The Arts Society Kington Langley celebrates its 30th Anniversary today

The Arts Society Kington Langley celebrates its 30th Anniversary today

3 Oct 2023

The Art Society Kington Langley was 30 Years old almost to the day and we felt we had to celebrate such a momentous occasion, wonder where all the years have gone and thank all our previous chairmen and committees who have got us to where we are today.

Sarah Dunant was our lecturer with ‘Donatello and the Dawn of the Renaissance’ She was her usual ebullient self and a tour de force as she took us through that amazing creative period that was the Renaissance. When Florence was the birthplace of a revolution and its artists, musicians, thinkers and patrons knew and influenced each other. Donatello was a leading sculptor and Sarah made the connections between him and other leading contemporaries.

After the lecture we heard how all the different chairmen had developed the growth of anew society.  

Rosie Harford, our founding chairman, and the first committee made a huge leap of faith, merging into a team that became good friends having fun as they developed this new society. There was all the background work to get everything organised – the name, the constitution, finding lecturers, the first Christmas Lunch, the first trip abroad and the inaugural lecture on ‘The Golden Age of English Furniture’. Rosie was followed as chairman by Plum Layton and then Astrid Vitelli.

Christine MacLachlan then took over the baton, and she said it’s easy to be chairman when you have a good committee. Again, fun committee meetings, making friends, lunches, trips to Madrid and flamenco dancing, visits to places that were normally not open to the public and the start of technology!

Christine was fortunate to have a husband who had retired and loved anything technical, and was a boon to the society as it moved from having lecturers who turned up with slides, with a projector that was temperamental, into a digital system.

Debbie Fitzcharles then took over the helm. Again, Debbie mentions a fun committee, making friends, interesting visits and a Blue Badge Guide recognising a NADFAS group as a 'sea of navy! ' Team work and friendship are some of Debbie’s memories of her time as chairman

Carolyn Adams became the next chairman and she was visit organiser extraordinaire! She really enjoyed the organising of visits to houses, gardens, capital cities, opening doors from the British Ambassador’s residence in Paris, the German’s Ambassador’s residence, to the Palais Beauharnais. Numerous garden visits followed as did trips to towns and cites across the UK. Carolyn was really pleased to arrange a visit to the studio of Charlie Langton, the equine painter and sculptor where he talked the group through his work.

Next Philip Carter was persuaded to be the chairman after Carolyn. He mentions that it might has been because it was time to try a man in the role but I feel that his organisational and people skills might have been the real reason. Again, team work, a good committee, visits and special interest days are a feature of Philips tenure. He relished his role as ‘model’ for a special Portrait Painting Day in a painting session for KL members – even if he was a fidget! Near the end of his tenure Stripy blazers came out for a lecture on the 'Golden Age of Travel'.   

For those of you who watched Dr Who and Blue Peter people had ‘their’ doctor, 'their' presenter. Well, Ally Buxton was ‘my’ chairman as she was chairman when I joined Kington Langley. Again, Ally mentions happy sociable committee meetings, great lectures and trips to Amsterdam, Windsor, Croatia, Wales and the Purcell Visit to Westminster Abbey. She also celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the society with an afternoon tea party and a concert by the children of Langley Fitzurse School. Ally started to develop a new website towards the end of her stint as chairman.

Jackie Jones then became our new chairman, battling with the bank to get bank transfers and then a card reader in the hall. Just as she felt confident with this chair thing, COVID struck. Suddenly life changed, we could no longer meet so Jackie had to find a new way to keep things going for our members. Zoom, a new-fangled thing, allowed us to give the best possible experience for our members at home.

A steep learning curve followed as we learned how to move forward. Suddenly Special Interest Days were on zoom, we visited Rome virtually on numerous occasions, the East End of London, Mayfair and Venice. We also developed our magazine as a means of communication with the members.

Finally, we were able to have hybrid lectures with reduced numbers in the hall and everyone else at home. Kington Langley Village Hall was wonderful in it's support for this hybrid development as well as our lecture support team. Committee meetings had been on zoom, and Jackie was a force to be reckoned with regarding pushing hybrid with TAS – and she has been proved to be very forward thinking.

As the current chair all I can say is to thank them for successfully responding to the challenges and opportunities that art society life threw at them over the years. As we leave  the restrictions of Covid behind, we find ourselves relishing the friendships we share, we are heading out on visits again, and we are grateful to each of them and their committees for their sterling volunteering work over the years.

Running in the background was a slide show of pictures from the various visits that TASKL had made over the years.There was lots of  - 'there's me!'

After the statuary photograph we then enjoyed a stunning lunch and refreshments. This enabled everyone present to have time to chat, reminisce, talk about upcoming events and generally get the new season off to a brilliant start.

My thanks to all the committee and members who helped make the day memorable


About the Author

Heather Leach Chair TASKL

Heather Leach
Chair of The Arts Society Kington Langley

  • 30th Anniversary
  • lunch
  • volunteering


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