Well known businessman Tony Abel to be patron of Swaffham Visual Arts Festival

New Swaffham Visual Arts Festival Patron Tony Abel (centre) with Festival committee chairman Stephen

New Swaffham Visual Arts Festival Patron Tony Abel (centre) with Festival committee chairman Stephen Ward (left) and Swaffham Rotary Club president David Morris. Picture: ANDY NEWMAN. - Credit: Archant

A businessman with strong family links to Swaffham is to succeed Baroness Shephard of Northwold as patron of the town's Visual Arts Festival.

Tony Abel will become the new patron of the festival, organised each October by the Swaffham Rotary Club.

His company Abel Homes is once again to be principal sponsor of the month-long celebration of art.

A theme of the 2017 festival will be 'Art in the Theatre', with the festival partnering with the West Acre Theatre in its reprise of 'ART', Christopher Hampton's translation of Yasmina Reza's thought-provoking comedy, winner of both Olivier and Tony awards.

The climax of the festival will be the three-day selling exhibition in the Swaffham Assembly Rooms of works of art and craft.

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Running from October 27 to October 29, the exhibition will feature up to 50 artists, with around 300 art works for sale, as well as a range of ceramics, glass, jewellery and woodturning by local craftspeople.

Swaffham Rotary Club president David Morris said: 'We are delighted to welcome Mr Abel as our new patron.

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'Tony and his wife Maggie are keen supporters of the festival, and Abel Homes has been a generous sponsor over the past five years.

'As well as providing financial support to make the festival possible, Tony, his family and his company have provided marketing expertise, enabling us to grow the festival over the years and raise more money for good causes.

'Since inaugurating the festival we have been able to distribute nearly £30,000 to charities supported by the Rotary Club.'

Mr Abel said: 'We are a family firm, and my family has been part of the community in Swaffham for many, many years.

'We have been delighted to help Rotary develop the festival.

'I am honoured to be invited to be the festival patron and I look forward to Swaffham once again being put on the artistic map.'

The festival aims to celebrate the wealth of visual art activity in Swaffham and its surrounding area, promote artists in west Norfolk and raise money for money for, mainly, local charitable causes.

The festival runs throughout October. The full programme will be announced next month.

More details at www.swaffhamvisualartfestival.co.uk.

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