On Monday I went to the Christopher Whitehead Language College to their Creative Arts Event which was a showcase of their students’ work. The school hall was packed with parents and siblings who enjoyed an evening featuring performances and work by Hair and Beauty, Music, Drama, Dance, Textiles, Art and Photography and Food Technology Students. Thank you to Debbie Plaslaitt and her colleagues and students for putting on this event. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, it has been a long time since such events were possible.
The following night I chaired my final full council meeting before I hand the chain over at the Annual Council in May. We said farewell to the retiring councillors who aren’t seeking re-election in May: Bill Amos, Tom Collins, Louise Griffiths, Jo Hodges, and Mike Johnson. After the meeting I hosted refreshments in the lower hall that included a cake baked by the mayoress and cheese made by me.
Last night the mayoress and I attended the Mayor of Stourport’s Charity Ball at the Stourport Manor Hotel. I have met the Mayor Danny Russell and Mayoress Mary Russell several times during my mayoral year, where all the county mayors and chairs are collectively known as “the chain gang.”
This morning the mayoress and I will be having breakfast at The Postal Order at the Worcester Veterans Breakfast Club.
On Sunday the mayoress and I attended the Wychavon Civic Service which was held at the parish church of All Saints in Evesham. The chairman of the council, Cllr Robert Raphael, chose the theme of the service as a thanksgiving for Covid-19 heroes, and we heard a series of testimonials from leaders of the local voluntary sector about the fantastic work that was done during the pandemic to help those in need.
Wednesday was the National Day of Reflection, marking the anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown. Staff and councillors from the city council were joined by county council chairman Steve Mackay and firefighters, gathering at the Guildhall entrance at noon. Following the minute’s silence, I read out a short address.
On Friday morning I attended the Cube International Showcase & Open Day, which was held at their new premises at Broomhall. I met Cube International’s CEO, Ed Boardman, Perry the Bull (the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games mascot) and some international sports personalities. As a sports fan myself who has bought tickets for the Birmingham Games it was a fantastic engagement.
In the evening I had my charity concert by Worcester Concert Brass. The event was called In Celebration, recognising both the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the band’s 40th anniversary. The musical director Chris Licence, who also performed, is a former Worcester city councillor, and like me, a past mayor’s consort. They performed a selection of favourites including theme tunes from film and television and other popular pieces.
Today I have a full diary including the opening of new art gallery in Crowngate, the High Sheriff of Worcestershire Award presentation and the Knife Angel memorial service in the Cathedral. I’ll also be at the volunteer awards presentation in the Commandery before attending the grand opening of the Belmont Care Home.
Last Sunday the Mayoress and I attended the Tewkesbury Town Council Civic Service in the beautiful Tewkesbury Abbey that dates back from the 1100s. The service took the form of a choral evensong and featured music with local connections to the town and county. The service was for Joanne Raywood, who is the Tewkesbury Town mayor.
On Wednesday I welcomed a group of students from New College Worcester to the Parlour in the Guildhall. I spoke about my role of Mayor and gave the visually impaired students an opportunity to feel the splendid mayoral chain of office that I have the privilege to wear.
The following evening the Mayoress and I were invited by Lord Faulkner to the launch of the Worcester City Football Family and Friends Club. The last few years have been difficult for the club, but now they are back in the city at Claines Lane and I am sure will go from strength to strength. The club isn’t just the First Team who play in the Midland League, but also include many women, youth, and veterans’ teams that cover all ages and abilities.
Yesterday morning I visited the Old Fire Station on Copenhagen Street, which is soon to open as a new residential block. In July I saw the early stages of this conversion project, so it was fascinating to see some of the completed apartments.
In the evening the Mayoress and I were at The Art House on Castle Street for the Worcester Mela. We both wore Indian dress and enjoyed the delicious Asian food and entertainment that was on offer.
Today I will be attending the Young Enterprise Trade Fayre in High Street and this evening the Worcester Festival Choral Society’s performance of Bach’s St. John Passion in the Cathedral.
I was delighted to join last Saturday’s emergency street collection led by Worcester Vigornia Rotary Club on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. This raised an impressive £3,026. This and other efforts around the city show our support for the plight of the Ukrainian people.
Last Sunday I attended the County Civic Service in the Cathedral. This is an important part of the ceremonial year for former Worcester Mayor and current Chair of the County Council Steve Mackay. The Dean, The Very Reverend Dr Peter Atkinson, gave a moving and thought-provoking sermon pointing out that age doesn’t always result in wisdom contrasting the optimistic and positive values held by young people in contrast with those of Russia’s brutal elderly dictatorship.
On Thursday evening I joined the City Council’s political leaders and members of the Ukrainian and Polish communities at the Guildhall to light candles prior to walking together to Cathedral Square for a vigil that was held at 7pm. The Worcester community came out in their numbers to this poignant occasion, which featured a piper playing the Ukraine National Anthem.
The youth are the future and yesterday, I attended the opening of the early years outdoor area at Perry Wood Primary School, then in the evening saw the production by the Young Rep of HUNT. This morning I was at the Royal Grammar School to attend the Worcester Competitive Arts Festival featuring young local talent in Music and Drama.
Later today (Saturday) I will be joining Worcester Ukulele Club who will be doing a five-hour gig in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee at Bell Square in Crowngate.