Fragility and Fundraising
Last week we held a wonderful evening reception at the Castle to aid a spinal injury charity.It provides practical support to those who have suffered such an immediate and life-changing challenge.
It all happened because I had gone to the Wells Literary Festival to give a talk. I was hopeless at threading my way through the town to the cathedral where I was to park so I stopped to ask a traffic warden for help. Wells has a stunning cathedral and cloisters and Bishop Peter and his wife Jane are good friends from their time as Bishop here at Basingstoke near Highclere. It was an unexpectedly social walk from the car to the cathedral. I bumped into Archbishop Lord Carey and his wife planning their funerals, though I hope not for many years. Next I met a cousin in a wheelchair who is very special. Despite being paralysed in a horse accident, she is tireless in all she does and has since been appointed Lord Lieutenant of Somerset. This is an ancient office dating from the reign of Henry VIII and one which originally was responsible for raising local militia. Today however it is a ceremonial role, one which stands apart from politics. The Lord Lieutenant represents the Queen in Somerset and attends various other functions in and around London. It is an unseen link which continues to reinforce connections from the centre to the counties and back. On a personal note, I do not know how Annie does it all. She told me about the charity and the event was born.
Thus we are back at Highclere on a summer’s evening , with perhaps 150 guests, champagne and canapés. The creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes, and his lovely wife Emma were kind enough to come along too. They were supporting it for their own personal reasons. A friend set off in a car on a school run, but ended up in hospital and then in a wheelchair. Life can be very fragile sometimes. I think Julian included some references to “Lord Lieutenant” in an episode of Downton Abbey and of course many might remember the scene in the Library here where Matthew was in a wheelchair after being injured in the First World War. Fortunately for him, he did manage to get up and walk again. I know miracles do happen and perhaps as medicine advances they may happen more often, but they are sadly rare in real life. In the meantime there are straightforward ways to help people and their families facing life in a wheelchair.
I always hope the kind guests who come along enjoyed themselves.
The double act later that evening was my husband and Emma Fellowes conducting the auction and a significant amount of money was raised for the charity. It is important to me that guests see Highclere as a home with a heart and atmosphere. It does what it can for others, whether as a hospital in the First World War, or a home for evacuated children in the Second World War, or a home which is sufficiently well know today to gather people together for many good causes. We were fortunate Julian Fellowes wrote such a great series and fortunate that it attracted so many viewers.
DEAR LADY CARNARVON, AS ALWAYS YOU AND LORD CARNARVON, ARE SPOT ON. IF MORE PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD PUT THEIR HEARTS OUT TO THE PEOPLE OF SPECIAL NEEDS, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD THIS MIGHT BE. UNDER THE SKIN, BLIND, DEAF, OR IN A WHEELCHAIR, WE ALL WANT TO LIVE AND ENJOY LIFE, AS THE SPECIAL PEOPLE WE ALL ARE. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, AND THANK GOD FOR JULIAN FELLOWS. DESIREE.
We have been lucky to be part of Downton – and then I want to do my best and work hard with the luck ..
A wonderful cause and such inspiring people. Also, your husband and you are to be commended for your thoughtfulness, energy and generosity.
I thoroughly agree!
There are a lot of great volunteers…we are just a part
It keeps the heart pumping to know that these kind of events still happen and people still attend. Thank you Lady Carnarvon and Lord Carnarvon.
Great to see Julian Fellows and his lovely wife.
You are an inspiration. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life and Highclere Castle.
God bless you and Lord Carnarvon.
Thank you for reminding us that, no matter how many rooms, a house becomes a home through the people who live there. Through the centuries, Highclere has been a “home” to many. And today, Lord and Lady, you continue that tradition. Robert Blankenship, in his poem “What makes a House a Home”, expresses this well in these excerpts from that writing:
It’s walls stood strong and firm
Never were they shaken
Strength is gained by what you give
Not by what you have taken
A home is so much more
Than wood and nails and stone
It is made of truth, love, caring and sharing
These things, they make a house a home.
May God continue to bless your home.
Wonderful – can I use that in my next book – it is “At Home at Highclere”?
I don’t see why not. May have to list author in the footnotes. He should be honored that you considered his writings worthy of inclusion in your book.
What a lovely event and a most worthy cause. With all of the meanness and hate we are exposed to these days, it is so heart warming to have the opportunity to give back to those in need. Highclere is truly a grand home and you, Lord and Lady, are so very kind to once again open your home to help others! Well done!
Dear Lady Carnavon,
I read your book and I read your blog.
You really are a wonderful writer,
and an inspiring one as well.
Our travel Club is s visiting Highclere August 23.
Hope to meet you.
Lise Beane, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Dear Lady Carnarvon, I appreciated a lot your “Fragility and Fundraising” because I work in an Italian motor rehabilitation facility for SCI people so I know what you’re talking about. Life can be very difficult for these people. Many of them are young, some others are older but nevertheless it’s sad to face life without one’s own autonomy. Let’s help these people as much as we can.
