Exceptional Service Award to Swaledale Festival Board Member

  • 20 January 2015
Exceptional Service Award to Swaledale Festival Board Member

Swaledale Festival board members meeting on Thursday 23 October began proceedings with a pleasant surprise. It was announced that Felicity Manning, volunteer’s coordinator for the Festival, had been awarded their Exceptional Service Award by the British Arts & Science Festivals Association (BAFA) meeting that day in Canterbury.

Mrs Manning has been a board member of the Swaledale Festival since 1996 and does much more than her title suggests. She is well known amongst Festival regulars for her ability to find people not only able, but very willing, to carry out voluntarily many of the numerous tasks that make Swaledale Festival both as efficient and as friendly as it is. These include not only tasks like stewarding at concerts but collecting artists from airports and railway stations sometimes at inconvenient times of day, and providing them with accommodation which many of them prefer to staying in a hotel. In addition, she served until recently on the Programming Committee advising the professional Artistic Directors of the Festival on the selection of the programme in the light of her extensive local and musical knowledge, and carries out numerous small tasks in the Festival office which is near where she lives.

It was not possible for Mrs Manning to get to Canterbury to receive her award at the BAFA AGM lunch, but a copy of the certificate was emailed through and she was presented with it by Peter Denison-Edson, Swaledale Festival chairman.

A delighted Mrs Manning said “I’m still a bit shocked! I can't remember the last certificate which came my way!” Artistic Director, Malcolm Creese said, “I wholeheartedly agree with this. Felicity has been a board member since the mid-1990s, and she is invaluable". The Festival itself has also received four different awards from various bodies over the past seven years, including the Prime Minister’s ‘Big Society’ Award, but this is the first to an individual. Next year’s Swaledale Festival runs from May 23 to June 6 and the search for volunteers to help with the various Festival tasks has already begun. Anyone who is interested in being a Swaledale Festival volunteer can contact volunteers@swalefest.org.

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