Robert Hutchison 1941-2017
It is with great sadness we report the death of the founder and first Chair of Winchester Poetry Festival, Robert Hutchison, following a short illness.
Robert was a remarkable instigator who had the gift of inspiring and galvanising others to causes in which he believed. Among many achievements – he set up the Wilfred Owen Association and Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC), was Chief Executive of Southern Arts and of Oxford Inspires – his most recent initiative was the founding of Winchester Poetry Festival in 2014.
Using a combination of vision, elegant intellectual argument, personal warmth and a willingness to lead by example, Robert was a persuasive champion. A skilled and engaging public speaker, he wore his erudition lightly, though he enjoyed spontaneously reciting by heart his favourite poems.
Robert was delighted with the public response to the festival in 2014 and again in 2016, and was hugely supportive of everyone involved in making these events such a success – volunteers, staff, festival Friends and trustees. He knew how important it was to show commitment and was busy working up a new fundraising initiative at the time of his death.
We will all miss his generosity of spirit, determination, great good humour – laughter was always on the menu when Robert was present – and his sheer enthusiasm. Winchester Poetry Festival would not have come about without Robert, but it will continue to draw inspiration from his memory.
2 Oct 2017
Image: Joe Low 2014