Fifty years ago (1962) 70% of men and 40% of women smoked. The work carried out by Sir Richard Doll and his associates in Oxford established the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer and “coronary thrombosis”. The prevalence of smoking is now down to 21% for both sexes. A fantastic achievement but we need to do more to help those who want to quit. I am concerned especially about the developing world where tobacco is being “pushed”: already this is having a serious effect on health on top of all of the tropical diseases and AIDS with which these countries have to cope.
Monday 5th: Tim Clark, Editor of the “Worcester Standard”, and I had our regular chat in the parlour.
Tuesday 6th: The Worcester Masonic Ladies Friendship Club was a delightful group who came to the Parlour for a tour. Several had links with past mayors and civic officials at the Guildhall so they taught me a few extra historical facts.
Thursday 8th: The Fresenius Medical Care Dialysis Centre in the Great Western Business Park opened in June 2009 and provides a high standard service for 63 patients with chronic kidney failure. These patients attend three times each week for a dialysis session that lasts about five hours. Jane and I visited the centre as part of “World Kidney Day”. We were most impressed and especially how well the patients were. Such an enormous contrast from the early days of dialysis when I was working on the Kidney Unit in Oxford over 40 years ago.
The 2012 “World Kidney Day” Campaign focuses on the positive outcome of kidney transplantation and the life-saving aspect of organ donation. The slogan for this year’s campaign is “Donate – Kidneys for Life – Receive.” For more information see www.worldkidneyday.org
International Women’s Day (IWD) began in the early 1900’s and was celebrated today.
Sarah Blaine and her colleagues had set up an exhibition in the Guildhall to raise awareness of the role of women in the world and of Fair Trade. IWD is a national holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Russia, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends and colleagues with small gifts. There is no doubt that the participation of women, especially in developing countries such as Rwanda, is increasing rapidly with a beneficial impact on society. Great changes have come about. There are female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family and women have real choices. The nature of IWD has moved from just a reminder about the negatives to a highlighting of the positives. For more information: www.internationalwomensday.com
Friday 9th: More work on planning for Armed Forces Week in June. It is fitting that we enhance our celebrations particularly during this Diamond Jubilee Year. Hard work for all those involved but it will be worth it.
Mrs. Margaret Renney and Mr. John Quibell-Smith met with me in the parlour to go through the final plans for the English Speaking Union competition tomorrow.
Le Vésinet, in France, is one of our twinned towns so it was a special pleasure to welcome thirty students from Collège de Cèdre. They are on an exchange visit with The King’s School.
The day was rounded off with a Civic Dinner, hosted by the Mayor of Pershore, Cllr. John Grantham, MBE, and Mayoress Mrs. Sheila Grantham, at the Berkeley Arms, Egdon. This was to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen. A most enjoyable evening that also raised funds for the “Midlands Air Ambulance” and “Acorns”.
Saturday 10th: Jane and I were invited to view the West Mercia Model Railway Exhibition held in the Perdiswell Leisure Centre. It was huge and enormous fun. The layouts were impressive. The advances in technology have enabled realistic sights and sounds…just wonderful. It is really worth having a look at the website: www.wyreforestmrc.com
The English Speaking Union (see www.esu.org) “brings together and empowers people of different languages and cultures. By building skills and confidence in communication, we give people the opportunity to realise their potential. Worldwide, the members and alumni of the ESU support these objectives. Our vision is to provide people in the UK and internationally with communication skills, confidence and networking opportunities.” I was privileged to be asked to act as one of the three adjudicators for the competition held in the Guildhall Assembly Room.
It was the final for the Midlands’ Region. There were six competing schools: King Edward School (Birmingham), Warwick School, Kingstone High School (Hereford), Magdalen College School (Oxford), English Martyrs Catholic School (Leicester) and Stroud High School. The confidence of and performances by these young people were impressive making the task of the adjudicators difficult! The topics were of a broad range and included “Robin Hood was a terrorist”, “China’s one child policy violates basic human rights” and “The sale of pornographic material should be banned”. The winning team came from Magdalen College School… but really they were all winners!