OSCAR WINNER and film producer Julian Fellowes has been elected as the 17th President of The Society of Dorset Men.
As he is currently filming a new ITV series of Downton Abbey, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford DL was unable to be present at the Society’s Annual General Meeting, held at the Portland Heights Hotel.
In a message to members he said: “I am extremely sorry not to be with you all today, but circumstances have conspired against us.
“You are nevertheless very much in my thoughts.”
The new President continued: “It is the greatest possible honour to have been chosen to be the next President of The Society of Dorset Men and I am sensible both of the compliment and of the challenge, set as I am to follow in the footsteps of Sir Anthony Jolliffe who has given such a splendid example of leadership.
“I can only say that I accept this appointment with gratitude and with a determination to do my best for you all.
“I feel now truly that I am indeed a Dorset man.”
The Founder President of The Society of Dorset Men (founded in 1904) was the eminent surgeon Sir Frederick Treves Bt., born in Dorchester, who operated on King Edward VII for appendicitis, forcing postponement of the coronation.
Thomas Hardy OM became the second President of the Society in 1907.
Lord Fellowes succeeds Sir Anthony Jolliffe GBE DL DSc DMus, the only Weymouth man to become Lord Mayor of London, who has been President for 27 years, the longest term in the Society’s history. Elected in 1984, in succession to Simon Wingfield Digby, Sir Anthony has loyally served twice as long as any of the preceding 15 Presidents.
Chairman Stuart Adam praised the retiring President, “totally devoted to the Society and has given 27 years of unstinting loyalty.”
Members applauded spontaneously as Sir Anthony’s unique record of service as President was revealed.
“As Chairman of The Society of Dorset Men, I am very pleased that Lord Fellowes has taken on the role of the President of the Society,” commented Stuart Adam. “I could not think of a more qualified person to follow in the footsteps of our Past President Sir Anthony Jolliffe. The Society will benefit greatly through Lord and Lady Fellowes’ association with it and I would like to wish him every success in the presidency.”
Sir Anthony Joliffe told members: “I have much enjoyed being your President over the last 27 years.
“The Society has grown considerably in the years I have been President. Much fine work was carried out by Roy Adam MBE and Gordon Hine as Chairman and Secretary in the early days.
“We are singularly fortunate that Roy’s son Stuart and Hayne Russell have taken up the reins in more recent times.
“We will continue to support you and wish the Society all the very best in the years ahead.”
Retiring President Sir Anthony Jolliffe and James Weld of Lulworth Castle were elected as Deputy Presidents. All Officers were re-elected: Stuart Adam (Chairman), Andy Prowse (Deputy Chairman), Hayne Russell (Secretary), Ian Morton (Treasurer), Roger Hellaby (Membership Secretary, Peter Pitman (Dorset Year Book Editor) and Michel Hooper-Immins (Public Relations and Newsletter Editor).
Peter Ashdown, Shaun Cregan, Alderman Andy Hutchings, Geoff King, John Rousell, Rev. Dr. John Travell FRSA and Sam Woodcock were re-elected to the Committee. Richard Lewington of Mosterton, retired Ambassador to Ecuador, was newly elected to the committee. Stuart Adam and John Rousell continue as Account Examiners.
Baron Fellowes of West Stafford DL, a Deputy President of The Society of Dorset Men since 2010, was ennobled as a life peer on 13 January 2011. An acclaimed screenwriter, Lord Fellowes won an Oscar in 2002 for writing the period drama Gosford Park. Last year, he received yet more praise for the popular ITV series Downton Abbey: filming for a new series has begun.
Lord Fellowes of West Stafford is named after the Dorset village in which he lives with Lady Fellowes LVO, great great niece of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum and Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Michael of Kent. Lord Fellowes is a Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset.
Photograph above by Michel Hooper-Immins