Celebration and thanks

It’s been a busy last couple of weeks in the Chairman’s calendar and looking back on those engagements, it’s clear that celebration and thanks were recurring themes.

It started on Sunday, 11 September when I was invited to join the Mayor of Redditch, Cllr Joe Baker, on his diversity walk through the town to the Town Hall where a celebration of diversity was then held.

Me with a Chinese Lion head on as part of the diversity celebration in Redditch

Me with a Chinese Lion head on as part of the diversity celebration in Redditch

This involved people of all faiths and cultures with music, readings, reflections and poems to celebrate Redditch’s rich diversity. This replaced the traditional civic service and was an inspiring event to be part of.

Later in the day we attended a more traditional Civic Service at St John’s Church in Bromsgrove and the delicious scones and tea were most welcome.

In many ways having celebrated diversity, it was fitting that one of my next engagements was to attend a short service of remembrance and wreath laying at Evesham’s Waterside Cemetery to commemorate all those who served in the Royal Air Force and the Air Forces of the Commonwealth.

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The service was organised by the Evesham Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association and led by Rev Mark Binney, Vicar of St. Andrew’s Hampton and St. Peter’s Bengeworth, in the presence of the Mayor of Evesham (Cllr Fred Kaler), myself,  members of the RAF and Royal British Legion and students from De Montfort, Swan Lane, Bengeworth and St Egwin Schools.

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After the Mayor and I had laid the wreath at the RAF memorial, the Last Post was sounded by Sue Sollis, a minute’s silence was observed and after The Dedication, Reveille was heard.  The students from all the schools then planted poppy crosses on each of the graves of the valiant few, who, against all odds, set their lives between us and aggression and preserved a breathing space for freedom in the world.

The armed forces connection continued when John and I visited Sixways Stadium in Worcester. It was to attend a reception and briefing by the Army Engagement Team at the invitation of Brigadier R. Anderton-Brown, commander of HQ 11th Signal and West Midlands Brigade.

Me with Lt. Col. Stuart Hitchman

Me with Lt. Col. Stuart Hitchman

The main part of the evening was a presentation on “Your Army” given by the Army Engagement Team who represent the head of the Army, General Sir Nicholas Carter.

The evening was to promote a greater awareness and understanding of today’s Army, how employers could benefit from allowing a member of staff in the Reserves to be employed and how young people could join cadet forces around the area before making a decision on joining the regular Army.

I was also delighted to attend the Evesham in Bloom presentations on Friday, 16 September at Evesham Town Hall.

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Cllr Fred Kaler, Mayor of Evesham, presents Evesham College’s Acquired Brain Injury Unit with a Silver Gilt award

Evesham entered the Heart of England Britain in Bloom competition 2016 and was given a Silver award.  As well as entering the national competition, Evesham runs its own competitions in various categories.  The Mayor of Evesham (Cllr. Fred Kaler) presented prizes for the Schools in Bloom competition and winners included Evesham College’s Acquired Brain Injury Unit, which won a Silver Gilt.  Nine schools participated in this year’s competition and the standard was excellent making the judging a difficult task.

I was invited to present the prizes for shops and commercial premises and individual properties, with Yates Court winning gold.

The Evesham in Bloom competition was sponsored by VECTA who supported the shops, commercial premises and the private sector.

Finally, we rounded of a busy period by attending the Bewdley Town Council Civic Service at Bewdley Baptist Church. The Civic party assembled at the Guildhall then processed to church for the service.  After the service we processed back through a lovely park to the Guildhall where we watched the procession pass. I also found time to grab a chat back at the Guildhall with John Campion, the new Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia.

The procession in Bewdley

The procession in Bewdley

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