Hyde900 programme for 2014 launched.

datePosted on 17:34, March 8th, 2014

Hyde900 members and their guests enjoyed a preview of the plans for 2014 at a private launch event for the new year’s programme held in the clubhouse of Winchester City Football Club last Friday, March 28th. Hyde900 founder Edward Fennell and Visual Arts Coordinator Sophie Cunningham-Dawe spoke of their personal experiences working on the BBC2 documentary “The Search for Alfred the Great” broadcast in January which focused on the mystery of the Unmarked Grave in the churchyard of St Bartholomew, Hyde. They described their feelings about the extraordinary results that were revealed, and as members of a small community organisation working so closely with the nation’s foremost broadcaster.

Much of the following question and answer session inevitably focussed on what might now follow in relation to the site of the royal burials , about which there are understandably differing views.

Hyde900 Chair Steve Marper summed up “We never expected the outcome of the Unmarked Grave investigation to indicate that the Hyde Abbey site itself should be re-excavated, but that is what expert opinion firmly believes. Initiating and completing such a project will not be a simple matter however, requiring careful work with key stakeholders such as Winchester City Council and Friends of Hyde Abbey Garden, comprehensive project planning, and fund raising. Working in partnership, it is however well within the remit of Hyde900 to at least attempt to take this forward. The University of Winchester have already agreed to be our partners in this endeavour, including carrying out the skilled archaeological work involved if a re-excavation is agreed.”

Whether or not a new dig takes place, Hyde900 intend to work towards a Visitor Information Area within the Hyde Abbey precincts, relying initially on the latest information technology, to put in place much more information about the site and its history for the benefit of both local visitors and those from further afield. This will draw heavily on the already successful Stones of Hyde Abbey project led by David Spurling, and require the support of the same key stakeholders.

But Hyde900 activities are not confined to commemorating the Abbey. The highly successful Wantage to Winchester cycle ride will take place on 20th July this year. The Michaelmas Music series will again be staged at St Bartholomew’s in the autumn, culminating in a concert presented as part of the King Alfred Weekend in which Hyde900 supports the Church with activities such as the visual arts event and annual King Alfred Lecture.

The well established Art of Conversation series is being re-launched as Hyde in Conversation, reflecting the move to include other notable individuals resident or active in Hyde; this year a journalist, lawyer, artist, television producer, and publican. The format will remain the same including star interviewers Bill Lucas and Jenny Cuffe. The series begins on April 16th when Economist journalist John Andrews is interviewed by Professor Bill Lucas.

The Hyde literature group has also been reformed, around a set of outdoor events following previous success with this format.

Following its informal foundation to perform at the Olympic Torch procession, the Hyde900 Choir has now been formally established, and in addition to several events in Winchester this year has already been invited to perform in Winchester’s twin-city of Laon. Also starting this year is a project to commemorate Hyde and its residents during the First World War.

Hyde900 Chair Steve Marper closed the meeting by thanking David Malone of Winchester City Football Club for providing the venue, and dedicating the meeting to the memory of Ann Helliwell, local resident and active Hyde900 supporter, who died in 2012 leaving Hyde900 the organisation’s first bequest.

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