The Centenary celebration for Sophia Morrison today got of to a very good start with a wreath laying at Peel Cemetery at the grave of the great Manx figure. Even the weather smiled on the day with the midday rain abating just ahead of the event.
I spoke briefly about the need for us to not simply record our appreciation of Ms Morrison’s work but also the work of those she subsequently inspired and continues to inspire.
Cristl Jerry gave a brief oration in Manx for the Celtic League and she was followed by Stewart Bennett speaking on behalf of Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh.
The wreath was laid by Crellin Frost (the Great nephew of Sophia Morrison) who said movingly that he felt she would have been heartened that her work was still recognised and appreciated.
The event was very much a collaborative event with events today organised jointly by Mec Vannin, the Celtic League, Celtic Congress, Culture Vannin however at the graveside ceremony Bob Teare from the Department of Education was present and Malcolm Kelly of MNH – himself a Peel man.
I took the opportunity in winding up events at the Cemetery to thank Roy Kennaugh Cultural Officer of Mec Vannin for bringing all the various groups together both for the wreath laying and events later in the day I remarked that it was more important than ever that as far as is practical all bodies working to retain Manx culture and identity work together and deliver a unified message
I concluded by recoding our thanks to Churchyard Services who at their own expense have restored and maintained the Morrison plot for many years now and who had undertaken maintenance ahead of the commemoration – before they were asked.
Later a talk on the life of Sophia Morrison was given at Peel Methodist Church by Breesha Maddrell of Culture Vannin. The Church was packed and again Roy Kennaugh’s forward thinking saved the day Roy booked the Guild Room but also arranged the church in case numbers were larger than expected. In the event this was a prudent step as the Church was filled to capacity.
Breesha’s talk was wide ranging focusing on all aspects of Sophia’s life, her background, her interests, her collection techniques, her inherent shyness but firm commitment to achieve. She also highlighted the political dimension to her work which given the strictures of the time is often overshadowed.
The day time events concluded with light refreshments served in the Guild Room and for those of an artistic bent a concert will be held in the Centenary Centre at 7:30 this evening
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch
Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.