In a normal year, the Tony Howlett Award for outstanding service to the Society would have been announced and presented at the Annual Dinner. Sadly, 2022 is not a normal year, and the Annual Dinner, scheduled for Saturday the 8th January, had to be cancelled.
However, the now-traditional “Morning After” social lunch the following day was not cancelled, and reports suggest that the occasion was a grand success at its new venue – not the Centre Page in the City, this time, but the Barrowboy and Banker in the Borough. It was there that the announcement was made and the award presented.
The Society’s Chairman, Catherine Cooke, said:
“This year’s recipient is one without whose expertise, patience and calmness in the face of electronic glitches the Society would have struggled to keep meeting since the world went all awry back in March 2020. The Society, as did so many societies, choirs and groups, turned to Zoom to continue meeting and discussing the life and work of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
“Someone had to organise those meetings, send out the links, deal with those of us who lost or otherwise could not access those links on the day, let us into our private meetings, herd us into virtual rooms, and out again as necessary, mute and unmute us, create and show videos – notably for our 70th anniversary – liaise with others showing films at meetings – the list goes on. Plus, of course, deal with anything that went wrong or was unexpected – I seem to remember a rather large rhinoceros making an appearance during one meeting.
“And, as if that wasn’t enough, our recipient managed our cautious return to in person meetings – including The Annual Dinner, which is tricky enough at the best of times, but immensely more complicated by the sheer uncertainty of what restrictions or rules might come into force at any given point – and indeed did come into force!
“You will, by this time, have deduced that the recipient of The Tony Howlett Award this year is Jane Arnold-Forster!”
Photo by Bob Ellis