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NEWSLETTER  –  15th DECEMBER 2020

Meeting with Osborne Management

The Secretary and myself met with Osborne management recently and discussed a number of issues – listed below: –  

Friends Booking System

This appears to be running smoothly from month to month with about the right number of bookings to fill our allocated 100 places.  If I can remind members to be considerate and not over-book so that all members have a reasonable chance of making a visit.  Osborne are keeping a list of member names to allow us to continue to monitor this.

Please remember that the site is closed Monday and Tuesday so try to book Wednesday visits the week before if possible.  After Christmas, Osborne will only be open at weekends until the February half-term.

Weather Vane

Members may recall that we committed to making a contribution to the restoration of the weather vane that sits on the top of the clock tower.  I am pleased to say that the work has now been completed and it is back at Osborne ready for installation (via a huge crane!) in early February.  The Project Manager has offered to provide and insight into the work that was required and hopefully we can create a photo opportunity with the County Press, highlighting the contribution of the Friends. 

Fence Repairs

Members may be aware of historic metal fencing to be seen on the walk down to the beach in the valley.  Urgent repairs are required and I am pleased that local iron mongers at The Forge in Whippingham have been contracted to undertake the work in the new year and the Friends will be making a contribution to the overall cost.  Again, I will be asking that Osborne management credit our contribution when this work is completed.

Benches

As many of us know, considering that Osborne is a 250-acre estate, there are too few benches for a much-needed rest!  Consequently, we will make a small annual contribution to provide more benches around the estate – each will carry a small plaque indicating that the Friends have gifted these to Osborne.

Eating at Osborne

Although the café in the Petty Officers Quarters is closed, the Orangery (adjacent to the Terrace Restaurant) is open for take-aways and the restaurant is available for pre-booked table service for on-site guests only.  The Beach Café is also open for a limited take-away offer.  After Christmas, the restaurant will be serving weekend roasts – again pre-booked table service only.

Toby’s Trees & Wreaths

Osborne has a seasonal wreath trail and Toby (Head Gardener) has Toby’s Tall Trees Trail as an added attraction over the next couple of weeks.

Platinum Jubilee

There is currently a national tree planting scheme being proposed to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.  We have indicated that we would like to fund a tree-planting at Osborne – very much in keeping with the tradition that Prince Albert and Queen Victoria began back in the 1850’s.  We’ll keep you up to date with this as the date approaches.

Further Meetings

As we all know the Covid restrictions can be changeable depending upon the tiering and hopefully the imminent roll out of the vaccine! Consequently, we will meet again with Osborne management in late January to review the status quo and then let you all know of any changes impacting upon our visits.

Remembrance Service

Despite the lock-down restrictions in November, we were still able to make a small and socially distanced service outdoors at St Mildred’s in Whippingham to mark the day and lay the wreath on behalf of the Friends.

Christmas Trees

There is also Friends Christmas tree to be seen at St Mildred’s.  See Poster below for details!

Please contact our Secretary, via this email address only, mtee45@hotmail.co.uk should you have any concerns or queries about any of the issues above.

Seasonal Best wishes to you all and hopefully a healthier New Year! 

Rob Flower

Chair of Friends of Osborne Trustees.

NEWSLETTER  –  9th NOVEMBER 2020

Lockdown Update

You will all be aware of the latest lockdown restrictions that have come into effect this week and are in place until December 2nd (we hope no longer !?)

Remembrance Service

Obviously, this will mean the cancellation of the Remembrance Service planned for November 8th.  There will however, be a private laying of the Friends wreath by arrangement with the Vicar of St. Mildred’s.  All of those who had already paid, should by now, have had an email from the Secretary about how to get a refund directly into their banks – please contact the Secretary on the email below if there are any delays. 

Osborne Visits

English Heritage has confirmed that the grounds and gardens will remain open throughout this second lockdown with all interior spaces closed.  Consequently, you may continue to use the TELEPHONE booking system and note the winter opening hours of Wednesday – Sunday.  Please visit the English Heritage website for further details.

Meeting with Osborne Management

We have had to postpone a planned meeting with Osborne Management when we had hoped to review the new booking procedures and also discuss the details of our next donations and what the monies would be used for.  We will now meet in mid-December, all being well.

Annual General Meeting

We are hoping to hold our AGM, probably in May and subject to venue availability and a lifting of restrictions to permit a large gathering of members.  Further updates on this will be given in due course, subject to the various changing scenarios.

Finally, a welcome to a number of new members who have joined us recently, we do hope that the full range of benefits will become available sooner rather than later!  And alas, we wish to mark the passing of another long-standing member, Sheila Swan, who kindly left a number of Victorian related books to the Friend’s library at Osborne. 

Please contact our Secretary, via this email address only, mtee45@hotmail.co.uk should you have any concerns or queries about any of the issues above.

Best wishes
Rob Flower
Chair of Friends of Osborne Trustees. 

6 November 2020

NOVEMBER OPENING

English Heritage has, this afternoon, announced it’s intention to keep some of it’s sites open during the current lockdown.  Consequently, the grounds and gardens of Osborne will remain open to local visitors within government guidelines on Wednesday to Sundays 10am to 4pm.  All interior spaces will be closed until 3 December which includes the House, the Gift Shop, Petty Officer’s Quarters and the Orangery.  Visitors are asked to bear in mind the government’s latest advice on essential journeys before planning their visit.  All visits must be booked in advance.

5 October 2020

NEW BOOKING ARRANGEMENTS

Members have today been emailed the instructions for booking visits to Osborne which are applicable from today, Monday 5 October 2020.  Also included in the email were details of the arrangements for this year’s Remembrance Service to be held at St Mildred’s Church on Sunday 8 November.
Any member who has not received the email is advised to contact our Secretary on mtee45@hotmail.co.uk.

NEWSLETTER  –  25th SEPTEMBER 2020

UPDATE ON NEGOTIATIONS WITH ENGLISH HERITAGE

I am delighted to announce that we have been successful in negotiating the return of access to the grounds of Osborne for the Friends, albeit in controlled numbers and via contacting the site directly to book rather than use the online booking system.  Details of the new arrangements, including the phone number to call, will be forwarded to all members via their email addresses in the next few days.  Any members without an email should contact the secretary directly on the number below. 

Please continue to follow our Facebook page and our website and continue to forward any queries to our secretary at mtee45@hotmail.co.uk. telephone 01983 295780.

Best wishes
Rob Flower
Chair of Friends of Osborne Trustees.