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Eric Snook and the Vice-Chancellor
Eric Snook and the Vice-Chancellor
Josh Pink debating
Josh Pink debating
Bokani Tshidzu debating
Bokani Tshidzu debating
The ceremony
The ceremony

Press Release - 17 April 2007

Stone lectern's 14-year saga comes to an end on University campus

The 14-year journey of a stone lectern donated to the city by a former Mayor of Bath officially came to an end today (April 17).

Eric Snook donated the lectern to the city at the end of his term as Mayor in 1993, and wanted it to be the centre of a ‘speakers’ corner’ where open debates could take place. But despite the efforts of Bath & North East Somerset Council, no suitable site was found in the city.

But today the four-foot high lectern and a speakers’ corner area was officially opened close to the lake on the University of Bath’s Claverton Down campus.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Glynis Breakwell, said the lectern was an important symbol of the civil right of free speech.

"Here, around this lectern, as everywhere else in Britain, we can speak our minds without fear or favour," she said. "Of course, with civil rights come civic responsibilities and duties, too. And what better example of how to meet these obligations than Mr Eric Snook, formerly Councillor Snook and Mayor Snook.

"Mr Snook thought of the idea of this lectern when he was Mayor, the culmination of many years' work for the city of Bath. His is a well-known name, both a businessman and a contributor to the work of local government. When we come here in future to speak our minds, we shall have before us the name of Eric Snook and this is entirely to the good."

Mr Snook said: "I love this city and when one loves a places and makes a living from a place one has a duty to give something back. This is a democracy and I hope that this speakers' corner is used a lot."

After their speeches four students from the Bath University Debating Society held a debate on the theme of “This house believes fortune favours the brave.” Peter Chapman, Josh Pink, Bokani Tshidzu and Alex Vakil spoke for 20 minutes for and against the motion, with Chris Spencer, the society's chair, keeping time. The event was attended by 30 members of staff and students.

The lectern, weighing over one tonne, is made from Bath stone and is in the style of a Roman pillar, carved by students from Bath Technical College.

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