THE ARTS SOCIETY 50th ANNIVERSARY SERVICE AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY.

THE ARTS SOCIETY 50th ANNIVERSARY SERVICE AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY.

8 Jun 2018 - 12:15 BY Pauline Hopkins

  • 50th Anniversary

On 16th May I was very privileged to attend the 50th Anniversary of The Arts Society at Westminster Abbey. We were very fortunate as to be given seats by the High Altar opposite where the Royal Family normally sit but this time it was the Duchess of Gloucester, the Patron, Loyd Grossman the President, June Robinson, the National chairman, Florian the CEO and further along Simon Callow, the actor. Near Simon was seated Rachel Fay, Patricia Fay’s daughter and this sent me down memory lane. I thought back to the early years when we used to meet in the Lecture Theatre of the V&A a very small group with the Executive Committee and Patricia Fay. The Service began with The Bidding given by the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, the Dean of Westminster. Readings were given by Simon Callow the actor, the musician and broadcaster Cerys Matthews and the poet Mike Garry. The Address was given by the Right Reverend Christopher Herbert who is also a ‘NADFAS’ Lecturer and this address was very amusing embracing his affiliation with The Arts Society and his role in the church. The Anthem was commissioned for the Service by The Arts Society and the music was inspired by the triptych of The Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints in 1338 by Bernardo Daddi. There were 2,000 members in the congregation and I wore the brooch given to me when I was made an Honorary Member of the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society, so representing Australia and as well our own Society, Limpsfield. Memories flooded back as to when 39 years’ ago I became Visits Secretary of our society and of course when I attended the inaugural meeting of Limpsfield DFAS 43 years ago. At the end of the Service we were asked to wait until indicated to leave. We walked the full length of the Abbey to the West Door past all the seated congregation and they must have wondered who these people were! A truly memorable day.

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