Mr Mayor's Diary: July 2006
Saturday 1 July
With most other Mayors in Greater Manchester, we attended the Greater Manchester Youth Games at Sport City, Ashton New Road, Manchester. Young people from local schools and youth groups in all ten districts competed, on a very hot sunny day, in a wide variety of sports including netball, basket ball, hockey, football, lacrosse, table tennis, cricket and swimming at three venues across Manchester. Over one thousand young people took part. We met up with some young people from Wentworth High School and encouraged them. There were many young people wearing the red Salford T shirts. A dance festival was also being held and we watched young people participating in very colourful and energetic street and cultural dance. During our lunch we were entertained by yet another group of musical entertainers. It was a fabulous day and we congratulate those who worked so hard to make it happen, particularly Salford Community Leisure, Sports’ Development Team, our Youth Service and School Staff.
Sunday 2 July
On another very hot day, we went along to a Community Picnic at Clifton Nature Reserve. It was the first of its kind and extremely enjoyable; we hope it is the first of a new and long tradition! There was a lot going on for everyone including handicrafts, fishing, puppet shows and horse riding and many families and groups were out enjoying themselves. The picnics were of many kinds – some families had even taken gazebos and tables and chairs, whilst others were happy with their bag of goodies and a rug. The organisers Salford Park Rangers provided tables and chairs and food could also be purchased; so there was something for every picnic taste. Clifton Nature Reserve is an excellent place for picnics and very accessible for all. We recommend picnicking as a regular family activity! (But remember to take away and dispose of all rubbish carefully so as to keep the area looking great and to keep it a safe and beautiful place for wild life and other people to enjoy!)
It was extremely hot by the time we left and we were glad to enter the relatively cool space in Manchester Cathedral for the 85th Anniversary Service of the Royal British Legion. This was well attended by all the Mayors of Greater Manchester and many officers and dignitaries in honour of the great work accomplished by the British Legion. There is a big need for the service provided by this voluntary organisation as witnessed by Tom who had finished up on the streets following traumatic experiences while serving with the military police in Bosnia. He has been restored in health and to his family and has found stability again through the work of the British Legion. Many others are helped in similar ways.
Tuesday 4 July
Along with other Mayors and church leaders of all denominations, we attended a prayer breakfast at Manchester Town Hall. This has been an annual event for the past fifteen years or so but this year fell within the first ever Week of Prayer for the boroughs of Greater Manchester. This had commenced with a rally in Albert Square on the previous Saturday and included an evening of prayer in each town or city of the area. At the breakfast we heard from workers in the spheres of health and education which was the main focus for the week of prayer this year. We prayed for all who work with and for local government and that all may work for the good of all people and the development of our communities. Never forgetting to include the poorest and most vulnerable in the life of the cities and towns. We felt privileged to be present.
In the middle of the day, we attended a humanist ceremony to celebrate the life of former Councillor and Mayor of Salford, Ivor Zott, who died recently aged 89 years. He had been most recently very involved in the work of Age Concern and we had met him very recently at the launch of Hey Day, a campaigning club for active older people. We extend our condolences to his wife, family and friends.
During the evening we hosted the City Light Trust’s Evening of Prayer in the Council Chamber where a large crowd gathered to pray for Salford and its leaders and citizens as we move into the future. We prayed for justice, peace, wisdom and prosperity for all in our city. Again, we felt extremely privileged to be present at this occasion.
Wednesday 5 July
We were guests of the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust at their Heritage Centre at 2a Alexandra Road, Peel Green, Eccles. It was another very warm day and they did their best to keep us cool! This voluntary group have been saving theatre organs for nearly forty years. The Heritage Centre has been completed and opened recently. The theatre is set out like an old fashioned cinema and the organ rises up out of the floor. Public concerts are given by professional organists at 1pm on Wednesday lunch times and are open to all. All the work has been done by the volunteers and it is an amazing place. We had a splendid time and thoroughly enjoyed visiting the museum of theatre organs in the basement and listening to the concert. If you would like to find out more, contact Roger Fisher on 0161 792 1836 or Colin smith on (0161 764 3979) website: www.itot.co.uk/heritage.
