charities being helped this year by the DCBTF are the Midlands’ Air Ambulance and MacMillan Cancer Support.
Christmas Trees at the Christmas Tree Festival , Worcester Cathedral
The custom of erecting a Christmas tree can be traced to 15th century Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia) and 16th century Germany. It is alleged that there was a tradition of decorating a spruce trees in the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame”.
Now that was different!! Jane and I attended a performance of “We Will Rock You” by the Worcester Sixth Form College. This hit musical was written by Ben Elton. It is set in the computerised future of around the year 2300 when all musical instruments have been banned. But there are rebels who want to break free.
Thursday 8th: Catherine Hyde, International Development Officer from the University of Worcester, brought five Russian visitors from Perm State University for “coffee” in the parlour and for a brief talk about the Guildhall. Perm State University was founded on 14 October 1916.
Perm State University
The Royal Grammar School (RGS) The Grange (years 1 – 2) put on their Celebration of Christmas play in Claines Church. The children were enchanting and reflected all the hard work that must have gone into this production. The patience of the teachers is to be applauded.
Friday 9th: The day began with a quick tour of the Parlour with a group of children from the RGS Springfield School who happened to come into the Guildhall with the Head Master.
I made a recording of a Christmas message for the Worcestershire Royal Hospital Radio.
The rest of the morning was taken up with Jane and me writing mayoral Christmas cards. I am so grateful to Peter Butler for permission to use his photograph of a frosty scene over the River Severn.
The Tudor Grange Academy is undergoing major building works so the Worcester Warriors have allowed the use of their facilities at “Sixways” for the production of “Robin’s Hoodie”. Great fun and another indication of how this school is progressing: I congratulate all the students and the teaching staff. We chatted to a number of the cast after the performance and several are determined to go onto drama school; we wish them every success.
A “Spirit of Christmas” concert took place in the St. Peter’s Baptist Church this evening. It was in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and to increase awareness of the problem. It had been
organised by “Murray’s Muscles” which is a local charity for muscular dystrophy serving the West Midlands. We were delighted by a number of performers including Dodderhill School Chamber Choir, Trio Anon, Graham McGregor-Smith and Stream of Sound.
Saturday 10th: We have heard the Worcester Male Voice Choir several times. This evening the 64 singers were the best they have ever been when Jane and I attended the Annual Christmas Concert in Pershore Abbey in aid of the Mayor of Pershore’s charities (Acorns and the Midlands’ Air Ambulance). In addition there was great entertainment by Elizabeth Crawford (Soprano), Rebecca Waite (Trumpet) and Keith Hearnshaw (Organ).
Sunday 11th: Each year Rotary Clubs of Worcester gather huge quantities of groceries which they then bag up for later distribution around Worcester. I joined them this morning to assist with this task. And what a task it was on a “Parcels Sortation Centre” set up under the stands at “Worcester Warriors” Sixways Stadium.
I have never been to an archery tournament before so it was fun for Jane and me to attend the Droitwich Archery Society (founded in 1967) Winter event held in the sports hall (Little London) of the Royal Grammar School. Competitors came from far and wide. Their skills were amazing hitting small targets at 20 metres. I had the honour of presenting the trophies. Yes, another example of what our part of Worcestershire has to offer.