Spare a thought for your postie this Christmas

Plenty of people will be working hard over the festive period, but spare a thought for our dedicated postal workers who will have to deliver all those letters and parcels.

On Monday, 12 December, I paid a 7.30am visit to the  Pershore Royal Mail sorting office to see just how hard our postmen and women work over the festive period to get our cards and packages to us before Christmas Eve.

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Me with one of our hardworking posties

We were shown round by Dale Martin and I was impressed to see how extremely tidy the office was with the staff working quickly and efficiently sorting things into post code areas before they would set out with their vans to go to outlying areas as well as the town of Pershore.

We owe our postmen and women a huge debt of gratitude for all they do throughout the year but especially at Christmas in getting our post to us so efficiently.

That day also saw us mark a new milestone in the history of the fire service in Evesham as the town’s fire station on Merstow Green was officially closed. The building had been stripped of all it’s past except for the engines which formed a parade down Abbey Road to the new station by the Leisure Centre.

fire-station

Posing with Steve (i/c at Evesham) with Cllr Prodger, the Fire Chief and John outside the new station.

What a splendid building with great facilities for our valiant firefighters to use. After a short ceremony and specches we were given a brief tour of the new building before meeting present and past fire fighters over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.  Evesham can be truly proud of these wonderful facilities whilst now awaiting the demolition of the old station and the development of the new Waitrose store on the site.

At 12 noon we joined members and staff of Worcestershire County Council for their annual carol service.  Always a lovely occasion for members and staff to share.  Saturday, 11 December , saw us join  the Mayor and Mayoress of Stourport for a pre-Christmas dinner at The Black Star in Mitton Street.

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Singers from Prince henry’s High School who provided Christmas songs together with St Bede’s Junior School.

Lovely Christmassy atmosphere with crackers, nice meal and a draw for the Mayor’s charities (RSPCA and Midlands Air Ambulance) which raised something over £200 on the night.

The following day was Council, at which several presentations were made.   To Karen Kempton, PCSO for Safer Schools Evesham, I presented  the Wychavon Police Trophy 2016 for using her professional curiosity to identify a number of young people who are at risk of significant harm – protecting vulnerable people from harm through partnership working.

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PCSO Karen Kempton receiving her award

Secondly Rev Philip Jones, a member of the “Faith at work in Worcestershire”,  was recognised for his service as chaplain at Wychavon since 1997/98. He is  taking up a new post in Stoke-on-Trent after a short period of study leave and finally to Elaine Dicks, who received a long service award for 30 years service at Wychavon which she joined in 1986. After undertaking various roles she finished up as Electoral Services Manager in 2010 and looks after all elections which take place in the district. (794 with PCSO Karen Kempton) After Council had finished I managed to get to Prince Henry’s High School for the second half of their annual Christmas Concert.

Another great example of some of the best local talent culminating in over 150 students performing on stage together for the finale.  Lots of traditional music, audience participation, big band, barbershop, community orchestra and brass group to entertain a very appreciative audience.  Well done again Prince Henry’s.

On Thursday 15 December, it was the turn of Pershore High School for one of their annual carol services in Pershore Abbey at 11am.  Another traditional service but with some rather special ideas.  Five candles were lit each accompanied by some words.  The first candle was for HOPE – for the future;  the second candle was for PEACE – to commemorate the battle of the Somme; the third candle was for JOY – for Pershore High School and the Community; the fourth candle – LOVE for Humanity and the fifth candle – JESUS CHRIST.

The following day Wychavon  had it’s own carol service in the Council chamber.  This was the first time Wychavon had held such a service and it was heartening to see some members and staff joining other “chains” to celebrate the story of Christmas.

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Me with MPs for this area Nigel Huddleston MP, and Harriett Baldwin MP

Pupils from Holy Redeemer Catholic Primary School in Pershore accompanied by their music teacher Mr. Oliver Lister joined in with audience carols and sang beautifully four separate pieces of Christmas music – all without books but with enthusiasm.  My consort read a lesson and at the last minute Vic Allison, the deputy Managing Director stood in for my cadet (who was unfortunately taken ill)  to read another lesson.   My chaplain, Rev Mark Binney said prayers, and following words of thanks from me and a poem “Christmas is a time for sharing” we all enjoyed refreshments in the Committee rooms.

That night John and I joined the Chairman of Bromsgrove District Council at a Charity Spectacular Christmas Extravaganza at the home of Mr Dick Gardiner where about 130 people enjoyed a buffet meal, carols and entertainment in a lovely Christmassy setting, with proceeds going to the Chairman’s chosen charity – Sunfield.  A lovely end to a busy day.

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Carol singers

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Me with compere for the evening

We attended another lovely carol service on Sunday, 18 December, held in the traditional manner.   This one was at St. James Church, West Malvern – a civic service of lessons and carols by candlelight with the Chairman of Malvern Hills District Council, Cllr John Raine.  Cllr Raine also plays the organ at St James’ so he was busy playing the main organ and a smaller organ for choir carols, rather than sitting with the rest of the “chain gang”.  His wife is also an organist and read one of the lessons.  Some lovely pieces of music reminding me of when I sang with Evesham Arts Centre Choir singing many of the pieces we heard during this service.

Wednesday 21 December, I accepted an invitation from Worcester News to attend their carol service at Worcester Cathedral.  The Dean welcomed a packed cathedral to another lovely service of readings, carols and Christmas music, led by the cathedral choir.

Trees lining Worcester Cathedral

Trees lining Worcester Cathedral

Finally, on Thursday (December 22) I joined the Deputy Managing Director, Vic Allison, on a tour of the Civic Centre and the Community Contact Centre at Evesham to greet staff, thank them all for their hard work during the year and to congratulate them on helping Wychavon to be the third best place to live and to wish them a Happy Christmas and an even better New Year.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

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