The Great Exhibition Returns in 2012
04 May 2010
Julie Benson explains the motivation behind The Great Exhibition 2012 and tells us why she believes it is important for the UK to celebrate its heritage and history.
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The Showcase of a Nation, for the Nation
In 1977, a 10-year-old girl celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee with her grandmother. For her, this was a formative moment — seeing the nation gather together to celebrate our heritage and history planted a seed in her imagination that, now, over 30 years later, is blossoming into reality as she proudly announces the launch of The Great Exhibition 2012 — A festival for Britain.
Supported by a host of illustrious British celebrities including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Michael Parkinson, Sir Terence Conran, Dame Ellen Macarthur and Dame Evelyn Glennie, The Great Exhibition 2012 will take place in the beautiful surroundings of Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire from June 2012.
Julie Benson, the founder of The Great Exhibition 2012, explains “I remember clearly the street parties and community celebrations surrounding the Queen’s Jubilee and it made me think that we should always feel that close as a community and a country; by bringing companies and individuals together to celebrate our achievements at a time when the eyes of the world will be upon us we can lift the spirit of the nation and stand proud in the knowledge of who we are and what we do. Great Britain at its best.”
Benson continues “In 1851 and 1951, Britain showcased the Best of British” since then, we’ve not been able to see, in one place, all that’s great about British culture and society. 2012 will once again mark a period of reflection, ambition, inspiration and celebration. I believe that putting on a festival of the size and shape that we want The Great Exhibition to be, will create a fantastic showcase for Britain and help people see just how many opportunities are at our feet. All people from all walks of life contribute to making Britain great. This is an exhibition by the people, for the people.”
The Great Exhibition 2012 — A festival for Britain will take place between June and August 2012 showcasing the very best of Britain. From outstanding
seafood in the South West, to architectural innovation in the North East, visitors will be taken on a fascinating journey through the British Isles. Live events and performances will take place throughout the three month season and the site at Stoneleigh Park will also include outdoor activities and camping areas for all the family to enjoy.
Sir Terence Conran, a supporter of The Great Exhibition 2012 remembers the Festival of Britain in 1951 and said “There was such a huge sense of
enthusiasm about the Festival of Britain, you felt it was changing people’s lives. The Great Exhibition 2012 has the same sort of buzz that happened in the Festival of Britain, making people more confident about Britain as a place to live, and the opportunities that there are, plus they’d have a jolly good day out.”
Sir Michael Parkinson adds, “For me, The Great Exhibition is about humour and the hospitality of the people. It’s about a landscape as glorious and beautiful, as any you’ll find anywhere in the world. It’s actually about a lousy climate, which gives a good sense of humour. It’s about art galleries and cathedrals and places with a sense of history, a sense of past. It’s about fish and chips, and blue nose comics and cubs.’
Reproduced with the permission of The Great Exhibition 2012;
Image: Julie Benson and television presenter Eamonn Holmes at the launch of The Great Exhibition 2012! Photo: ¬© The Great Exhibition 2012
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