Mayor’s Week: 11 – 16 January 2019

Mayor’s Week: 11 – 16 January 2019

On Saturday I opened the 400th Park Run up at the Worcestershire Countryside Park. Nearly 700 runners turned up, of all shapes and sizes – as well as some veterans and plenty of newbies.

We had runners who ran with their dogs, runners running with their children in buggies and also runners who were partially sighted. Congratulations to Cllr Neil Laurenson for doing his fellow councillors proud and coming first in the run!

Anyway I have always hated running with a vengeance – I was always the one that forgot his towel, or was mysteriously sick on cross country days at school! When I was forced to run, I took short cuts and on several occasions, ended up coming in before the best runners or the teachers!!

I decided last year as a resolution to start getting over this dislike of running and challenge myself. So in December I started with treadmill running and slowly but surely I have managed to regularly do a distance of around 10k, six weeks in to my training regime.

I’m yet to make the transition to road or trail running, but today by the time you read this article, I will have hopefully completed my first Park Run!

Park Run is for everyone, including walkers.  There are groups for slower joggers too and pacers are ready to help you, whatever stage or level you are at.  Incredibly all of this is run by volunteers! It is truly a great spectacle – Park Run is one big family and a true representation of community spirit.  Everyone’s welcome and it’s totally free!  Two Park Runs take place in Worcester every week – one at Pitchcroft and one at the Worcestershire Countryside Park.

It’s the small victories along the way that make it worthwhile on the road to your ultimate goal.  I hope that you can also find some inspiration and challenge yourself this year to accomplish something that you may never have thought possible, take up a new hobby, or simply become a better version of yourself.

I hope you have a great weekend and year.


Mayor’s Week: 4 – 10 January 2019

Mayor’s Week: 4 – 10 January 2019

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year and a successful and prosperous one at that.

As we all settle back into our normal routines and reflect on the coming year many of us will be setting some goals and targets for the next 12 months, whether they be financial, health-related or ethical. So I am going to set some of my own for the remainder of my mayoral year – but it’s not going to be easy and I am asking for all of the city of Worcester to pitch in and support me!

This year as a target I want Worcester to remain one of the safest cities in the UK. I want our city to be the happiest, one of the best in terms of quality of life and certainly one of the most polite and welcoming.

With figures released this week showing a rise in hate crimes in the country, it is even more important that my message of Love Not Hate gets through to all.

We are a beautiful multicultural city that is world-renowned for being one of the most peaceful and harmonious places to live. We cannot let those that seek to wreak havoc and preach the ugliness of divisive rhetoric destroy us or divide us. We must stand united against all forms of prejudice and racism. We must seek to understand our differences and work constructively with all communities to fully utilise the great potential of the people of this city to grow and continually make Worcester a better place to live.

That is why this year I am launching, in conjunction with other agencies, a campaign called Talk To Me Worcester, to combat this rise in racism and hate crime.

The aim of this initiative is uniting our great city and increasing peace, love and understanding among us.

The launch of the initiative is next week, and the main objectives are to bring people together through the power of conversation, promoting friendship and neighbourliness through positive activities. The campaign will also aim to create safe and inclusive spaces to meet and welcome new arrivals to the city.

Mayor’s Week: 14 – 21 December 2018

Mayor’s Week: 14 – 21 December 2018

I would like to take this opportunity to deliver my Christmas message to this wonderful city.

I always welcome visitors and audiences by stating that we are blessed to live in a beautiful place like Worcester – one of the best in terms of quality of life; one of the safest cities in the UK; one of the happiest and definitely one of the most polite.

We have had a brilliant year with so much going on: the OVO Women’s Tour, the fantastic Worcester Festival, The Worcester Stands Tall giraffes, the awarding of the posthumous Freedom of the City to Basil D’Oliviera and the brilliant Worcestershire Rapids victory in the T20 Vitality Blast trophy!


We also mustn’t forget the enchanting Victorian Xmas Fayre – nor the thousands lining the street for Remembrance Day, commemorating the fallen men, women, children and animals from across the world who have died in wars.

The summer saw hundreds march in harmony through the streets, under my banner of Love not Hate.  They stood up to all those that seek to divide us: a moment to savour and cherish.

Economically, Worcester has punched above its weight this year.  Footfall to the city centre has increased over 2017, and growth in the independent retail sector has been particularly pleasing.

Despite our strong performance as a city, we still have our underlying issues. Air quality, congestion, rough sleeping, homelessness and the need to create more opportunities for our young are all key areas which we must challenge ourselves to improve in, if we are to redress the imbalances that exist in our society.

So as we race into seasonal festivities, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the residents of Worcester a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.  Please stay safe, think about your neighbours and those who will not be able to enjoy the holiday period in the same way as you and I.  I urge you to spread my message of love not hate, so that we can continue to lead the way as a brilliant faithful city which is admired across the UK and the world.


Mayor’s Week: 7 – 13 December 2018

Mayor’s Week: 7 – 13 December 2018

The weekend started with an evening at the Guildhall to recognise the achievements of City Council staff over the year.  Originally named as the WOSCARS, it celebrates the hard working and dedicated staff and front line teams who keep our services running. It was a real opportunity for the unsung heroes to be acknowledged.

Saturday saw the annual Christmas Peace and Friendship party at St Martin’s Church on London Road, where we welcomed members from across the community to share food, laughter and the chance to make new friends. Thank you to the residents, Church parishioners, the Rotary Club and Worcester Muslim Welfare Association for making it another successful event, helping to spread peace, joy and harmony.

Later in the afternoon I got to enjoy the company of St Paul’s Church congregation for their Christmas Dinner. I spoke with many of them individually afterwards to thank them for the wonderful work they do in the community.

Monday saw two carol services – both equally as enjoyable. The Chairman of the County Council, Brandon Clayton, invited me up to County Hall for his annual Christmas Service.  Later in the evening I went off to the Cathedral again for a service which was packed to the rafters with Scouts, Cubs and Beavers.

I got the chance of ticking another item off my bucket list on Tuesday, when I was invited to be Santa for the day and bring some festive cheer to city residents. Although I didn’t quite get the Reindeer or the Elves to support me (or a Flying Sleigh), I managed to cheer up a few children with my dabbing, flossing and very poor dancing moves (just trying to bring Santa into the 21st century!)

Having the chance to witness children from RGS Worcester at their Star Search Final was an experience I will not forget. This internal talent show, loosely based on Britain’s Got Talent, saw 15 acts perform in front of a crowd of about 150. Each act unique and equally impressive! Well done to all who took part – I look forward to future stars in the coming years!