Chairman's Newsletter - November 2023
Sunday 12th November 2023
I hope you are all safe and dry and that you survived the awful rain, wind and storms of the last few weeks.
Osborne had to close for a day after the storms flooded the beach café and caused damage to paths on the Rhododendron Walk and along the Valley Walk to the beach. The lower part of the estate, including the beach, is still closed to the public and will need extensive repair work and cleaning before it will hopefully reopen in the Spring.
Due to the weather, Toby’s Trafalgar Day walk on the 20th October was rescheduled for November 3rd. Fortunately it went ahead but members were unable to visit the beach due to the damage caused by the storms at the end of October. Instead, Toby showed members around the Terraces and Walled Garden including the Potting Sheds where they enjoyed warming mulled wine.
Please click here for photographs of this event - Friends of Osborne | Trafalgar Day Walk - Nov 2023.
The Wine Tasting event, due to take place at the end of October, had to be cancelled because of a lack of interest. This was disappointing but maybe members did not like the idea of going out in the dark and perhaps it would be more popular as a summer event.
Some members of Friends of Osborne will gather at St Mildred’s War Memorial at 10.45 on Sunday 12th for the laying of the wreaths, together with the playing of the Last Post. The Friends of Osborne wreath will be laid by Committee member, Colonel Malcolm Watson.
Please click here for details Friends of Osborne | Remembrance Sunday at St Mildred's.
Our AGM is due to be held on November 23rd at 18:00. It will be held in the Education Suite at Osborne. All the relevant paperwork has been emailed to current members, or for those without an email address, sent by post. These documents can also be viewed, downloaded and/or printed in the Members page of our website. Please complete the Attendance/Proxy form (click on Friends of Osborne | AGM -Attendance/Proxy Form - Nov 2023) to either inform us whether or not you will be attending, or if you wish to pass your vote by proxy.
A Christmas Tree Festival is being held at Whippingham Church from Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th December. This is well worth a visit as the trees displayed are beautiful. The trees are decorated by local community groups and Friends of Osborne will exhibit a tree with a Victorian theme. Next year we hope to hold craft sessions during December in which we will make Christmas decorations including some for the tree that we will exhibit at St. Mildred’s. Friends of Osborne | Christmas Tree Festival at St Mildred's Church
In December we have two events for which you can book. They are both taking place on 15th December.
Firstly, there is a Christmas Wreath Making Workshop which will be held in The Education Rooms. Toby will provide the greenery from around Osborne and Sue Sawby will guide you on how to make an attractive wreath.
Please click here for details Friends of Osborne | Christmas Wreath Making Workshop
Later that evening we will be holding our popular Carols in the Courtyard. A 12-piece ukulele band will lead us through some classic favourites.
Please click here for details Friends of Osborne | Carols in the Courtyard
We are thinking of introducing a Photo Competition in the New Year. This would run throughout the year with the best picture from each month being displayed at our AGM in November next year. More details will follow, but the photos will be of Osborne and the grounds only, so members may want to start looking for photo opportunities.
The guided tours at Osborne have just begun and started on Saturday 11th November. Unfortunately, there was not the chance for members to trial these tours as previously hoped.
Osborne is open five days a week during November to March with the property closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. These guided tours all have to be booked in advance through English Heritage at Events at Osborne | English Heritage (english-heritage.org.uk) and access to the house will be exclusively through guided tours during this period. However, these tours will stop during the school holidays from Christmas to the New Year and at February half term (12th – 16th Feb), when it will revert back to ‘free flow’ visits.
Due to the limited availability of the guided tours Osborne can no longer invite members to visit the house on a Friday in the Winter. However, Friends of Osborne members can still access the grounds on any day over the winter as usual and will be allowed to visit the house on any of the ‘free flow’ days between Christmas and the New Year, when the rooms and Christmas trees will be decorated. Also, we are welcome to visit the house on any day during February half term.
If members want to visit Father Christmas, these visits are bookable on-line at a separate cost per child and one adult has to visit with the child (although there is no charge for the adult). These tickets cannot be bought on site and you must book an available slot on line, again through English Heritage.
Osborne has again kindly agreed to give members a 25% discount in the shop this December from 13th to 17th December. This is a wonderful opportunity to buy some special Christmas gifts for friends and family.
I would like to remind members that they need to show their membership card and some form of ID when they go through POQ. It can be very busy at the Admissions Desk and I ask all our members to show respect when talking to English Heritage staff and other visitors.
I hope to see many members at the AGM on the 23rd and I also hope the weather dries up to allow us to enjoy walking at Osborne.