British-Luxembourg Society relaunch event (top L-R): Chris Atkinson, VP; Ian Kent, Treasurer; Hervé Hansen, Secretary; (front L-R): David Clark, President; Louise Benjamin;
On Monday 18 March 2019, the British Luxembourg Society held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Residence of the British Ambassador to Luxembourg, John Marshall.
David Clark, President of the British Luxembourg Society, presented his address which included reference to the educational classes offered by the society. Chris Atkinson (advanced language and literature), is helped by Denise Clarke and Diana Nilles (intermediate class adding an element of literature). This follows a decision by the Council that, rather than competing with commercial classes, the society should focus more on English literature. In addition, Harriet Stone has run a trial run of a course of English for Scientists.
Reviewing events organised by the society over the past year, David Clark reported on the celebration of 100 years of the RAF (a talk by Tim Dutton in April - he spoke on the Pathfinder Force of RAF Bomber Command which led thousands of bombers over Luxembourg during the Second World War and the crash of the Pathfinder bomber at Koerich), visits to the Court of Justice of the European Union and to the Ramborn Cidery (two visits led respectively by Chris Atkinson and Claudine Als, including a film, historical explanations about the farm, the philosophy of Ramborn, explanations about the production of the different ciders and perry, and a tasting).
The highlight of the year was the Relaunch Party held in the grounds of the British Embassy on 18 September; over 270 guests were invited and enjoyed a wonderful late summer evening.
He paid special thanks to the British Ambassador, John Marshall, and his staff – notably Sher Houston and Nelly Mitton. "The relaunch of the Society could not have been achieved without the moral and financial support of the Ambassador and the Embassy. The Ambassador has been an inspiration to us all in promoting British-Luxembourg relations" stated David Clark. He also thanked the patrons of the society.
Looking forward, David Clark confirmed that the British Ambassador has again offered to host a party for the Society at the Residence scheduled for 18 September 2019. Shortly after that event, a "Sir Winston Churchill Lecture" will be delivered by an eminent speaker. In addition, he revealed that the society also plans to restart tours of the UK with a short visit to Cambridge arranged by Voyages Emile Weber being planned.
Ian Kent, as Treasurer of the society, presented the Annual Accounts which were audited by the society's Honorary Auditor, Gerd Gephard.
Officers and Council Members
Jan Koenighaus, Vice President, will be stepping down as Vice President at the next Council meeting but will remain on the Council. Maître Louise Benjamin, who has provided considerable support on legal issues and in discussing support for future events with sponsors, offered to take his place as Vice President.
Andrée Wietor, formerly Membership Secretary, was elected the society's new Secretary. She will be supported by Debbie McDonnall who has been appointed Administrative Assistant.
Following a significant exercise to update the membership list and ensure GDPR compliance, a list of members will be filed with the Registre de Commerce as required by law.
Council Member and Honorary President of the Society, Maître Jacques Loesch, CBE, stepped down as a Council Member but has agreed to remain as Honorary President and a Patron of the Society.
In addition, Maître Hervé Hansen also stood down from his position as Secretary of the Society; he has taken on the role of Secretary of the Barreau de Luxembourg.
Jacqueline Spence and Lynda Shephard were both elected as Members of the Council.
Following the formal part to the evening, those attending were entertained by two musical performances. Firstly, Autumn Le lievre, who has recently arrived in Luxembourg from Guernsey, performed the following:
- Sylvia Woods: Extracts from The Harp of Brandiswhere Suite
- Henriette Renié: Esquisse
- Hetfield/Ulrich, arr. Le Lievre: Nothing Else Matters
- John Thomas: Bugeilio'r Gwenith Gwyn (Watching the Wheat)
- Deborah Henson-Conant: Baroque Flamenco
She was followed by 17 years-old Isabelle Kruithof who played the following violin pieces:
- J.S. Bach Sonate 1 in g minor Adagio-presto
- E. Ysaÿe Sonate 3 in d minor Op.27 "Ballade"
The evening concluded with a reception of crémant and canapés.