After attending the count of the General Election in to the early hours, I was lucky my next engagement was not until late Friday evening, at The Literary Festival Awards. I was pleased to be able to give prizes to the young finalists in the Flash Story category. Their tales of a Digital Future were superb – well thought out, rehearsed and told.
That same evening I heard some thought-provoking poetry. This year the Worcestershire Poet Laureate was judged to be Nina Lewis.
Saturday started with a photo call outside the Guildhall with members of the Rotary Club, who later paraded through the streets with A Boards, making more money for charitable causes. That afternoon I went to the University and saw just how many volunteers are engaged in assisting elderly people. Age UK is dedicated to ensuring those in their later years receive wide support.
We enjoyed a real treat on Saturday evening, listening to the Elgar Voices at St George’s RC Church. Judging by the applause, I’m sure everyone there felt they had heard the choir in extremely good voice.
On Monday I held a meeting with leaders of the city’s Mosques, the managing director of the city council and police officers. I wanted to ensure that members of our Muslim community, who are sided with everyone against those committing the recent atrocious acts in London and Manchester, did not feel isolated and to demonstrate a show of unity amongst Worcester’s communities.
This was followed by a visit by students from Kleve, our twin city in Germany, who enjoyed a tour around the Guildhall. In the evening I chaired the AGM of the Worcester Scouts, where again it was pointed out that volunteers were needed to assist their organisation. I heard a similar plea from the Friends of the Worcester Royal Hospital, who I met later in the week. Raising money for extra hospital equipment takes commitment. They too would like to meet anyone who could help.
On Tuesday I attended a commemoration service for the Royal Grammar School at the Cathedral, followed by a visit to St Pauls Hostel where I heard of some of the causes of homelessness and the harrowing accounts of individuals there. Last but not least, the week concluded with an awards ceremony for some very well deserving teachers in Worcestershire. Accounts from their pupils and their peers showed how they went that extra mile to give our children the very best start in life.