Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship


St Bede Centre, Downside Abbey, Saturday September 8th

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L-R: Meg, Dennis, Dom Philip and John Stuart
Our panel take questions from the audience

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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 and buy.
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.


Find out more about Downside Abbey from its website

Read about the 2006 SSF conference

Dom Sebastian Moore in the rock garden at Downside