‘Inspirational’ chairman takes leave from Royston Arts Festival

Graham Palmer (Pic: Sue and Terry Hartga)

Graham Palmer (Pic: Sue and Terry Hartga) - Credit: Archant

The curtain has come down on an ‘inspirational’ chairman’s stewardship of the Royston Arts Festival.

This year’s arts festival – which runs from September 18 until September 27 – will be without its chairman of five years and committee member of six, Graham Palmer.

He had told committee members several months ago about giving up being chairman to take up other pursuits, but he announced his decision at the annual meeting at Royston Town Hall this month.

Graham said: “I know I will be leaving the festival in good hands.

“There is in place a committee dedicated to the arts festival.

“It will continue to make a vital contribution to the growth and success of the arts festival with the same enthusiasm and dedication it has shown over recent years.”

More than 4,000 people attended events last year, with 98 per cent of people who answered a survey giving the festival a good to excellent rating.

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Vice-chairman Sue Pettitt said Graham had been the ‘inspiration’ to the arts festival over the years.

She said: “He has left a huge legacy and a vision for the future where we can give people the opportunity to become involved in the arts.”

The new chairman will be Claire Somerville, who was marketing organiser for the arts festival last year and has been a volunteer in the past.

She has worked in the arts for the past 12 years and is currently marketing manager for National Youth Dance England.

Claire said: “It will be business as usual and we will build on the success of the past.”

An innovation for this year’s arts festival will be a competition to design an eye-catching cover for the programme.

The competition will be open for all ages from people living in Royston and the surrounding area, and can be a photograph, drawing, painting, computer generated image or collage which captures this year’s theme of illumination.

Creative Royston is looking for volunteers and new committee members to help at events during this year’s festival.

For details contact Tina Filby on volunteers@creativeroyston.org. Details of the competition are available at www.creativeroyston.org.