Annual Gathering at Maidenhead
The traditional reunion of ex-Brethren and their friends is being held again this year at the Thames Riviera Hotel at Maidenhead on Saturday 3rd June. We usually arrive about the middle of the day and meet in the hotel garden beside the river, weather permitting, or else in the bar. Everyone is welcome, and you can stay for as short or as long a time as suits you. If you have time you are welcome to join us at the Thames Hotel (about 300 yards away) for dinner in the evening, but you must tell Graham Frost in advance so that he can reserve a space for you. Send a message to grahamfrost at hotmail.com or via Facebook.
The gathering is purely a social occasion where people renew their friendship and share their news, usually showing little interest in contentious topics, and treating all opinions with respect.
Some of us usually stay overnight and meet again on the Sunday (4th June) for morning coffee and then walk or drive up the river bank to have lunch at Cookham. Join us if you can.
This year there are two special reasons for attending.
First, there will be a chance to meet Rebecca Stott, daughter of the late Roger Stott, and see or buy copies of her latest book. I hope she will find time to read a bit of it to us and tell us what the book is about.
The book is called In The Days Of Rain and is to be published on 1st June in London and New York, and later in Germany. It is a memoir describing the lives of several generations of Rebecca’s family among the Exclusive Brethren. Rebecca is already an accomplished and acclaimed author, and this book has attracted a lot of interest. Radio 4 made inquiries about it, the Daily Mail's You magazine is publishing extracts from it in late May, and Elle magazine have asked Rebecca to write a big piece on cults. The Sunday Times are also doing an interview.
Having read a draft of this book, I believe it will be cited for many years in the future as an important bit of social history, rather as Gosse’s Father and Son is frequently cited even now. But it is more than a bit of social history. Parts of it are deeply moving; parts are beautiful and parts are tragic.
The second special reason for attending is that Laura Dyason of Sydney hopes to be there. She is actively researching the Brethren and conducting interviews as part of her PhD project. If you have volunteered to contribute to her research, this may be a convenient time to do it.