From there, we went straight to Hope Hospital Maternity Unit, which was celebrating 40 years of service to the families of Salford. There are two midwives who started at the opening of the unit and are still working full time there and one of them is training a junior midwife whom she delivered as a baby! Many retired midwives and matrons joined us for the occasion, probably totting up hundreds of years service between them. It was a great occasion. Let’s hope there’ll be another celebration to mark a golden anniversary!
Thursday 6 July
We were delighted to go along to the Manchester Conference Centre at UMIST, Sackville Street where St Ann’s Hospice were making presentations to young people in the Young Citizen of the Year Awards. These were being given for fundraising projects developed and carried out by young people in Manchester and Salford. We cheered when a team from our St Patrick’s High School won the prize for the most innovative idea with their Yellow Baking Day and a young man, Bobby Robinson from St George’s High School won the Best Individual award for dedicated fund raising. Walkden Primary School also took part and raised a lot of money for the Hospice. Altogether about 15 schools were in the finals of this competition and there were some amazing projects in which young people learned many skills particularly relating to business enterprise, teamwork and compassion.
In the evening we met more amazing young people at the Farewell Evening for our visitors from Lunen. They had been looked after by the families and friends of the Lunen Twinning Committee in Swinton. The evening took place in Fletcher Hall next to St Peter’s Church. There was a fantastic atmosphere of fun and friendship with young people from local schools and youth groups joining in the hospitality. We were delighted also to meet members of the Salford Sailing Club who meet regularly to sail on Pennington Flash, who had played host to our German visitors for a sailing session. We look forward to meeting the visitors again at Lunen in August.
Friday 7 July
In the morning we had an administration meeting about forthcoming events and diary arrangements.
This was followed in the evening by a visit to St Paul’s Church, Moor Lane, Kersal, for “Heart and Soul”, a fundraising event for the Greater Manchester Community Chaplaincy. This was a superb evening of jazz and song by “Soul Man” and “Not Quite Jazz” and full supporting programme. The Community Chaplaincy works to help keep vulnerable people away from crime and with ex-prisoners to support them back in to their community. It is an offshoot of the prison chaplaincy service and works in partnership with the probation service to help people of any faith or none. Apart from raising money for a very worthwhile charity, it was an excellent evening out.
Saturday 8 July
We were pleased to go along to Eccles to open the show house for the Miller Homes development at Greenwood on Stafford Road. This is a development of thirty or more four and five bedroomed houses at the more expensive end of the market which have many features for comfortable living in the 21st century and several energy-saving features, set in a lovely area of the city.
We stayed in Eccles for the afternoon as we went to Eccles Recreation Ground off Liverpool Road to cheer on 20 teams youths who were competing in a mini-world cup 6 a side football competition. These 120 young people aged between 12 and 16 had a great day of sport in an atmosphere of friendly rivalry. The final was between Ghana and the Ivory Coast, with Ghana clinching it and walking off with the major trophy. Great fun was had by all and many requests for more of this from the players, some of the older ones expressing an interest in helping to organise the next one. Go to it lads! The event was the inspiration of Imogen Stewart, from the Salvation Army Church in Eccles, and excellently supported by Salford City Youth Service, Sports’ Development Workers and our Police Community Support Officers. Well done everyone!
In the evening we moved across to Swinton where we were guests at a fundraising event for St Peter’s Church. We were entertained royally by the Lancashire Fusiliers Association Band and the Northendon Pipe Band. It was an excellent concert of military and other band music and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The Fusiliers have historical links with our city and had barracks in Salford at some point. The Pipe Band is looking for new members, so if you’ve ever fancied playing bagpipes you know where you can have a go.
Monday 10 July
I chaired a meeting of the Council Agenda Setting Group at Salford Civic Centre in Swinton. The group is made up of members from the different political parties, the Leader of the Council.and they decide what is to be on the agenda of this month’s full council meeting.
