This week was a serious and thoughtful one, taking in Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.
On Sunday morning, Phil and I joined members of the armed forces, veterans and dignitaries for the annual service of remembrance in the cathedral. The Dean, Rev. Peter Atkinson, spoke movingly of a family’s grief, and of the need for remembrance and reconciliation.
We also remembered those shot at dawn for what was once called cowardice. Though in “a more compassionate era,” said the Dean, we now understand the toll taken by battle stress on mental health, as well as physical health.
Crowds of Worcester people turned out in brilliant sunshine for the wreath laying ceremony and two minutes’ silence at the war memorial, followed by the customary parade past the Guildhall.
During the afternoon, we gathered in St John’s Cemetery to honour the Rev Studdert-Kennedy, whose courage and compassion earned him the soldiers’ nickname, Woodbine Willie. Prayers were said, along with his poems on the waste of war and the kind of England that existed in that era. It was not a pretty picture, according to Woodbine Willie.
Woodbine Willie received special mention in the national television broadcast of the service of remembrance at the cenotaph this year. Of course, most Mayors of Worcester would think of him every day, because his photograph is displayed in the parlour.
Most of this week, I have struggled with a virus and finally gave in when I lost my voice. Phil attended Old St Martin’s Church to hear their plans for a new city garden and how they would fit into a regenerated Corn Market.
Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor, Paul Denham, attended a production of Top Of The World at the Swan Theatre and Tudor Grange Awards evening at the cathedral. Many thanks to Paul and Phil for their support.