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Lee Prescott retires

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At the end of the 9th Cotswold Film Festival, Lee Prescott who had founded and run it over the years, came to the microphone:
Lee Prescott announcing his retirement."Ladies and Gentlemen, first of all thank you for all coming. This is the 9th year that I have organised and conducted this festival. It is the last year that I shall be doing it, because I decided that enough is enough. Funding is going down. The cost of everything else is disproportionally going up. So since I am getting on a bit .... 29 next year ... I thought, that's it.  Stroud Videomakers also wish to no longer associate themselves with it.

So, all in all the festival is ... no, was ... closing. But we've got somebody to take it over."

[The following day Lee learned that the potential organiser had decided not, after all, to take on the festival.]

"I would like to pay tribute and thank all the people who have worked with me since we kicked it off in the year 2000. Among them: Noel Leeder of Sydney, Australia; Dave Fuller of Vancouver Island, Canada; Peter J. Smith of Cape Town, South Africa; Sheila Balson of Durban, South Africa; a number of people in Europe and even further afield than that. So I would like to record my thanks to them on this occasion.

And a great thank you to Dave Watterson, here, who has run the website for the festival completely free of charge, using all his professional expertise. And also his wife, Jan. I only had to ask something and it was done, like that !"

Lee then presented Dave and Jan with an ornamental clock, as a personal gift from himself, to mark their retirement. He followed this with a present for Mark Lipscomb in thanks for his support over the years.

Portrait of Dave Watterson.Lee was about to leave the stage, when Dave Watterson stopped him.

Dave explained to the audience that as a friend of Lee's he had advanced notice of the decision to retire, but had been asked to keep it quiet. He had, however, told a few people who could not attend the festival this year but would very much want to be present. Dave presented Lee with a DVD full of video messages from them. Edited highlights of the messages were played. (See these on the festival home page.)

Linda Gough, chairman of IAC - the film and video institute, was present in Lee's honour. She came on stage and said:

"In the year 2000 a dream was realised. Lee, with the help of Stroud club, instituted the Cotswolds competition and festival. Since then Lee has worked tirelessly to organise, publicise and find judges for the competition. In doing so he has made many friends and has made contacts all over the world as the reputation of the festival grew.

Presentations to Lee and Hilda Prescott.Film makers need an outlet for their talents and an audience to show their films to. This is precisely what Lee has provided for them. Today has been proof of what is achievable in the amateur world and a good show was seen by all. Those of us who were here this afternoon had another good show as well.

They say that behind every great man is a great woman. And behind Lee, I know there is Hilda. I would like to invite Hilda onto the stage too. Hilda has given Lee support over many years in his work for film makers and film making throughout the world."

Hilda was then presented with an old-fashioned rose bush as a sign of everyone's appreciation. Linda then presented Lee with an engraved glass trophy as "a little reminder of the Cotswold Festival."

The reception line shaking hands.Dave then asked Phil Martin (top winner), Clive Blackmore (festival chairman) and Mark Lipscomb (guest presenter) to escort the platform party to the back of the hall where they formed a greeting line so that departing audience members could shake hands and thank them.

Just before Clive Blackmore wrapped up the evening and wished everyone a safe journey home, Dave echoed the words of a contributor to the video greetings, Heydar Aslanov from Azerbeijan:

"Thank you Lee. We will miss you ... much."

We know many people will want to send words of appreciation to Lee. He prefers to receive emails rather than letters. Please send them to  

An emotional Lee asked people to be patient. There was work to do returning films and judges' comments to entrants, sending trophies to those who could not receive them in person and finalising the business of the festival. He even hoped to get a short holiday break before long.

Every word sent will be read and cherished but it may take some time for him to reply.

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