18 March 2017

A Fitting Tribute to a Local Legend

On Saturday 18th March Steyning Museum held its AGM. There was an unusually large audience for this event, as it was also the opportunity to say farewell to our Curator. Chris Tod has been at the helm of the Museum for the past 25 years and has truly made it what it is today.

Chris's final Curator's report included many anecdotes about his time running the Museum, such as the time he was presented with an historic meat cleaver by a local butcher and then had to walk down Steyning High Street carrying this 'offensive' weapon!

After the official proceedings, a series of Chris's colleagues and friends shared stories about his time as Curator. He is a very modest man and I'm sure many of the audience learnt much about his skills, huge knowledge and enormously hard work which they wouldn't have heard from him. Jeremy Knight, Curator of Horsham Museum, spoke of Chris's great expertise in making our Museum 'a model of a small museum'. Chris Drake, Development and Operations Manager for Preston Manor and the Booth Museum talked about the great achievement of not only successfully negotiating a complex funding bid, but also getting the superb extension built within the budget and two months early.

Old friends and colleagues from Steyning also made contributions. These included a poem based on Kipling's 'If', wonderfully adapted for Chris by David Thompson the Honorary Archivist. Sarah Leigh, who organizes the volunteers who man the museum, Jacquie Buttriss, the Vice Chair and Julian Buttery, a volunteer, also spoke movingly – and with great humour, about their memories of working with Chris Tod.

Chris will no doubt still be a regular visitor to the museum and he will still be a fund of knowledge for the community of Steyning but he no longer will be the curator. Suffice it to say that his role has had to be divided at least three ways in order to attempt to cover the extraordinary amount of work he has been responsible for over the past quarter century. He will be sorely missed indeed.

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16th August 2021