Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 16 (1985)
1984 was an exciting year because of the challenge of the George Eliot Statue. Since 1980 the Fellowship Council had felt we were a little in the doldrums. After the interesting years leading up to the centenary of George Eliot's death, and the thrill of finally unveiling the Westminster Abbey Memorial Stone, everything seemed very flat. With no more big anniversaries until 2019, we might be forgiven for feeling that there was nothing much to do. But then, when the centre of Nuneaton was being pedestrianised with its attractive Victorian theme, and the Borough Council suggested making a site available for a statue, we rose to the bait and started work again with all our old vigour. So, with the sparkle back in our collective eye, the latter half of 1984 began to feel like the challenging late 1970's. However, we have learnt a few lessons since those days and have refrained from launching ourselves on some of the fund-raising things we did then - and from which we emerged somewhat exhausted! I recall, for instance, a supper in St. Mary's Guildhall in Coventry when Marlene Emery and I did a meal for 120 people, deciding at the end of it that, profitable though it had been, we must have been mad!
1984 began uneventfully enough with the Annual General Meeting at which we elected Kathleen Porter to succeed Hilda Webster as Vice Chairman; the other three officers were re-elected. We also elected Jonathan Ouvry, a great, great grandson of George Henry Lewes, as our new President. George Eliot's great, great nephew Tenniel Evans generously stood down in his favour and assumed the Vice-Presidency he had occupied before becoming President seven years earlier. We are very pleased that we maintain this close contact with Tenniel.