On the 9th August 2017 we were delighted to accept an invitation from our President, The Countess Bathurst to afternoon tea at her home Cirencester Park, on the Bathurst Estate  in Cirencester.

The group which visited was made up of people who live at Keeper’s Cottage, Pound Farm, Ryelands and within the community in Newent and Ross. They were accompanied by members of the support team at Salters Hill plus Claire Townshend (Operations and Development Manager); Ruth Coates (Business Support Manager) and Laura Evans (Volunteer Co-ordinator).

When the coach arrived in Cirencester we were welcomed into the house by the Countess. As there were dark clouds looming on the horizon she took us on a fascinating tour of the house and told us the history of many of the paintings and artefacts on the walls. By the time we finished the weather was looking decidedly cheerier and we were invited to either take a walk around the beautiful grounds, or jump on the back of the estate’s tractor for a ride in the trailer!

After everyone had tired themselves out with croquet on the lawn, we retired into the house again for a delicious spread of cakes, scones, tea and coffee which was thoughtfully provided by the Countess and her staff team. Everyone enjoyed the chance to catch up with the Countess and the Earl and reminisce about previous visits to the estate. This was also an opportunity for Frances and Nicola to present the Countess with a bouquet of flowers and a selection of photos which were taken when the Countess visited Salters Hill in February for the Duke of Gloucester’s visit. This was accompanied with some short speeches from members of the group to express their thanks.

Before the coach left everyone posed in front of the house along with the Earl and the Countess for a final photo. Feedback from members of the group including ‘it’s a pleasure to be here this afternoon’ suggests that everyone had a lovely afternoon.

Thanks go to the Earl and the Countess for inviting us into their home, and also the staff team at the Bathurst Estate for being so accommodating and making us feel so welcome.