Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Otterton sculptress's work honoured courageous journalist

Journalist Najam Sethi, speaking up for the free press in Pakistan

A Cambridge college honoured one of its distinguished former students last year at a ceremony marked by the presentation of an artwork sculpted by a Friend of Fairlynch.
Sculptress Angie Harlock Wilkinson, who works from a studio in Otterton, created a bronze figure 'Isadora, Joy' which was presented to the journalist Najam Sethi.

A prominent journalist in Pakistan who studied at Clare College from 1967 to 1970, Mr Sethi is known as a convinced democrat, an advocate of moderation in foreign policy, and an opponent of religious extremism and violence.

On numerous occasions he has incurred the anger of autocratic governments. He was imprisoned for two years by the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto regime in the 1970s for siding with the Baloch nationalist movement. In 1984 General Zia ul Haq imprisoned him for a month for publishing a book - From Jinnah to Zia - by a former chief justice of Pakistan, Mohammad Munir, which was highly critical of the 1977 coup. In May 1999, he was imprisoned for one month without trial but was released after an international outcry. In 2009 he was awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers.

'Isadora, Joy', inspired by the courageous dancer Isadora Duncan 

Angie felt that the choice of this particular figure in recognition of Najam Sethi's courage was highly appropriate, showing as it does "the brave and inspirational Isadora Duncan absorbed in dancing her instinctive and emotional style of free dance which she performed tirelessly and taught to girls all over the world."

The Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award made to Mr Sethi by the Clare Alumni Council is designed to provide a role model to current Clare College students, to demonstrate that it is possible to contribute to society without necessarily achieving financial or professional 'success' in traditional terms.

Clare's Alumni Council has elected Dr Alice Welbourn as Alumnus of the Year for 2012. Dr Welbourn has spent her career working to raise the profile of HIV-positive women. She is the author of Stepping Stones http://www.steppingstonesfeedback.org/, co-founder and chair of trustees for the Sophia Forum http://www.sophiaforum.net/ and the Director of the Salamander Trust http://www.salamandertrust.net/

Local sculptress and Friend of Fairlynch Angie Harlock Wilkinson

Originally from the Cotswolds where she grew up, Angie, who also studied at Clare College, has had longstanding family links with Devon. She feels that she has come back to her roots in the West Country after a career which included teaching modern languages for a number of years in local Cambridge schools. During the 1980s and 90s, she helped her husband start and develop a successful English language school.

In 2000, she started to devote more time to her passion since her late teens. Working in wax, she tries to capture these fleeting moods and sensations in her dancers, figures and many studies of lively horses.

Angie's bronze figure of a shire horse "enjoying a satisfying roll in the grass after a hard day's work"

"Expressing my sense of what is exhilarating and elemental in nature is intrinsic to my work," she says. "Amusingly, I created a female figure called Devon Woman - for the 'Coast' exhibition at Otterton Mill two summers ago - which was inspired by the rugged Jurassic coast along the cliffs by Ladram Bay, and was a rusty-reddish bronze nude in several pieces, suggesting the stacks broken off from the beaches, but only a few people really 'got it', and my own mother wasn't one of them!"

Angie often creates pairs or little groups to better express the elusive flow of feelings. RHS Rosemoor http://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/rosemoor has put her four bronze 'Dancing Maenads', pictured above, in its celebrated Winter Garden as part of its Winter Sculpture Exhibition. "The Maenads would entertain revellers at their feasts with their music and dancing," she explained, "so I thought they would make a nice subject to inspire joy and freedom of spirit in the viewer."

Angie only recently joined the Friends of Fairlynch although she had visited the Museum on many occasions.

"I do love history, and look forward to learning more about the area from the archives, in part so as to feel a deeper understanding for, and gut connection with where I live," she says. "And also how the landscape that means so much to me, and to my artistic well-spring, has evolved."

For more information about Angie's work, click on http://www.angieharlock.co.uk/

Click on http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/aboutus.php to see how Najam Sethi is defending the freedom of the press in today's Pakistan.

