Doreen Valiente - Witch

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Pagan Pride 2011

The Doreen Valiente Foundation's John Belham-Payne was invited to be the guest of honour at this year's ever growing Pagan Pride Festival in Nottingham. John was invited to lead the parade of over 600 pagans through the streets of Nottingham and to partner the event's founder Esme Knight in performing the opening blessing ceremony.

John, Esme and First Nations' Elder, WaNaNeeChe, headed the parade  to the accompaniment of drums, singing and hurdy gurdy music from Serpentyne. The parade was met by the Nottingham public  cheering and applauding the colourful spectacle as it made its way through the city centre and on to the festival site at Nottingham's aboretum park where an estimated 1000 pagans enjoyed a day in the sunshine listening to live music, talks and demonstrations and browsing the numerous stalls and displays.  John officially declared the event open and raised a great cheer from the crowd as he and Esme performed a four-elements blessing from the bandstand in front of the gathered crowd and then placed the elemental symbols at the four edges of the park.

Later in the day  after manning the Centre For pagan Studies / Doreen Valiente Foundation stall and talking to hordes of well-wishers John was joined by fellow trustee Ashley Mortimer to give a talk about Doreen and the foundation to the day's biggest crowd. Some of Doreen's artefacts were displayed, a few stories were told and Ashley gave a talk that Doreen had written and delivered during the 1960's which was well received indeed. A questions and answers session followed and the talk was concluded with the reading of Doreen's poem "What Witchcraft Means To Me" which has never been published.

The event was declared a huge success, adding to its claim to be the UK's biggest free pagan event, and Esme was reported as saying that the involvement of the CFPS and the Doreen Valiente Foundation was a big part of its success. Ashley & Jon ended the day on a perfect note as they were presented with a new artefact for the collection which is a pentacle necklace once owned by Alex Sanders!

Pagan Pride itself has begun the long process of rasing funds to put on next year's event and, being based in Nottingham himself, Ashley will be supporting the cause on behalf of the Foundation and making further talks and displays in this capacity. Pagan Pride is expecting to roll out to other cities next year and has pledged to be involved in the plans for the future for the Foundation and the Centre For Pagan Studies which include a weekend event in 2013 and a first official exhibition in Brighton also in 2013 which it is hped will be the precursor for the long awaited opening of the Museum and study centre.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Centre For Pagan Studies Update - June 2011

Having had a meeting of the current directors of the CFPS and their associates a document has now been drawn up in a first draft to form the governing papers of how the CFPS will go forward. The intent is to create an open organisation which will be accessible to all for membership, the legal term for such an organisation is "a company limited by guarantee" which means that those who "own it" (the guarantors) are not permitted to make a profit from it. In this form it is envisaged that it will be readily accepted by the charities commission as a registered charity and as such it will adopt its charitable objects from the recently formed Doreen Valiente Foundation's own objects.

Of course there is still a great deal to do in establishing the organisation in this form and the documents ("The articles and memoranda of association") are still in their first draft form. Further to this "behind the scenes" work which is taking up all of our time and resources we are also reaching outwardsagain and planning a major event to take place in the next 18-24 months.

Meanwhile our colleagues at the Doreen Valiente Foundation have begun their work in earnest which we anticipate will be continued by us under the CFPS banner once the organisation is properly established.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Doreen Valiente Foundation

We are very pleased to announce that on the 6th March 2011 The Doreen Valiente Foundation was officially formed and has received ownership of the artefacts bequeathed to John Belham-Payne of the Centre For Pagan Studies by Doreen Valiente.

The primary objects of the foundation are "To protect artefacts which are important to the past, present and future of pagan religions" and "To make the artefacts available for education and research".

The Declaration of Trust was signed by the first trustees: John Belham-Payne, Julia Belham-Payne, Brian Botham, Patricia Botham and Ashley Mortimer.

The Foundation held its first meeting and made the following resolutions:

  • To seek charitable status from the Charities Commission
  • To design and prepare the artefacts for their new purpose: that of exhibition

The foundation has already received pledges of further artefacts to add to the collection and anticipates further growth with future donations.

For press and media enquiries relating to the Doreen Valiente Foundation and to the ongoing programme of fundraising events we are happy to give interviews to the media. Please contact: