Leeds Supporters of the National Trust

Leeds Supporters of the National Trust

Celebrating 50 years of support for the National Trust

On Tuesday 14th May 2024 there was a real buzz over at St Chad’s Parish Centre in Headingley. Fortunately it wasn’t an invasion of the bees from Headingley Hives, this buzz was from 73 members of The Leeds & District Association of the National Trust (NT) celebrating their golden anniversary.

The group were founded in 1974 “to promote and prosper actively the work of the National Trust and in particular to promote social activities to make membership of the National Trust more enjoyable”. Originally created for members of the NT (no longer a requirement for members) focused on supporting the NT.

One of the ways they do this is by donating any surplus funds made on activities to local properties. Over the years this has added up to a considerable sum – approaching £1 million in today’s values. The group has a strong connection with two local properties: Nostell and East Riddlesden. In recent years giving them £1,000 annually. Other Yorkshire properties benefit too, this year £1,000 was donated to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal for the restoration of the 18th century Temple of Piety, and last year the same amount was given towards electrical gardening equipment for volunteers at Wentworth Castle Gardens. The property managers value the flexibility allowed to choose how to spend the money donated, sometimes suggesting projects and always sharing updates on how the money is well spent.

Over the years properties in Yorkshire and the Northeast benefitted. Surpluses are occasionally augmented by legacies – in 2019 for instance two, totalling over £44,000 enabled the Association to support a well-being garden at East Riddlesden (£8,000) and to contribute towards the restoration and redisplay of the doll’s house at Nostell (£13,000). Just short of £11,000 went to redress the damage done by a fire on Marsden Moor and four other properties benefitted by at least £2,000 each.

Their main activities are running a programme of talks from October to May. Attracting audiences of 70 to over 90 supporters leading to a lively atmosphere. Subjects are as varied as the properties owned by the Trust, but often have a Yorkshire – sometimes Leeds theme. Examples from the last couple of years included “Medieval Leeds” (Prof. Joyce Hill), “What a Lotta Terracotta” (Rachael Unsworth – Leeds), “Friar’s Tuck” (Jane Abramson, guide at Kirkstall Abbey) “Litton and Beyond” (David Alred),” Model Villages” – (Eric Jackson – including several in Yorkshire). At least one talk each year are by speakers from the NT. During the anniversary gathering General Manager of Nostell, Simon McCormack, came to talk about recent and proposed developments at Nostell.

Members enjoying the Golden Anniversary Quiz

Supporters of the national trust logo

The Leeds & District Association of the National Trust are a friendly group and love to welcome visitors. The line-up of high calibre speakers starting from 8th October 2024 is coming together nicely. Copies of the programme can be obtained by contacting the Secretary Ann Lightman on 0113 216 0630 or by email [email protected]

The meeting venue, St. Chad’s Parish Centre, is well placed for access on Otley Road (A660) with a car park and on bus routes of No 1,6,8, 27 – inbound X84 too. There is disabled access. Why not give them a try next autumn? Enjoy a good talk and know that you are contributing to a part of Yorkshire’s wonderful heritage.

Leeds-Supporters-of-the-National-Trust Cutting the anniversary cake
Cutting the commemorative cake, President, Prof. Joyce Hill & Vice-President, Paul Rockett. The delicious cake was prepared by Joan McShane.
Some of the Golden Anniversary Quiz questions

1. Name five English monarchs who celebrated golden anniversaries on the throne.
2. What are and where in Leeds would you find:
(a) The Golden Beam?
(b) Golden Acre?
(c) The Golden Valley?
(d) A pair of gilded owls?
3. Name four birds with gold in their name.

Scroll down for the answers

Scroll a bit further for the answers. No cheating

Answers. 1, Elizabeth II, Victoria, George III, Edward III & Henry III. 2. (a) pub (Wetherspoons), Headingley (b) A park. (c) A painting by Alfred East 1849-1913 in the Victorian Gallery, Leeds City Art Gallery. (d) Leeds Civic Hall. 3. Goldcrest, goldfinch, goldeneye duck, golden eagle, golden plover, golden oriole, gold ringed tanager, golden swallow.

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