In June, Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre hosted The Devonshire Association’s 155th annual conference.
The organisation is one of the oldest in Devon having initially been founded by William Pengelly in Exeter in 1862. Since then, it’s membership has risen hugely with today’s figure around 1,300. The association has eight specialist sections – Botany, Buildings, Entomology, Geology, History, Literature & Art, Industrial Archaeology and Music. Over one hundred events and activities are run each year, with the most major event held being the Annual Conference.
With the long history of the Association and the importance of its Annual Conference, all the staff at Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre were overjoyed to receive such a positive email from the organisers of the conference.
Bridget has already expressed her and our appreciation for all you have done for our 2017 Annual Conference; however, it would be quite wrong for Jonathan and me to sit back on the basis that thanks has been expressed.
I have now prepared over a dozen conferences and none of them has come as close to ideal as you and your staff at the Buckfast Conference Centre.
No request was left unanswered, no detail unattended, no matter considered too trivial.
Members who had failed to voice their dietary needs at the proper time were given royal treatment and the overall service was excellent. All three meals provided at the centre were quite exceptional and created together with the reception and coffee/tea sessions an ambiance of relaxed togetherness which we always try to achieve but don’t always succeed.
Your presence was invaluable in the smooth running of the conference and calls for a special thank you when it came to helping me set up the front of the Schiller Hall for the AGM.
It was a joy to be at Buckfast Abbey and its environs for the three days and we shall always remember it as being friendly and efficient, a combination many organisations fail to achieve.
The Annual Conference was held on the first weekend of June and included full use of the conference centre facilities, Northgate House Hotel, a tour of the Abbey Church from Fr. Christopher and a tour of the Abbey Gardens led by head gardener Aaron Southgate.
What made the event even more memorable is that The Devonshire Association has previously held meetings at Buckfast Abbey in 1913, as well as 1986 when the President of the Association was the Rt. Revd Leo Smith, Abbot of Buckfast at that time. It is hoped that the Association will return to Buckfast Abbey a little sooner next time!
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