NEWS FLASH: Our Meet the Author programme for 2017

We have an exciting programme of Meet the Authors in 2017.  While we are still negotiating on dates and times, we have four authors who have agreed to take part in 2017. They are:

author_norwich_jj1John Julius Norwich  The second viscount Norwich is described by Wikipedia as a popular historian, travel writer and television personality.  His knowledge of history is encyclopaedic and he is an entertaining and witty raconteur.  We are delighted he has committed to come to Adderbury to support our library and are working on finding a date that will suit his diary.

Our only worry is that his fame may well give us an audience that is too large for Church House!  We are therefore planning to have a back-up strategy to book The Institute if numbers are as large as we anticipate.

author_sidebottom_h1Harry Sidebottom  Harry was brought up in a racing stables in Newmarket where his father was a trainer. He had a basket saddle on a donkey before he could walk.  He was educated at various schools and universities, including Oxford, where he took his Doctorate in Ancient History at Corpus Christi College. In similar fashion he has taught at various universities including Oxford, where he is now Fellow and Director of Studies in Ancient History at St Benets Hall and Lecturer in Ancient History at Lincoln College.

His main scholarly research interests are Greek culture under the Roman empire (thinking about the compromises and contradictions involved when an old and sophisticated culture is conquered and ruled by what it considers a younger and less civilised power) and warfare in classical antiquity (looking at how war was both done and thought about by Greeks and Romans). He has published numerous chapters in books and articles and reviews in scholarly journals, becoming an internationally recognised scholar in these fields.

author_clarke_a1Angela Clarke  Angela is an author, playwright, columnist, screenwriter and broadcaster. Her debut crime thriller Follow Me was named Amazon’s Rising Star Debut of the Month January 2016, longlisted for the Crime Writer’s Association Dagger in the Library 2016, and shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Page Turner Award 2016. Watch Me the second instalment in the Social Media Murder Series is due out January 2017. Trust Me, the third in the Social Media Series, is due out in June 2017. Her debut play The Legacy enjoyed a sell-out run to rave reviews at The Hope Theatre, Islington in June 2015. The Daily Mail Online called The Legacy ‘witty, insightful and powerful’. And West End Wilma described it as ‘A fantastic debut’. Her memoir Confessions of a Fashionista is an Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller.

author_watts_a1Anne Watts  Anne lives locally.  Following the solid, traditional nurse and midwife training offered by 1960s Britain, her chosen path took her on a journey of extremes. From war zones to refugee camps; burning deserts to frozen tundra; the stunning beauty of the Himalayas to tropical sunsets that take the breath away. she learned lessons not taught in any school room.

Over some 40 years she has accumulated powerful recollections of the people who never make the headlines. These grew within her until she felt compelled to write down some of the stories. They bring to life the places she has lived, the historical events she has witnessed and the people she has loved and cared for.

As soon as we have dates for these Meet the Author events, we will publicise them on the web site and in local papers and magazines.  In the meantime, look out for  announcements!




A ‘sell out’, success for the Focal quiz night, made all the more enjoyable by David & Aline Griffith’s fantastic questions and the wonderful hospitality of The Bell.

Fun was had by all, with individual prizes, the raffle and, of course, the coveted Winners cup.

Thank you for everyone who helped and to all of those who entered into the fabulous Focal quiz spirit.


EVENT UPDATE: Meet the Author – Bruce Duncan

16_10_28-bruce-duncan-eventWe had a very successful Meet the Author evening with Bruce Duncan and his wife, Toni.  There were fifteen attendees and we raised £120 towards our annual fund raising target.  Those attending came from Banbury, Bloxham and Milton with just a few from Adderbury.  Bruce gave a fascinating insight into his life as a Loan Soldier and the impact of his career on his family. It covered periods in Brunei, Sudan, Nigeria, Oman and Kuwait where they were based when Saddam first invaded.  Bruce’s final tour of duty was in Jordan.

The photo shows Bruce signing a copy of his book after his talk.  Thanks to Bruce and Toni for giving up their time and to John Osborne for hosting the event, to Chrissie Garrett for her support and to Janet May, our library manager, for helping with the setting up.  Bruce was kind enough to donate a copy of his book to Adderbury Library .



NEWS FLASH: Focal pays tribute to John Cordingley

exec-cordingley_john_2John Cordingley was a founder member of Focal and has served continuously since then, acting as Vice-Chairman for many years.  He has finally decided to stand down at the AGM and all present noted his decision with some sadness but thanked him in his absence for having made a huge contribution over the years.  Those present asked the Executive to find a way of recognising John’s service to the charity over an extended period.

John has always contributed fully in our debates and has explained the history of Focal from its inception.  He provided a link with the Parochial Church Council which has responsibility for Church House and also with Milton Village where he lives.  We shall miss his wise council and cheerful humour.

We will try to recruit a replacement to the Executive from Milton to maintain our contact with that village.

EVENT UPDATE: Annual General Meeting 27 September 2016

The Annual General Meeting of Focal was held in Church House on 27 September 2016.

