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Inside This Issue

2 3 5 6 7 8 10 13 14 15 16 Message from the Chairman The General Managers Comments Sierra Leone MP visits HQ News of League & Branch Activities A Midsummer Nights Dream & the Summer Luncheon Two Minutes With . . . The Coronation Festival One for the Library Did You Know? Diary of Events Booking Form

The Victoria League

For Commonwealth Friendship
Founded 1901
[A company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital]


The Central Council Mrs Gloria Bailey MBE Mr Grafton Edwards Mr Lyn D. Hopkins Mr Tim Layton Mrs Caroline Roughton Headquarters Address Victoria League House, 55, Leinster Square, London W2 4PW Charity Reg. No. 213619 Company No. 174517 Mrs Eileen Davenport Mrs Gillie Graham Mr Roy Jennings Mr Kevin McGrath

Tel: 020 7243 2633 Facsimile: 020 7229 2994 E-Mail: Website:

Editor: Rachael Marchese, Membership & Administration Officer

I do hope that you have all enjoyed the summer which was one of the sunniest for many years. I was pleased to see so many of you at the AGM in July where we were given a wonderful address by H.E. Ruth Elizabeth Rouse, the High Commissioner of Granada. I hope that you had the opportunity to attend one of the range of events which the League organised during the summer. We will soon be welcoming a new batch of students at Student House. It was 40 years ago this month that I came to live at Student House. It was the first time I had lived outside of Wales and living in Student House meant that I had a good group of friends fairly quickly. I have kept in touch with some of these friends. When I moved in the rent was 9 a week and that included breakfast and dinner in the canteen which was in the basement of the building. Next month, two of our Trustees (Gillie Graham and Kevin McGrath) will be travelling to Sierra Leone to visit the school we helped to finance. I am sure they will have an incredible time and I look forward to hearing about our school and its progress. I am grateful to Gillie and Kevin for spending their time and money on this visit. On their return the council will discuss what other projects we should undertake in the future. In November, the Commonwealth Heads of Government will be meeting in Sri Lanka. There has been a certain amount of controversy about the decision to hold the meeting there because of concerns about Sri Lankas human rights record. The meeting will mark the end of an era because it will be the first Heads of Government Meeting that Her Majesty the Queen will not attend during her reign. She will be represented by Prince Charles. Thank you for your continuing support for the League. Mr Lyn D. Hopkins B.Sc. MBA FCA ASIP Chairman

Greetings to all, As summer draws to an end, a new academic year begins. Student House becomes home to a new group of young people from around the Commonwealth. About 75% of this years students are new to Student House and some will be new to London too. As the rooms are prepared for their new arrivals, we can reflect on how many students have passed through the house in its 60 years of operation. What sort of stories could the walls tell maybe best not to know As you may be aware the Student House is a Grade 2 listed building and has some fabulous original features. We recently commissioned a couple of prints of the house which now hang in the lounge.

The rear of the building & garden square

The front of the building

The Queens Jubilee Project closed in June. We raised approx. 7,500 which was 75% of the target, which was great many thanks to all those who sent donations. The school is up and running, providing the education the youngsters need.

Fute Secondary School, Pejeh Cheifdom The Trustees will be considering a new Commonwealth educational project next year. There are a few events left this year please do attend them if you can. I would particularly draw you attention to the luncheon at The New Cavendish Club on Tuesday 29th October and Christmas Lunch on Wednesday 4th December at the Rubens at The Palace Hotel. Please do feel free to contact me on 020 7243 2633 or by email Ms Doreen Henry General Manager

Chairman Lyn Hopkins and MP Senesi Fawundu

On Wednesday the 18th of September the quarterly Council Meeting took place at Headquarters and in addition to the Council Members, there were two special guests in attendance. MP in Sierra Leone Senesi Fawundu and Richard Napper of the UK based charity Wherever the Need joined us to provide an update on the school which we have been fundraising to help build. Mr Fawundu is the MP for the constituency the school has been built in and was very excited about being able to give thanks in person for all of our efforts.

Council Members (left to right): Tim Layton and Gillie Graham, with guests Richard Napper and MP Senesi Fawundu

Mr R. Derek Bridge, Mr Thomas Davidson, Mrs Tracey Davidson, Mr Yohannes Goulbourne, and Ms Wendy Orr.

