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Worcester's mayor rejects critics’ calls to axe charity banquet
CALLS to scrap the mayoral banquet in Worcester have been rejected after organisers revealed this year’s bash raised £700 for charity.
People living in the city and a former lieutenant colonel contacted the Worcester News to say the glittering affair should be shelved.
The annual banquet is a traditional date in the city’s civic calendar and is used to celebrate a new mayor taking over.
It also allows the city’s great and good to say their thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who do so much good in Worcester.
But some critics believe the cash to cover the cost of the bash, which involves a three-course meal for about 100 people, could be spent in other ways.
Colin Webb, aged 61, of Grange Lane, Claines, said: “I should think there is better ways to do things than have the city spend money on this – to me it looks like a waste of cash.”
Gerry Taggart, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Royal Engineers, who lives in Powick, near Worcester, echoed that view.
He has been involved in the organising of the Armed Forces Day celebrations in Worcester and was invited to the banquet this year, but declined.
He said: “The dictionary describes a banquet as an ‘elaborate feast with many courses. I reckon they really should have got everyone together and said, ‘You’ve got three hours to go and talk to homeless people and find out why they are living like that’.
“It does come across as rather hypocritical of the city council.”
But organisers of the event, which took place on July 20, said it was held this year with the intention of helping charities.
The money raised will go towards the Mayor of Worcester Councillor Rog-er Berry’s chosen charities for the year – St Paul’s Hostel for the homeless and the Maggs Day Centre .
He said: “The annual banquet is a tradition and any mayor would be very brave not to have one. It’s a chance to thank volunteers who do so much good work in the city.
“We also put envelopes on tables and asked people to donate to the charities.”
About £700 was put in the envelopes during the evening, while another £400 was raised by Councillor Lucy Hodgson, who slept out for the night for St Paul’s Hostel.