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Dear Friends

In the last Newsletter I said that previous Newsletters have focused on themes celebrating Higham’s achievements since becoming an educational trust, of it being a centre of excellence for lifelong learning, and on the Friends of Higham organisation. The theme of this Newsletter is news and a focus on the role that members of the Friends of Higham have as volunteers at Higham and at Higham events elsewhere.

The new projects on page 3 all involve volunteers , as do the Higham events on page 4, and the promotion of Higham to a wider audience on page 1, all of whom generously give their time and skills to support Higham.

As Chairman of the Friends, as I said in the October 2012 Newsletter, I have an aim for the Friends of Higham which is that in addition to raising funds through members annual subscriptions for the benefit of Higham, I would like us to access the resource we have in our members knowledge, skills, and time, for the benefit of Higham too. The Friends committee have already begun work on activities and new projects described in this Newsletter which we hope will also involve you, our members, more and more. May I thank you for all that you do on behalf of the Friends of Higham.

At our Annual General Meeting in March this year those of you at the AGM elected the Officers and Members of the Committee for the 12 months from 17th March 2013 to 6th April 2014.
Ann Pilkington (Chairman), Mary Bradbury (Deputy Chairman), Rob Ives (Secretary), were re-elected to their present roles. David Spicer was elected Treasurer. Committee members Shirley MacWhirter, Maxine Berry, Jean Geater, Angie Winter, Sue Waring, were re-elected to their present roles and David Bowen was elected to the committee. It is a pleasure and privilege to represent you all and we assure you of our commitment to work for the benefit of the Friends of Higham and that of Higham Hall College.

Best wishes
Ann Pilkington


The Friends of Higham AGM took place on the 17th March, an early spring day which was a winter snow day, 30 people attended. A reception and lunch were enjoyed by all.
The Agenda included the Chairman’s Report, Treasurer Report, introduction of George Cooke, Higham’s new Principal, to the Friends of Higham, and election of the Officers and Members of the Committee.
A question on Higham Bonds was raised in any other business. An update on the Bonds was given to the AGM. Bonds were originally ‘sold’ by Higham, in its bid to buy Higham from Cumbria Council, to provide evidence that it would have future income as Bonds could be redeemed against courses or donated to Higham. All Bonds money is held in an account and cannot be used by Higham for any purpose. Bond Holders who still hold Bonds are asked to redeem their Bonds against a course fee or donate their Bonds to Higham. This action will be of value and best use to Higham.
The Minutes of the AGM will be sent to all members prior to the next AGM or you can ask that they be emailed to you now if you wish, requests to [email protected]


Promotion of Higham to a wider audience by 35 Friends of Higham volunteers to 64 interest groups took place recently. This activity will take place again in the autumn to additional interest groups.


National Garden Scheme Open Day at Higham in May 2013
Higham’s first NGS Day was held on the 26th May . Friends of Higham volunteers and Higham staff helped at this event. The Gardens were visited by 160 people on a lovely sunny day. Garden tours were led by Higham gardens team and refreshments were provided by Higham catering staff. Entrance fees were donated to MacMillan Cancer Fund by NGS organisation.

Volunteer Gardeners needed at Higham
Gardening volunteers are needed by Higham – please contact Higham on 017687 76276.

Garden Benches needed at Higham
Garden Benches are needed by Higham who have chosen the clean simple design they wish to have to compliment the natural landscape gardens. The benches will be made by a local craftsman from Green Oak, be 5 ft long, and cost £280.00 each. Members of the Friends of Higham are invited to either sponsor a bench or contribute to them. Donations will be greatly appreciated. Cheques should be made payable to Friends of Higham and posted to: Chairman of the Friends of Higham, P O Box 75, Driffield, East Yorkshire, YO25 5XJ. Donations will be acknowledged and a receipt sent to you.

Catalogue of Arts and Crafts items at Higham

People who come to Higham often ask about the paintings, textile wall hangings, and studio ceramics, that they see there. What are they, who are the creators of them, and why are they at Higham?
During the last 20 years and back beyond that, items have been donated, purchased, and tutors commissioned to make something for Higham
Items donated have come from course participants, tutors, and from those who love Higham. Providing interesting and challenging art and craft works around the college has exactly the same purpose as Higham courses. The link between the work displayed and the courses available has become increasingly important in reinforcing the value of art and crafts as a sustaining part of life.
A catalogue of the arts and crafts items at Higham is to be produced by a team of Friends of Higham volunteers for the use of course participants and other visitors. This new project will begin in July.

Library and Books at Higham

The library and books at Higham are to be reviewed, re-catalogued, and the books to be re-positioned to make them more easily accessible. This new project, which begins this summer, is to be carried out by a team of Friends of Higham volunteers led by George Cooke, Principal of Higham.
It is interesting to note that there is a brass plaque on the bookshelves in the library which states ‘These bookshelves and the creation of this room was made possible through a generous donation from the Friends of Higham in September 1993’, the first donation made to Higham by the Friends of Higham in their inaugural year 1993.

The Story of Higham book

‘The Story of Higham’ book written by Alan Hankinson and first published in 1990 is to be updated. The original farmhouse was built in the mid 17th century, had rebuilds to it over time and became an adult residential college in the mid 20th century. It reflects the changes in social history over nearly four centuries.
This, the third of new projects for the next twelve months, is to begin shortly. A Friends of Higham volunteer team will carry out research, add new text and photographs, and organise the re-printing of the book ‘The Story of Higham’. It will be on sale at Higham mid 2014.


Higham will have a display stand at West Cumbria Country Fair and Game Show at Armathwaite on the 13th and 14th July, from 10.00am to 4.00pm on both days. Friends of Higham volunteers will ‘man’ the stand and Higham tutors will demonstrate their crafts skills throughout both days such as woodcarving, watercolours, cartooning, textiles, soft furnishings, art, and boat building.

Open Air Theatre in the gardens at Higham. The Festival Players Theatre Company will perform ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ on Saturday 27th July at 3.00pm. Bring your own seating. Open from 1.30pm for picnics. Please contact Higham for tickets on 017687 76276.

Heritage Open Day at Higham is part of the National Heritage week and will be held on Friday the 13th September from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Higham invite all to visit Higham on this day – free admission. Members of the Friends of Higham volunteers will be guides on the day along with Higham staff. Garden tours will be led by Higham’s garden team. Refreshments will be available.


The Friends of Higham inaugural meeting took place on the 11th April 1993. In 2014 we celebrate 21 years of being ‘Friends’ of Higham and supporting Higham in many ways during the last 21 years. We plan to celebrate our anniversary through doing more of what we have always done by donating the outcomes of the three new projects and garden benches to Higham.
Our Celebration AGM event will include a display and leaflet recounting what the ‘Friends’ have achieved in their 21 years. We hope to have some tutor talks and demonstrations. More details of the celebration event in October 2013 Newsletter.


Being a part of this wonderful place where like-minded people come is such a privilege.
When other people believe in what you do and share their talents and time in order to help you achieve what you’re trying to do that it makes it even more special. The support from Friends of Higham gives to the Higham Hall an immense strength and basis on which we can develop our future lifelong learning commitment.
Thank you for supporting us and particularly for sharing Higham with others and helping us to introduce them to our wonderful setting with its vibrant and exciting community.
My first half year with you has been a real pleasure and I am so grateful for all the enthusiasm and friendship you have provided thus far.

Best wishes
George Cooke, Principal

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