Mr Mayor's Diary: 1-17 May
Wednesday 17 May
Mayor-Making Day! The Mayor for 2005-2006, Councillor Jimmy Hunt handed over his chain of office and good wishes to me, the new Mayor for 2006-2007, Councillor Bernard Murphy. Councillor Hunt will be missed as mayor and a very hard act to follow! His Mayoress, Mrs Linda Hunt passed on her chain of office to my wife, Councillor Jane Murphy who will be my Mayoress. It is a poignant ceremony.
The Mayoress and I were delighted to welcome many relatives and friends to this ceremony which took place in the Salford Council Chamber before all our Council colleagues, the new Chief Executive, Barbara Spicer and Directors for the City Council.
Thursday 18 May
My first engagement as Mayor was at a musical showcase by All Saints Musical Productions “Our Little Night Music”, at the Studio Theatre, the Lowry on Salford Quays. This was an excellent show of dance and song from modern musicals by a talented group of amateurs. The group practises every Tuesday at Eccles Liberal Club and is looking for young people to join a planned production of “Oliver” next year.
Friday 19 May
The Mayoress and I spent the morning at the third annual City Conference on Housing Strategy for Salford entitled “Rethinking Housing”. This was very interesting for us, and helped us visualise what Salford might be like in the coming decades. There were people attending from many disciplines and directorates along with local tenant and resident representatives. We stayed for lunch but had to leave before the afternoon workshops.
Saturday 20 May
We presented certificates to Adult Learners at the Old Fire Station, now a Salford University Building. The learners had been nominated for special awards owing to various difficulties most had overcome in order to learn something new. Some eighty-year old ladies were venturing into new technology and mastering the computer. One man responded to help to come away from drugs and a life of crime and violence and is now and helping others to do the same, at the same time as educating himself; his was a particularly moving story. We had a lovely Saturday morning with the students and their families along with their teachers and other colleagues. There is something for everyone!
Tuesday 23 May
With the help of two young pupils, I planted a plum tree at Brentnall Primary School to celebrate “Five-a-day” and “Grow Your Own” project - work in the school linked to health improvement with the Primary Care Trust. The school secretary has done a lot of work on this project helping the children to grow their own vegetables and fruit and even getting parents involved. The Headteacher, Staff and pupils made us both very welcome as we toured this bright and happy school. We especially enjoyed the song and dance they had composed and performed about “Five-a-day” for Brentnall children, not forgetting the excellent percussion accompaniment!
Later we attended a Civic Reception at Stockport Town Hall, guests of the Mayor of Stockport. There were many people and we enjoyed a lovely meal and raised funds for Wellspring, the Mayor of Stockport’s Charity – a charity for homeless and vulnerable people in the Stockport area.
Wednesday 24 May
This was a red-letter day for the Health and Social Care Faculty at Salford University with the opening of the new Mary Seacole state-of-the-art building which will house many of the courses in health and social care, including the nursing training. We attended as Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Olympic gold medallist in wheelchair sprinting, officially opened the building and unveiled a plaque. She gave an inspirational talk about her life and the challenges she has had to face. Her motto is“Aim high, even if you hit a cabbage!” which I gather is Welsh for “Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you really want to do!” Her daughter is called Carys – the same as my little great-niece, a name which means “love”. Mayors from other boroughs in Greater Manchester were also present and I proudly welcomed them and other guests on behalf of the City of Salford.
Later in the day we joined the Girlguide Association for Greater Manchester for their Annual General Meeting and award ceremony. This was an AGM with a difference! There was also a hot-pot supper and entertainment with a dance demonstration on the lines of "Strictly Come-Dancing”. Most of us joined in and learned new steps! There were about 140 people there – twice their usual crowd for an AGM. I think they will be using that idea again. Several Guiding groups from Salford were represented and Brownies from Eccles gained the top award for work in their local community.
Thursday 25 May
McQueen’s Musical Instruments were celebrating 21 years of business enterprise. They are situated on Bolton Road in Pendlebury and have had the contract to repair and refurbishing all the brass instruments from all the Regimental Bands in the United Kingdom. They have been doing this for ten years, the owner of this small business having successfully bid for this contract then at the time. The Queen had been invited to attend the celebration but was otherwise engaged and so the Duke of Kent, who was also visiting other places in the Northwest, very kindly agreed to come along. It was a very interesting morning meeting the owner and workers in the business and members of his family. The Duke was shown around the workshops and presented with a bugle. A small band from Salford University Music Faculty provided a fanfare specially composed by a student for the occasion. The student presented the Duke with a copy of the manuscript of the fanfare music. The Duke seemed very interested in everything and touched by the music. Unfortunately whenever Royalty visit the city, security is so tight that the public generally do not find out about the visit until it happens and it was lovely to see people emerging from their homes to see what all the fuss was about! It was a very proud day for the McQueen family and their workers.
Saturday 27 May
We were due to attend the French Market which came to Salford Quays, but sadly were called away to attend the funeral of a cousin in Ireland. I understand the market was very successful in spite of some inclement weather.
Monday 29 May
We managed to get back from Ireland on Sunday evening in time to attend and lead the Church of England Annual Procession of Witness in Manchester. We went along first of all to St Philip’s Church on Chapel Street in Salford to watch the church members and families gathering with their ministers to start their walk to Albert Square. One church member had made about 30 dresses for youngsters taking part. There were red and white spotted and blue and white striped ones, beautifully made. When everyone was ready with banners and flowers, they set off. The Mayoress and I were then taken to Manchester Town Hall where, dressed in the formal red robes of office, I greeted all the participants in the procession who had gathered in Albert Square. In spite of the rain, the square was full and after some prayers and hymns led by one of the Deans of the Cathedral we set off around the streets of Manchester accompanied by bands and watched by crowds assembled along the streets, finishing on the steps of Manchester Cathedral. We were all wet and cold, but in good spirits!
We left there and arrived in Winton in time to draw the raffle at the Winton Festival. They had had an enjoyable day, so far, in the grounds of the Brown Cow raising funds for improvements in the local community, with no rain – until we arrived!
Tuesday 30 May
We attended the launch of “Heyday” a new club for active older people which will provide its members with opportunities, support and information. Heyday is a national organisation and anyone over 18 can become a member but it is mainly of interest to people aged 50 and over. Age Concern Salford are supporting the promotion of Heyday to Salford older people and anyone who wishes can find out more from Age Concern, Salford, which is incidentally, one of my charities this year. I was invited to be the first honorary member of Heyday in Salford.
Later, we were able to watch the warm-up match between England and Hungary from the Director’s stand at Old Trafford. Along with the Mayor and Consort of Trafford, we were guests of the Football Association at their pre-match dinner at Old Trafford. This was a very new experience for both of us and an absolute first for the Mayoress who has only ever attended one live football match before in her life. It was very exciting and a tremendous atmosphere in the ground.
This page was last updated on 4 October 2009