This post is linked from http://www.devonmuseums.net/Otterton-sculptress-work-honoured-courageous-journalist/Latest-News/Fairlynch-Museum/Museum-News/

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Alan Tilbury looks back

Alan Tilbury wearing his chain of office as
Chairman of Budleigh Salterton's Chamber of Commerce
Photo credit Ray Ambrose   www.randacreative.com

Not everyone knows that Fairlynch Museum is a member of Budleigh Salterton's Chamber of Commerce. In spite of being a charity the Museum shares many of the Chamber's interests. It has a shop, it depends for its income on attracting visitors to the town and it even shares a President in the person of Fairlynch co-founder Priscilla Hull.

Alan Tilbury retired recently as Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. His wife, born in Budleigh, is a volunteer steward at Fairlynch and he has always had a soft spot for one of the town's best-known landmarks. Both are Friends of the Museum.

Here he looks back on a career in retail which gave him over more than half a century an intimate knowledge of the town's commercial life.  

Originally a Londoner he feels sufficiently naturalised in our area to know the town by its proper name of Salterton.

He was born in Putney in 1941, in a house belonging to a friend of his mother's after his parents' house was bombed. The family moved to his grandparents' house in Exmouth before settling in Budleigh Salterton in 1947.
Perriam's stores, one of Budleigh's longest-established shops, now no more

He got his first taste of running a shop in 1956, aged 15.  "My career in retail began very small in Salterton in 1956, in a grocers named Perriam's Stores in Fore Street where the Spar is now situated," he explained. Three years later, being an ambitious young man, he moved up the road to where Budleigh Wines now have their shop, to work for a company then named Fosters where he thought he would have better prospects.

"After two years another move within the town, to World Stores, where What Katy Did is now trading. This company was larger with even more chance of advancement. I was taken on as relief manager in the area from Chudleigh to Seaton and Honiton. This worked very well for me," said Alan. "It was during this time Jenny and I married in 1963 in the Temple Methodist Church where we were both members and in the choir. We rented a flat in Exmouth near the seafront and it was here one year later our son Mark was born."

Still ambitious and confident that his future lay in retail, Alan felt that he should be broadening his horizons. "It was time to grow up and look for greater things," as he put it. "I asked my area manager and he secured me a position in Warminster in Wiltshire as provisions manager."

A happy year was spent in Warminster, where the family moved in November 1964 but then came another move to Yate near Bristol, where Alan worked for three more happy years as provisions manager at a large supermarket in a new shopping centre, gaining an insight into man-management and progressing to grocery manager. The couple's twin daughters Sarah and Karen were born in Bristol's Southmead Hospital in 1966.

Two years later came the offer of managing a store in Chandler's Ford, Hampshire where Alan spent a further "not quite as happy" three years. But it was here that they bought their first house.
A further move came in 1971, to Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, in the Midlands where Alan managed another large supermarket. It was a period which he remembers fondly. "The store was huge for those days with 100 staff where I learned so much about management," he recalls. "We were so happy, with a lovely house. We made lots of friends and the children were settled."   

But the constant moves were beginning to take their toll, and seemed likely to continue. "The thought of another move which was sure to happen was more than our kids could cope with," Alan explained.  They decided that if they were ever going to settle down it would be in the area that they knew best.

"In 1974 we returned to Exmouth to live and rented the shop that is now Hospicecare as a greengrocers which we named Tilburys in the High Street in Salterton. Later we bought the freehold and moved into the huge flat over it and lived very happily there for over 30 years."

It was now that Alan became involved with the Chamber of Commerce. He was elected onto the Executive Committee and began to take responsibility for different sections of the organization.  1999 saw him as Chairman for the first time, for which he feels he was well supported.

Tesco's arrival: no help for Budleigh shopkeepers
Ironically, in view of his previous experience of running supermarkets, it was the arrival of a giant store just a few miles away in Exmouth that Alan remembers as causing problems for many of Budleigh's shops. "I remember the town trading as a mainly fresh food shopping centre," he says. "This all ended when Tesco opened. Suddenly every trader lost one third of their takings. It was a very traumatic time but we steadily moved forward with some casualties in the fresh food area." 

What progress was made was confined mainly to non-food traders, he recalls. At that time Alan remembers lots of antique shops, but the impact on local traders following the arrival of the superstore was long lasting and the town had a number of empty shops.

In spite of the threat to Budleigh as a commercial centre, Alan is convinced that the town has numerous assets to attract business. The biggest is free car parking places, where Budleigh gains on other towns, he believes.

