About 80 people braved the weather and football crowds to attend the 2018 AGM at the Abbey Conference Centre, Carrow Abbey in Norwich on the 28th.
The AGM was chaired by Lord Walpole and all the committee were re-elected en bloc.
Afterwards Rod Spokes, a volunteer guide gave a very interesting talk on the history of the Abbey and the site including the involvement of the Colman family. After tea in the canteen, we were shown round the gardens by him. We stopped to look at the east side of the priory under an impressive Fern Leaved Beech tree, standing in a carpet of different hued blue bells with the roar of the Carrow Road crowd as background noise! Then on to stand inside the enormous Weeping Beech, the largest (or second largest) in the country. Ron pointed out the remains of St Mary’s Priory which had been built in 1146 and run by Benedictine nuns until the Reformation. It was encouraging to hear that Unilever still employ an aborealist to care for the trees that had been planted by Jeremiah J Colman when he first acquired the site. Finally, he took us to the sunken garden on the western side of the site. Sadly this was looking a bit uncared for and the conservatory nearby was now in a sorry state. All in all, and considering the uncertain future, the garden was mostly well looked after and it was a rare privilege to be able to see it, albeit on a rather damp and miserable afternoon.