On Saturday 9th November, we were delighted to host the national Classical Association‘s Annual Presidential Address, delivered this year by outgoing President Professor Dame Mary Beard at AKS Lytham to a record-breaking audience.
This was the first time in the CA’s 116 year history that this special event has been held at a local branch and it was fantastic that Prof. Beard had agreed to give her lecture twice so that over 700 people could attend – including over 300 students from twelve different schools from across the North West.
In her opening speech, chair of the Lytham St Annes branch, Katrina Kelly, introduced the speaker:
“The Classical Association was founded in 1903 to advance education of classical studies and increase awareness of the contribution of classics to public life, two ideals which we, like all branches, are very much committed to, as we aim to share our love for the ancient world with people of all ages and backgrounds. We passionately believe that there should be no barriers, whether they be of age, cost or access to resources, to prevent anyone appreciating and studying classics, and there is no more successful an advocate for classics than our speaker – Professor Dame Mary Beard, fellow of Newnham College Cambridge, and Britain’s best known classicist.”
Prof. Beard is renowned for her ability to make classics engaging and relevant, and she uses her academic expertise, her media profile and her platforms on BBC television and radio, on twitter, and at lectures and events around the world to promote public engagement with the past. She is a true inspiration and all our members and students were thrilled to meet her in person.
We would like to extend our huge thanks to the Classical Association for choosing to bring their event to Lytham St Annes and for their ongoing support, especially that of outgoing Chair Professor Roy Gibson and Secretary Jill Durham.
Last Saturday was only ‘Super Saturday’, however, because of our dedicated band of volunteers and we’d like to extend our thanks to them for the amazing job they did:
- to Tony, Olga, Nigel, Ruth, Declan and all the dedicated booksellers
- to Pat, Gill, Chris, Rebecca, Eleanor, Barbara, Ronnais and all the wonderful rafflers
- to Julia, Tracey, Stella, Jane B, Kath, Holly, Andrew, Jane H, Joanne, Ann Marie, and Steve for being part of the extensive refreshment team
- to Yvonne, Jane B, Julia, Tracey, Barbara and Declan for the amazing cakes
- to Jane and Steve for also organising all of the school photos
- to Gerry and Pat for welcoming and organising all the groups in the hall
- to Peter and Brian for the meeting and greeting
- to Bob, Andrew, Chris and Allan for organising the parking
- to Liz, Rachel and Michael for tickets and membership
- to our brand new student ambassadors Thomas and Zeeshan
- to all the committed teachers with their infectious excitement, who were so supportive of the event and brought their students along on a Saturday afternoon
- to John McVitie for doing an outstanding job in taking over a hundred photographs and Ged
- to Chris for the sound and lighting, Katy for the IT and Phill for the music
- to Mr Harrow, Headmaster of AKS, for allowing us to use such a great venue, and to his colleagues Elaine, Deb and especially Colin
- to the Clifton Arms Hotel for an excellent celebration dinner and reception and for providing fantastic accommodation for all CA Officers and VIPs
- to the whole committee, especially our super Secretary, and Prof Scott for giving the vote of thanks, being an incredible support and for entertaining everyone with our selfie board (shoutout to Dorne from Paper Themes!).
What a fabulous celebration of classics and, indeed, classical associations – both the organisations and the connections between ancient and modern that Professor Beard alluded to in her talk. Another blog will follow shortly with insights into the Presidential Address and more photos, and we look forward to the next LSA CA event on Thursday 21st November when Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill will reveal the secrets of the backstreets of Vesuvius victims Pompeii and Herculaneum.