In the evening we went to Broughton Jewish Cassel Fox Primary School in Broughton for their end of term concert. This was entitled “Back to the Present”. Every pupil from Year 3 to Year 6 had a part in this very lively and excellent production which took us back in time to years of disease and child labour, contrasting it with the lives of many of today’s children. We were treated to some excellent singing and acting and some great humour!
Tuesday 11 July
This morning in the Parlour we received Doreen Gerson, Director of the Israel Information Centre, Bury Old Road, Manchester, to discuss friendship links with Israel. Doreen also brings over from Israel, groups of artists, actors and musicians whose members are both Israeli and Arab who work on the projects together. Like many ordinary people, Doreen works to foster good and peaceful relations between different people. We have put Doreen in touch with relevant people to develop links.
Later I chaired a meeting of my Charity Committee who work voluntarily to raise funds for my charities this year. I have four charities: Salford Children’s Holiday Camp; Age Concern in Salford; Feryal Rajah Trust for young women needing support to follow a medical career, and CAFOD; a fund for overseas development which has an office in Kersal - this last being about wanting to help people outside of our city as well as those within it. The committee welcomes new members. Please contact my office at the Civic Centre (Tel 0161 793 3064) if you would like to help in anyway.
Wednesday 12 July
We went along to a celebration for people aged over 55, presented by Age Concern and Salford Strategy for older people, which took place at Fit City, Camp Street, Broughton. Irwell Valley had provided an excellent and healthy lunch for all in the lovely garden of Roman Court just over the road. Many people attended from local sheltered housing complexes, residential care homes and lots of independent local people. An old time musical trio, “Three’s Company”, entertained us. Afterwards we all moved over to the Fit City building where there was Salsa dancing and Tai Chi to sample and lots of information to collect or find out about such as Affordable Warmth, Ready Meals, Helping Hands, Age Concern, Welfare Rights, Healthy Eating, Fair Trade, Clubs and different interest groups to name but a few! The Mayoress and I qualify for membership and picked up much useful information.
In the evening, we were guests at St Philip’s Church, Bexley Square for the installation of Councillor Andy Salmon as Area Dean for the Anglican Church in Salford. This was a very moving service led by Stephen Lowe, the Bishop of Hulme and well supported by the lively congregation. Each church in the area brought something along to symbolise their church and everyone in the church lit a candle while we prayed for each other and for Andy in his new work. We finished off with refreshments and time for chatting.
Thursday 13 July
We were having a “fit” week! This time we were off to help launch the new Inclusive Fitness Initiative at Fit City, Liverpool Road, Clarendon at the invitation of the Sports’ Development Team. Rachel, an Olympic standard wheelchair, basketball player cut the ribbon. The place was very busy and we watched wheel-chair basketball; hockey and exercise machine work with people of all abilities. The centre is fully accessible with hoists and other aids available in the pool and open access to all facilities at the centre.
Friday 14 July
We attended an administration meeting at Salford Civic Centre, Swinton to discuss future engagements.
Salford City Football Club were our guests at lunchtime. They have won the North West Counties League Cup for the first time since 1978 – a very large and impressive trophy that we are very proud to display in the Civic Centre for the next twelve months. The Club did extremely well last season and things are looking good for the coming one. The next match is on August 12 at their home ground on Moor Lane, Kersal. Why not go along and support them?
In the evening I joined the local police out on patrol in the city. It was very interesting to see at first hand how the police force goes about its work trying to keep us all safe from harm.
Monday 17 July
The Mayoress and I travelled to London as we were attending the Queen’s garden Party the following day.
