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Downton Abbey Afternoon at Buckhorn Inn

We were proud to host a Downton Abbey event for 50 guests on September 15, 2019.  Our speaker, Dr. David Woodfine, has served as personal butler to the 11th Duke of Marlborough.  He also has been High Steward at an Oxford College and oversaw the wedding of Lord Andrew Lloyd Weber.  Guests received a copy of his memoir “When Angels Dare to Tread”.  Ticket sales benefitted reading/writing programs through the Hilliard Institute for Educational Wellness, a non-profit teaching and learning centre located in Spring Hill, TN and operating in Tennessee, North Carolina, Ireland, and England.http://www.hilliardinstitute.com

Insight into Lives of Downton Abbey Characters

Dr. Woodfine’s professional experiences shed light on the real lives of fictional characters, such as those on Downton Abbey.  His memoir shares his love of educating students.  The following story is an excerpt from “When Angels Dare to Tread”.

Dr. Woodfine shed light on the lives of characters in "Downton Abbey".

Dr. Woodfine’s new memoir is entitled “When Angels Dare to Tread”.

“One occasion I know that some of them [his students] will remember is the wedding of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Madeleine Gurdon in 1991.  A company that gave our young caterers and waiters experience of events invited us to take part in this one.  What excitement!  First, David Oswald and I attended all the planning meetings and were shown around the beautiful Lloyd Webber home, Sydmonton Court near Newbury, so that we could familiarize ourselves with the kitchen, cellar and layouts.  Then we put together two teams of students, about forty in all.

On the day of the wedding, the house was transformed as we were transported into a scene from “Phantom of the Opera”.  Chandeliers sparkled against black drapes and the hexagonal plates on the tables were glazed black.  Our students wore white gloves to that no finger marks would transfer to the crockery and I was pleased as I watched and directed them to serve Michael Caine, Jason Donovan, Elaine Paige and a host of others from the world of stage, film, and television.  I worked discreetly in the background, feeling very satisfied when my students exchanged little pleasantries with the likes of Esther Rantzen, David Frost, and Michael Ball and seemed to take it all in their stride.  Quietly, I congratulated each one on how splendidly he or she was coping with the big occasion.  They did well, and I felt that if they could just handle this situation with confidence and efficiency–and keep smiling–then a good career was waiting for them.”