The Lady Taverners owe their formation to Baroness Thatcher. Normally each Prime Minister had been made a member of the Lord’s Taverners. But the first Lady Prime Minister set the previously all-male club a problem. Being ever inventive they decided to form the Honorary Lady Taverners and in early 1980 the late David Evans MP invited Baroness Thatcher to become Honorary Lady Taverner No. 1 – luckily she agreed.
In 1987, the Lady Taverners was formed, and we now have almost 5,000 members in 38 regions all with a desire to ensure that as many children as possible, especially those with special needs, have the chance to improve their lives by participating in sport and recreation. Our charitable mission is to enhance the prospects of disadvantaged and disabled young people using cricket and other forms of sport such as rugby, football, tennis and basketball to engage with them. In addition to providing non-turf pitches and cricket equipment for young players, we provide specially adapted mini buses, sports wheelchairs and sensory play areas, thereby giving disabled young people access to sport and recreation. Bedford and the surrounding area forms the Ouse Valley Region, and we usually hold four events each year which comprise a Spring Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Autumn Lunch and Christmas Lunch. In November 2013 we held our Christmas lunch in the beautiful Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey. At 11.00am we opened the doors for our ladies to enjoy some Christmas shopping at a number of stalls, whilst enjoying our mulled wine reception. After a delicious lunch we were entertained by Peter Slack with tales of the relationship between farmers and ramblers. We received some great feedback and are delighted to confirm we will be making a return to Woburn for Christmas 2014. We were very lucky to secure some sponsorship for our event and are always looking for support in this way.
At those events we raise as much money as possible with some pre-dinner stalls and fabulous raffles, and during 2013 we were very pleased to be able to provide a Sensory Room for The Grange Academy, and also a fully adapted and equipped minibus for the students at Hinwick Hall College. We are continuing to support local schools with special needs.
Speakers in 2013 included Ann Atkins, Author and Journalist, Ian Rowe from Bedford, an Atlantic Rower, and Peter Slack, a Dairy and Sheep Farmer! In 2014 we have secured Kerry Potter, a Journalist and contributor to ELLE magazine, Helen Nellis, HM Lord-Lieutenant for Bedfordshire and finally, the Queen’s Pastry Chef, so we are looking forward to a great fundraising 2014.
If you would like more details on the work of The Lady Taverners, or would like to join, please visit our website www.lordstaverners.org/ladytaverners or telephone 0207 821 2828 and get involved in this incredibly important and rewarding charity.