Lord Mayor's Diary: My first six months have been full of wonder and good memories
PUBLISHED: 11:54 23 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:55 23 December 2016
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2016
The festive season is well and truly with us, which brings memories of Christmases past and a time to remember family and friends wherever they may be.
As I have recently passed the halfway point in my term, I have been reflecting on the first six months of my time as lord mayor, which has, more than ever, made me realise just what an amazing city Norwich is. I have been increasingly heartened to see how we welcome people from all walks of life and encourage them to be part of our community.
This was particularly brought home to me when I attended the Eastern Daily Press Stars of Norfolk & Waveney Awards where we heard some wonderful stories of people overcoming adversity and those who had helped others throughout the year.
Councillor Mike Stonard and I were honoured to present the Outstanding Bravery of the Year Award. It was awe-inspiring to hear of the two men who, without thought for their own safety, saved three people from drowning. Only one of the men could attend on the night and it was an honour to meet and talk to him.
So totally overwhelmed was I to hear the story of the rescue, that after the congratulations I completely forget what I was meant to do and managed to walk off stage with the bottle of champagne I had been supposed to present.
I was soon hauled back by the host Nick Conrad to hand over the bottle to complete the prize-giving.
Luckily the unassuming recipient had a great sense of humour and enjoyed the occasion, which saved my blushes.
To my delight, carol services have featured heavily in my diary this month ranging from small local church gatherings to Norwich Cathedral in all its glory and the annual St Andrew’s Hall extravaganza.
I have to confess that, although I have enjoyed them all, my absolute favourite was The Parkside School service in the cathedral where, together with a lovely young lady volunteer and a countdown from the bishop, we switched on the lights of the huge and beautiful Christmas tree. It was pure magic and to see all the children delight in the spectacular display was so heart-warming. My heart-felt thanks goes to all the carers, teachers and helpers who made this event one of the most wonderful I have been part of this Christmas.
I am very lucky to have received invitations for a number of parties in recent weeks. In fact, I had the good fortune to attend two on the same day followed by a carol concert. The parties were so much fun. In the early afternoon I went to the East Coast Truckers annual get together, where Father Christmas arrived on a very large truck, much to the delight of all the children.
This was followed by The Norfolk & Norwich Association for The Blind’s Glitter Party, where Mother Christmas arrived on the back of one of the five Harley Davidsons, escorting an even bigger truck and a group of Scottish pipers. What a wonderful noise, only outdone by the shrieks of the children enjoying themselves.
On Christmas Day this year, Mike Stonard and the deputy lord mayor and I, are looking forward to helping out Open Christmas at St Andrews Hall where they are expecting around 400 people to come along and join the festive fare.
This year has been one of issues that have brought sadness to many, but my hope is that we can look forward to brighter future, sure in the knowledge that in Norwich we really do our best to deal with whatever life throws at us.
May I wish you all a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.