Dickens fans from across the world in Eastbourne for annual Dickens Fellowship International Conference

Nearly 90 people from across the world came to Eastbourne last weekend for the Dickens Fellowship International Conference.

Thursday, 1st August 2019, 4:51 pm
Dickens Fellowship 100th anniversary and cheque presentation. L-R,John Bowen, Cindy Sughrue, Ian Dickens, Maggie de Vos and Tony Williams (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190729-100508008

The four day event was held at the View Hotel on Eastbourne seafront and saw delegates coming from as far and wide as Japan, America and Australia.

The event is held each years and focuses on the life and work of Charles Dickens. This year marked 100 years since the formation of the Eastbourne branch of the Dickens Fellowship.

Maggie de Vos, secretary for the Eastbourne Dickens Fellowship, organised this year’s conference.

She said, “We are delighted with the response from all the delegates.

“It was hard work but it went very well and was enjoyed by everyone.

“It was also a wonderful thing for Eastbourne because it brought a great number of people to the town and they all stayed in the town for the duration of the conference - some even came early.”

There were a number of speakers and guests at the event including Charles Dickens’ great-great grandson Ian Dickens. Ian, a successful businessman, is the president of the Dickens Pickwick Club and will become the next president of the Dickens Fellowship.

He said the conference had done his great great grandfather proud.

The Dickens Fellowship is a worldwide society with 52 branches and it was recently left a large legacy by a man in Essex.

The man left his entire estate to the Dickens Fellowship and members have been able to give £600,000 to the Dickens Museum in London, which is a registered charity.

A cheque presentation was made at the international conference.

Maggie added, “It is really amazing.

“We have very little information about the man but it is obvious he loved Dickens. He is not known to the Dickens Fellowship branches in Essex but we are assuming he must have been a member at some point in his life.”

The Dickens Fellowship International Conference had 88 delegates and 110 people for the gala dinner. There are around 30 to 40 members of the Eastbourne branch and Maggie says new members are welcome. Call Maggie on 01323 471615.