Businesses from Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent joined together at Keele Hall on Wednesday 20 July to pledge support to The Philip Astley Project, a project focused on raising the profile of ‘the father of the modern day circus’.
The Philip Astley Project business engagement event was attended by over 70 delegates from the local business community, including Knights Ltd, Lymestone Brewery Ltd, The Swift Gallery and Moore’s Accountants, with attendees keen to learn more about Philip Astley, his relevance to Newcastle-under-Lyme and the activities and events being planned in his honour.
Guests were entertained with a plate spinning spectacle from the world travelled professional performer and project steering group member, Andrew Van Buren, before listening to a series of presentations which provided a background on the project, an insight in to “brand Astley” and an overview of the ways in which local businesses can engage with the project.
Newcastle-based Property Management Consultant, Jane Bailey attended the event and is one of over 30 local businesses to pledge support to the project. She said: “Looking around the room and seeing the obvious enthusiasm for the project from important stakeholders such as Staffordshire University, Keele University, the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme College and of course Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, it is clear that the project is going to be a great success. I’m particularly interested in the large scale event that is planned for 2018, which promises to be attended by thousands of people. I’m convinced the event will receive excellent media coverage and as such I have pledged to become a sponsor.”
Chair of the Philip Astley Project steering group and Cllr for the Keele Ward, Wenslie Naylon said: “It was a fantastic, well attended evening and we were delighted to unveil The Philip Astley Project to the business community. We received a huge amount of interest and pledges of support and we are now very much looking forward to bringing the vision to life through the delivery of a series of awareness building communications and initiatives ahead of a large scale town centre event in 2018. On behalf of the project steering group, we would like to thank everyone that attended and pledged support.”
Born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, in 1742, Philip Astley was the son of a cabinetmaker who grew-up to become a master of equestrian, entrepreneur, war hero, pioneer and showman. In 1768, Astley created the first 42ft diameter circus ring, still the standard size used in circus across the world today. Despite Astley’s status as ‘the father of the modern circus’, there is limited awareness locally or nationally of his life and achievements.
Organisations including Staffordshire University, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme College, the Van Buren Organisation, Keele University, Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District (BID), the New Vic Theatre formed The Philip Astley Project in 2015 to raise awareness of Philip Astley within Newcastle-under-Lyme and, as a result increase residents’ pride in their own heritage.
Staffordshire University, on behalf of The Philip Astley Project, successfully submitted a first round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and secured an initial grant to carry out consultation with key audiences and develop the project using the information gathered, with a view to submitting a second stage HLF application in December 2016.
Other organisations involved in The Philip Astley Project steering group include Brampton Museum, Friends of Brampton Museum, Civic Society, Staffordshire Library and Information Service, Staffordshire Film Archive and Newcastle Lanterns.
For more information about The Philip Astley Project please call 01782 294644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org