Evesham Abbey trust – an update on progress
with Barrie Baldelli
Imagine approaching a landowner for permission to install a small plaque on his land, incidentally the site of Evesham Abbey, to commemorate the work of a hospital in World War I – and instead being offered ownership of the whole site. This was the starting point of Barrie Baldelli’s fascinating and very detailed report of the establishment and continuing progress of the Evesham Abbey Trust from its formation in 2014 to the plans and projects for the future.
Mr Baldelli conveyed a clear impression of the many hurdles confronting the Trust – not least the initial need to raise about £1.3 million. Despite the donation of £1,000 by the landowner John Rudge, there was still a long way to go, not only in terms of finance but also in administration such as the many applications to be completed, submitted, re-written and re-submitted in what became an on-going process.
The site itself presented its own problems before any work could begin, which included finding an alternative space for the allotments on the site and removing the many tons of rubbish that had accrued over the years.
Looking to the future, Mr Baldelli outlined a three-year programme involving the appointment of an archaeologist, the repair of the Grade II listed North Wall and the creation of gardens appropriate to the site and accessible to the public.
Mr Baldelli concluded his talk by detailing some of the many ways the Trust is working to involve the wider community of Evesham, which include an exciting programme for schools, improvement of the information boards and the appointment of a full-time Community Engagement Officer for three years.
Following the talk and at his specific request for any constructive ideas and suggestions from the audience, a lively and well-informed discussion ensued.
Altogether an excellent evening.