It’s not often we name check the people who run the Festival and more specifically the directors who give all their time on a voluntary basis. While you could never class them as a shy bunch, they do prefer the exhibitors, chefs and experts to have the limelight and quite rightly so. But after 19 years we thought we should at least give you a glimpse of the team behind the scenes.
Phil Maile has been chairman of the Festival for the last 12 years and was one of its founders. Having worked in the hospitality industry for 28 years running pubs, hotels and B&Bs his knowledge is second to none. Simply put, what Phil doesn’t know about the Festival isn’t worth knowing.
John Fleming runs a successful business in Ludlow and has a real passion for food. John, a founding member of the Festival, is currently the Company Secretary. He has also gone on to help start the Taste Real Food group, a not-for-profit voluntary organisation for people who care about, and wish to enjoy, explore and promote the Taste of Real Food.
Peter Cook has been involved with the Festival since 1996 and is a partner in Ludlow’s longest established bakery, S.C Price & Sons in Castle Square. He was, therefore a natural choice to bring a little bread expertise to the Festival, introducing competitions and events while continuing to represent the small independent shops and producers.
David Chantler started volunteering in 2002 and now oversees the front of house activities. As the Chief Probation Officer for West Mercia, it first appears David’s job has nothing to do with food. However, he has been instrumental in introducing a number of innovative schemes linked to it, such as ‘Growing out of Trouble’ and he is currently a board member and trustee of Care Farming UK.
Bill McCaffrey is a long-time supporter of the Festival, Bill certainly goes the extra mile. He started volunteering at the Festival after retirement, and used to commute on a daily basis from Cheshire for nearly a week each September to help set-up and break down the Festival. He took over the running of the Sausage Trail several years ago and became a Director two years ago.
Martin Clemmey first got involved with the financial side of the festival more than 10 years ago. He has also attended as an exhibitor but took a break when running the finances of a large national charity. He is now running his own consultancy business and has returned to the team to help shape the finances, recently taking on the role of Finance Director for us.
Sally Maile although not a director, she’s the cog that keeps the wheels turning – starting off as a volunteer 13 years ago. With a background in secretarial/PA and nearly 30 years in the hospitality trade; five years ago she joined as a member of staff and now manages all of the admin that keeps the event ticking over.
And last, but by no means least, are the 100+ Volunteers that we have on site before, after and during the festival. They are there when the hard work really begins and stick with us through rain and shine, mud, heavy lifting and litter picking. Their jobs are certainly not always glamorous but their humour, welcoming smiles and good natures are commented on by exhibitors, visitors and everyone who attends the event. Without our willing band of merry men and women we simply would not exist, they are the glue that holds the whole event together and for that we are forever in their debt.
There are two talks and demonstration stages within the festival and they are both free to attend.
For 2016 we have the very popular Pork Pie Making, Sushi classes, Butchery and Thai Green Curry. Book early places are limited.
The purpose of the bursary is to provide practical help to one or more young people aged 16 to 25, to help them build a career in the local food and drink industry.
The Festival happens because of the people and businesses that are involved, some of which have been showing support since day one.