Three new names make the town hall 'honours board'

By Staff reporter in Local People

Three new names have been added to Abergavenny town hall’s ‘Honours Board’ alongside dual Olympic medalist Becky James, cycling legend Bill Owen, chef Franco Taruschio and award-winning writer Owen Sheers.

Designers Charles and Patricia Lester have been recognised this year for their ‘outstanding service to the fashion and textile industry and promoting the image of Abergavenny as a venue of quality’ and Jeanette Massocchi for ‘services to the national and local eisteddfod and to music in the UK and Europe’.

The honours board on the town hall steps was first established after Becky James won the World Cycling Championships in 2013.

The new brass plaques were unveiled by Mayor and Mayoress Chris and Sheila Woodhouse at a special ceremony last week.

Charles and Patricia Lester have been designing and creating hand painted, printed and beaded couture ladies gowns and interior design fabrics for over 50 years - and they’ve never been busier.

Examples of their work can be seen in a variety of museums around the world including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

They have worked on many film, television and opera projects with their individual designs taking a starring role, notably for the film costume drama The Wings of a Dove.

Their creations have personally been worn by some of the world’s top celebrities, including Adele, Barbara Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg, HRH the Duchess of Kent and the late great Elizabeth Taylor.

In 2015 their studios in Abergavenny were visited by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Lesters chose Monmouthshire as their base for its beautiful and inspirational scenery and they have never wasted an opportunity to introduce Wales in general and their home town in particular to their jet-setting clients and business associates.

Jeanette Massocchi, musical director of the St Woolos Players, is of Italian/Welsh ancestry. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she studied singing and piano accompaniment, she went on to work as a singer and repetiteur with opera companies and choral societies, in radio and television, in the UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, Jordan and Switzerland.

She was official accompanist for the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales, the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and the Welsh National Opera Male Choir. At the same time she was Senior Lecturer in Music at the Royal Welsh College in Cardiff.

She is nowadays in great demand as a vocal coach and accompanist, giving concerts, master classes and choral workshops throughout the UK and abroad. In recognition of her services to music she has been honoured with an Associateship of the Royal Academy of Music and in 2011 she received the Honorary Archbishop of Wales’ Award for Church Music.

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