WORCESTER’s new first citizen has revealed his support for the arts in the city after taking the chains of office for what he hopes will be a ‘fun’ year.
Coun Adrian Gregson assumed the duties of Mayor of Worcester after being elected unopposed by fellow city councillors on May 17. He will be supported by new deputy
Mayor of Worcester Coun Louis Stephen.If elected in 12 months’ time, Coun Stephen will become the first Green Party Mayor of Worcester.
Coun Gregson took the chains from outgoing Mayor of Worcester Coun Stephen Hodgson and said he was ‘pleased and humbled’ to be have been elected to the role.
“I have drawn inspiration from my grandad’s twin, who was Mayor of Glossop in 1942 and who was known as the musical mayor, and decided my theme this year will be tackling mental health and wellbeing through a culture of creativity, art and music,” he said.
In support of this theme, Coun Gregson’s two nominated charities for the year are Severn Arts – the charitable arts company which works to bring high quality music and arts to a wide range of people across Worcestershire and Onside Advocacy which provides a range of support and services to ensure fairness and equality for adults who may be vulnerable, disadvantaged or discriminated against.
“I believe it is important to have fun in life, especially after the pandemic. Whatever we can do to support the arts, creativity and culture is really going to help both us as individuals and our communities,” Coun Gregson said.
“I think the links between enjoyment and mental and physical wellbeing are important, and have become clearer than ever over the last few years.”
Instead of a Mayor’s Chaplain, Cllr Gregson has resurrected the role of City Orator, a post which existed in Worcester when Queen Elizabeth I visited in 1575.
Local storyteller and puppeteer Ian Craigan has been appointed to the role and will address councillors about pertinent issues when the Mayor chairs meetings of the full City Council.
Coun Gregson was born in Glossop, Derbyshire, and grew up in Lancashire before studying history at Leicester and Liverpool universities. He moved to Worcester in 1987, having gained a role as an archivist with Worcestershire County Council.
Now the county and diocesan archivist for Worcestershire, based at The Hive, Coun Gregson has played a role in organising many major events in the city and county.
These include the four-year-long Worcestershire World War One Hundred programme of events that ran from 2014 to 2018, and the Charter 400 festival which ran last year to celebrate the anniversary of Kings James I’s awarding of city status to Worcester.
He is now chair of the Elgar Festival, which this year takes place in the city over the Jubilee weekend.
Coun Gregson is the author of three books, Worcestershire’s War: Voices of the First World War; From Docks and Sand and Worcestershire World War One Hundred.
A lifelong rugby fan, he played for the old Worcester Rugby Club between 1987 and 1999, and is today a passionate follower of Worcester Warriors and Worcester Wanderers.
Coun Gregson was leader of the City Council’s Labour group for 21 years, standing down earlier this month, having been involved in the party since his university days.
He was first elected to the City Council in 1992, always representing the ward where he lives, and was also branch secretary for the Unison union at the County Council for 19 years.
The Lady Mayoress is Coun Gregson’s partner of 20 years, Rachel Hall, a Worcester-born watercolour artist and local wine expert.