We were joined by Robin Saville, Malcolm Saville's elder son, and by Lesley Hadcroft, the literary agent
for Malcolm Saville's books.
A friend of Richard, Chris Eldon-Lee came along to make a tape of the events for a programme for Kaleidoscope on BBC Radio 4. How Dickie would have loved that.
One of the original Kinver Four was to become vital to the Society's formation.
This is Mark O'Hanlon. He is a tall, self-effacing youth
who appears, as here, in blue jeans at the edge of the group. Another of the Four is Bernard Meade
who stands in the middle, smiling at the camera.
|We journeyed around the Mynd, stopping to explore Ingles Farm actually named Hamperley just off the road up into the Mynd.|
Here we met Mrs Foulkes, who remembered Malcolm Saville well, and chuckled as she told us
that her husband's name was Tom, so there was still a Tom at 'Ingles'.
The picture was taken as Chris recorded her comments for the radio programme. When broadcast, later that year, its title was Witchend Once More.
We walked further on up the valley, with the stream bubbling
along under the hedge, until we came to the house that we'd all imagined
for so long, Witchend.|
Prior's Holt is its real name, and the building is not as described
in the books. But the setting is. Even in the dull, misty February morning
some of the warmth of adventure and young laughter seemed to echo around the buildings
as they nestled against the side of the little valley.
The bus expired before we reached Shrewsbury which should have spoiled the day but didn't.
I look back on that weekend with a great deal of pleasure.
The Society sort of coalesced that evening, following a Feast for which I still have the menu.
It included 'Dickie and Mary's Shropshire Broth', followed by 'Chicken Petronella'
and other light-hearted Lone Pine references.
Richard and Mark got together and with enthusiastic assistance from the author's eldest son, Robin, laid the foundation of a friendly group which has already lasted for almost eighteen years and has grown to over five hundred members.
A 'gathering' is held each year, in a place associated with Saville's writings. If you are lucky enough to get to one, you may welll see people who are on my photograph of the first group (above).
Sadly, Richard Walker died in 1999. It was his enthusiasm for the Lone Pine Books
and Shropshire that had been so crucial in the formation of the Society,
and he ran its magazine for the first two years, before stepping back and letting
others carry on. He was a wonderful, enthusiastic, man and we all miss him.
Robin Saville died in January 2012. He was a lovely man and I, like the others with whom he spent time
at Society events, will miss him. I remember his kindness and joie-de-vivre with great affection.
I shall add more about the Society when I get time, and photographs as well . . .
For more information about the Society, see its website, which is listed under 'Links' above.