It is with great sadness that we share the news that Ann Day passed away this week
Ann was on the door for over 100 Wootton Talks - a smiling and welcoming face when everybody arrived. She also helped organise food at the evenings and baked a series of fabulous cakes to celebrate various landmark evenings over the years
We will miss her and remember with affection her huge contribution to the Talks
Our thoughts are with Ann's husband, Kip, and the rest of her family
THE TALKS 15th BIRTHDAY
Celebrating our 15th birthday, we welcomed Tom Fort, leading writer and broadcaster as our 126th speaker. Tom has written a series of best-seller books on village life, fishing, punting across England and the obsession for many - the weather and lawns - as well as making films about some of them for BBC FOUR
For our landmark evening, Tom spoke brilliantly about his latest book - Rivets, Trivets and Galvanised Buckets - which follows the twists and turns after his daughter-in-law bought a hundred-year old hardware store in south Oxfordshire.
As props, Tom brought along items stocked in the shop and shared the background to screw-drivers, Rawlplugs, WD 40 and his own favourite, the spirit-level, showing how the apparently mundane can have a fascinating history
Amanda Salter created her usual rocky-roads as well as a fabulous inscribed birthday cake. Jayne Day once again supplied the sandwiches - having done so for every talk over the past 15 years. That's a lot of bread!
The evening raised over 600 Pounds for the Ukraine Appeal - taking us past the £9,500 mark since March 2022. Over the past 15 years, the Talks Teams also raised at least £30,000 Pounds to help upgrade the village hall, as well donating £5,500 to the Wootton Conservation Trust.
Here is a 10 minute clip of a packed evening that took place back in July 2009 with John Lloyd and John Mitchinson which captures the magic of the Wootton Village Hall Talks.
LONE DROSCHER NIELSEN HONOUR
Lone Droscher Nielsen, who has spoken on four occasions at the Wootton Talks about her orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre in Indonesia, has been knighted and awarded the highest order in her native Denmark - the Knight of the Danish Flag - for her services to conservation.
Prince Henrik, husband of Queen Margrethe II, presented Lone with the award at an informal ceremony at the royal family's castle, near Copenhagen.
The Talks Team would like to congratulate Lone on this magnificent achievement in recognition of all her work saving the orangutan - and to again thank her for sharing her experiences with us in Wootton in recent years.
We were sorry to hear of the death of David Nobbs, the comedy writer who spoke so brilliantly in Wootton in October 2012. David was creator of the landmark comedy series, The Rise and Fall of Reggie Perrin, starring Leonard Rossiter, as well as many other highly successful television comedy shows.. He also wrote for many of the greats of British comedy, including Les Dawson, Frankie Howerd and Tommy Cooper, in addition to penning 18 novels. David and his wife, Susan, spent the night in Wootton and said they had thoroughly enjoyed their time in the village.
Wootton Talks Books
A selection of the world's best collection of signed books of speakers at the Wootton Talks - owned by Meg Bennett, who lives in Daventry and who also holds the record for the greatest distance travelled to support the village hall restoration - making an 80-mile round trip nearly every month with her parents, Jim and Frances
VILLAGE HALL NEWS
We are pleased to report that West Oxfordshire District Council has awarded Wootton Parish Council a Community Facilities Grant of £7,500 towards the refurbishment of the village hall. The hall committee has already spent £26,300 on installing new toilets, with disabled access, as well as upgrading the kitchen, lighting and wiring, in addition to external works and the purchase of several new large tables and an oak notice-board.
Much of the money we have raised so far is the result of the highly popular Village Hall Talks project, with additional help from the Oxford Community Foundation Grassroots and the Doris Field Charitable Trust In addition, there is a regular flow of valuable rental income from various groups using the hall. .
The next major phase is to replace the existing corrugated-iron roof which is in a poor state of repair. The new roof will comprise cedar shingles and a great deal of insulation, with the entire installation taking about four weeks. We hope to have sufficient funding for this project by the start of the school's summer holidays, so the work will not interfere with its activities.