"That is so unusual that we sing it from the tree tops as often as possible. Then we have a number of dress shops where so many original designs can be purchased, along with other excellent shops where customers can browse. That has to be an attraction to the discerning customer. Then of course these same people will buy their fresh foods."

Marketing such trump cards to consumers outside Budleigh is vital, he says. "More advertising is always a good way of promotion and something we should
pursue with vigour."

Alan Tilbury with Chamber of Commerce members in 2007.
On his left is Priscilla Hull, Chairman of both
the Chamber of Commerce and Fairlynch Museum
Photo credit Ray Ambrose   www.randacreative.com

Looking back on his time as Chamber of Commerce Chairman Alan feels that among his positive achievements was the building of a good relationship with the Town Council. "As far as I was concerned our Town Council were never really Chamber oriented. I like to think that, during my second tenure as chairman, this has changed to full support following our own interest in their procedures."

And what of Budleigh's future as a commercial centre and in particular the role of the Chamber of Commerce? It's a difficult issue, he admits. "Times are changing, and more customers are thinking in terms of supermarket shopping. The trend, especially among our younger population, is to bulk and internet buy. It is up to our members to give a really personal service that surpasses everything a large store and IT can offer. With the overhead costs of trading increasing at an alarming rate, people should be made aware that if you don't use it, you will lose it!"
Where it all started:
Alan Tilbury outside the building where he started work in Budleigh

Having said that, Alan agrees that Chamber members have to think positively. "We must strive to be the best in all things. Our Tourist Information Centre is run by a good team, they are very necessary for promoting us to the distant and nearby visitors Mostly, we consist of independent businesses who really must be aware of customer needs."

"The Chamber must have close links and interaction with Council, Museum, Charity organisations, Music and Literary Festival, Churches and all traders."

Many visitors to Budleigh and indeed many residents value the town for its old-fashioned ways, and Alan recognises that such unique qualities have their place. "Some will say we are in a time warp. This could be an asset as nostalgia is a powerful thing. People love to be among their memories of how things used to be.  But, is it enough?" he asks.

Evidently an increasing number of traders are asking that question, and are keen to embrace the advantages of modern technology in their businesses. A report including the results of a recent survey of local traders makes interesting reading.

"Far from being ‘sleepy’, many businesses in Budleigh are modern, enterprising, moving with the times and pushing the boundaries," it concluded. Of 41 local businesses -  with an average of 17 years of being established - it appears that 90% are on email and are happy to receive electronic communications, 76% have their own website, and 39% are already using social media such as Facebook, Twitter or blogs.

And that, we're glad to say, includes Fairlynch Museum.

This post is linked from http://www.devonmuseums.net/Alan-Tilbury-looks-back/Latest-News/2/

People from the Past: 4. Audrey Levick 1890-1980

Murray and Audrey Levick returning from Canada in 1939

A noted sportswoman, Audrey Levick was the wife of Surgeon Commander Murray Levick RN, the zoologist and medical officer on Scott's Antarctic expedition of 1910-13.  She played an important role in helping to run the expeditions of what became known as the British Schools Exploring Society which her husband had founded in 1932.  The couple moved in retirement to East Devon, where they settled just outside Budleigh Salterton.

Edith Audrey Mayson Beeton was born on 30 July, 1890. Her grandmother was Isabella Beeton, the compiler of the celebrated book on cookery and household management pictured above.
She was the second daughter of Sir Mayson Beeton (1865-1947), a former Daily Mail journalist and friend of the newspaper proprietors Alfred Harmsworth (later Lord Northcliffe) and Harold Harmsworth (later Lord Rothermere). Mayson Beeton had investigated the sugar bounty question for the newspaper in 1896: the drop in the price of sugar caused by subsidised continental sugar was causing immense hardship for West Indian sugar cane growers. Four years later he crossed the Atlantic to Newfoundland with the Harmsworths to obtain timber concessions and build paper mills, becoming a Director and then President of the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company Limited. The company was set up in 1905 in order to guarantee newsprint supplies for the Harmsworths' newspapers in the event of war with Germany.

It may well have been this link with that part of Canada which led to so many of the BSES expeditions to Newfoundland, including five in the 1930s.

