It was a terrible tragedy to hear the news of the body of Stuart Downing, the missing man from Kidderminster, being found in the River Severn on Wednesday. His is another tragic loss in this city of ours, when we are still raw from the shock of student Tom Jones’s death. My heartfelt condolences go out to his next of kin, family and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.
Worcester has also been remembering the fallen with some major events. I was honoured to be asked to launch the poppy appeal in Worcester. Dave Waldron, the Chairman of the Royal British Legion, rightly announced that the poppy is a symbol of universal remembrance and it represents all those who have fallen in all wars in this world of ours. These were fitting words as we prepare to mark the centenary of the armistice that brought to an end the First World War.
At Gheluvelt Park, I was invited by the Worcestershire Regimental Association to mark the 104th anniversary of the Battle of Gheluvelt, to pay respect and honour to the brave men who were the last hope and defence against German forces. A brutal and bloody battle ensued with many lives lost, and the Worcestershires emerged victorious from what seemed certain defeat and what was described by many as a suicide mission. They did us proud. Worcester will never forget its heroes. We salute you.
As we mark the 70th anniversary of our beloved NHS this year, I was delighted to welcome scores of NHS volunteers to the Guildhall. This was for an event organised by the NHS Trust in Worcestershire, to thank them for their incredible contribution to the county.
As with many organisations and charities, the NHS relies heavily on volunteers to spare precious hours to help to keep providing the excellent service we have come to expect. Theirs is a commitment that truly carries a message of Love not Hate, and I thank them for their brilliant effort.
It’s bonfire weekend, so please enjoy the Firework celebrations safely and spare a thought for neighbours and pets. Have a brilliant weekend.
Life is full of extraordinary stories of hope, determination, perseverance and triumph – despite personal injury, loss or trauma suffered in the process. Man has long sought comfort and inspiration from tales of exceptional bravery and victory in the apparent jaws of impending doom, failure or defeat.
One such character who I was privileged to hear about at a recent talk by the great speaker and explorer Rob Caskie, was the legendary Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.
The truly heroic story of Shackleton’s mission, interpreted initially as a failure by the outside world, has gone on to be recognised as one of the most incredible examples of loyalty, unbreakable Iron Will, determination and the truest test of the mettle and will power.
Therein lies the lesson for all of us. It is not uncommon to give up on something that is seemingly too difficult or too long or unrealistic. Far too often we panic or falter at the first sight of an obstacle, or are not patient enough to wait for the results to appear. My many attempts to lose weight or bowl at 100mph spring to mind!
But it is often in the attempt itself that you discover your greatest strengths and weaknesses, and find the motivation to carry on.
I am currently on a personal mission to beat the scales so that I reach the weight necessary for a personal operation to go ahead. To date all the necessary tests have come back clear, but I am awaiting the result of one more crucial one. Thanks to everyone who has offered their support and well wishes in this endeavour.
Shakelton’s family Motto was “by endurance we conquer” and he stated that “difficulties are just things to overcome, after all.” These are words that will serve me well in the weeks ahead.
Last weekend offered the chance to visit the magnificent Cathedral twice: firstly on Saturday, when it was an honour to be invited by the Royal Life Saving Society to their annual awards ceremony, which recognises the incredible bravery of scores of members and volunteers from across the country. It is a real honour that the City and Cathedral were chosen to host this event.
The second occasion was on the summons of the High Sheriff; I was able to witness the Lord Lieutenant, law makers and judiciary in all their finery for the annual Shrievalty service. This is an occasion which celebrates the High Sheriff’s office and marks the beginning of the legal year: an experience indeed.
On Monday I held a reception for all the volunteers and organisations that made the Worcester Stands Tall Event such a brilliant success. It was heart-warming for Sajeeda and I to hear from the unsung heroes and the army of dedicated volunteers and supporters who helped massively to brighten up the city this summer.
Tuesday was National Restart the Heart Day; volunteer organisations and the NHS Ambulance service were at the Guildhall teaching vital lifesaving skills. In just under 15 minutes I was confidently able to learn the basics of CPR; it’s such a vital skill that can be crucial to saving a life, yet surprisingly many people lack the basic knowledge. I urge you to spare 15 minutes to learn the technique – if you can’t get to an event then there are many online resources out there too.
This summer saw over 500 young children complete the annual reading challenge at the Hive. I was there to present the awards to children who had completed six books or more. Reading is such a valuable skill; it’s more important than ever to recognise the effort of the children and their parents!
As always, I am humbled and grateful to be a servant of this wonderful City. Have a safe and brilliant weekend.
We are truly blessed to live in a wonderful, caring and compassionate city – something which I am proud to tell residents about on a daily basis.
We have had a brilliant summer in Worcester and our High Street has been a buzz with shoppers and excitement. So it’s no surprise that it has been shortlisted for the prestigious VISA Best High Street award! Judging took place on Wednesday and the results will be announced in early November. The public element of the vote is vital – you can help by searching for #GBHSWorcester on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and re-tweeting or sharing posts that come up.
It was a pleasure to host the Deputy Lord Lieutenant at a British Empire medal awarding ceremony at the majestic Guildhall this week. It’s always heartening to see residents recognised for their years of service to the city; well done to Worcester resident Mrs Cecilia Denlegh-Maxwell for her services to the community.
I teamed up with County Council Chairman Brandon Clayton for a visit to Acorns Hospice. They have done amazing work over the years, and are now celebrating their 30th birthday in Worcester. The charity has beautiful facilities and provides an excellent service.
It was an honour to team up with veterans later in the week, and enjoy a coffee at the breakfast club in the Postal Order. We had a catch-up on the good work that is being done to help them – as well as the reintegration issues they face, and their battles with mental health.
This week I also had the pleasure of attending the Worcester Stands Tall auction, where the beautiful giraffes that brought so much joy and happiness to the city were auctioned off individually. A staggering £210,000 was raised for St Richards Hospice. All credit to the organisers of this initiative, which attracted so many new tourists to Worcester from across the nation!
As always, I am grateful for the opportunity to see so many fantastic people and attend their events in this great City.