Introducing First Thursdays

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First Thursdays is a series of lunchtime talks in St Peter’s Church, Newenden, starting in 2023. The first is by Vincent Robertson on Thursday, January 5, then on Thursday, February 2 is Frances Yonge; Thursday, March 2 is Patrick Williams and on Thursday, April 6 is Ellen Hannavy-Cousen.

Our first speaker is Newenden resident, Vincent Robertson, who had a distinguished career in the RAF. During the Cold War he was involved in spying on the enormous buildup of Russian troops and military hardware behind the Iron Curtain. He has some hair raising stories to tell of his adventures on both sides of the Berlin Wall.

Our entertainment in February will be provided by singer / songwriter Frances Yonge, who lives outside Tenterden. Frances is a pianist and musical director. Her musical life is diverse and creative, with a particular emphasis on piano improvisation and accompanying, but her heart is rooted in the art of writing songs. Frances’ work takes you on an unpredictable musical journey and her songs have been described as ‘ageless’ and ‘completely mesmerising.’

In March, Patrick Williams, proprietor and chef at Patrick’s Kitchen in Canterbury’s Goods Shed, is our guest speaker. Patrick trained as a flautist at the King’s School, Canterbury, the National Youth Orchestra and with James Galway in Berlin before reading history at St John’s Cambridge. He diverted to a career in catering, which led to his appointment as executive chef at the Telegraph Newspaper group (1987-94) before returning to Canterbury and establishing Patrick’s Kitchen as chef / traiteur at the Goods Shed market (2004-2014).

Circumstances also combined to enable him to revive his flute studies, resulting in a series of annual recitals in Canterbury Cathedral from 2001, reuniting with fellow student and great friend, the conductor Stephen Barlow.

Completing the initial series of talks will be local author Ellen Hannavy-Cousen. Her novel, Of No Consequence, was published in January 2022 and is available from Waterstones, WH Smith and Amazon. “In a world hidden by a veneer of respectability and insipid social consequence, join Joanna on her quest for survival, identity and independence as she discovers how slavery and insidious cruelty envelop the vulnerable.

“The abandoned child in search of her mother rages against the establishment, and in doing so uncovers a slave racket embedded in the affluent south east of England. The unwanted are snared by their circumstances. The rigid rule of law that prohibits their freedom creates ideal conditions for the slave-masters to prosper.”

The talks will begin soon after noon and finish around 12:50pm, so please grab a snack from Nibbles to eat in church, if you wish, or book a table for 1pm in The White Hart.

Nibbles: phone 07484 866299; The White Hart: phone 01797 252166.

Image Credits: Anthony Dawson .

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