Jess takes over as new chairman of MADhurst

Front left Jess with John at the opening of the MADhurst box office this summer.  With them are committee members Alison Procter, David Coote, Sarah Murison and town crier John Travers
Front left Jess with John at the opening of the MADhurst box office this summer. With them are committee members Alison Procter, David Coote, Sarah Murison and town crier John Travers

John Barrett is stepping down after five years at the helm as chairman of the annual Midhurst music, art and drama festival MADhurst.

And taking his place is well known Midhurst restaurant owner Jess Warren.

John, who has been involved in all eight festivals since the ten day festival was launched in 2010, will remain as a committee member and trustee.

He has guided the festival building up a strong committee and team of volunteers and seen the programme expand taking in a huge variety of entertainment in venues across the town and in surrounding villages.

This year well over 50 organizations and businesses took part and more than 60 volunteers and artists contributed their unpaid skills and some 3,500 people turned out to watch the carnival procession and join in the free grand finale day.

Leading Rotarian and involved in many other charitable causes in the Midhurst area John said: “My reason for standing down is most importantly to allow a new, younger view of what is required to take the festival to the next level. I still want to be involved with MADhurst, but yes, it may allow me to play more golf, concentrate on other charitable projects and also continue to support Jess.

“I know she will do a fabulous job funnelling her energy and dynamism into moving the 2018 festival up to that new level, together with a very strong enthusiastic committee.”

MADhurst Trustees John, David Duncan and Jake Howard who met to review nominations for the new chairman chose well known Midhurst restaurant owner Jess Warren.

Co-owner of the Olive and Vine in North Street with her fiance Dean Brown-Fuller, the couple are proud parents of three year old Oliver.

Already with a busy life and deeply rooted in Midhurst Jess brings a new energy and networks to MADhurst.

She was co-founder and is leader of the Midhurst Choir and has been involved with the Midhurst Players.

Jess said: “I want to expand the involvement of businesses, community groups and volunteers in MADhurst even further and encourage an even wider range of local talent to become involved.”

Plans are already under way for next year’s festival which takes place from August 18-27.

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