Conference - Leeds Sept 2010
Saturday 25th September 2010
PFNE District Manager at the time, Steve Davis, reflects on a succesfull conference and thanks those who helped to make it happen. Conference photos by David Speight.
I hope all of you who attended our conference at Blackburn hall, Rothwell, Leeds in September will have all taken something positive away at the end of the day. Months of preparation ended with a long, long day for the PFNE team, many of us being there from 7am till nearly 11pm!
When I first took this idea along to the PFNE District Officers Meeting in York I wasn’t even holding office, but the team were more than enthusiastic, and I came away with a "yes" to staging the conference, and literally press-ganged into being the DM to boot !.. (Thanks guys!).
Several of us arrived, very sleepy eyed at 7am to start setting up. I was fortunate to get access to the hall on the Friday morning and, assisted by the Caretaker, Craig, was able to get most of the tables and chairs in situ beforehand, which was a great help! Stallholders were already arriving, and for the next two and a half hours the hall was a hive of activity as stall holders set up their wares.
Lord Mayor & Pyrotechnics
As the doors opened at 9.30, we were just about ready for the official opening. I introduced his Worshipful, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, who formally opened the conference with a pagan friendly and well informed speech, which was much appreciated by us all. It was truly refreshing to have a public figure who was respectful of our beliefs and had clearly done his homework before delivering his speech!
What followed next was a brilliant and evocative opening invocation by our own team members, Dianna, Debra, and Berenice - the Northern Tribe of Brigantia! Coordinated by Dianna, who promised me a "surprise ", which we certainly got!... as smoke ascended from the cauldron at the end of the invocation, the smoke alarm was set off.. it was only the quick thinking of Craig, the caretaker, that staved off a visit from the fire brigade !!
A Varied Programme
10.30 came and the start of the talks and workshops. Throughout the day there was a full and varied programme from a variety of learned speakers, from the well known, such as our own Philip Heselton, our own officers Krystal & Pippa, to the wonderful Wendy Andrew, author of "Luna Moon Hare".
The list of subjects covered the Life of Gerald Brosseau Gardner, Reincarnation & the After Life, the magical uses of water, the chakras, healing – working with the god & goddess, past life regression, creating pagan art, making incenses, making magical wands, mediumship, and Astronomy from the wonderful speaker, John Harper. I only found myself a few minutes to attend Wendy & Johns talks, which were fascinating, but had some very positive feedback on all the other talks.
Patricia Crowther - Craft Elder
We were very honoured by the surprise visit from the wonderful Patricia Crowther. Patricia was due to be our headline speaker, but poor health resulted in her having to pull out of the conference 2 weeks before, so I was amazed & delighted to receive a phone call during the morning to say she was coming after all, and would be happy to call the raffle! Considering just how ill she was, I was both honoured & humbled by her presence, and I think everyone in the hall listened attentively to her wise words!
The formal part of the conference was drawn to a wonderful close by the Northern Tribe of Brigantia, this time without the pyrotechnics! By 5.30 the stalls had closed, and we began setting up the hall, ready for the evening entertainment.
My grateful thanks go to Doug Peters, who opened up the evening. Doug literally came in at the 11th hour, when our original opening act of Colin & Karen Cater were unable to appear. Doug gave us a brilliant 45 minute set, which was followed by the awesome "Gone to the Dogs ", who played their wonderful blend of Celtic Irish material throughout the remainder of the night! I was particularly pleased to see so many staying on to hear the music after such a long day!
... And so to the many "thank yous!"... I would just like to conclude by saying how very proud I was of the PFNE team! As I have said before, people like me are just the "figurehead” of any organisation... it’s the other team members that make the event a success!
I want to personally thank Dianna, who was there right at the beginning with me on this venture; she produced all of the posters and much of the conference info. Thank you to David, who did such a great job on all the media contacts, Debra, Cynthia; and Rob from Bradford, who helped so much with photos for the exhibition, raffle prizes, and numerous conference material; Ian, for setting up (painfully!) Pay Pal and getting the conference info onto the PFNE web site with the assistance of Dianna, Pauline and partner, who worked so very hard behind the scenes on refreshments throughout the conference day; Marcus, who loaned us the much needed digital projector for Philips talk and sold tickets for most of the day; Krystal, for all the conference signs and many other materials; and Angel, who put up with me for a whole week before the event, gave me bed and board, and allowed me to ransack and despoil her room with all the conference and exhibition material!
Thanks to all those of you who supported and helped on the day, everyone who bought tickets and came along and had a good time... everyone who supported me on this project, and helped make the day a memorable one!!