B.D.F.A.S. Saves The Day!!


Early in 2012 B.D.F.A.S. YOUNG ARTS representatives SHEILA BATES and SUE ROACHE sent out letters to three schools in our area inviting the Head of Arts to suggest a way of spending £500 on an art- based project which would benefit their school.

We wanted to make it a competition, and gave them a few weeks to come up with suggestions. We set a definite deadline and sat back and awaited a response.

The results were a contradiction of negative and positive.

From one school, after several letters and e-mails we were told that the Head of Art was about to take maternity leave and her replacement wasn’t in the job yet.
They declined the invitation to take part, but told us they would be interested at a more convenient time.

From another school, after various e-mails and letters, which were carefully delivered to the school office, we received nil response.

Then we came to the third school. The Maltings Academy Witham. The pupils of this school are very fortunate to have a recently completed, brand new school. It is built on the site of the old pre-war school building.

Mrs Hayley Lee is the Head of Art at Maltings Academy. We have had contact with her in previous years. She is a very energetic and supportive teacher who is always looking for ways to encourage her students. Her reply, by e-mail, was immediate” We are desperate for some especially made display boards for our beautiful new art department. Without the boards we won’t be able to have our end of year art exhibition.” Hayley concluded by saying that she was well aware that there were others with equally worthy causes to be considered. Little did she realise that this was her lucky day!!

Sheila Bates and I thought that this was an excellent project. We took it forward to our committee who thought likewise. We were impressed by the way Hayley Lee had supported us in previous Young Arts events. Her enthusiasm for her job is very evident.

“The Display Boards at Maltings” – Bill Allen, Sue Roache, Hayley Mills & Grace Waight

We gave her the good news and she was so happy! The Principal of Maltings Academy then approved extra funding, and this meant that she could now order the special display boards.

A company was found who produce special display boards. This company had already made boards for the Chelsea Arts School, Harrods, and had completed work for HMS Belfast.

The boards were made in four days. They are a very strong, light- weight, cardboard material, secured by especially designed safety clips. Hayley told us that safety was a very crucial consideration when designing the boards because of where they would be used within the school. The company “pulled out all the stops” to get them completed on time.
On 21st June four members of BDFAS were invited to the end of year exhibition.
We have attended end of year exhibitions in the old school building. I think we were all amazed when we walked into the new school building. My first thought was “lucky children”. It is a really inspiring environment.

The display boards looked very impressive hung with high-quality work. There was also space for sculptures to be displayed at their best. The boards were situated in the centre of a very light and airy corridor, and they seemed to stretch a very long way. They are easily dismantled. Some will be left as permanent display areas throughout the year. During the evening we were also invited into the new performing space to watch the presentations for achievement.
Another reason for our invitation to the exhibition was to select some work to be put forward to NADFAS for possible selection for the Mall Galleries exhibition in February next year. This is a competition for A- level students. BDFAS have put forward works for consideration for the past three years. No luck yet, but this year we could be lucky!

“Choosing the entries” – Bill Allen, Sue Roache & Grace Waight

What an enjoyable evening we had. ! Happy and confident pupils, who were willing to talk about aspects of their work, escorted us around and offered us refreshments. A sophisticated evening spent in a beautiful light-filled building. It was also very good to see such enthusiastic family support for the pupils. Very uplifting!

Sue Roache.

Visit to Ely Cathedral and Chippenham Park House – 11th October 2012

ELY CATHEDRAL– Etheldreda built a monastery on the site of what is now Ely Cathedral in 673AD. After restoration in 970 it became the richest abbey in England except for Glastonbury. Work on the present Cathedral began in the 11th century and the monastic church became a cathedral in 1109. The monastery was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539, but Ely suffered less than many other monasteries. Major restorations took place in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The most extensive restoration to date was begun in 1986 and was completed in the year 2000.

“Ely Cathedral” image courtesy of www.elycathedral.org

CHIPPENHAM PARK HOUSE – There has been a house on the present site for nearly 1000 years but the current property dates from the early 18th century. In the late 18th century it was rebuilt in the Queen-Anne-Revival style, and was considerably extended to accommodate many guests including the Prince of Wales who enjoyed shooting and the racing at Newmarket. In 1985 the estate passed to Mrs Crawley, who has restored and refurbished the house The garden has been extended from five acres to 15 and is very popular on the three days a year it is opened for charity.


9.00 a.m.        Depart Wickham Bishops Church car park

10.45am          Arrive Ely Cathedral for tour, stained glass museum and coffee

12.45pm          Depart for Chippenham Park House

1.15pm            Arrive Chippenham for lunch

2.00pm            Tour of house and gardens

4.30pm            Depart Chippenham for Wickham Bishops          

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