Tuesday 18 July
On a brilliantly sunny and very hot day we made our way to Buckingham Palace for one of the Queen’s Garden Parties. We were among 8000 guests thronging in the garden of Buckingham Palace, which is as big as the lovely Clowes Park in Broughton – lake included! We were lucky to find a couple of seats with a great view of proceedings as the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and members of the family processed down the steps to greet the visitors. We partook of lemon barley water, iced coffee cucumber sandwiches and small chocolate cakes, embellished with the royal crest, which were available in the tea tent, and spoke with a lovely lady from Shropshire who shares the same birthday as the Queen - 21 April 1926. We met many interesting people from all over the country and were able to wander freely through the lovely gardens. The Queen took her tea in the Royal Tent with a group of specially selected guests while we mingled and walked. We were not allowed to take photographs or to have mobile phones switched on and there was a great deal of security. At 6pm, just after the Queen went indoors accompanied to strains of the National Anthem, we crunched over the pink gravel to the gate and then to the Mall from where we drove home; it took one and a half hours just to get from there to the A4 and we finally arrived home, tired but happy at midnight!
Wednesday 19 July
Today we hosted a reception for this month’s Mayor’s Citizen Award, Ian Macdonald, along with his family and friends. Ian was nominated for this award because he has completed an amazing 33 years service as a Magistrate in our city, serving some of that time as the Chairman of the Bench. It was lovely to meet him and his family and share some reminiscences.
After the Award ceremony in the Council Chamber, I chaired the July meeting of the full city council.
Thursday 20 July
I attended Salford University graduation ceremonies at the Lyric Theatre in Salford Quays, dressed in full ceremonial robes along with the Vice Chancellor of the University and members of staff. It was a very impressive and proud occasion for the students, their families and their teachers and a wonderful day to remember for all. We wish all the students the very best as they start new lives of work or further study.
Friday 21 July
We travelled to Tatton Park to attend the Royal Horticultural Show where Salford’s Landscaping Department at Urban Vision won a gold medal for designing and building a school garden, commissioned by the North West Development Agency. It was an extremely interesting and practically designed garden. Designers had worked with children from Radclyffe and St Clement’s Schools in Salford and many children had designed tiles which had been incorporated into the furniture. Children of all ages will be able to grow plants and benefit from the many exciting learning features of the garden and greenhouse – we liked the roof planting and the water conservation feature! Casey’s the builders had constructed it and are to look after the structure until the new school is ready to receive it. Casey’s also purchased all the planting used in the garden for the show and the money will then be used to pay for new planting which will be done by the children, who are looking forward to growing their own produce. There has been a great deal of creative thinking and cooperation in this project. Well done everyone!
Sunday 23 July
The Mayor and Mayoress of Bury joined us for the Annual General Meeting of the Jewish Community Care at the Nicky Alliance Day Centre, Middleton Road Manchester. This centre does wonderful work with elderly and vulnerable people in the Jewish Community and we have already been to open their art exhibition at Broughton Library a few weeks ago. We heard about more of their excellent work and congratulate their many dedicated volunteers on their achievements in their work with Day Centre members. The guest speaker was Louise Ellman MP for Liverpool, Riverside. She originates from Manchester and so was back on home territory and gave a fascinating and serious talk.
In the afternoon, we attended the annual Booth Charities Commemoration Service at Sacred Trinity Church in Greengate, Salford. This was a very moving service graced with lovely music and singing from the Hope Hospital Choir. We were reminded of the life of Humphrey Booth who started a charity to benefit poor and needy people in Salford, and whose charity still distributes money today and supports many voluntary projects and social works in our city. Salford is proud of its philanthropic ancestor. The only condition laid down in Humphrey Booth’s bequest was that citizens would pray for his soul each year and this is what we did today. There were many guests in the congregation who have benefited in 2006 from his generosity and foresight nearly four hundred years ago. It was an ancestor of Humphrey Booth who built the first bridge over the Irwell from Salford to Manchester in the thirteenth century on the spot where Victoria Bridge now stands. So the Booth family have an enormously long association with Salford.
Tuesday 25 July
We received Mr David Wilson, the Honorary Consul for Iceland and Deputy Lieutenant of the Duchy of Lancaster, in the Parlour. He brought greetings from the President of Iceland and from the Consul in London. Mr Wilson looks after any Icelandic people who live in Salford or Greater Manchester should they need any help or advice.
