In November we finally completed the installation of a permanent memorial to Lydia in Crockham Hill Churchyard. Derived from a photograph of Lydia curled on a rock during a family holiday in the USA, Naomi's concept was developed by her and Julia with Oliver Barratt into a sculpture which Oliver finally created. Oliver is a family friend who taught Naomi and Lydia at school. He is an internationally known sculptor and was commissioned to create a memorial for Everest base-camp. We selected the Jurassic aged iron stone from a quarry in Oxfordshire and stone-mason Joss Smith created the final piece. The inscription reads - 'In memory of Lydia who loved to share her time and space with others'.
In June and July 2011 Julia and Nigel Press joined an expedition to row 1000 kms down the Zambezi river from extreme NW Zambia near the Angolan border down to Victoria Falls to raise money for Village Water, a charity that conducts health and sanitation training before installing water wells and pumps in remote parts of Zambia. Nigel, an experienced rower from University days and still an active 'masters' competitor,was part of the 18 strong squad of rowers sculling in three triple sculling boats, as well as looking after the logistics, mapping and navigation. Julia drove a 4x4 in the bank-side support team. The distance was covered safely in 17 days, although the boats had to be portaged around rapids. The team were received by the Litunga or King of Barotseland and visited a Village Water project en-route. A sum of £25,000 was raised for Village Water, and subsequent talks by Julia and Nigel raised a further sum sufficient to install a well in Namabatu village, which is now effectively 'twinned' with Crockham Hill. This is a project which would have been close to Lydia's heart.
This celebration concert was given to a full house by a choir of some 200 Alumni and the current members, accompanied by The Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment. The programme included Bach’s Magnificat and Handel’s Dixit Dominus as well as the World premiere of James MacMillan’s ‘Bring Us, O Lord God’ which Schola had commissioned for their 50th. Anniversary in memory of Lydia.
This event featured the choirs of St. Martin’s, The Thomas Tallis Society, Commotio and Schola Cantorum Oxford with which Lydia had been especially involved as well as representatives from Sevenoaks School. In all there were 160 performers, almost all of whom had known Lydia well, who joined to sing works by Fauré, Palestrina and Monteverdi. Each choir also sang their own selection of music, ranging from contemporary to renaissance.
The audience of some 200 included many of Lydia’s friends from school, Oxford, Budapest and the climbing world and a few close friends gave us anecdotes and insights into her life as well as readings. A substantial sum of money was collected for WaterAid.