We are solving ever more medical challenges every day, but we are not there yet with the spine. In the meantime you are right
You are open to so many good deeds! Again, your husband is so handsome and Julian – well he is the love of my life – HA! When you meet new people they open a world to you that you would not have seen before – We all benefit by opening new worlds and adding them to our own – love your work. I saw the special feature on my DA disc set and I love how the public and all the hard work you do is keeping your house going – keep up the good works – hope your home last another 100 years!
So do I – andd we have planted cedars and oaks for those who are here in 150 years.
How wonderful! God works in mysteries ways!
I thought it was a wonderful idea and respect you for this.
Fabulous! You and your husband are to be commended!
Just back from a wonderful 4 weeks in Canada/Alaska.
Enjoyed reading your blog whilst away.
My Husband was an Auctioneer and I can well imagine the fun on the night.
The evening had a great feel to it.
What thoughtful and generous people to sponsor such an important cause. Good to see that talented Julian Fellowes again. Great photos.
Such a wonderful charity to support. Spinal cord injuries are sudden and completely life altering. Last week a police officer in my area was shot in the neck during a traffic stop and it appears he will be affected by the injuries for the rest of his life. His life, and the lives of his family, will never be the same. Charities such as this are working hard to support people who have suffered such injuries. Thank you for supporting the charity.
Honestly what we do is so little to what those who are shot as in your story face..
Yes – we applaud your compassion and generosity for arranging such events at Highclere, It is wonderful to see “her” – the castle – continue life with vision and purpose. Yes, Julian’s writing is nothing short of genius. The Downton Abbey series was so intriguing and compelling – I can’t imagine for a second having that kind of insight and energy. God bless you all always in all you do.
Amen to all you wrote! Always a highlight in my day to find out the latest events that have your focus at Highclere. It is fortunate to have you and your husband as Lord, Lady and Guardians both.
Charles Krauthammer who brings great wisdom to debates on Fox news here in the USA , is a wonderful example of how, in spite of crippling spinal injuries, it is possible to live a very full life.Our Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott. was also injured in a freak accident, but it has not stopped him from having a very successful life, either. I hope that some day they can come to Highclere to participate in a gathering such as you describe. Thank you for supporting people who through no fault of their own are confined to wheelchairs.
It looks like “Dr. Clarkson” was there too?
You are an inspiration to all. The World needs more people like you!
Most heartwarming to hear of your efforts on behalf of spinal injuries. My late husband knew well a law enforcement office paralyzed in the line of duty who continues to contribute urging youth to shun criminal activities and pursue instead a path to achievement. Such bravery! I hope through efforts such as yours a cure will be found!
You are very kind but our luck is being able to give a face and a voice to help support a charity. It is all about communication.
So wonderful to read about the various charity events you so generously have at Highclere! It so keeps the spirit of your home alive and so inspiring. Would that we could all attend such events and give our support. Perhaps some items at the gift store, like stationery, cards, etc., could be sold with profits going to the Spinal Injuries Trust and the other charities you are involved in, it would be a way we could contribute from “long distance”.
My husband and I attended your Spinal Injury charity event and we indeed had a most enjoyable time. Thank you for your generosity in hosting the event and for opening your home to us. Your splendid castle is definitely a home with heart and atmosphere. It is your family that makes it so. I am only sad I did not get to see your excellent door painting of the interconnecting door to the Smoking Room. We shall have to plan a return visit. 🙂
Sue & Doug Hardy
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
It was such a pleasure to meet you at your Southern Spinal Injuries Trust Charity Event held at your magnificent Highclere Castle!
As fans of the popular Downton Abbey series, it was a delight to explore the Saloon, Library, Drawing Room, Smoking Room, Music Room, and the upstairs Gallery Bedrooms. The guides throughout the Castle were very informative. We also enjoyed the Egyptian Exhibition.
This reception was one of the highlights of our eight day vacation to London, since we also had the unique opportunity to meet Lord Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, and actor David Robb, who portrayed Dr. Clarkson on the series. As an added bonus, you were so kind to autograph my Event Guide.
We were touched by your family’s willingness to support the Spinal Injuries Trust to help those individuals coping with spinal cord injuries. Thank you for your hospitality and a truly memorable evening.
All the best,
Frances and Jack Joyce
Very quickly this site will be famous amid all blog visitors,
due to it’s pleasant articles
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
I have just seen the “Fragility and Fundraising” piece, and I am so thankful that you and Lord Carnarvon have included these dear ones in wheelchairs. You kindness and caring underlines all of your wonderful events. I know those who attend must be so inspired, and I feel so uplifted because of these special times in the beauty and grandeur of Highclere Castle! May you continue in your plans and presentation of these events to help others.May the Lord continue to bless you!
Our grandson is in a wheelchair, and I so appreciate your work to help those near you. Therapy is a lifelong necessity for many who are physically disabled, but just plain fun and an elegant program must be so healing too.