Last week was a varied but quieter week for Mayoral engagements. The Mayoress and I had the pleasure of being invited to a Bulgarian dancing community group.

We received a warm welcome of traditional bread that guests dip in a pot of honey, washed down with a glass of Bulgarian red wine. It was evidently a very popular event with people travelling some distance – from elsewhere in the county and beyond. Many of the younger generation were born in the UK and the mums, dads and grandparents understandably want to keep their culture and language alive.

Of course, we were dragged up onto the dance floor and what looked easy when sitting down was actually quite complicated and turned out to be very good exercise. I’ve never been to Bulgaria but my brief encounter seeing their dancing, their warm reception and trying their food certainly made me think about one day visiting their country.

Last Tuesday I received a group of twenty or so teenage students who had travelled from the Palestinian West Bank to learn more about our culture. I chatted to one of the organisers to learn more about why they were visiting the UK. They are here to learn about our culture but also, they are here as ambassadors for their country so we may know them and understand them better too. Teenagers are teenagers the world over – who doesn’t enjoy a selfie holding the ceremonial sword in the Mayor’s Parlour?

The week ended with an invitation to watch the musical show ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ put on by Christopher Whitehead Language School. It showed for four nights and was a sell-out each night. It was a stunning performance and pupils, staff and supporting parents should feel extremely proud – well done! It was all the more impressive given the current funding pressures our schools face in providing drama and music.

After the show I was introduced to Jack Tompkins, the production’s technical manager, a past pupil of the school who set up a very successful shop fitout company, who has been extremely generous with both time and money with his support of the school theatre.



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