A very special birthday cake lit up the faces of some very important guests at a party to mark the 175th anniversary of the birth of Swindon nature writer Richard Jefferies.
The mammoth task of blowing out all the candles fell to two actual descendants of the Victorian author, great-granddaughter Lucille Kelleher and great-great-grandson Ken Taylor, both over from Canada specially for the occasion.
They were joined in the celebrations by Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, Swindon Mayor Cllr Barbara Parry, SBC Lead Member for Culture, Cllr Marina Strinkovsky and a large crowd of friends of the Richard Jefferies Museum, volunteers and well-wishers.
As a bonus, there were even two guests called Bevis, named after one of Jefferies’ most famous characters. Bevis Watts, CEO of Triodos Bank, and fundraiser Bevis Gillett, both travelled from Bristol to celebrate the creator of their namesake, and meet his descendants.
With the special guest, a barbecue in the garden, classical music from trio Musicalitea, a poem from community poet Tony Hillier, and of course the spectacle of 175 candles, Cllr Strinkovsky declared the party “...a roaring success”.
Supporter of the museum Royston Cartright said: “What a night we all had, so many friends new and old turned up. All to celebrate the world’s first and still the greatest nature conservationist who is known throughout the world. A huge thank you to everyone that came but most importantly to the volunteers who make this museum a living breathing community every week of the year.”
The event marked the end of six months of activities to commemorate the anniversary, with much of the year devoted to a 175 mile ‘nature trail’ from Swindon to Worthing, via London, joining all the places where Jefferies lived, plus the cemetery where he is buried.
Over the months, hundreds of people have walked, cycled or run parts of the route, looking at the nature as they went, and helping to raise over £5,000 towards plans for a new visitor centre at the museum.
A publication of contributions from participants on the nature trail will be available in the new year.
Be the first to comment on this article