Recent Events

The Society would welcome suggestions from members for future events.
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Come to Scotland

12th-14th May 2017

We are awaiting a full report of this recent event.

Arthur's Seat

2017 AGM

21th-23th April 2017

The Society's Annual Gathering and AGM were held at The Old Ship Hotel, Brighton over the weekend 21-23 April 2017. 70 members took part in activities ranging from guided tours of the Royal Pavilion to riding on an open topped bus, together with entertainment presented by members. A full description of the whole weekend will appear in the next issue of Acksherley!


Malcolm Saville Literary Conference

21th April 2017

The first literary conference on the life and works of Malcolm Saville took place on Friday 21st April at the Old Ship Hotel, Brighton – venue for the 2017 AGM Society weekend. Chaired by Frank Sheppard and organised by David Shields, the day began with the first of 8 presentations on various aspects of Saville’s books.

Penny Cooper began with an entertaining and personal reflection on her home county of Shropshire, much beloved by Saville himself of course: “They Changed Trains at Shrewsbury: a Celebration of Malcolm Saville”.

Phil Bannister followed this with an erudite discussion entitled “Shap and Beyond”, on the Cumbrian setting of “Strangers at Snowfell” ; this included some comparisons between Saville and the life and work of Geoffrey Trease, whose historical children’s books often featured that setting.

George Jasieniecki gave us a very original insight into the childhood and schooldays of the young “Len” Saville and his early life in Richmond – an area of the author’s life that most of us had little previous knowledge of.

After a delicious buffet lunch provided by the hotel, we eagerly resumed our seats for Pat Tubby’s talk on “What Shropshire Means to Me”, which described his journey of discovery with Saville and with Shropshire and Rye.

Alan Stone presented another original piece of research, this time into Saville as an environmentalist; he explored with us the literary evidence for Saville’s love of nature, birds and the landscape.

Perhaps the highlight of the day came next, with a short film of an interview with Rosemary Dowler, conducted by David in 2017; all of us present were moved by her eloquent and charming recollections of her father and her childhood. As an extra treat we saw a short clip of Saville himself being filmed in his garden as part of the 1976 BBC Songs of Praise in Rye – the first time most of had ever heard him speak.

Wesley and Pam then presented their research based on a paper by Stephen Bigger; “the Bishops and Birds”, again looking at the birds and nature motifs in the books, as well as the treasures and friendships.

Finally David gave us a rare film clip of the1951 festival of Britain Pleasure Gardens – the scene at the climax of “The Buckinghams at Ravensywke”; as that area of London has totally changed (save for the Royal Festival Hall) it was a fascinating glimpse into a different era.

In conclusion, our first literary conference was a definite success and one which many of us hope will be repeated again very soon!

Julie Hall


February Ramblings in South West Shropshire

10th-12th February 2017

Fortunately preceding Storm Doris by some 13 days, the weekend nevertheless presented interesting challenges in the form of snow and mud! Seventeen of the 28 participants gathered on the Friday evening at the Castle Hotel for a welcome meal before waking to a covering of snow the following morning. Undaunted (but with 2 late cancellations for illness and 2 late arrivals for car problems) 17 of us set out in light snow for a 9 mile walk in the hills and rolling farmland to the southwest of Bishops Castle, with hazy views across to both the Long Mynd and Offa's Dyke and a good introduction to the landscape that the Lone Piners would have recognised. Tracks, footpaths, quiet lanes, woods, green and sunken lanes and a section of the Shropshire Way, with a succession of climbs and descents, made for a varied route and, on our return, several of us enjoyed afternoon tea at Yarborough House book/record shop and coffee shop, others opting for beer and rugby instead. Later, the larger group gathered at The Three Tuns for a convivial evening meal.

By Sunday the snow had been replaced by drizzle and 17 stalwarts met up in Clun for a 6.5 mile ramble up beyond Guilden Down, to the north east of the small town, with more views across to Offa's Dyke and lots of good humour, required for numerous stiles and copious amounts of mud underfoot! We returned by following a stretch of the Shropshire Way along a ridge, then the River Unk, encouraged by frequent glimpses of HQ3, aka Clun Castle. A late Sunday lunch in the White Horse Inn completed another memorable Society event.


Exploring Seawitch Country

14th-16th October 2016

We are awaiting a full report of this recent event.