The Northumbria Club had its first meeting of the 2014/15 session at the National Liberal Club.
Club chairman Ian Graham took the chair and 21 members and guests attended.
The guest of honour and speaker after dinner was Her Honour Judge Deborah Taylor. In introducing her, the chairman noted that her father, Lord Taylor of Gosforth, had prosecuted both Jeremy Thorpe, whose portrait hangs in the Smoking Room of the National Liberal Club, and associates of T Dan Smith, a former chairman of the Northumbria Club.
Judge Taylor’s subject was Music in Prisons but she started by speaking of her own Northumbrian background, having been born and brought up in Newcastle and attending Central High School.
She also spoke of her parents and their own deep loyalty to Tyneside.
It was following the death of her mother over 20 years ago that the Taylor family set up the Irene Taylor Trust in her memory to facilitate the use of music in prisons as a tool of rehabilitation. And two decades on, this important work still continues and flourishes.
It has been found that teaching music to prisoners can generate a feeling of self-worth in people who have often never succeeded at anything in their lives.
It is also a pointer to the better things that can be part of life. And the act of creating music and writing lyrics for that music can teach a powerful tool of self-expression.
Music in Prisons can boast notable success stories, some of which Judge Taylor told us about, including some ex-prisoners who are pursuing a career in the music world.
It was a fascinating and uplifting talk and the evening was much enjoyed by the club members and their guests.
The next meeting of the Northumbria Club will take place on December 10. Full details may be found on our website www.northumbriaclub.com