Gloucester Civic Trust celebrates 40 years
MEMBERS of Gloucester Civic Trust processed through the city on Saturday to celebrate 40 years of protecting and promoting its history and heritage.
They were accompanied by the Mayor and Sheriff and the city MP on their way from a service of thanksgiving at St Mary de Crypt church to a reception at the Guildhall.
At the service, conducted by the Reverend Rosie Woodall, the congregation of some 90 members were reminded that it was the vicar of St Mary de Crypt, Canon David Paton, who inspired the formation of the trust in 1972, with the aim of promoting civic pride, protecting and interpreting the city's archaeology and ancient buildings, and encouraging a high standard of architecture and design.
Founder member, Phil Moss, said that, since its inception, Civic Trust guides had taken nearly 86,000 people on conducted tours of the city, bringing in an income of more than £53,000.
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It had raised funds through its development arm to restore four threatened buildings and successfully fought to prevent the destruction of Llanthony Priory and the dock warehouses and basins.
More recently the trust had paid for the statue of Emperor Nerva and brought St Michael's tower back into use. Only last week it had returned to their home city, two bells cast at Abraham Rudhall's Gloucester foundry in 1710.
At the Guildhall reception, the trust's chairman for the last 30 years, lawyer, Robin Morris, was presented with a glass claret jug, decorated by with Gloucester images by the Stroud based glass engraver, Danek Piechowiak.
Trust secretary John Lovell said: "Robin Morris' inspiration, passion and belief in Gloucester has got things done and kept the trust on the straight and narrow
"Trust members, and everyone in Gloucester, owe you an enormous debt of gratitude for your long and distinguished service."
Mr Morris said that he had been reluctant at first to take on the job, but his doubts had been dispelled by the support of "splendid people the trust had been able to attract to its ranks."
The Mayor, Councillor David Browne, presented credentials to four more trust members who have completed the training course and passed an examination to become tourist guides. They were Bob Brunsdon, Natalie Cox, Dave Burley and Mick Walsh.
City MP, Richard Graham, said: "What does every great city need? A superb cathedral, a great manufacturing tradition, historic personalities and a great soul. We have that in spadefuls.
"But it also needs a great champion, or guardian, to maintain, restore and promote it – and that has been the role of the Gloucester Civic Trust over the past forty years. I look forward to it continuing in this role for another forty years."
The reception concluded with a lecture by Henry Hurst, Emeritus Reader in Classics and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. As a young field archaeologist in Gloucester in the late 1960s and early '70s, Mr Hurst's discoveries during an era of redevelopment re wrote the Roman and medieval history of Gloucester.