Back to school

I recently joined Evesham Street Pastors, supporters and congregation for a Thanksgiving and Commissioning Service for the work the tram does in the town. Street pastors are an inter-denominational group of volunteers who help with urban problems, engaging with people on the streets at night, to care, listen and help.  The idea of Street Pastors started in London in 2003 and there are now around 9,000 trained volunteers in over 25 teams around the UK who undertake this valuable voluntary service to the community.

Rev Dr. Pillar, me and John Darby

Rev Dr. Pillar, me and John Darby

Evesham Street Pastors was set up by the churches in Evesham and is an independent charity led by trustees from churches in the town.  The day-to-day leadership, headed by John Darby, is organised by a team of co-ordinators from various churches and is supported and encouraged by the local police, Wychavon District Council, Evesham Town Council and many clubs, pubs, businesses and individuals in the town.

Although not a civic event, as a member of Wychavon’s Localism Panel, I was also recently invited along with other members to visit King George V Pavilion and playing fields to view the new facilities which New Homes Bonus money financed. I went to have a look at what had been achieved and was very impressed with what they have done. 

Me in the newly fitted out kitchen at King George V pavillion

Me in the newly fitted out kitchen at King George V pavillion

On Sunday, 16 October I was present at Worcester Cathedral to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the death of King John, whose tomb lies before the high altar. 

The tomb of King John

The tomb of King John

Professor Stephen Church of the University of Est Anglia gave an historical introduction to the life, death and burial of the king and the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Rev Dr John Inge preached the sermon. Towards the end of the service clergy, choir and congregation were invited to lay lilies on the sanctuary steps close to King John’s tomb.  King John was ruler of England from 1199 until his death, during conflict with his barons, during the night of 18 October 1216 at Newark Castle in Nottinghamshire.  He was buried in Worcester Cathedral on 27 October and his tomb has been a central feature of the cathedral ever since.

I was also delighted to be able to visit Bredon Hill Academy for their Open Evening and after being greeted by the Headteacher Steve Charlton, (whom I knew when he was teaching at Evesham High School when I was Chairman of Governors just over 10 years ago), we met staff and governors to share refreshments before being introduced to Charlotte and Ellie who gave us a splendid tour of the whole school.  What lovely young ladies, quietly confident in the way they explained the different rooms and areas and very polite, a credit to both their parents and the school. 

Testing my skills during the open day

Testing my skills during the open day

We listened to students in the music room, shared an experiment in the science room (no I didn’t set fire to the school) and found our holiday destination on a map of the world and even had a go at a maths puzzle, which I completed eventually (maths wasn’t my best subject at school!)  A really enjoyable and informative evening.  This school is certainly working hard with its pupils to maintain a high standard, having gained an “outstanding” in their 2014/15 Ofsted.  Most pupils from here go on to learn at Prince Henry’s in Evesham.

Other events in a busy couple of weeks have seen John (my husband and consort) and I attend the opening of a newly transformed warehouse on Davies Road, for use by teams4u to pack and store shoeboxes destined for vulnerable children in places like Romania. 

Some of the boxes ready for filling

Some of the boxes ready for filling

This initiative was originated by Dave Cooke some 25 years ago, who opened the warehouse in the presence of local MP Nigel Huddleston and the Mayoress of Evesham. A fantastic initiative to help underprivileged children.

We also attended the Poppy Concert at No. 8 Pershore. A great evening which started with the reading of the poem In Flanders Fields.  Standard bearers were carried with pride and laid-up at the side of the stage whilst the band of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service played the Royal British Legion march.  The concert continued with music from the band, and then the Pershore Town Choir sang five pieces followed by the D Day Dolls (Georgia, Hayley & Jessica) who sang several well-known songs from war days. 

Pershore Town Choir performed as part of the event

Pershore Town Choir performed as part of the event

The second half was similar in content but with the Exhortation by Mr. Simon Dudfield, the Last Post, a Poppy drop and Reveille.  The standards were marched off and after closing remarks by Mr. Dudfield, the audience sang Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory and We’ll Meet Again with the help of the choir and the D Day Dolls.  A really enjoyable evening.  Well done to Pershore RBL. 

There was also a twinning visit from our Twiners in Dreux, France.  During their three day stay they visited Blenheim, enjoyed a walk-about in Evesham, then stopped off at Evesham Town Hall for a lunch provided by Evesham Twinning Association.  As John is Chairman of the Twinning Association we enjoyed fitting in hosting our friends with civic duties. 

Our twinning guests and those who greeted them at Evesham Town Hall

Our twinning guests and those who greeted them at Evesham Town Hall

Finally (phew!) I must mention the fantastic day we had at Worcester Racecourse where I presented medals to returning cyclists who had taken part in the Worcestershire Tour Ride.  Some cyclists had undertaken the 40 mile ride whilst others had gone for the 100 mile ride.  Two of Wychavon’s own staff, Fiona Narburgh and Mark Williams, took part in the ride. 

I enjoyed talking to participants and getting their comments on the whole day, some were locals and others came from further afield but all appeared to enjoy their cycling and certainly there were lots of compliments for the way the event had been organised and for the beautiful scenery.

Me and John with Wychavon's own Fiona Narburgh and Mark Williams

Me and John with Wychavon’s own Fiona Narburgh and Mark Williams

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