We began this short series of blogs by publishing an interview with the redoubtable, inspirational and truly irreplaceable, Diana Roberts. In it we mentioned that one article would barely ‘scratch the surface’ of what Di does for Guildford, and so it proved…here then, is Part 2.
Since publishing the first blog at the start of this year’s Fringe Festival, news of Diana’s retirement from her position as Tourism & Marketing Development Manager at Guildford Borough Council has been made public. Tomorrow (2 August), the famously packed desk will be tidied for the last time and Di will head off, not just for pastures new but knowing Diana, pastures marvellous!
So, we begin the second part of our interview with Diana by asking the big question.
What do you think will be your legacy to Guildford?
I’m not sure about legacy, it seems a bit pompous and self-important to me. I did my job to the best of my abilities and I loved every minute of it…well, almost every minute.
OK, but you must be proud of what you have achieved?
I suppose, if I’m pushed I would say that there are certain things that I look back on with a sense of pride, I helped to move some events in a different direction and when I was ever in a position to make an introduction that I felt would be mutually beneficial I was always happy to do it.
What about your legendary ability to get things done?
I must confess to a certain gift for gently encouraging people to help, a mutual friend of ours once described it as being ‘voluntold by Diana’, I like voluntold, it has a nice ring to it. I should add though that I would never ask anybody to do something that they would feel uncomfortable with and I would like to think that I would be the first to step forward to help others.
What have been the biggest changes in your time working in Tourism & Marketing?
There have been so many, the biggest negative has been the cut in budgets, not my own I hasten to add but the budgets of organisers. But I could also point to this as a positive because if there’s no money to throw at events, the organisers and venues need to be more creative and this has led to some amazing innovations.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, we now look more closely at how events can fit together, how we can expand an existing project and make it more inclusive, give it a greater reach. Guildford Summer Festival grew out of the Freiburg twinning anniversary celebrations for example.
The Surrey County Show is now the largest one-day agricultural event in the UK, this didn’t happen by accident, it’s because great managers and people with foresight made it happen.
What will you miss the most Di?
Without question, the people. I have been privileged to work with and alongside some amazing, inspirational and hard-working people, far too many to mention by name but they know who they are.
Finally, and rather selfishly what one last piece of advice do you have for the organiser of Guildford Fringe?
What do you mean finally? I might be retiring but I’m not going anywhere!
On that wonderfully positive note we will finish by saying thanks Diana, thanks for all the encouragement, sound advice and the occasional telling off when it was needed.
We might have been able to do it without you, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as easy and certainly nowhere near as much fun.
And finally, finally…Happy retirement Diana!
Check out all the events we have coming up at Guildford Fringe HERE