Queen Sends Good Wishes To The Society Of Dorset Men
8:14am 12th November 2013
The Queen honoured The Society of Dorset Men with a message to 200 members and their wives, attending their annual County Dinner at the George Albert Hotel on Wardon Hill.
Secretary Hayne Russell read the Society’s Loyal Greetings sent to The Queen. Lord Fellowes of West Stafford DL announced the reply from Buckingham Palace: "The Queen appreciates your thoughtful message and sends her best wishes to all those who are present at your County Dinner for a most enjoyable evening." The Society has received a message from The Queen at every County Dinner since 1954.
Stuart Adam, Chairman of The Society of Dorset Men, welcomed the honoured guests, notably Valerie Pitt-Rivers [HM Lord Lieutenant of Dorset,] Catriona Payne [HM High Sheriff of Dorset] and Colonel Matt Fensom [Commander of the Blandford Army Garrison.] Stuart Adam paid tribute to the outstanding service of Mrs. Pitt-Rivers as HM Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, regretting she would be retiring from the pivotal role as the Queen’s Representative next year, but thanking her for unstinting service and devotion to Dorset.
Chaplain Rev. Dr. John Travell, saying grace earlier, referred to the 60th. anniversary of The Queen’s coronation and the birth of HRH Prince George.
His Honour Judge Beashel DL spoke humorously of his many years as a barrister and then as a Circuit Judge, including appearing at the Court of Appeal.
Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE talked of Operations Drake and Raleigh, which had both been instigated by HRH the Prince of Wales, particularly how he had trained and selected the young people involved. "We need many more caring leaders in the troubled world in which we live," the explorer told members, recalling the example of Chief Scout Bear Grylls, who had grown-up in Dorset at Winterborne Zelston, near Wimborne.
Lord Fellowes of West Stafford DL presided at his third County Dinner. "Lady Fellowes and I always enjoy being here in Dorset, we are glad to call this great county our home," he told members. "I’m really delighted to see so many members at this annual highlight- our County Dinner- and thank your officers for the excellent job they do to keep The Society of Dorset Men so successful."
The President paid particular tribute to the hard work of Secretary Hayne Russell and called him forward to receive the Bryan Challis Cup for recruiting most new members in the last year.
Members stood and applauded the colourful ceremony of welcoming the Dorset Blue Vinny cheese. As Peter Ashdown introduced the cheese in Dorset dialect, toastmaster Colin Fry led chef Luke Harvey into the Dining Room to present a wedge of Dorset Blue Vinny for Lord Fellowes to taste. As tradition demands, the Society President declared it delicious and invited the chef to share a drink with him! The Dorset cheese- made near Sturminster Newton- is the traditional fourth course of the County Dinner, always served with Dorset Knobs and Dorset watercress.
Founded on 7 July 1904, The Society of Dorset Men has a long and rich history, beginning as the Society of Dorset Men in London and aiming to bring together fellow Dorsets in the capital city. However, since the 1950s, the main activities of the organisation have been centred on Dorset. Today, there are around 1,200 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. He succeeded Sir Anthony Jolliffe GBE DL DSc DMus in 2011, the only Lord Mayor of London to be born in Weymouth, who still lives in Wyke Regis.
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."