 Roedean School today  Photo credit Tony Corsini

Audrey entered Roedean School, outside Brighton, in September 1905.  She showed talent in art, stage management in school plays, music and dance, captaining her house in the Dancing Competition during her final year at Roedean. A keen pianist and violinist, she gave solo performances at concerts throughout her time at the school including a rendition of the challenging 'Hexentanz' by the American composer Edward MacDowell in her final term. She also made herself useful as a school librarian.

A Roedean hockey team. Audrey Beeton is 3rd left, back row

But it was for her sporting achievements that many of her contemporaries remembered her. Her range was wide. Within a few years of arriving at Roedean she was described as making a "a smart and reliable cover-point" in cricket. She went on to excel in other sports. In her final year she represented her house in fencing and was praised in the school magazine as an exceptionally good Captain of gymnastics, "her team being remarkable for their excellent time and rhythm of movement." 

Judging by that unflinching gaze in team photographs of the time her scathing comments in sports reports about team members who evidently were not pulling their weight come as no surprise.

While noting as Captain of her House lacrosse team that the game had become much faster she made the point in a 1908 school magazine that "sometimes the team seemed to forget how much a really good game depends on the amount of dash and energy put into it."

But that was fairly restrained as criticism compared with the twin-barrelled verbal blasting that she gave the slackers during her final year at Roedean as Captain of the House cricket team.

Certain members of the team had shown enthusiasm and energy all through the term, she conceded. But, "the House as a whole has not realised how much depends on the exertion of each individual," she wrote in the school magazine. "The teams are not smart enough in the field, and its members are too self-satisfied with their own play to feel how much higher a standard might have been attained." Certain members, she felt, did not seem "to have fully grasped the meaning of the word keenness."

Perhaps her successor would have more luck, she wondered. "It is to be hoped that next year the House will redeem itself by taking more interest in the game, and by showing a determined effort to become more proficient."

Audrey Beeton is 1st left, middle row, in this Roedean lacrosse team

As Captain of the House lacrosse team in her final term she was gracious enough to praise its enthusiasm, while remarking that there was room for improvement: "There is not a vast amount of intelligence shown by some of the players, but they could easily remedy this if they only exerted their minds to the same extent as their bodies."

All worthy no-nonsense stuff from someone who would one day partner her naval officer husband in toughening up recruits for the Public Schools Exploring Society's trips into the wilds. It matches Murray Levick's scornful tone referring to a fellow-member of the Northern Party in Antarctica a few years later.

Using a term which described enlisted sailors in the Royal Navy the PSES founder damns Petty Officer Frank Browning as "a gutless swab" for his lack of skiing ability. "I now had a fair example of the uselessness of the average bluejacket in using his feet," reads his diary entry about an excursion that the pair made to Hut Point during their stay at Cape Evans in January 1911.   

It was at Roedean, where she ended her time as a Senior Prefect, that she had developed a passion for lacrosse. Roedean had been one of the first schools to encourage it as a sport for girls, and the Southern Ladies' Lacrosse Club, the first Ladies' Club, had been formed in 1905 by a former Roedean pupil Greta Hindley.

The Southern Ladies Lacrosse team in 1911. Audrey Levick is centre

Audrey Levick left in 1909, having gained a place to study at Oxford University, and in the same year was elected Captain of the Southern Ladies' Lacrosse Club, going on to compete as an England international player.

In April 1912 she founded the Ladies' Lacrosse Association (LLA), becoming its Honorary Secretary and Chairman. "A very busy and responsible post," was how the Roedean School magazine for that year reported the move. "She is helping to establish Lacrosse Clubs all over the country." The following year she was involved in organising the first international matches in the sport between England, Scotland and Wales.   Later, from 1928 to 1931 she was Vice President of the All England Ladies' Lacrosse Association (AELLA) and then its President from 1933 to 1936. 
The marriage certificate for Murray and Audrey Levick

The 1914-18 war saw her joining the Red Cross, where she was part of a team specialising in massage and electrotherapy. In January 1915 she was working at St George's Hospital and that summer her school magzine reported that she and her sister Isabel were taking a course of massage arranged purposely for soldiers temporarily disabled. By 1917 she was a masseuse at the New Zealand Hospital in Weybridge.

Massage was an area of medicine in which she had a shared interest with her future husband Murray Levick, whom she married on 16 November 1918. The wedding took place at Christ Church, Westminster, the 'Antarctic Church,' so called from the fact that Scott, Shackleton, Evans and other Antarctic explorers had been married in it.

