Monday, February 21, 2011

The First 'Westerman' Seminar

Although the weather in Portsmouth was wet, overcast and gloomy on Saturday 19 February, 2011 the atmosphere inside Portsmouth Grammar School was warm, bright and lively because this was the very first Westerman Seminar. This was a truly memorable day for me and I would like to thank everyone who attended for their enthusiasm , interest and passion in support of this event.

From a very personal point of view, I must say, how pleased I was to be able to put faces to all of the people that I have been in touch with through The Westerman Yarns weblog for the past few years. I was also touched by the kind thoughts and best wishes from those who were unable to attend for variety of reasons including a few that could not attend because it was a bit too far to travel for just one day - Australia, New Zealand, Los Angeles.

On behalf of all the delegates I would like to thank Portsmouth Grammar School for their kindness and generosity in allowing The Westerman Seminar the use of the school and facilities– special thanks to David, the Caretaker. Thanks to all of the guest speakers, James Priory - PGS Headmaster, John Sadden - PGS Archivist, Dennis Butts – Author and, in her absence Dr Rachel Johnson – Research Librarian at Worcester University (sadly Rachel was unwell, but with the aid of modern technology delivered a very interesting paper). Apologies to everyone for the techno failure (well done Microsoft) at the start of my presentation, but thanks to James Priory and Steve Rudge for the diversion – I don’t think anyone noticed.

I am very grateful to Dennis for bringing the very special copy of ‘A Lad of Grit’ to the seminar and to Steve Rudge for such an impressive display of beautiful Westerman books. A special thanks also to Dr Rachel Johnson and the University of Worcester Special Collections for the loan of some items from The Westerman Collection.

The programme was carefully fitted around numerous refreshment breaks to allow people to meet, network and consume plenty of tea and cakes. So, thank you to my small army of volunteers; Jennie, Lyn and John, plus, my very patient wife, Wendy.

Thanks to everyone who helped in the promotion of the event. A full list of organisations who assisted in the promotion of the event will appear in the ‘links’ when I get a moment..

All that remains to say is “book early for the next year”.

The Picture: Nigel Gossop (left) and Dennis Butts (right)