It seems we are getting there, Covid-wise, albeit slowly and cautiously. The Company, through the good offices of the Arts and Heritage Group, has visits planned as below, outdoors in the first instance, and it will be good to see some members at those. And more are in the pipeline. Our first major event is of course the dinner in Tewkesbury Abbey in September which should be a great evening. I’m in the throes of writing our annual report to our Patron, The Princess Royal, a mixture of acknowledgement that it has been a different and frustrating year, but also one too where our use of virtual methods, combined with our committed membership, has proved innovative and sustaining. Two more ‘in conversations’, referred to below in this newsletter, are evidence of that, and a feature of membership and fellowship that we should maintain post-Covid. It would take more than a few gatherings to learn as much about fellow members! But it will be good to be back in person.
The Invitation to the The Honourable Company Dinner
at Tewkesbury Abbey on 16th September 2021
has been sent by email this week.
In the slightly better times of the summer of last year, The Arts and Heritage Group suggested that Tewkesbury Abbey might be the venue for the 2021 annual dinner of the Honourable Company. It was to be an event at the height of the Town’s Festival Celebration, planned to commemorate both the 900th anniversary of the Consecration of the Abbey and 550th anniversary of the Battle of Tewkesbury. Sadly, as with so many important events in the current Covid climate, much of the preparation for the festival was put on hold. However we are extremely grateful that the Vicar and Church Wardens of the Abbey have agreed that the HCG’s dinner can go ahead, part of a very much diminished festival in which another highlight will be a production of a Son et Lumiere in November
The long running Three Choirs Festival - which began life as the Annual Music Meeting of the Three Choirs in 1715 - was shut down due to Covid but some of the programme and artists have been “moved” to this summer; Mark Hurrell has been talking to the Festival's Chief Executive Alexis Paterson
A virtual trip to Woodchester Mansion
organised by the Arts & Heritage Group
Over thirty members and their guests signed up for ,and subsequently heard ,a fascinating and informative Zoom talk on Woodchester Mansion on Tuesday 25th May. It also raised a donation of £125 in the process!
Archivist and author Liz Davenport skilfully told the story of how the incomplete building was conceived and finally abandoned by the Leigh family before being bought by Stroud District Council. Now run by a Trust , the site has been saved for posterity and deserves a visit.
The next Arts and Heritage event is a guided short walk along the Cotswold Canal near Eastington with an optional supper afterwards. We’ll hear how the Trust running this project are getting on with their plans to connect the waterway that runs along the Stroud valley to the Sharpness canal at Saul, how they intend to pay for it and to complete “the missing mile”. This is on Tuesday June 29th from 6.30 - details to follow shortly.
Two other events to note in your diaries
A guided private walk around the gardens at Kiftsgate with an opportunity to picnic - July 13th
A private visit to Cheltenham’s Holst Museum and supper at the exclusive New Club afterwards - Oct 28th.
While Duncan Munro has only recently joined the HCG, the Company first ‘met’ him when, as an experienced Cranfield mentor, he helped deliver the training session for our volunteer charity mentors in October 2019. Duncan has had a fascinating and varied career spanning industrial, charitable, and consultancy management positions. After 24 years in the steel industry in the Sheffield area, Duncan moved to Scotland and took over as Director of the Robertson Trust, Scotland’s biggest grant making charity, a post he held for 5 years before moving to Cheltenham. Duncan is also an ordained priest and has carried out work for Gloucester Diocese and the University of Gloucestershire. He is also a Parish Councillor in Charlton Kings.
Richard Stephens joins the Honourable Company with some 35 years of experience in senior leadership across the public, private and charitable sectors. With his first career being in the military, including the Royal Marines and Special Forces, Richard then investigated war crimes and helped to establish a law firm before moving into financial services and consultancy. He is a trustee of the Gloucestershire Community Foundation (GCF), and he and his family are now firmly established in the County