by Jayne Kelly
The Lytham St Annes branch of the Classical Association was founded three years ago by seventeen-year old Katrina Kelly, the youngest person to ever form a CA branch. The branch needed 85 members to break even - quite a tall order in an area without a university or state school teaching Latin, Greek or Ancient History in the area. It soon transpired, however, that there were hundreds of ‘closet classicists’ as the branch soon became the largest in the UK, with a current membership of 378 members, including 127 students.
Dr Michael Scott is the branch’s inspiring President, fully supporting the branch’s many outreach activities and delivering his annual Presidential Lecture to enthusiastic audiences each January. The branch has seven lectures a year; a Junior and Senior Schools Classics Competition, where student finalists deliver presentations on that year’s theme; a Classics Ambassadors initiative where students promote classics and the CA in their local schools and communities; and the Classics Summer School Bursary Awards which enable local students to attend the CAHH Summer School at Repton every year. This year the branch has launched its Summer Treasure Hunt with members going on a ‘Book Dig’ to find classics books for the branch’s bookstall. This aims to raise money for books for local schools who are studying Latin and/or Classical Civilisation for the first time, due to the excellent work of the Blackpool Hub of Classics for All.
Chair Katrina Kelly reflects upon the LSA branch’s third year:
"We have once again enjoyed a great programme of lectures that has led us on a geographical odyssey around the ancient world, and we have certainly followed our President Dr Michael Scott’s advice to take a globalised view of history. In March, we reached an exciting milestone by welcoming our largest audience to date with over three hundred people hearing celebrated broadcaster Dr Michael Wood retrace the steps of Alexander’s journey to the East.
At our annual Celebration Evening in June, Dr Scott commended the ‘incredible audiences, intriguing questions, endless enthusiasm and stunning tea and cakes!’ at the branch’s meetings. None of this would be possible without our dedicated band of volunteers aged from 9 to 90, and our student Classics Ambassadors.
Natalie Haynes with LSA Classics Ambassadors and student members from Runshaw College
To celebrate this work, over eighty of us took over a local restaurant on a cold January night and enjoyed excellent food, company and a themed quiz in our growing classics community.
This year, our popular raffle has helped us raise £1000 for our Summer School Bursary Fund which enabled six students to attend the CAAH Summer School at Repton in July.
As we continue to forge relationships with schools and organisations across Lancashire, we have extended our outreach work and increased our profile amongst young people. In March, seventeen-year old Harvey Phythian of Runshaw College won our second annual Classics Competition (where the finalists impressed a large audience with their winning presentations about figures from the ancient world) with his excellent presentation on Diogenes the Cynic, whilst nine-year old Jonah Crouch of AKS Lytham won the competition for younger pupils. Plans to extend our junior classics competition to other local schools are underway and we are also preparing a festival to mark our fifth year in 2019.
Above: Katharine Backler, (left) University of Oxford, judge of LSA Classics Competition for Senior Schools 2017 with finalists and winner, and Katrina Kelly, (right) Chair, LSA CA
Below: Judge Katrina Kelly, Chair of LSA CA, with finalists and winner of the Junior Classics Competition 2017
We welcome guest bloggers to write short articles for our website (www.lsaclassics.com), which are linked to the theme of the month’s lecture or explore the writer’s enthusiasm for the ancient world. Recent examples include theatre reviews, updates on university open days and a report on a trip to Vindolanda by a group of interested members.
We hope that more trips further afield can be arranged in the near future and we now look forward to 2017-18 when we welcome more excellent speakers, including Professor Joann Fletcher, Lindsey Davis and Dr Margaret Mountford, to Lytham St Annes.
We would like to extend our thanks to the Classical Association, and in particular to Barbara Finney, for their ongoing support and for a grant to help fund our Classics Competition. We are very excited about our plans for the next three years and if you would like to get involved in any way at all, then please contact us as we’d love to hear from you!”
Jayne Kelly is the Secretary of the Lytham St Annes branch of the Classical Association, and can be contacted at email@example.com