As well as being ‘twinned’ with various cities in Europe and that of Worcester, Massachusetts, our City receives many younger visitors on ‘exchange’ visits from Asia. Recently Alison and I received over 100 Chinese and Taiwanese students at the Parlour. They are all very interested in the history of Worcester and its sights, not least of which are the Cathedral and the Guildhall itself. They also mentioned how they loved the environment. However, when pressed, and being students, they all agreed that they enjoyed shopping in the City. No bad thing for Worcester!
On Monday we visited the Chapter House of the Cathedral where an award ceremony was being presented to what may be termed ‘disadvantaged’ young people aged between 19 and 24. Beryl Cuckney, who runs her own local business, recognised some time ago that homeless and vulnerable young people have less chance in becoming engaged in full time employment. Setting up a project that is now supported by the City Council, she has ensured that many are now equipped with relevant skills that have led to some becoming employed. She is supporting others to set up their own small businesses.
I also had the privilege of opening the well-attended Warndon Villages Annual Fete this week. Every year this event gets bigger and better with more stall holders, entertainment and bigger crowds. Staged by the incredibly enthusiastic staff of Lyppards Hub, I hope its popularity remains the same every year.
During a visit to New College Worcester, a residential school for students who are blind or visually impaired, I was able to see the incredible art work that individuals had produced, hear the music they played to an enthralled audience and gained an understanding of all their accomplishments under the hardest of circumstances. Their efforts were praised and their confidence boosted in a truly inspirational speech given by Lord Holmes of Richmond (Christopher Holmes – Paralympian), who explained how he had become blind overnight at the age of 14 but was able to prove that such a disadvantage should not hold anyone back if they really wanted to succeed. His words were really well received by students, who were proud of their own achievements to date.