All change at the top

Stone Festival Chairman Grahame Neagus

At the recent Stone Festival AGM there was a change of the guard at the top of the Committee with the long-standing Chairman Neil Gater standing down and being replaced by the Vice Chair for the last two years and organiser of the annual Soapbox Derby, Grahame Neagus, who takes responsibility with immediate effect.

Grahame told the Gazette:

“I am thrilled and delighted to be elected into the Chair of Stone Festival, a group which I have been associated with for a number of years now and one that is steeped in history in bringing fun, laughter and sheer delight to the population of Stone and surrounding villages as well as raising vital funds for local charities.

“Neil has done an amazing job over recent times and I would like to thank him and the other committee members like Kate Joyce, who are also stepping down from frontline duties, for all of their tireless hard work and commitment but who will still  be involved in the day to day helping of festival.

“Our main sponsors are Stone & Eccleshall Gazette and Walton Stores, along with all of the other local businesses and individuals who support us, no matte­­r how large or small, a huge thank-you to every single one of you for without your unwavering support, festival would be such a small affair each year.

“2019 is a huge landmark for the Stone Festival as we celebrate our 50th anniversary, having been conceived in 1969. Yes, times have changed hugely in these last 50 years and in order to be both still credible and an attraction, we too have changed to meet the needs of you, our local population.

“Putting on what we do in June each year, plus other additional events like Christmas concerts, for example, is no easy task and without our small army of dedicated volunteers, both on the committee and those other friends who give their valuable time  for nothing each year, your festival would be nowhere near the spectacle we always try and make it, but we are always in need of more help so if you fancy being part of the fun in 2019 and beyond, then please go to the festival website ( and let us know you would like to come on board.

“2019 will be a landmark festival for us all and we hope you will join us on this journey of celebration and fun – it’s going to be wonderful for all.”