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Our Patron

Bob-ReitemeierBob Reitemeier, CBE

Bob is currently CEO of Essex Community Foundation, an independent charitable trust, and one of a growing number of community foundations across the UK which are playing a leading role in the development of local philanthropy and resources to sustain grassroots community development.

He was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2012 for services to children.

Previously he was Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Society where, in 2009, he commissioned The Good Childhood Inquiry, resulting in the landmark report A Good Childhood: Searching for Values in a Competitive Age. Bob is currently the chair of the National Children’s Workforce Partnership and in 2009 was deputy chair of the Social Work Taskforce. He is a former chair of Children England from 2004 to 2008 and founding director of the Children’s Workforce Development Council from 2005 to 2008.

Before joining The Children’s Society, Bob built up over 20 years experience in the voluntary sector, working in Africa and Asia. During the 1980s and 1990s, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaïre, director of Volunteers in Technical Assistance’s Small Enterprise Project in Chad, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh and Deputy Director, Africa Region for ActionAid UK. Bob joined the Youth Justice Board in 2006 and is chair of the Reducing Offending Committee.

Bob has got to know Best well as both his sons have attended Best for some years now. He says “I am absolutely delighted to become Patron of Best Theatre Arts. Best is a fantastic organisation that truly puts the needs and interests of children and young people at the heart of all that it does. This is an organisation that has gone from strength to strength, and provides a wonderful and life enhancing community service.”

“Best takes its pastoral care seriously and our adoption of The Children’s Society as our chosen charity is testament to this. We’ve known Bob and his family for some time now and we are absolutely thrilled that Bob has agreed to become our Patron,” says Best’s co-founder Annette Holland. “As we now we have classes from 3 months old to adults we truly cover the whole of childhood making Bob’s arrival all the more important. We’ll continue to raise funds for, and awareness of The Children’s Society at our public shows, our brilliant end-of-term get-togethers and our other exciting themed weeks – wherever we can, in fact. Our parents are a very generous bunch,” says Annette Holland.

In memory of Philip Madoc

 mindtokill1Philip Madoc

Our first Patron was Philip Madoc, who sadly died on 5th March 2012 following a short illness.

Philip was born on 5th July 1934 in Merthyr Tydfil. He was educated in Wales, followed by a spell in the University of Vienna where he trained as an interpreter before entering RADA (after realising he’d never achieve his real ambition of playing test cricket).His television appearances are countless – indeed it was said of Philip that he has made at least one guest appearance in every British programme ever made!

Alongside many appearances in Doctor Who (mostly as baddies), perhaps his most famous guest role was in 1973 as a German Commander in Dad’s Army’s famous “Don’t Tell Him Pike!”

His most acclaimed TV performance was as in the title role in The Life And Times Of David Lloyd George (BBC, 1981), with a theme tune by Ennio Morricone that you’ll still hear from many buskers on the Tube!

His classically resonant, instantly identifiable bass voice has been heard widely as a narrator of high-class audio books, mostly for the Naxos label. One of these is a recording of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall (abridged to a 18 hours) – a monumental performance alongside Arabian Nights and even ‘The Old Testament.’

Philip was a fiercely patriotic Welshman, and is an accomplished linguist speaking seven or eight languages. We were amazed when, a couple of years ago, he addressed our teacher Tove fluently in her native Swedish and then chatted for ages in a language he hadn’t used for years!

We were thrilled that Philip berame our Patron , a role he was very committed to. He visited out classes and came to our shows over a number of years and was always warm, encouraging and fascinating. He once said the “a Patron is a bit like a bidet – no one knows what it does but it adds a bit of class!”

We have very fond memories of a wonderful Welshman and a proud Patron.