We arrived in Boothstown at midday to attend the opening of the Boothstown Junior Football Club’s new clubhouse. This is an ambitious project which has come to be, through the dedication and persistence of a group of volunteers supported by the Salford Sports’ Development Team who were present at the opening. We saw youths training and involved in Street Dance. It is a wonderful building and the ground big enough to house several pitches and possibly allow other sports and activities to take place such as rounders, netball and dance. We wish them success in all their games.
Thursday 27 July
I was a guest of Swinton Rotary Club at their Charter Night at Swinton Park Golf Club on the East Lancashire Road, Swinton, where I had a very enjoyable time, renewing acquaintance with some people I have not met for a while.
Friday 28 July
This was the beginning of a big weekend for many athletes who were travelling to Salford from all over the world for the World Triathlon Cup Competition. On behalf of Salford City Council, the Mayoress and I hosted a Pasta Party Reception for the elite athletes and officials from the British Triathlon Association, held at the Lowry Hotel. The party was sponsored by Sir Rocco Forte who is a Triathlon enthusiast himself and took part in one of the events on Sunday. It was a splendid setting and a lovely evening to relax and chat before the rigours of the course on Sunday. We met athletes from as far afield as Japan, USA, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Russia to name a few, and not forgetting our own British elite triathlon athletes!
Saturday 29 July
We joined volunteers from Cancer Research UK who were holding their first fund-raising weekend at Cleavley’s Track in Eccles. Fifteen sponsored teams of nine people were to race in relay over 24 hours. The day began with a lap of honour for cancer survivors and was followed by a single lap by all the contenders. After this it was down to the long haul with team members taking it in turns to lap the circuit. They hope to raise several thousand pounds for cancer research in the UK. Helen Ferns from Christie Hospital told us of some of the work the money would help to fund. The event was very well organised by a lively team of youthful volunteers. It promised to be great fun as well as being a healthy way to spend the weekend with lots of fresh air and exercise to the accompaniment of some excellent bands. Cancer Research UK are hoping to make this an annual event in Salford and we recommend it to families and groups of friends as a great way to spend a weekend. Once again, great support was given by Salford Sports’ Development Team.
From there we went along to the Water Sports Centre at Salford Quays where the Sports Development Team (again) were organising an open day for young people in Salford. Youth Groups took part in Bell Boat Racing and they and other young people were able to try their hand at rock wall climbing, exercise equipment, training on a surf machine, riding all kinds of adapted cycles (Cycling for All). Everyone was having a marvellous time and we hope they are able to return on a regular basis.
This was a busy day! We travelled over to Platt Fields in Manchester next as guests, with other Mayors from Greater Manchester, at the Mega Mela which was a huge celebration for people from five countries in South East Asia. There was music, food and lots of stalls.
Sunday 30 July
We joined athletes and spectators at Salford Quays to watch the elite athlete section of the International World Cup Triathlon, which took place at the Quays throughout the day. The early morning was used by many age groups for their races and nearly 1000 athletes took part. At midday the women’s elite race started followed by the men’s. The races were challenging tests of resilience and skill and were immensely exciting events, enjoyed by athletes and the crowds of spectators alike. Many athletes said that a sfar as they were concerned, the Salford Quays course is the best in the world!
In the evening we hosted a farewell party for the elite athletes at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery where they were glad to relax and eat.
There were speeches and “thank you’s”. Councillor Merry, the Leader of the City Council, presented Mr Les McDonald, Chair of the International Triathlon committee, with a book about Salford on behalf of the City. I really must congratulate all the partners for their work in creating such a successful event – Salford Community Leisure, Citywide Catering, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, the Events Team, local Police, the Lowry and Salford Quays Management and the City Council. Then it was time to say farewell to all, as the athletes prepared to leave Salford the next day for other venues in Europe. We hope they return next year.
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