Executive members present were: John Osborne (who acted as Chairman); Angela Everett; Anne Lyons; Ann Manwaring and Liz Wingrove.

Friends attending were: Aline Griffiths; David Griffiths; Marie Corney and Pat Smith.

Apologies had been received as follows:

Executive members:  Keith R Mitchell; John Cordingley; Anne Dawson; Chrissie Garrett; Evelyn Jacomb; Stuart Phipps; John Prentice

Friends/Patrons:  Anita Higham; John Vince.

The report and accounts were considered and approved.  Several helpful suggestions were made.

John Osborne reported John Cordingley’s decision to stand down from the Executive. John Cordingley was a founder member of Focal and has served on the Executive without break to date.  John Osborne paid tribute to the contribution John Cordingley had made and friends asked that this be recognised by the Executive.

The focal constitution provides for 9 Friends to be elected to the Executive and precisely 9 nominations had ben received.  This means that the following will serve on the Executive for the next year:

  • Anne Dawson
  • Angela Everett
  • Chrissie Garrett
  • Evelyn Jacomb
  • Anthea Milnes
  • John Osborne
  • Stuart Phipps
  • John Prentice
  • Liz Wingrove

In addition, the following are appointed by sponsoring bodies:

By Oxfordshire County Council:

  • Keith R Mitchell
  • Anne Manwaring

By Adderbury Parish Council:

  • Ann Lyons

By Cherwell District Council:

  • There is still a vacancy here

Following the AGM, there was a meeting of the Executive.

The following were elected to offices provided in the constitution:

Chairman:     Keith R Mitchell  CBE

Treasurer:     Anne Dawson

Secretary:     No nomination

The following offices were agreed by the Executive:

Vice-Chairman:    John Osborne

Events lead:        Chrissie Garrett

Recruitment:       Anthea Milnes

Web/database:    John Prentice



EVENT UPDATE: Meet the Author – William Ryan


Our third Meet the Author event with William Ryan was a resounding success.

ryan_w1William Ryan is an Irish writer living in London. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and the University of St Andrews and worked as a lawyer before becoming a full-time author  His first novel, The Holy Thief, was published in 2010. His second novel, The Bloody  Meadow, was published in 2011. Next came The Darkening Field in 2012, The Twelfth Department in 2013 and The Constant Soldier in 2016.  They have been shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year Award, the CWA New Blood Dagger, the Irish Fiction Award and twice for the Ireland AM Irish Crime Novel of the Year Award. His latest book was published in August this year and is based in Nazi Germany.  William  lives in London with his wife and son but has family connections here in North Oxfordshire.

the-constant-soldierWilliam gave a grand presentation accompanied by slides showing his research into Nazi Germany through photographs.  He answered questions and signed a number of copies of The Constant Soldier which were available for sale. Thanks to Evelyn Jacomb for hosting the event, organising many family and friends to attend and pouring the wine.  Also to Anne Dawson for checking tickets and selling books and to Stuart Phipps, Chrissie Garrett and John Osborne for their support. Many thanks to William Ryan for making the journey and holding everyone spellbound.

We raised £194 pounds from ticket sales and sold 9 of William’s books.


NEWS FLASH: New Executive members

John Prentice

John Prentice

We are delighted to announce that John Prentice has agreed to join the Focal Executive and he was duly co-opted at our last meeting on 20 August 2016.

John brings IT skills and a vast knowledge of the village and how it works so his knowledge and talents are a welcome addition to our members.

John has agreed to take on the management of our membership data base as well as the general roles of every Executive member.


Ann Lyons

Ann Lyons

We are also delighted to have a new representative from Adderbury Parish Council who is Ann Lyons.  Our previous representative was Paddy Leeman but she did not stand for re-election to the Parish Council in May 2016.  Prior to that, our representative was Stuart Phipps and he has now been co-opted to the Executive.

EVENT UPDATE: Meet the Author – Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh

This was our second Meet the Author event and it attracted a good crowd to hear Clare Mackintosh speak about her life in the police and as an author.  She attracted an audience of 31 people in Church House on Monday 8 August and there was brisk business after she spoke when many present bought a copy of her latest book I See You and which she signed.  Thanks to Clare Mackintosh for taking the time to come to talk to us.

Thanks to Janet May, our library manager, for setting up before the event and clearing away after.  Also, thanks to Evelyn Jacomb and Anne Dawson for hosting and organising the event and to John Cordingley for dispensing the Pimms!.

Here is a picture from the day:

16_08_08 Clare Mackintosh_01

EVENT UPDATE: Book sale and raffle

Books_5We had a very successful book sale at Church House on Saturday 9 July. Thanks to Chris and Chrissie Garrett for securing a huge stock of paper backs and hard backs, fiction and non- fiction and for all of the organisation before and on the day. The raffle went well with a super hamper as the prize. Thanks to Liz Wingrove for putting it together with contributions from others and to Anne Dawson for acting as chancellor of the exchequer!

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