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Patrons and Special Guests

2015 Sherree Valentine Daines

Sherree Valentine Daines is a local artist who has had exhibitions at Tate Britain, the Barbican and the Lord’s Museum.

Described as the face of modern British Impressionism, she is one of the nation’s most illustrious and distinguished artists as she creates masterly evocations of some of the most beautiful elements of British life.

Sherree Valentine Daines has also painted the great and the good of the worlds of media, sport and entertainment, such as Sir Michael Parkinson, Sebastian Coe, Jonny Wilkinson and Joanna Lumley.

Her awards are: The Young Artist of the Year from the Royal Portrait Society, The Laing Landscape and Seascape Competition Winner and The Fine Art Trade Guild Award for the UK’s Leading Impressionist Artist.

2014 Natalie Coyle

Natalie is a London-based, classically trained Soprano who, at the beginning of 2013, joined Classic BRIT Award winners BLAKE on their UK tour and has since performed solo four times at Wembley Stadium to sold-out crowds of over 85,000 and live on both SkySports1 and the BBC. Most recently Natalie was invited to perform on the 'bandstand' at the Chelsea Flower Show to a packed audience and at the Cystic Fibrosis charity's 50th Anniversary Gala and the Variety Gastro evening fundraiser at the Dorchester. As well as being involved with several charities, including the Order of Malta Volunteers, the British Heart Foundation, The Children's Trust, Variety (The Children's Charity), Marie Curie Cancer Care and Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People, Natalie is a patron for Breathe Arts Health Research, a partner to Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals. We are truly delighted to welcome Natalie as our Patron this year and hope she is able to visit some of the many and varied festival events and get to know some of our artists as well as their work, please make her welcome.


2012 & 2013 Virginia McKenna OBE

Virginia McKenna OBE, a long-term resident of Mole Valley, has appeared in an incredible number of roles of which we give only a brief selection: in film 'Born Free', 'Carve Her Name with Pride' and 'A Town Like Alice'; on TV 'Romeo and Juliet', 'The Camomile Lawn', 'The Deep Blue Sea', and 'Whistleblower', and in the theatre 'The King and I', 'Hamlet' and 'The Beggar's Opera'. She is also an author and her memoirs ' The Life in my Years' have been published by Oberon Books. She is the Founder Trustee of the Born Free Foundation, an animal welfare an conservation charity and was awarded an OBE in 2004 for her work in the arts and animal welfare.


2011 Nicholas Owen

Nicholas Owen is a journalist, BBC TV News Presenter and gifted speaker in his own right. Nicholas began his career here in Surrey, on the Surrey Mirror before moving to Fleet Street, onwards to ITN and then to the BBC. Between 1994 and 2000 he was ITN's Royal Correspondent, covering the death and funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. He is an ambassador for the Prince's Trust and, the committee are delighted to have such a well-known personality as the Patron of our festival.


2010 Anita Harris

Anita is an English actor, singer and entertainer. She was classically trained as a singer and then moved into the world of pop.  She has performed leading roles in a wide range of hit plays. These include My Cousin Rachel, Stepping Out, Bell Book, Candle and Ruth Rendell’s dark drama House of Stairs. Films and plays include the classic farces Carry on Doctor and Follow That Camel. Anita is currently recording two new albums. She is also filming the title role in the pilot of Verity Lake, a Victorian detective series.


2009 John Gordon Sinclair

The festival patron for 2009 was the Scottish actor and local resident John Gordon Sinclair. John rose to fame playing Gregory in the much loved film Gregory’s Girl. Since then he has worked extensively in films, television, radio and theatre, where he won an Olivier best actor award for his role in She Loves Me. More recently he starred in the Alan Ayckbourn play Absurd Person Singular in London.  John took part in a live interview at the Arts Alive 2009 Closing Party at Leatherhead Theatre.


2008 John Bird

The festival patron for 2008 was the English satirist, actor, comedian and local resident John Bird. John needs little introduction as he has been one-third of the television satire team Bremner, Bird and Fortune for the best part of the last decade. Other television appearances include Not So Much a Programme More a Way of Life, Yes Prime Minister and One Foot in the Grave. As a Mole Valley resident John has seen the Arts Alive Festival grow and develop into the success it is now.


2007 Louis de Bernières

Louis de Bernières is best known as the author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.  As the 2007 patron, Louis entertained Arts Alive audiences with a talk about his acclaimed novel, Birds Without Wings; and performed a programme of music and poetry.

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