Mrs Eileen Davenport, Chairman of the Branch, reported: Throughout the year a programme is arranged by the Westminster Branch and we are always delighted to welcome overseas members to our events. During the summer we have met for lunch; attended a recital of music by Messiaen given by a quartet from the Guildhall School of Music; we took a picnic and attended the last Band Concert of the season in College Garden at Westminster Abbey where we were joined by Ireneus Zuk from Canada. At the end of June members were along to the Student House in Leinster Square for a guided tour of the house which included a visit to the Westminster Room. We took along a Bring and Share lunch and were delighted that the staff at V.L House were able to join us for lunch. We are pleased to welcome Wendy Orr as a member of the Branch.

Mr Grafton Edwards, Chairman of the Branch, reported:Unfortunately it was not possible to arrange our usual Summer Party this year. It is hoped that our Christmas Cheer will be held on Monday 23 rd December.

On a lovely summer afternoon in July, as rain clouds loomed threateningly in the distance, a small group of our members enjoyed a delightful afternoon at Shakespeares Globe on the bank of the Thames River here in Central London. Although the version of Shakespeares famous comedy was set on a traditional stage with traditional costumes, it was accompanied by instrumental music which was specifi cally written for this summers performance. Credit must be given to the cast for a very physical show, one of the highlights being a scene where the actor who played Oberon was moving above the audience using just a rope and one of the stage pillars for support. After the show they were fortunate to meet the cast and hear about the lengths some of them went to keep in shape, including mastering the discipline of Parkour.

In vast contrast to last year, the 2013 Annual Victoria League Summer Luncheon occurred on a day more suited to a Winter Luncheon! However, determined not to let the rain dampen our spirits, wonderful food and great company made the afternoon a pleasant and enjoyable one for all. With a mixture of Victoria League Members, Students and Staff like, approximately 30 of us shared stories of past events, news of family and friends from across the globe as well as admired the lovely new sketches of our building here in Leinster Square, which were created to mark our 60 th Anniversary.

Rachael Marchese Membership & Administration Officer Hometown: Melbourne, Australia What brings you to London?: I did volunteer work for fourteen months across 2005/2006 in London. When I went back to Australia I missed the city and its atmosphere greatly. After two years I still felt the same so I decided to move back to London Career to date: I was a Civil Servant in Melbourne for the Crime Department. Since returning to London Ive been a CA/Office Manager for a Chiropractor and recently a facilities manager for another charity. In my spare time: I like to travel, experience new cultures and cook. I also dabble in creative writing and enjoy photography The Dream: To have my own Photography Gallery which people can view as well as purchase my works Memorable Moment: Being in Washington D.C to attend President Obamas Inauguration in 2009. It was an amazing time to observe what felt like a nation in one city. Loves: Chocolate anything! Loathes: People with no common sense and closed minds Favourite Quote: Be Yourself. Everyone else is already taken -Oscar Wilde

Aishah Suhaimi Studying for a Master of Architecture Home: Malaysia What brings you to London?: It's the place to be! Career to date: Architect In my spare time: Films, music, reading, running, cooking. The usual I'm so square haha The Dream: Live a good life and retire to live by the sea. Memorable Moment: The last corner and the final sprint in my first run (a half marathon) Loves: Good conversations, hugs, saying good mornings and good nights. Loathes: Messy kitchen and wasting food. Favourite Quote: 'I'm not living, I'm just killing time' - Radiohead

Ben Robertson Studying Music-performance bass trombone Hometown: Ashburton, New Zealand Why London: Ive a great teacher, so much to see and do (both in my field and otherwise) recommendations from teachers and friends Career to date: Six years as a musician in the NZ Army, BMus + Postgraduate diploma in performance bass trombone from the NZ School of Music In my spare time: My life is pretty much always something to do with music be it practice, rehearsal, performance, concerts, listening, reading. But I'm a big sports fan, I love cricket and rugby and have been getting into sailing as of late The dream: To become the Principal Bass trombonist of my national symphony Memorable moments: Being in the army allowed me to go to many weird and wonderful places. I played at the Coronation of the King of Tonga, the Edinburgh tattoo in 2006+2013. I was in the NZ Defence Force band that opened the NZ memorial in Hyde Park corner. Outside of the army, I played with the National Youth Orchestra of NZ in the Auckland town hall. That was pretty special. Loves: The unwavering support that my family has given me throughout life's many ebbs and flows. On a slightly lighter note: Coronation chicken sandwiches! Loathes: Anything medical I am super squeamish! Favourite Quote: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt

Its been a busy twelve months for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attending a variety of events to commemorate 60 years since her Coronation took place in 1953. One such event took place one weekend at Buckingham Palace back in July and a limited number of tickets were available to Victoria League members and their family and friends. Open to organisations which still feature the Royal Warrant, The Coronation Festival was a one off celebration which spanned over four days. Two of our members who attended had splendid time and we thought it would be a great chance to share the experience with all of our members.

