FESTIVAL WAS NEITHER ‘CHAOTIC’ NOR A ‘FIASCO’
Lionel Kopelowitz’s letter on the legacy of Greville Janner ( JC, Jan 1) is very interesting but I must take issue with him with regard to the Festival of British Jewry, which in no way was a ‘’fiasco’’.
I was charged — together with the then Secretary of the Board, Hyman Pinner — with the organisation of the six-month programme of events, all of which were well received by press and participants.
This included the function at Hampton Court Palace which Dr Kopelowitz referred to as having been “chaotic”.
The selection of the venue was not my responsibility. By its very nature, it made the seating of more than 1,500 guests in a single room impossible.
Hence the number of people actually dinning in the same room as the Prince and Princess of Wales was even further reduced but that did not prevent each and everyone being presented to, as well as having the opportunity to say a few words with, either the Prince or the Princess.
This took place in the largest room available and thus made the possible number of people dining in that room even smaller.
Their Royal Highnesses walked down a line of all the guests who wished to be presented which, for their own reasons, were by no means all of those present. At the end of that line were the “workers’’, including my late wife and me and she remembered and talked about this honour until the day she died.
There are not many venues that could have accommodated the numbers involved and, while there was the problem with seating, it was more than compensated by the splendour and majesty of Hampton Court in the summer
It was the only place where the evening could have been ended with a 30-minute military tattoo, which, in spite of the slight drizzle, was a most fitting and breathtaking end to what was proudly billed as ‘‘British Jewry honouring the Prince and Princess of Wales’’ and certainly not the other way around. Harry Bibring Bushey Heath, Herts