Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship

Review of 2008

A year of unprecedented success for the SSF!

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2008 has been an outstandingly successful year for the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship, surely our best yet.  Here is a brief overview of the events and activities of the year.

At Easter 2008, Meg Crane, President of the SSF, travelled to Edinburgh for the unveiling of a new plaque by the Merchants of Edinburgh Golf Club.  The plaque commemorates Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, who, as we all know, met over a set of golf clubs.
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The spring committee meeting took place at the Chelsea Physic Garden, the place where Sassoon and Owen spent their last afternoon together in 1918, before Owen left for the Western Front.
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In May, a small group of SSF members was privileged to be shown around Heytesbury House by the present owners, after Sunday lunch at the Red Lion.  We saw Siegfried's library and "Blunden's beech", and Dennis & Diana Silk shared their memories of the house as it was in Siegfried's day.
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In the course of the year it became known that SSF Patron-in-Chief Kendall Sassoon has loaned Siegfried's Queen's Medal for Poetry to the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum.  This adds to the Museum's collection of Sassoon artefacts including the recently purchased and long lost Military Cross as well as Sassoon's Browning automatic pistol. 
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It was also a busy year for our long-standing patron, Dr Jean Moorcroft Wilson, who launched her new book on Isaac Rosenberg with an event at the Imperial War Museum. 
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In June, our Vice President, Dennis Silk, repeated his "double-act" with another of our patrons, Max Egremont, at the Petworth Festival in Sussex.  The discussion was chaired by SSF founder member Phil Carradice.
This was only one of several talks given by Dennis during 2008, all of which were very successful. 
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July - For the first time in the three-year history of the event, George Sherston's XI won the annual "Flower Show Match" replay against Matfield Cricket Club.  The trophy was presented to Sherston's captain Julian Hill by Derek Underwood, and the man-of-the-match award was presented by Margi Blunden to Ted Miller. 
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6th September was the date of our annual conference, which took place this year at St Hilda's College, Oxford.  Two new committee members, Irene McCready and Kayleigh Fitzgerald, were elected at the AGM.  An afternoon of lectures and exhibitions was followed by a short walk to look at Siegfried's former digs in Merton Street, and then the annual dinner at The High Table restaurant.  On Sunday morning, Philip Stewart led us on a minibus tour of Boar's Hill.
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In October, SSF President Meg Crane gave a very successful lecture on Sassoon as part of the "Love Matfield" week of events held in Siegfried's home village in Kent.
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In the first week of November, Shrewsbury was the venue for several commemorative events organised by our sister society, the Wilfred Owen Association, in recognition of the 90th anniversary of Owen's death.  Many SSF members are also WOA members and this was a good opportunity for a get-together.  As the years go by, we find ourselves making more and  more friends through our membership of these societies.  These friendships, born from a common love of literature and history, quickly turn from a passing acquaintance to a lasting pleasure.
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One committee member missing from the Shrewsbury gathering was Kayleigh Fitzgerald, who was in Edinburgh representing the SSF at a gala performance of our favourite play, "Not About Heroes".  The production took place at Craiglockhart (where the real Owen and Sassoon first met).

Unveiling of the Edinburgh plaque at Easter 2008
Photo (c) Tom Martin

Jean Moorcroft Wilson
at the launch of "Isaac Rosenberg"