The village hall committee is very grateful to the parish council for supporting this project and also to the many individuals and groups who wrote letters of support. And, of course, we are also extremely grateful to the 35 speakers who have so far donated their time to the Talks project since it began in October 2008 - and also to the many people in Wootton and beyond who have come along and supported these events
The village hall committee is extremely grateful for an immensely generous donation from Arif and Fayeeza Naqvi, as well as their friends and guests, resulting from charitable funds raised during their 2011 cricket festival held at Wootton Place. The donation will go towards refurbishment of the hall, with the next phase the replacement of the corrugated-iron roof with cedar shingles. Work is due to begin during the school's summer holidays and should take about four weeks.
The replacement of the corrugated-iron roof on the village hall with cedar shingles and the latest form of insulation has now been completed, with the original fascia and a couple of spindles also copied and painted white and put in place. The red-brown shingles, made from North American wood, look particularly striking in the evening sun.
The contractor, Tarquin Shaw, and his team also replaced the old corrugated-iron on the porch roof with cedar shingles and inserted new wooden side-panels, completing the project early and under-budget.
Proceeds from the Talks have been a major factor in work on the hall, as well as in grant applications, and we would like to again thank everybody supporting the events - and especially all the speakers who have donated their time, knowledge and skills to the project.
The Talks Team would like to again express our thanks to Arif and Fayeeza Naqvi, at Wootton Place, for their very generous donation towards work on the new roof. We also received grants from West Oxfordshire District Council and Wootton Parish Council - with Marlene Fisher taking the lead in tenaciously filling in forms and liasing with various groups and individuals during this latest phase of the hall's refurbishment.
After installing the cedar shingle roof on the hall last year, Tarquin Shaw and his team have now laid a new front-path, consisting of stone paving-blocks. The hall floor has been sanded and varnished, whilst lights at the gates are due to be fitted soon.
It is also planned to install a state-of-the-art electric heating system in the near future. Many thanks to all our speakers and to those who have supported the Talks and contributed towards the renovation so far.
It's been a busy summer. Stewart Thorp and his team (Kyle and Adam) performed major surgery on the windows,
popped on some new front doors and gave the front of the hall a lick of wood preserver and sparkling gloss.
Inside, Lloyd Townsend, has installed a new state-of-the-art heating system. It wasn't cheap, but it's so discrete!
We've had a new wall along the front, and some weather-proofing applied to the wooden cladding.
October 2012 - The Fourth Birthday Party
The team celebrates the fourth birthday of the Wootton Talks with champagne and cakes made by Ann Day, as well as Tony and Marlene Fisher.
Past speakers from Wootton were welcomed back to the hall for the David Nobbs talk (l to r) Trudie Lang, Boris Rankov, Sarah Simblet and Michael Lowe.
Ann Day's wonderful birthday cake depicting Wootton village hall.
October 2013 - The Fifth Birthday
Ann Day's wonderful cake baked to celebrate the Wootton Talks fifth birthday - with the team photograph from the Oxford Mail converted into multi-coloured icing
February 2014 - The 60th Talk
Ann Day's wonderful cake baked to celebrate the Wootton Talks 60th talk
October 2015 - The Seventh Birthday
Ann Day produces yet another sumptuous cake to mark the seventh birthday of the Talks - depicting the refurbished village hall in all its glory.
July 1st 2016
Ann Day created some sumptuous Capabilit-teas, based on 18th Century recipes, following Oliver Cox's talk on the life and work of Capability Brown as the finale of our eighth season.
October 14th 2016 - The Eighth Birthday
Ann Day with the cake she baked to celebrate our 90th talk and landmark birthday
October 12th 2017 - The Ninth Birthday and 100th Talk
Marlene Fisher in front of the back-drop she created for the talk by Alexandra Shulman, former editor of Vogue, at the 100th evening.
Ann Day with the delicious cake she baked to mark the 100th Talk.
Mimi Shepherd, who has organised drinks for nearly all the 100 Talks, pouring Prosecco when everybody was given a free glass to mark our 9th birthday