Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 32 (2001)
2000, the Millennium Year, proved to be a mixture of success and some disappointment. The Fellowship Council planned many extra events for so auspicious a year; some were very successful, others were not. Indeed, many of us felt that the excitement of the Millennium had faded by the end of January!
The year began for us with the sad news of the death of our Patron, Viscount Daventry. Several members attended his funeral service at Astley ('Knebley') Church and we were also represented at the Memorial Service later in St Mary's Church in Warwick. Viscount Daventry had been our Patron for many years, taking over after the death of his mother, our first Patron. The Fellowship is to give something to Astley Church in his memory (as we did to Chilvers Coton ('Shepperton') Church after the death of his mother); we are still waiting for his family and the church to decide what form the gift should take.
Since his death, we were delighted to have our invitation to become Patron accepted warmly by the present Viscountess Daventry, wife of the 4th Viscount who is very interested in the association of George Eliot with her home at Arbury.
At the Annual General Meeting in March we were unable to find a replacement for Sally Poulson, our treasurer, who was to move away from Warwickshire. Sally carried on for some time, for which we were most grateful, until we were able to recruit Mrs. Sophie Pavier from the Finance Section of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council. After the business meeting we were pleased to welcome Mrs. Maureen Jupp, Canon's Verger at Westminster Abbey, who spoke to us about Poets' Corner.
'The Loves of George Eliot' was this year's presentation by Gabriel Woolf and Rosalind Shanks on 6 and 7 April. For the first time we held the reading at the newly refurbished Assembly Room at the Royal Pump Rooms at Leamington Spa. The performance was very well attended; the only hiccup was a failure of the newly appointed sound system. However, we hope this will never happen again as the Assembly Room is notorious for poor acoustics. There was a very much smaller audience for the Nuneaton performance which was sad in George Eliot's home town as it was most sensitively devised and presented.
The George Eliot Day on 13 May had Middlemarch as its theme and some excellent papers were presented. This time the Borough's Catering Department provided a much better lunch than in previous years and this was an added bonus. Numbers were quite a bit down on previous years but enough people attended to make the event profitable. In the evening Rose Selwyn, the Borough's indefatigable Tourism Officer, had arranged an entertaining evening at St. Nicolas (,Milby') Church with the Atherstone Chorale together with a dramatic presentation by students from the Sixth Form College based on George Eliot's life and The Mill on the Floss, written and directed by Vivienne Wood.