Article by Rupert Christiansen in The Daily Telegraph. Monday 14th May 2012

The Times  5th March 2014

‘As there will be no more, I have been thinking back over all the wonderful events and speakers and music that you both orchestrated for us.


The things that stick most vividly in my mind are:


In the huge tent with standing room only, the Duchess of Devonshire in her beautiful apricot tweed suit, dove coloured shawl and startling diamond brooch the size of a child’s hand.


The recital on the organ in the garage with the little mechanical birds jumping up and down on their stand – (this makes me smile just to think about it).


Mark’s “Take it away Pedro” to the utterly brilliant Ronnie Scott’s Band, the pianist who could play ‘Penny Lane’ in the style of Wagner and Lizzie Ball with her long blond hair and long blond legs playing the virtuoso Csardas by Vittorio Monti.


Mark’s Cocker’s bird talk and walk through the flowery meadows, seeing it all in a new light.


Roger Vignoles and Lucy Crowe’s recital in the hotel above the flood waters swirling below.


The craggy granite Scottish sculptor and the tractor tour of his works at Lower Hurst Farm.


The talks by Matthew Parris, especially about his trip to Kerguelen, and Nick Hunt about walking in Paddy Leigh Fermor’s footsteps.


The buzz of conversation in the tents, the green fields, the sunshine and the mud, the paintings and Bridget and Jane’s pottery.


What a feast it all was! We were so lucky to have been there. You made it all such fun and so uplifting. Thank you to you both and all your trustees and helpers for such a marvellous creation.’  

‘So sad that we will not have yet another unforgettable experience at your festival. Please accept our thanks for all the untold hours you have put in over the years to achieve such excellence.’

‘Thank you for bringing so much pleasure to the Peak District during the years that you have mounted the festival.’

‘The festival has been a glorious achievement and anyone who was lucky enough to attend will never forget it.’

‘The days  at Dovedale have been some of the happiest in my life. It must surely be consolation to you both that you have given so much pleasure to so many.’

‘I’ve so enjoyed the talks and concerts that you have put on. It was  truly a little gem and it will be missed. Thank you for all your wonderful efforts.’

I've so enjoyed the Festival over the years, the most memorable being one of the earliest at Lower Hurst Farm, sitting at trestle tables eating delicious beef and strawberries having had a good laugh with Kit and the Widow and discovering that my husband had witnessed a Cesarean in a remote African hospital where Bridget Whitehouse had worked.  The world got smaller and we made new friends!’

‘A sad but unavoidable end to a brilliant Festival which we have enjoyed on many occasions. Comfort yourselves by thinking of the knowledge and pleasure that you have created for so many of us.’

I just wanted to say a very big thank you for all the wonderful festivals you have organised in the past. Rest assured you are going out on a high, albeit sooner than you expected,

There are so many memories from each festival, from the wonderful locations, fascinating speakers, art and pottery (bought and treasured) to delicious food. Gosh the list could go on and on, and it makes me realise even more, just how much you have achieved and how much the festivals will be missed.

Thank you thank you thank you. You have been absolute stars. In these unprecedented times, to remember how privileged we ‘attendees" have been, more than makes up for the sadness that the last has, already passed.

With love, gratitude and blue sky to you both - and not forgetting your other halves - your rocks...