Saturday, 12 September 2009


Jerome K. Jerome, the world-famous author, best known for his immortal classic of English humour, Three Men in a Boat, was born in Walsall 150 years ago on the 2nd May, 1859.
The Jerome K. Jerome Society, based in Walsall, is looking forward to a year of celebrations to mark this momentous anniversary. 2009 is also the 25th anniversary of the Jerome K. Jerome Society. A variety of events are planned including a trip down to Ewelme in Oxfordshire to visit Jerome’s grave and to deliver the coffin-shaped gravestone of his younger brother Milton Melancthon Jerome, who died of whooping cough in Stourbridge in 1862. This pilgrimage will take place on the weekend following the Society’s annual dinner on May 1st – the day before Jerome’s birth date. The annual dinner is always the highlight of the Society’s calendar and this year the Society has been able to persuade Sir Donald Sinden CBE D.Litt to be the guest speaker at the dinner.

Sir Donald is an English actor of stage and screen who has remained enormously popular with audiences since his days as a film star in the 1950s. He has starred in many outstanding British films including The Cruel Sea; Doctor In The House; Above Us The Waves and Doctor At Large.
He has been a Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) stalwart since the 1960s. Among many notable stage appearances are The War of the Roses opposite Dame Peggy Ashcroft and he gave an outstanding comedy performance partnered with Dame Judi Dench as Beatrice and Benedict in the “British Raj” revival of Much Ado About Nothing. He also won the Evening Standard Best Actor Award for his outstanding performance as King Lear .
He regularly appears on television including, recently, Sir Joseph Channing in Judge John Deed. He is currently on a UK and European tour, taking in various venues to talk about his life, work and anecdotes in An Evening with … Sir Donald Sinden.
The dinner will be held at The Fairlawns Restaurant, Aldridge, Walsall where the Society usually hold this event. Past speakers include : Hubert Gregg, Benny Green, Richard Stilgoe, Miles Kington, Libby Purves, Roy Hattersley MP, Henry Kelly, Giles Brandreth and Lord (John Julius) Norwich
The Society is also sponsoring a Schools Creative Writing Competition with cash prizes to be awarded to the winners some time during May. This is open to all children aged between 11 and 15 in Walsall schools.
Other events include a one-man-show performed by Jeremy Nicholas, the Society’s President, at The Grange Playhouse, Walsall and other venues. Jeremy will also give a talk in London at The Garrick Club during September and the year will culminate with the Society’s annual Christmas Carol Concert on Friday 4th December.
The Society is also publishing a book – The Best of Idle Thoughts. Idle Thoughts is the Society’s magazine and the 31st edition of the magazine will be published during 2009. The Best of Idle Thoughts will provide a miscellany of articles from the first 30 editions of the magazine. The Society was established in 1984 when the author’s birthplace, Belsize House, Bradford Street, Walsall, was restored by local Architect Gordon Foster, MBE. It was formed to support a small museum commemorating the life and works of the author in Belsize House and is now a thriving organisation with members throughout the world. It plays its part in attracting tourism to Walsall, the town of Jerome’s birth.
The Jerome K Jerome Society website can be found by clicking here =>

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