I do not know where to beginThe Coronation Festival on Saturday 13 th of July. The Buckingham Palace Staff were very professional. They did the security check with dignity. Every exhibition was well planned. I learnt how to make cheese and various other food and drink. The people who had the stalls did hard work and with pride which is obvious from the presentation. Thanks to The Victoria League and all staff who made it possible for my family and friends to have such an enjoyable and memorable occasion. We were very pleased with our hamper -Valerie Ennis, Uxbridge


It is not often that you can drive through the gates of Buckingham Palace, however we did! Having secured tickets through the Victoria League, I wanted to find out more about the Coronation Festival and also how we would get there as Eileen is a Blue Badge holder who cannot walk far at all. The Festival website stated that there were a limited number of spaces for such holders. We were lucky to reserve a space and drove through the gates which are at the far right of the Palace when you look at it. However the parking places were far left, so having dropped off the family, drove at the pace of a snail accompanied by a steward who walked by me. I duly parked, was told to leave the car unlocked and the keys on the driving seat gosh I thought, and hoped that the car wouldnt self-lock as we had not been told to bring a spare set of car keys with us (made a note to offer this suggestion for the future). The steward and I then walked back past those commanding guards in their striking uniform and Busby. Once through security (including the wheelchair), we were delighted with what we saw. There was a hubbub of subdued chatter with interested faces wherever we went. We looked at the many exhibitor marquees where immaculate personnel from the Royal Warrant holders showed their products and services. The stands were set in the Gardens which were beautifully manicured. For those of you who do not know, a Royal Warrant is only given to an individual or companies who have supplied goods or services for at least 5 years to the Households of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales. There are 800 Royal Warrants of Appointment currently, which have been regarded as demonstrating excellence and quality and are highly prized. Indeed, some Royal Warrants date back more than 200 years.

Eileen and her Grandchildren 11

Design and technology, British style, pursuits and pastimes and with the British passion for homes, the interior design on offer and gardening was a treat to see. My husband Charles, and our children Alexander and Philippa, went off to see the Bentley stand whilst Eileen and I queued up to enter The Mirrored House, a structure whose exterior was made entirely out of mirrors! This unique building reflected the surrounding trees and gardens. Inside were 4 room sets that formed a gateway to the Homes and Gardens section. For the bakers amongst you, we sampled chocolate brownies made with Horlicks! Quite delicious! Sadly we did not book a table in advance for Anton Mosimanns Restaurant, however were able to purchase lunch from another purveyor and found a delightful shady spot to eat and listen to some of the music programme on offer from the Rio Roberts Jazz Duo, Melissa Parmar and Catharine Rogers. We heard and saw many interactive features - whether from the exhibitor marquees or from other musical performances dotted around the Gardens. The Gardens were a delight whether walking round or sitting in the shade enjoying the surroundings. Her Majesty must have the best gardeners in her employ as each flower was perfect! Many visitors were commenting on the quality of the rose or its scent, and as for the herbaceous border quite amazing. We are grateful to the Victoria League for being able to get tickets for us, as we might not have thought about it should the event not have been publicised in a previous Newsletter. It was a beautiful day and the sun shone everywhere. Gillie Graham, Putney

The Royal Herbaceous Garden is an impressive 156m long; however is not the longest in London. (That one can be found in Kew Gardens and approx. 200m long!)


Here at The Victoria League we do on occasion receive requests for information which might be found in our archives. For the most part these requests are for references in academic research or publications. In August 2013 we were delighted to receive a copy of a newly published work by author Dr Elizabeth Taylor. She visited Headquarters for a number of weeks in 2010 to conduct research on the people of interest who feature in her book.

The Old World and the New: The Marriage and Colonial Adventures of Lord and Lady Northcote by Elizabeth Taylor
This is a story of landed aristocrats, Victorian politicians and nouveaux riches colonial entrepreneurs. It is about sudden death in 10 Downing Street; an obsessive relationship; the marrying of New World money with old world class; and social elevation from a poor Scottish croft to an historic stately home. It considers the impact on the old world of money made in colonial enterprises, and the cultural exchange resulting from colonial expansion; and it details the self-managed decline of a British upper class that had held power for almost a thousand years.