Murray Levick in naval officer's uniform a few years before his marriage

Audrey continued after her marriage to share her husband's interests in this area. On his retirement from the Royal Navy at the end of the war he pursued his medical career, specialising in the treatment of disabled people. He was appointed as electrologist - medical officer in charge of the Electrical Department - at St Thomas's Hospital, London. 

He also worked at the Victoria Hospital for Children in Chelsea, pictured above, where Audrey Levick sat for many years on the Ladies' Committee.  The Hospital had been opened in 1866 after a group of local residents raised funds to found a hospital for "poor afflicted children" and its first medical officer was Sir William Jenner, physician to Queen Victoria. New buildings had been added in 1905 and 1922 providing 138 beds.

Audrey Levick in 1932 with two unidentified children

But it was from 1932 that Audrey and Murray Levick found themselves most closely working together with the foundation of the Public Schools' Exploring Society (PSES). 

Audrey had developed a taste for travel in wild parts while still in her teens. Her father's involvement with the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company had prompted her interest in that part of the world. She and her sisters Marjorie and Isabel had spent part of the 1909 summer holidays there, and other trips followed. Roedean's magazine in 1910 noted that she had given a Newfoundland grouse in its winter coat to the School Museum, and in the following year that her sister Marjorie Beeton had given "a most interesting Sunday Lecture at Roedean on her experiences in Newfoundland." In 1913 all three Beeton sisters went on a trip to the Baltic, visiting Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Russia.

Audrey Levick on the 1934 PSES Newfoundland expedition 

Murray Levick's objective in founding the PSES was to foster the spirit of adventure in British schoolboys and teach them how to fend for themselves in wild country, with the aim of encouraging them to develop a longing for physical fitness. Some were as young as 15 on the early expeditions.

Isabella Beeton, aged 26, responsible for the famous Book of Household Management

Murray Levick was still well known as a survivor of Scott's Terra Nova expedition and his wife's family name was almost as well known. In fact it was in 1932 that Sir Mayson Beeton had donated the only image of his mother to the National Portrait Gallery. It was the first photographic submission they ever accepted and when the picture of his mother was presented to the National Portrait Gallery it caused a public stir when it was exhibited on Boxing Day that year: people found it difficult to reconcile the fashionable young girl of the picture with the mature woman that they had imagined as the author of the 1861 cookery book.

Audrey Levick in 1938 with Charles Alexander Carkeet-James at Deer Lake, Newfoundland. A Major in the Royal Regiment of Artillery, he was No 2, 'The Mate', on PSES expeditions before the war

Audrey was elected honorary secretary and a Council member of the PSES from the start. For those closely involved with the organisation she will long be remembered as one with almost as much influence as her husband on the rules and structure of the British Schools' Exploring Society as it exists today.

In the first years of the Schools' Exploring Society, Audrey Levick went out in advance of eleven expeditions with the stores and equipment - to Finland, Newfoundland, Northern Quebec and Northern Norway. She went far into the wilds to select and establish the basic camps, and then maintained communications with the expeditions, often through amateur radio. 

Audrey Levick in 1948

In 1948 she became vice-president of the Society, which by now had become the British Schools Exploring Society. The post of secretary was taken on by Commander Nigel Waymouth, RN who had retired after commanding the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in Hong Kong in the early 1950s.

Audrey Levick showed herself to be a very dedicated and determined woman, especially in the face of what she considered to be unwarranted opposition, giving her husband invaluable support in his work for the BSES. After his death in 1956, when she became its Patron,  she strove to maintain what she considered to be his ideals in the Society's councils.  She maintained an active interest until her retirement from the Council of BSES in 1967, and since then, although physically incapacitated in her last years, kept up her general interest. She died on 23 July 1980, just before her 90th birthday, having given instructions for her ashes to be scattered at sea.

Photos of Audrey Levick kindly provided by Jackie Sullivan, Roedean School Archivist, to whom I am most grateful for information in the School's magazine. Many thanks also for photos provided by Justin Warwick, BSES Expeditions Archivist, and Tom Cruikshanks.

This post is linked from http://www.devonmuseums.net/People-from-the-past-4:-Audrey-Levick-%281890-1980%29/Latest-News/2/