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Lord Mayor's Diary: All 11 of the carol concerts which I attended offered something special

PUBLISHED: 14:40 20 January 2015 | UPDATED: 14:40 20 January 2015

The Theatre Royal Panto Carol Service at St Peter Mancroft Church. The Panto Babes in full voice. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Theatre Royal Panto Carol Service at St Peter Mancroft Church. The Panto Babes in full voice. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2014

A thank-you to all those who invited me to their carol concerts leading up to Christmas. Each of the 11 were special in their own way, ranging from the Cathedral Special Schools Concert to the Pantomime Carol Concert in St Peter Mancroft, where the panto dog, Nana, took centre stage with Revd. Peter Noakes coaxing it to read from the hymn sheet.

The Theatre Royal Panto Carol Service at St Peter Mancroft Church. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Theatre Royal Panto Carol Service at St Peter Mancroft Church. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The church was packed and a great tribute to this Peter’s last panto carol service as he is retiring in February. He will very much be missed.

On Christmas Day itself I went along to Open Christmas at St Andrew’s Hall with my husband, daughter and daughter-in-law, leaving my son to do the cooking.

We were pleased to meet with the committee members who organise the event, the marvellous volunteers and of course those who turn up on the day to share together a Christmas meal.

Although most of the food preparation is done in advance by City College volunteers, the cooks in the small kitchen off Blackfriars Hall cooked an amazing meal.

The Theatre Royal Panto Carol Service at St Peter Mancroft Church. Richard Gauntlett, Smee and Panto writer and director. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Theatre Royal Panto Carol Service at St Peter Mancroft Church. Richard Gauntlett, Smee and Panto writer and director. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

This was enjoyed by a few hundred people accompanied by musical entertainment.

Well done to all those who gave of their time, donations of money and food.

I started the new year with a Christmas meal at Doughty’s Hospital with 80 residents and staff.

I am not sure whether it was the last meal of the Christmas 2014 or a very, very early 2015 Christmas meal! Either way it was a beautiful meal and a joy to meet the elderly residents. When one visits a place like Doughty’s for the first time, one tries to do a bit of research to find out a bit about the founder.

I have two very good books, ‘The Story of Norwich’ by Frank Meeres and ‘Norwich Knowledge’ by Mike Loveday and between the two I usually come up with enough information for the task.

I learned he was a merchant from Dereham, who decided to leave a detailed will in 1687, in which £600 was to be spent on building almshouses, money left over was used to buy land to provide an income for their upkeep.

Doughty’s survives today as a successful sheltered housing
scheme run by Norwich Consolidated Charities, which is a testament to the aspirations of its founder.

So the privileged role as Lord Mayor does mean you have to do a bit of research from time to time.

That was also the case with a letter I have been asked to write to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Library in Springfield, Illinois, have asked that I write to say how Norwich has interacted with the legacy of Abraham Lincoln in the last 150 years.

They want to display the letter to pair with one sent by the then
Mayor of Norwich, Charles Edward Tuck in 1865 to offer condolences to the American people on the
assassination of their president.

Fortunately there are a number of legacies including the important one of friendship with the American people that I can write about.

My new year’s resolution is to walk every day for at least 20 minutes, but hopefully more.

I have kept this up so far and am lucky that I have Eaton Park close by to walk in.

It is also home to the weekly Parkrun, which sees hundreds of runners doing a 5km run, each Saturday at 9am. Although it keeps everyone fit it is also very much a social occasion.

Perhaps here in Norwich we could start a weekly walk in our Parks for those who are not so energetic and getting on in years?

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