On Saturday, October 14 I was privileged to attend the presentation of The Order of 1066 to Molly Townson, which took place in Hastings Town Hall. The October 14 was Hastings Bonfire day and all the civic dignitaries were there dressed in there traditional official finery.
Molly received the award chiefly for her untiring work for the Hastings Musical Festival and the Hastings Piano Concerto Competition [HIPCC] The festival is now in its 110th year and its continued success is in no small part due to Molly’s efforts. Molly also heads a team that is responsible for the HIPCC in its present form. With the generous help of the Kowitz Family Foundation it has become the second most prestigious piano concerto competition in the country after Leeds. Competitors from all over the world take part and it has put Hastings on the classical music map.
Molly’s connections with Rye go back a long way. Her great grandfather bought Fletcher’s House, next to St Mary’s Church, and converted it into a tea shop for his daughter, Lily Symmons, Molly’s grandmother. Lily carried on with the business, known even to this day as Fletcher’s House, until her death in 1969. Her daughter Marjorie ran the business latterly and lived there with Molly for several years. Molly attended Rye Grammar School from 1954 until 1961. Apart from a nine year spell in Horsham, she has lived in and around Guestling ever since. She started and still runs a ladies choir, Cantabile, who give several recitals through the year for charity and is also responsible for founding and running the very well attended Guestling Church choir who won their class in the Hastings Musical Festival in 2016.
All in all a very well deserved award.
Photo: Ian Castro
Image Credits: Rye News library .