President Carol Evans welcomed three visitors and a prospective member to the May meeting of Soroptimist International Amber Valley.
We all enjoyed a talk by Lisa Simpson, head of retail and buying at Chatsworth, which could well have been entitled ‘Exit Through the Shop’. Lisa commissions designs, and sources both merchandise and suppliers for items, which are relevant to Chatsworth and its history, for sale in both the Gift and Farm Shops. These include the fame which has come about when the house and grounds have been used as film settings. New ranges are often linked to displays and themes in the house.
Current favourites are tee shirts with slogans which copy those on the late Duke’s sweaters; Baalington Lamb – popular with visitors who would like to be photographed in the grounds with a sheep but find it not as easy as they first thought; and busts of Mr D’Arcy from the film of ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
A large bust of Mr D’Arcy, bears the label ‘Please do not kiss Mr D’Arcy’ to no avail. Most days, lipstick has to be wiped off after young Chinese students have kissed him. Many have travelled especially to have their photographs taken with Mr D’Arcy whilst kissing him.
Profit from the shops helps to pay for the repair and renovation of the buildings, thus helping to protect and preserve Chatsworth for future generations to enjoy.
During the business meeting, which followed the talk, Janet Stevens distributed tickets for the Annual SOS Fashion Show. Again, this will be at the Palmer Morewood Social Club, Hall Street, Alfreton, at 7-30pm on Tuesday 6th June. Tickets, £3, are available from Soroptimist members. Proceeds from the sale of tickets and a raffle will be used for the airfare and visa costs of one of the Children of Chernobyl visiting the area this summer.