As summer turns to autumn I have been reflecting on a successful – and eventful – few months for Worcester. At the start of July, as our record-breaking heatwave continued, we saw the addition of 30 colourful giraffes to the city’s streets in aid of much-loved local charity St Richard’s Hospice.
The Worcester Stands Tall sculpture trail has undoubtedly been a huge success, with locals and visitors alike enjoying the trail immensely over the past 10 weeks. As the exhibition draws to a close this week, I want to say a huge thank you to all those who made it possible and to the people of Worcester who gave their wholehearted support to it.
The giraffes are now set to be auctioned, raising vital funds for St Richard’s in the process.
This summer also saw pupils across Worcester celebrating another fantastic set of GCSE and A-level results.
Congratulations to all those pupils, whose hard work – and that of their teachers – has paid off and I hope that this is the first step to a bright and successful future. Whatever they choose to do next – whether it is staying at school, going to college, or starting an apprenticeship – these qualifications will give them a solid base of knowledge and skills that they can build on.
This week saw a welcome announcement by our Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion that frontline policing in the region is to be boosted by the recruitment of 100 extra officers. Constituents often tell me how reassuring it is to see a visible police presence on our streets, even in a comparatively safe city like Worcester, and so I was pleased to see that this recruitment has been possible as a result of significant efficiency savings at West Mercia and the budget flexibility afforded to the PCC by the Government.
Last weekend saw one of the highlights of the civic calendar with the Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall, and I was pleased to join the Mayor Jabba Riaz in a celebration of the role and the contribution those who hold the office can make to life in our city.
This coming weekend we will celebrate the life of one of Worcester’s most famous sons, and someone who contributed an enormous amount to the sporting life of the city as well as playing a crucial role in the anti-apartheid movement.
I am, of course, referring to Worcestershire cricketing legend Basil D’Oliveira, who will be posthumously granted the Freedom of the City of Worcester on Friday.
I know how much it meant to my father to be granted the freedom of the city, and I am sure that Basil D’Oliveira’s family will also appreciate this honour being granted in his memory.
This will be followed on Saturday by the Drumhead service at Gheluvelt Park, at which representatives from the whole county will come together to mark the centennial of the First World War in our own open-air Festival of Remembrance.
All are welcome to attend the service, and I would encourage as many local residents as possible to join us at midday for music from the Grenadier Guards Band, the parade of standards, and the act of commemoration.