Dairy farmer Michael Eavis is best known as the founder of Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, which takes place on his farm in Pilton, Somerset. The world-famous festival began after a casual visit to the Bath Blues festival in the late 1960s: Michael decided to have a go himself in 1970.
Glastonbury Festival did not make a profit for several years, but when it did Michael began to look for good causes to support, both locally and internationally. Today each festival aims to raise £2 million in aid of Greenpeace, Oxfam and WaterAid, as well as hundreds of local causes.
"I'm delighted to support Chew Valley's arts centre project," says Michael. "Rural areas deserve to share the energy and creativity generated by the performing arts."
In-between raising four children Sarah opened Holt Farm Gardens in Blagdon under the National Gardens Scheme. It's now known as Yeo Valley Organic Garden and is part of Yeo Valley’s Venues.
Sarah now works full time alongside her husband Tim Mead for Yeo Valley and as part of their marketing strategy is responsible for creative input at Yeo Valley HQ and the Organic Gardens.
Sarah spent three years at dance school in London (She formed a dance troupe with Liz Hurley: they toured the capital and were regularly pelted with food.) She is involved with a range of charity projects including the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, raising money for Horatio’s Garden.
Of the Chew Valley Performing Arts Centre, she says: “I’m chuffed to bits to be part of this fantastic project, which will enable everyone to be more involved in the artistic life of the valley.”
She doesn’t get much time to spend in the garden these days, but she may be found in the herbaceous border with her pug Mabel, or throwing some shapes at any festival she can manage to get tickets to.
A local NHS doctor, broadcaster, Private Eye journalist, writer and comedian, Phil Hammond has lived in the Chew Valley for over 20 years, and loves it.
Phil has done four UK comedy tours and shows at the Edinburgh Fringe spanning 26 years. He has won a Writers' Guild Award for his Radio 4 comedies and has written five books, most recently Staying Alive - How to Get the Best from the NHS. Phil writes regularly for the Mendip Times and is a presenter on BBC Radio Bristol on Saturday mornings.
"The Chew Valley is a wonderful place to live," Phil says, "but an arts centre would make it perfect. Art is great for education, health and happiness."