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At the end of March, ACE were delighted to host around 30 of our Tour Directors and Tour Managers for a two day gathering in Cambridge and at Stapleford Granary, the home of ACE Cultural Tours. These gatherings are a wonderful opportunity to discuss new and exciting ideas for the future, and to get the ACE ‘family’ together to thank everyone for their hard work.




Tom Abbott chats to Julia Griffin and ACE Product Manager Jane Horgan


We began with a celebratory dinner at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where everyone enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new connections amidst the deep red and mahogany surroundings of the Old Library. Stories were shared, and a toast was raised to several long-standing ACE Tour Directors present who will be retiring in the next year - John Bryden, Christopher Wellington, Evelyn Silber and Rupert Dickens. 



Dinner in the Old Library at Emmanuel College


After a rest to sleep off the good food, the next day saw everyone gathering at Stapleford Granary. For many of our Tour Directors, this was the first time they had visited the Granary in a number of years, and many were pleased to see how the site has developed since it has grown from a collection of converted farm buildings into a thriving arts centre.


TD_gathering_3_coffee_foyerMorning coffee at Stapleford Granary


We enjoyed a welcome from Paul Brooke Barnes, the son of Philip Barnes who founded the Association for Cultural Exchange in 1958, and presentations from members of the senior team at ACE and Stapleford Granary. 



Tour Directors gathered for presentations


Following the talks came the highlight of the day for many - a privileged piano recital by Tour Director Emilie Capulet, who performed a beautiful ‘Escapade Française’ featuring pieces by Debussy, Ravel, and Tomasi. 



Emilie Capulet


After a break for lunch, the day finished with round table discussions, where the Tour Directors and ACE team members had the opportunity to discuss all aspects of our cultural tour programme, both present and future. 



Round table discussion with the ACE Operations team


We would like to thank all our Tour Directors, including those who were unable to attend this year’s gathering, for their continued work to share their passion and knowledge with our groups. We hope you enjoy travelling with them on an ACE tour in the very near future.





Christopher Bourne and Rupert Dickens


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Harriet Allen; Peter Exley; John Bryden; Diana Ward                                                                                                                        John Bryden talking to Suzanne Fagence Cooper; Alex Koller


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A group of ACE Art Historians                                                                                                                                                                     Tour Managers Sarah Kelk and Michaela Rowland-Hall


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Paul Brooke Barnes, ACE Managing Director                                                                                                                                      Mike King and Nicholas Wearne


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Richard Wigmore and Michael Downes                                                                                                                                   Harriet Allen, Peter Exley, and Diana Ward; Richard Wigmore, Michael Downes and Sarah Robertson; Paul Jackson


Photos taken by George Wybrew

Stapleford Granary, Bury Road, Stapleford, Cambridge, CB22 5BP
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