In addition to the second running of the David Vaisey Prize, visits are planned to Fairford Church, on 22 May, to see the medieval stained glass in this world famous wool church, and to Rodmarton Manor, the Grade 1 listed Arts and Crafts building, on 21 June. Details will be forwarded by the Clerk's office nearer the time; however, numbers will be limited on both occasions.
The highlight of the year for the Arts and Heritage Group was the award of the inaugural David Vaisey Library Prize by the playright Alan Bennett. The winner was Bream Library, which received £5,000 as an acknowledgement of the work they have done in attracting new readers to the premises. The award was presented at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October. Before the award winning library was announced Alan Bennett spoke passionately about his love of books, which began as he grew up in Leeds during the thirties and forties. He went on to explain how he had met David Vaisey (who eventually went on to become Head of the Bodleian Libary) whilst the pair of them were studying at Oxford University, and how they had remained friends to this day. This competition for the county's libraries will continue in 2018 and applications for the prize will be invited later this year. There's more on this event, including a picture, in the news section here, and on the prize itself on the web here.
Other activities included an exclusive Choral Tour of Gloucester Cathedral with music provided by a Cheltenham based choir, The Oriel Singers. Another well attended event was a behind-the-scenes tour of Chedworth Roman Villa led by member Richard Hoyle.
After five years at the helm Sir Michael McWilliam stepped down as Chair of The Arts and Heritage group and was replaced by Mark Hurrell. Mark said 'It's a real honour to take the Chair of this group that has already made such an impact in supporting the arts and cultural scene in the county. A lot of credit must go to Sir Michael, who will be a hard act to follow. Luckily for us all he will remain involved in the group'.