Guest of honour Debbie Thrower gave the keynote speech at the launch of Chichester Anna Chaplaincy. A Team Leader and Anna Chaplain to Older People in Alton, Hampshire, many will remember her as presenter for many years of ITV’s Meridian Tonight news programme.
From Debbie Thrower …
Dear Chichester Anna Chaplaincy Team
Well, where to begin? Friday really was an exceptional day and I am still processing so many memories and impressions!
A huge thank you to you for organising such a terrific launch for the Chichester Anna Chaplaincy. I have just written a card to Joyce to thank her and her son Bruce for laying on the most perfect summer lunch. What generous hospitality and all done so beautifully. Richard, Karen, Alex and I all felt so blessed. I had just finished reading a book about the life of Bishop Maddox and his founding of the Acorn Healing Trust at Bordon, so it was a wonderful coincidence too to be lunching in his former home! Nothing had prepared me for the afternoon’s gathering, though, which was all superbly well arranged. You had thought of everything … and it was done with such style, panache and grace.
I so enjoyed meeting other members of your team and many of the guests. You have so many combined gifts and that of being able to draw people to you who share your vision is so good to see. I had no idea how many people would be there, how many residents of the various care homes and staff, key people from the local hospice, local council and so on. A real achievement, and the result of an enormous amount of hard work. I do admire the way you have set about the task with such energy and determination.
It was a delight to meet Lou Lou and be able to chat with her beforehand at Joyce’s apartment. We really appreciated getting to know her a little and look forward to a most creative partnership. Her tapestry work looks amazing as I have begun to take a look at her blog. She asked me if I would send her the words of commissioning I used (which I have done) and I also attach them for you in case it is helpful, as well as some quotes from among those I culled while reading Ronald Blythe’s book The View in Winter to which I alluded in my talk. They might be of interest. Thank you for creating a really special occasion for the launch, for giving it all a light and humorous touch, and above all drawing together such an array of people from a very wide spectrum. I noticed the Chancellor of the cathedral, Canon Anthony Cane, was at the tea which was nice too. Finally, to come home with a gorgeous bright yellow rose for my garden to remember it all by … was just the ‘icing on the cake’ …
Many congratulations to you and to all your closest supporters on a most auspicious start to this ministry in the city. May it mark the beginning of something truly remarkable … ‘something beautiful for God’.