Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall?

I’ve definitely been getting into the Christmas spirit over the last few weeks as a number of my engagements have involved the festive season.

On Thursday, 24 November, I attended the opening of the Worcester Christmas Fayre by the Mayor of Worcester.  We assembled in the Guildhall, enjoyed canapes and mulled non-alcoholic punch and were entertained by Deaf Direct, a group of people who did sign-language to various Christmas songs – something  very different and enjoyable.  After the voluntary Cathedral choir has sung on the steps of the Guildhall we processed down to the Cornmarket area where a brief service was conducted by the Dean of Worcester Cathedral Peter Atkinson, with the voluntary choir and the Salvation Army band.

Representatives from Worcester’s twin towns in France, Germany and Lithuania said a few words and the Mayor then officially opened the Fayre, giving all the VIP’s the chance to enjoy a ride on the Carousel (built in  1890) – oh what childhood memories, no not of 1890 but of the times in my childhood when we regularly had carousels at local fairs.

Me enjoying a carousel ride

Me enjoying a carousel ride

The same evening we travelled to Stourport-on-Severn for their town lights switch-on.  We parade around the town, where at intervals the lights are switched on, finishing back at the Civic Centre for prayers and the switching-on of the christmas tree lights outside the civic centre by Claire Cashmore (Paralympic  gold medallist) and the Mayor Ken Henderson, accompanied by the Carnival Queen and her attendants and, of course, Father Christmas.

Saturday 26 November was the turn of Evesham’s lights to be switched on.  There was a huge crowd in the Market Square where John and I joined the Mayor and Mayoress of Evesham, Fred Kaler and Sue Amor, the Town Crier (John Raphael) and Father Christmas (this fellow gets everywhere, he must be very busy!!)  Evesham Community choir led the carol singing prior to the switch-on and a great firework display.

Lights on - Evesham Town Crier, Father Christmas, me, John, Shawn Riley and the Mayor of Evesham.

Lights on – Evesham Town Crier, Father Christmas, me, John, Shawn Riley and the Mayor of Evesham.

The following day we saw the generosity of the public on display as we visited the theT4U (Teams 4U)unit  on Davies Road, where a good number of people had gathered to wave off the first lorry to travel to Romania with shoe boxes laden with goodies for the children of that country.

The event started with prayers, a couple of Christmas songs then Bob (local organiser of the shoe box appeal) told us some facts about the scheme.  9,643 shoe boxes were loaded on this lorry (packed into 977 larger cartons) with 23 bags of squigy items (toys etc.), 14 tubs of liquid (soap, hand creams etc).

Bob and I with some shoe boxes already received for next week’s journey.

Bob and I with some shoe boxes already received for next week’s journey.

This was the first time liquid had been allowed to travel with the boxes (not allowed to be packed into shoe boxes in case they split open and spoilt all the items contained in the box, so were sent separately in large tubs supplied by Dawn Foods)  Shoe boxes are still being received at the unit and will make up another consignment travelling next weekend.  The end total of shoe boxes will be almost 18,000.

This is a fantastic way to help children in other countries and has been on-going for many years.  (Previously under the title Overseas Christmas Child).  We wished the drivers well on their long trip to Romania – they expect to arrive Thursday afternoon (1st Dec.) – after their arrival in Romania the boxes will then be distributed to the many children in need of toys, games and clothing etc. for Christmas.  Five volunteers from T4U will be travelling out to Romania next weekend to help with the distribution and hope to bring pictures and many stories back of how these gifts are received.  Very well done to Bob and his team.

Last Thursday (1 December) was a lovely night for the annual switching on of the Evesham Rotary Club Tree of Light which I had been given the honour to do as Chairman and as a member of Evesham Rotary Club.

Me at the Rotary Tree of Lights switch on

Me at the Rotary Tree of Lights switch on

Although it was a cold evening, there were many people sharing non-alcoholic mulled wine and mince pies waiting for the ceremony to commence.  The President of Evesham Rotary Patrick Staines introduced the evening and welcome the Revd. Israel Selvanayagam(Methodist minister) for prayers, the District Governor for Rotary Richard Purdon and myself.  After the usual count-down the 2016 Rotary Tree of Lights  glowed in the darkness across the river and all those present the opportunity to remember loved-ones.

The following evening saw me at Pershore Abbey for the Worcester Male Voice choir Christmas concert.  Having been present in May at their last concert we knew we were in for a great evening.  The choir with their conductor Nicholas Wright, organist Keith Hearndhaw (organist), Joanne Jefferis (cello soloist) and Samuel James who sang some beautiful pieces, the audience were treated to great music to get us in the mood for Christmas.  To cap it all we had Dave Bradley from Hereford & Worcester Radio as the compere.  Dave kept us all laughing with his anecdotes and tales and the whole evening was a real pleasure.

Part of the choir performing

Part of the choir performing




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