On Sunday, March 12 local arts organisations joined together on the stage at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre to showcase the talent and diversity of the performing arts in the Borough, in an evening of first-class local entertainment in honour of the centenary of the birth of Honorary Freeman, Bill Bellerby MBE.
This very special event was organised by the Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Gordon Jackson: "I originally thought of the concept of the Variety Show with a view to highlighting the many talented performing arts organisations in Guildford and to raise money for my Mayoral Charities.
“Throughout his 42 years as a Councillor and, as an Honorary Freeman since, Bill Bellerby has been a passionate supporter of the arts. There could be no more fitting tribute than to dedicate the show to him on the eve of his 100th birthday and to highlight the enormous contribution he has made to the rich cultural life of Guildford."
Bill, who was Mayor of Guildford for two consecutive years, is fondly known as ‘Mr Guildford’ for the significant role he has played in dedicating his support to local campaigns for the arts for over fifty years now.
The evening was thoroughly enjoyed, with Lord-Lieutenant, Mr Michael More-Molyneux and the Right Honourable Anne Milton MP among the guests in the packed auditorium at the Guildford Theatre.
As well as being a wonderful occasion to celebrate Bill’s work and the strength of the local performing arts scene, all involved were delighted that the Variety Show raised a substantial sum for the Mayor's charities.
Paul Branch, who directed and compered the evening of entertainment, said: "Putting together the Mayor’s Variety show has been such a joy – what a wonderful opportunity to be able to work with so many talented local people. The feedback has been wonderful and it certainly seemed to be a fitting tribute to celebrate Bill Bellerby’s 100th Birthday.”