400 Santas dashing on a sunny morning (sadly no snow)

I never thought I would see 400 Father Christmas’ all in one place, but that’s exactly the sight that greeted me as I attended the Santa Dash at The Valley in aid of St Richard’s Hospice, which as you will know is my charity for the year.

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Santas warm up for the off

There were young,  (very young) and old and the in-betweens taking part in the race around the lake.  Although it was a cold morning the sun was shining and everyone was enjoying the event which started in front of the promenade of shops then went off around the lake.

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Me, a St Richard’s helper and John waiting for the Santas to return

One or two parents were carrying children in baby slings and one little 5-year old mastered the course with the help of her father.  As the runners came back to the finish John and  I and volunteers from St Richard’s were on hand to distribute goody bags, medals and water.

Away from the festive period, and I attended a very special meeting of Droitwich Spa Town Council on Monday, 5 December to see former Droitwich Town Councillor Peter Pinfield given the status of Honorary Alderman in recognition of his eminent services rendered to the Council and for his meritorious services to the town in both a civic and non-civic capacity.

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Peter Pinfield, his wife Pat and me after the ceremony

Mr Pinfield has been involved in politics for over 30 years, although no longer a councillor, at Town, District amd County level.  He is now chairman of Health Watch, a body which scrutinises local health activities.  In his reply Mr Pinfield thanked his family for their support and the many people in the room for their encouragement during his years on the various councils.

I was also delighted to attend the official opening of the latest extension to our local first school, St Andrew’s C of E. The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Rev John Inge, did the honours.   Also present was the Chairman of Worcestershire County Council (Cllr Tony Miller) and his wife Kath, the Rev. Mark Binney (my chaplain) and Vicar of St. Andrew’s Church, Hampton and representatives from many organisations.

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Some of the students and invited guests wait for the opening

The children’s choir sang for us before we all went outside to the new extension where the Bishop cut the ribbon and declared the building open.  The children went back to their classrooms whilst invited guests enjoyed very healthy fruit snacks before heading off with a senior pupil for a tour of the new building.  As both John and I attended the old Hampton School (many years ago), we were amazed to see the brilliant facilities today’s pupils have  and as the Bishop told the children how lucky they are to be able to learn in such fantastic surroundings and reminded them of children in Syria and other places of conflict which do not have such facilities.

After a few hours catching up on paperwork at the Civic Centre – and selling a few raffle tickets for my Christmas Draw in aid of St Richard’s Hospice – John and I took a tour of Pershore Community Hospital. We were met by the Matron Daniel, who gave us an interesting tour of the building, meeting patients and staff and learning how the hospital meets the needs of the community in Pershore.  Like Evesham, with its own community hospital, I think we are extremely lucky to have such facilities, giving patients the opportunity of care closer to home.  Long may this continue.

On Friday, 9 December, I presented certificates and plaques at the Wychavon Building Awards ceremony at the Civic Centre.  In total 25 nominations were received for awards for building design and the panel had a really difficult task to choose the winners. Among them was Hanbury Hall for a commendation in the Heritage category for their windows and Pershore College for their innovative Atrium design.

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Some of the winners of the Wychavon Building Awards

Following the awards ceremony John and I went to St. Mary and All Saints Church at Kidderminster for the Chairman’s carol service – a very traditional ninr lessons and carols followed by light refreshments (mince pies etc) at the rear of the church.  (I think we shall know most of the carols by the end of the Christmas season but it is always nice to visit other towns for their celebrations).

And finally, I was delighted to be invited to present the Wychawards – the annual staff awards of Wychavon District Council. So many people work so hard throughout the year helping to run the various activities and services we all rely on and they often go unnoticed so it was lovely to be able to offer some recognition for their efforts.

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