Richard Adams recognised by Whitchurch Arts
16 Jan 2010
Graham Burgess reads out the commendation
Graham Burgess reads out the commendation
Click for a full size picture
Graham Burgess Richard Adams and GY
Graham Burgess Richard Adams and GY
Click for a full size picture
Whitchurch Arts recognised the inspirational work of Richard Adams - author of Watership Down - by awarding him with the first of a new series of certificates.

The ceremony took place at the Watership Down Inn in Freefolk, where rabbit pie was especially put on the menu.

After the commendation was read out on behalf of Whitchurch Arts by Graham Burgess, Sir George gave him the certificate.

"For a small town, Whitchurch has done well to produce two such eminent people - Lord Denning and Richard Adams."

Sir George paid tribute to Richard Adams' work as a civil servant, helping to put the Clean Air Act on the statute book in the 1950's, and said that he had something in common with Richard Adams - they had both worked for Michael Heseltine, though in different capacities.

This is the text of what Graham Burgess said

"Around 1616 a clergyman in Gloucestershire by the name of Richard Davies recorded that Shakespeare was known to poach deer and rabbits on the property of local landowner Sir Thomas Lucy, who “who oft had him whipped and sometimes imprisoned.”

This might explain why Shakespeare never focussed his sensitive energies on the topic of Rabbits.

This left a massive gap in the literary market.

Fortunately one Richard Adams considered it a worthy topic. There is no record of whether he poached these creatures. If he did it is unlikely he was caught and punished for that might have driven him away from the topic also.

Richard was born close to here in Newbury on 9th May 1920

He enjoyed a good education and served in the British army FROM 1940-1946
After the war he continued to study gained his bachelor of arts and in 1953 became a master of Arts.After 1948 he joined the Civil Service and began writing in his spare time.
Here we touch upon the reason for Whitchurch Arts initiaiting this event.All artists whatever their area of interest start by investing in their own time.
He originally began telling the story of Watership Down to his two daughters, and they insisted he publish it as a book. It took two years to write and was rejected by 13 publishers. Over the next few years Watership Down sold over a million copies worldwide. Watership Down has become a modern classic and in 1972 was awarded both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Award for Children’s Fiction. To date, Richard’s best-known work has sold over 50 million copies worldwide.

So Richard invested in what he believed in and achieved a basic success at that level. Those close to him benefitted.That more than anything else we celebrate today.

Then one publisher had the vision and what Richard had created became available to to the world.

The printing presses existed already as did the distribution services and the bookstores but the key thing was an individual’s

Investment of his time.

So in celebration of that we are giving our first Inspiration Award to Richard."
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Copyright Sir George Young Bt. 2015