The 2007 annual conference took place in the St Bede Centre at Downside Abbey. The Abbey, in its beautiful rural setting, houses both a monastic community and a co-educational school. Siegfried
Sassoon played cricket here on many occasions, and it was at Downside that he was received into the Roman Catholic Church
in 1957, ten years before his death.
Sassoon's biographer John Stuart Roberts was our main speaker, ably assisted by Raymond Asquith, who read
extracts from Sassoon's poetry and prose. Dom Philip Jebb of the Downside community opened with his memories of his
last visit to Siegfried in hospital. Later, John Stuart and Dom Philip were joined in a discussion panel
by SSF Vice-President Dennis Silk. It was a unique opportunity to meet two people who knew Sassoon well and hear them
talk about him.
Absent in body, but present in spirit, was Dom Sebastian Moore, who gave Sassoon his instruction in
the Catholic faith. With the aid of technology, we were able to hear Dom Sebastian talk about his memories of Siegfried
in a specially-made DVD.
During the AGM, non-members enjoyed a tour of the Abbey in the company of Dom Alexander George, whom we
thank for his assistance with the logistical details of the conference. Indeed, we extend our thanks to the whole
community, and particularly to the catering staff who provided lavish refreshments at a reasonable price.
Thanks also to Soren Hawkes, who brought along his "Passchendaele Prints" artwork for members to browse
The conference dinner took place at the nearby Holcombe Inn (formerly the Ring o'Roses), and we thank landlady
Sarah Rushton for her assistance with the menus and wine list, and for supervising the highly efficient serving staff.
A full conference report will appear in the next edition of Siegfried's Journal.