The Guild welcomes its new Chairman 

Version 2 

The Guild is delighted to welcome our new Chairman, Mr Eric Quirk to the fold. Here he tells us a bit about himself and why he wanted to out his head above the parapet and stand for Chairman. 


I've been married to Catherine for 51 years and we have three grown up children, Sara and Jonathan, who live on the island and James, who lives in Canada. As I write, we have eleven grandchildren (10 girls and 1 boy) and a twelfth grandchild is due imminently. In our youth, both Catherine and I performed in the Guild, as did our daughter and as do four of our grandchildren. I am proud to admit that all their achievements were and are far more note worthy than my own. Today, I enjoy participating in the Guild as a member of Musicale. 


The Guild has been an important fixture for five generations of our family and continues to give us an immense amount of pleasure. A couple of years ago, a friend suggested that I might enjoy being a Steward at the Guild. At first I was rather hesitant about doing so but in the end I did and I can honestly say it has been one of the best decisions I've made in recent years. It is great fun. 


I guess, like many others I was surprised when Sarah Kelly announced at the end of the 2018 Festival that she would be standing down as Chairman. However, it was with even greater surprise that a couple of months later I received a phone call asking me whether I would consider standing for election as Chairman of the Guild. After giving it careful consideration, I agreed. My reason being that the Guild has given my family so much enjoyment over many years, that if elected, I would be able to offer my services to the Guild and in some small way repay the debt of gratitude I owe to it.


Those of you who know me, also know that I have had a varied career. I trained as a teacher and became headteacher of Marown School towards the end of 1983, overseeing the building and establishment of the school on its new site in Glen Vine. Then in 1991, I decided to change direction and we moved to Bristol, where for two years I attended Theological College as an independent student. On leaving college, Catherine and I moved to Cirencester in the Cotswolds, where I became parish administrator and manager of the church's Cornerstone Bookshop and Coffee Shop, co-ordinating a team of approximately forty volunteer helpers. After three years, we moved back to Bristol, where I took up the role of Pastoral Assistant at a large and prestigious church on the edge of the city centre. 


However, there was still something else I wanted to do in life. At the end of 2000, we moved to Oban in Scotand, where we bought and ran a successful guest house. By this time grandchildren had started to arrive and we wanted to be near to them and see them grow-up and so we returned home to the island.


After retirement, Catherine and I were approached and asked if we would co-ordinate the visit to the island by a travelling exhibition about Anne Frank. Anne Frank's story had always fascinated us and so we agreed. Little did we know what we were letting ourselves into, least of all that the cost of hiring the exhibition from The Anne Frank Trust UK, which was £16,000 and there wasn't a penny piece in the kitty. However, with an interest free loan of £3,000 we got going by inviting friends and representatives from other organisations who we thought might be interested in helping us. After fifteen months hard work raising funds (£56,000 was the total cost) and co-ordinating the exhibition, 'Anne Frank + you' ran for a month in March 2010. The Isle of Man exhibition turned out to be one of the most successful venues in the history of 'Anne Frank +you'. So much so that Catherine and I were invited to a reception in Downing Street to mark the 25th anniversary of The Anne Frank Trust UK, where we were introduced to celebrities and leading members of the Jewish Community. The following day we were invited to meet the Trustees and the Director of Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and tell them how we'd achieved such amazing results. It was due to commitment and dedication of the team we'd assembled around us; by not allowing the hurdles that we came across to deflect us from our aims; and in being Manx, we knew both the strengths and foibles of Manx society.


These varied experiences and roles have enabled me to develop a range of skills, which I am delighted to offer to the Guild. I am thrilled to be working with a team of people who love the Guild and have far more experience then me as to how it works. I am looking forward to working with them. However, the Guild does not just happen each year. There is much hard work that goes on throughout the year. If you too love the Guild, I would encourage you to become involved. Particularly, the Committee would welcome the involvement of younger people; as participants; as stewards; as potential committee members.


If you would like to know more about ways in which you can help support the Guild, do not hesitate to contact myself or The Secretary, Jacqueline Yates or indeed any Committee Member known to you.


Thank you for reading this and I am looking forward to meeting you at the Festival in 2019.


Countdown to Festival

Days Hours Minutes Seconds
27th April - 4th May 2019

Congratulations to the winners of trophies for 2018. Please ensure that you return your trophy clean, engraved and in good condition to Morrison Photos, 3 Tynwald Street, Douglas by Saturday, 30th March 2019. Thank you.


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