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Recognising county libraries at international festival of literature

10 October 2017

Our charity law solicitor, Margaret Austen, was delighted to meet legendary author, playwright and broadcaster Alan Bennett and journalist and TV presenter well-known for TV game show The Weakest Link, Anne Robinson during an event we supported at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature on Sunday.

Our firm is one of the supporters of the inaugural David Vaisey Prize for libraries in Gloucestershire. The award was launched in honour of David Vaisey CBE, who dedicated his life to libraries.

Speaking at the presentation, Mr Bennett said:

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something… a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things… which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have not met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.

“In the multiplication of such moments libraries and librarians are indispensable and the David Vaisey Prize celebrates that.”

The David Vaisey Prize encourages readers of all ages to borrow more books, read and discuss titles, as well as sparking community support and help from volunteers.

The winning library was Bream Community Library in the Forest of Dean. 17-year-old library volunteer James Robertson collected the Willans trophy, donated by us, which accompanied the £5,000 prize money. Three runners-up each received £1,000. They were: Longlevens, Brockworth, and a combined entry from Tuffley and Matson.

The judges, which included TV presenter and journalist Anne Robinson, praised Bream’s initiatives, one of which is its Lego Club.

The volunteers set up a Lego club to promote literacy. Children are encouraged to build Lego project and gain inspirations from Lego books which they are encouraged to read with their parents. The children are encouraged to revisit the Library and regular quizzes with prizes based on their reading was given.

Commenting on the firm’s involvement, Bridget Redmond, our managing partner, said:

“We’re very proud to support the David Vaisey Trust and the David Vaisey Prize in its inaugural year. Our libraries are such a valuable community resource and this initiative is a great way of putting libraries in the spotlight and acknowledging the hard work of the many volunteers who support our county and community libraries throughout Gloucestershire. Congratulations to the winners, Bream Community Library, as well as shortlisted libraries, Longlevens, Brockworth, Tuffley and Matson.”

Twenty Gloucestershire libraries entered the competition. The initiative was also supported by Gloucestershire Library Services, the Ernest Cook Trust, the Booker Prize Foundation, the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire, Alan Bennett and writer Jilly Cooper, among others.

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