The Old World and the New: The Marriage and Colonial Adventures of Lord and Lady Northcote is available through Amazon for 41.66 in hardcover


In October of 1953 the lease for our current premises in Leinster Square was purchased for just 27,000. While that sounds like a small price the reality and scope of the investment can only be truly appreciated when you calculate that in todays currency it actually comes to just over 500,000.00! The Student House at 55 Leinster Square wasnt officially opened until October of 1954 therefore that means that October 2014 will mark our Diamond Jubilee for providing Commonwealth Students with accommodation. During the First and Second World War, The Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship ran overseas Servicemens Clubs. One in particular in Malet Street could hold up to 400 men and had facilities such as a Barbers and a Taylors shop. The two photos below are of two of the public rooms King George & Queen Elizabeth Victoria League Club Malet Street, London WC1

The Dining Hall

The Sitting Room 14

After a stunning 2012 filled with Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics, 2013 certainly had a lot to live up to. Highlights for 2013 have included: a walking tour of beautiful Kew Gardens in the height of its Spring glory; a visit to the Geffrye Museum and restored historic Almshouse; the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace; our annual Victoria League Summer Luncheon; and a tour and private concert at the Handel House museum. There are still a few events left in 2013 so be sure to book as soon as possible so that you dont miss out!

How to Book
To book any events in this Diary: Send the Booking Form from the back of the Newsletter, along with your cheque, if the cost of the event is known, to Victoria League Headquarters Office. Book by telephone and pay by giving your credit card details over the phone. Tel: 020 7243 2633

For confirmation of dates, details of times, prices and further information regarding our events, please contact: Rachael Marchese Membership & Administration Officer The Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship 55 Leinster Square, London, W2 4PW. Tel: 020 7243 2633 Email:



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Lunch at the New Cavendish Club Tuesday, October 29

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Commonwealth Countries League Fair Saturday, November 9 Service on HMS Belfast Sunday, November 10

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Victoria League Christmas Lunch at the Rubens at the Palace Hotel Wednesday, December 4 Commonwealth Carols Service TBC

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Events in October - December 2013

Lunch at the New Cavendish Club
Tuesday, October 29 at 12:30pm. The New Cavendish Club, London W1H 7BS Cost: 25.00 Join us at one of our regular lunches at the New Cavendish Club to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. The luncheon is always delicious, and its a great opportunity to hear news of the Leagues activities. For VL members and their guests, an informal occasion with lunch (choice from Menu) and wine.

Commonwealth Countries League Fair

Saturday, November 9 at 11:30am 6:00pm Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX. Adults 5. Children up to 12 years 3 Unique arts, crafts and food are all on sale. Organised by The Commonwealth Countries League, the fair raises funds to sponsor girls in Commonwealth countries through secondary school. Do support this worthwhile cause and get some of your Christmas shopping finished early!

Service of Remembrance on HMS Belfast

Sunday, November 10 at 10:15am for 10:30am The Queen's Walk, Tooley St, London SE1 2JH Hosted on HMS Belfast by the City of London Sea Cadets Corps, members of the Victoria League are invited to attend this Remembrance Day service. No tickets are required, but we do need to provide your name to the organisers. Refreshments are served after the service.

Victoria League Christmas Lunch

Wednesday, December 4 at 12:30pm Rubens at the Palace Hotel, 39 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 0PS Cost: 36.00 Join us for a wonderfully festive and grand, yet friendly and intimate Christmas Luncheon at the lovely Rubens Hotel. This popular event includes a Champagne Reception and a 3-course lunch with Christmas crackers and all the usual trimmings.

Commonwealth Carols Service

Date TBC St Martins-in-the-Field Church, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ Cost: free Organised by T he Royal Commonwealth Society, the service will be a mix of carols, performances and readings. All VL members welcome. No tickets required.

Information on Events organised by our Westminster Branch may be obtained from The Chairman, Mrs. Eileen Davenport, on 020 8839 8662. Information on Events organised by our Horsham Branch may be obtained from The Chairman, Mr Grafton Edwards, on 01403 730 204. The Diary of Events is open to all U.K. and overseas members and friends of The Victoria League, to members of The Royal Over-Seas League, The Royal Commonwealth Society, The Britain-Australia Society, Womens Corona Society and other Commonwealth organisations.

Members should be aware that some of our events may require a certain amount of standing, walking and climbing stairs. Any Member who may have difficulties with mobility should ensure they bring someone to assist them. If you have any questions about access at particular event, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Booking Form
Please complete this booking form and return with your cheque to: Rachael Marchese Membership & Administration Officer The Victoria League 55 Leinster Square, London, W2 4PW. Alternatively, you may wish to phone and pay by debit/credit card. Name Address Phone Email No Tickets / Places

P/code Mobile



Name of Guest/s

I enclose my cheque in the sum of The Victoria League. Signature:

made payable to

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