“It’s just wonderful living here in Dorset, locals always chat and pass the time of day,” broadcaster Kate Adie OBE DL told the County Dinner of The Society of Dorset Men. “I adore the Dorset landscape, adore the coast and I am very happy here. It is a real privilege to live in Dorset.”
The evening had begun with Lord Fellowes of West Stafford DL, President of The Society of Dorset Men, reading the traditional message from The Queen. The royal message has been a feature of the County Dinner since 1904, when King Edward VII first sent his greetings.
This year’s royal message from Buckingham Palace read: “The Queen was pleased to receive your kind message of loyal greetings. Her Majesty much appreciates your thoughtfulness in writing and wishes all members of The Society of Dorset Men a successful evening at their County Dinner this evening.” Lord Fellowes spoke of the Society’s “steadfast and unchanging loyalty” to The Queen.
Guest speaker Kate Adie OBE DL, described as “an icon in the world of news reporting,” spoke about her early life in Sunderland, much bombed in the war. At Newcastle University, she had undertaken Swedish and Icelandic studies. The concept of local radio was in its infancy and Kate Adie joined BBC Radio Durham. Later, she became a regional television reporter, then in 1989 was promoted to be the BBC’s Chief News Correspondent. “I was able to wander around the world, talking to people who had stories to tell, meeting people full of energy for life. I’ve never lost a sense of optimism,” she told members in an entertaining address.
In a ceremony dating back to the first days of the Society in 1904, a Dorset Blue Vinny cheese is carried in by the Head Chef, to the clapping of diners. Lord Fellowes has the privilege of tasting it and pronouncing it fit to eat! This venerable tradition dates back to when Dorset exiles met at County Dinners in London and the taste of Dorset Blue Vinney was a welcome link with the home county.
Chairman Stuart Adam rose to thank Lord Fellowes for his leadership and his interest in the Society. Secretary Hayne Russell was thanked for his fine organisation of the annual event, held at the George Albert Hotel on Wardon Hill. Among guests of the President were Captain Angus Campbell [HM Lord Lieutenant of Dorset,] John Young MC JP DL [HM High Sheriff of Dorset] and the Society’s Deputy President Dr. Paul Atterbury DPhil BA [Hons.]
President Lord Fellowes concluded the evening-“We live in difficult times- but in my opinion exciting and full of promise. I believe we are all lucky to be living in Dorset.”
The Society of Dorset Men was founded 113 years ago on 7 July 1904. Originally intended for Dorset exiles in the capital city, since the 1970s, the main activities of the organisation have been centred on Dorset. Today, there are around 1,150 members throughout the UK and all over the world. The President is Oscar winner and ITV Downton Abbey playwright Lord Fellowes of West Stafford DL.
The four objects of The Society of Dorset Men are: “to make and to renew personal friendships and associations, to promote good fellowship among Dorset men wherever they may reside, to foster love of the county and pride in its history and traditions and to assist, by every means in its power, natives of Dorset who may stand in need of the influence and help of the Society.”
Membership of The Society of Dorset Men costs £15 a year. For further information, consult www.societyofdorsetmen.co.uk or telephone Membership Secretary Peter Lush at 01305 260039.
The President of The Society of Dorset Men welcomes his guests to the County Dinner. [Standing;] Dr. Paul Atterbury Hon. DPhil BA [Hons.] [Deputy President of The Society of Dorset Men;] Stuart Adam [Chairman of The Society of Dorset Men;] Lord Fellowes of West Stafford DL [President of The Society of Dorset Men;] Captain Angus Campbell [HM Lord Lieutenant of Dorset;] John Young MC JP DL [HM High Sheriff of Dorset;] Commander Rupert Best DL.
[Seated:] Chrissy Atterbury; Dr. Karola Steidl; Kate Adie OBE DL; Lady Emma Fellowes LVO; Carola Campbell; Henrietta Young.
Photograph by Michel Hooper-Immins.