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Hampden House: 25th Anniversary Celebration

Claire de Carle’s welcome speech:

Good afternoon and a very warm welcome to Hampden House for this special celebration.

1997 was a very eventful year, we might remember it as the year Princess Diana died or that Tony Blair became prime minister and on a lighter note Titanic the movie was released, and the first Harry Potter book published. But for us in Buckinghamshire the highlights has to be the formation of The  Gardens Trust.

Our aim has always been to record and conserve the gardens and parks of the historic county and I am confident in saying that we have achieved this and so much more over the last twenty-five years. We have also succeeded in increasing our membership numbers and today the figure is well over 200.

There are too many achievements to mention here and you may like to look at our display boards to remind you of some of these. We also have photographs on display of our special events this year.

I would particularly like to thank all our founding members and past and present members who have served on our Council. Special thanks go to all past and present members of our Research and Recording Group and those involved in responding to planning applications.

In 2021 I set up an events committee without whom this celebration and the others throughout the year would not have been possible. I would also like to say thank you to our amazing caterers Debbie and her team from Ashley Catering and the Oliver’s for hosting this wonderful event here today.

We shall be taking photographs throughout the afternoon so please let us know if you do not to wish to appear.

Before I hand over to our founding members to say a few words, I would like to remind you that we have two talks this autumn and a Christmas social to be held at Stowe on Saturday 3 December still to look forward to, see our website for full details.

It just remains for me to say enjoy the party!!!

What a success!!!

Around seventy members and guests attended our 25th Anniversary Party on Thursday afternoon(13th October) and Hampden House was the perfect setting for this special occasion. The sun came out and in the afternoon enabled those that wanted the opportunity to explore the garden.

On arrival, we enjoyed a glass of refreshing English sparkling wine and once everyone was gathered in the Great Hall,  Brian Dix took the helm as Master of Ceremonies and Claire de Carle introduced the proceedings with a short speech. This was followed by a few words from our founding member, Candy Godber and rather more than a few words from Charles Boot, he covered so much ground that by the time it was Sarah Rutherford’s turn most things had been said! However, she brought along copies of the first twenty newsletters (The Bucks Gardener) which many members were not familiar with, she also asked all the founding members to put their hands up and there were about eight present.

Tim Oliver, the present owner, at the request of the members kindly gave a brief history of Hampden House and outlined the extensive restoration programme that he and his wife Suzie had masterminded; the house remains in private ownership.

Following the toast, we all moved into the stunning dining room for a delicious lunch. This was followed by tea and our special anniversary cake taken in the Brick Parlour and on the terrace overlooking the extensive lawns.

It was wonderful to be able to socialise again after several years of covid restrictions. Thank you to all who attended especially those who travelled from Devon and Wales.

Claire de Carle

Photographs by Claire de Carle & Dianne Long

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