THE RETIRING chairman of Warwickshire’s only independent adult education centre has been given a lift – literally!
The 96-year-old Percival Guildhouse in Rugby has honoured David Dove by naming its newly-installed lift after him.
The installation of the charity-funded elevator represents one of the milestone achievements for David, whose 14 years leading the organisation has included helping to ensure its survival during months of closure and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
David said: “The pandemic represents the biggest test the Guildhouse has faced since opening in 1925. I have been so proud and heartened by the way staff, trustees, students and supporters have pulled together over the last 15 months or so.
“I’m most proud of the agility with which we moved classes online for the first time, and the magnificent and generous responses we have had to appeals for help.
“We have made best use of a time when students have been unable to come into the building to progress the installation of a lift – which now gives all students easy access to all floors of our Victorian home. We are very grateful to the charities whose funding has made this possible.”
David, who worked in a variety of managerial positions for Royal Mail during a 36-year career with the company, had been studying French for three years at the Guildhouse when he saw an appeal for volunteer trustees.
Others saw his leadership gifts straight away, and within months of being co-opted onto the Executive Committee he was elected Chairman.
While welcoming a break from the stress of the past 15 months, David plans to remain actively involved as a volunteer at the Guildhouse and a student again, if tempted by one of the courses on offer this September.
Of the future, he says: “The Guildhouse has a unique place in further education in Rugby and the surrounding area.
“Its student base is fiercely loyal, which has been its mainstay during the pandemic. It must build on the advances made by developing its online courses, always recognising that what students love most is the sense of community and friendship they enjoy attending courses in-house, and relaxing in our cafe.
“As Rugby grows, I hope the Guildhouse will be a magnet for many more new students of all ages and backgrounds.”
David is succeeded as Chairman by Carin Jackson, who has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2017.
The Percival Guildhouse is run by a charitable trust. It runs a variety of day and evening classes from its home in St Matthew’s Street, in one of Rugby’s iconic historic buildings.
Booking for Autumn Term courses, which start in September, opens in early August. Visit www.percival-guildhouse.co.uk for more information.