LEEK and District Arts Club has produced a strong programme for its final season, which opens next Tuesday. It includes musical events and talks on subjects of local and national interest.
The first event will be a tribute to the great entertainer Joyce Grenfell, who died in 1979 but is still remembered for her solo shows, humorous songs, comic film roles and extensive writing. The tribute will be paid by Enid Ruff, who, like Grenfell, has had a varied career, as a teacher, singer, artist and poet. She paints original water colours, from which she makes prints and a wide range of goods; these also feature her own poems and from these she has raised more than £15,000 for the Treetops hospice in Derby since 1999.
In October 1998 she was invited to pay a short tribute to Joyce Grenfell in a charity concert and this led her to realise that there was much more to Joyce than most people realised Her tribute helps to keep the memories of this great performer and her many talents alive - her humour, her singing, her artistic talent, her poetry, her monologues and her faith.
Enid has performed her tribute before large and small audiences all over England - and her last performance was in Brittany.
Her performance for the Arts Club will be in the Churnet Room of Moorlands House, next Tuesday, September 24, at 7.30pm. The formal opening of the new season will be performed by Jim Davies, chairman of Staffordshire Moorlands Council.
Admission to this event will be £2 for members and £4 for non-members – all welcome.
At its meeting on October 22, the Arts Club will have a talk on James Bateman, creator of the Biddulph Grange gardens, by Bill Ridgway, author of many local interest books. This talk will look at Bateman’s important worldwide work as a botanist and plant hunter.
The club’s big musical event of the season will be a concert by City of Manchester Opera at Trinity Church on November 26. This highly acclaimed group, whose work ranges from small concerts to full scale operas, will present a programme of popular music with a few surprises thrown in.
With the centenary of the start of the First World War in mind, the club has invited Major (retd) Ted Green of the Staffordshire Regiment Museum, to give a talk on the two county regiments in that conflict. This will be on January 28 next year.
The final talk, on February 25, will be highly topical, about the discovery under a Leicester car park earlier this year of the remains of King Richard III, who was killed at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. The speaker will be Dr John Ashdown-Hill, who played a leading role in the search, and featured in a TV documentary on the subject. There is also a local interest, from a legend which connects the Rudyard and Stanley families with the decisive events in the battle.
The club’s Christmas party will be on December 17 and the pie supper and AGM on March 25.
Although the club will be formally wound up at the AGM, there will be one last flourish, a celebrity dinner with special guests on April 29. This will commemorate the outstanding contribution the Arts Club has made to local cultural life for 65 years. Details will be announced shortly.