A Gift to Remember

05th December 2018

We asked some of our friends across the Estate to tell us about their most memorable Christmas present. Perhaps it will inspire you when thinking of what to give your loved ones this Christmas.

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Monty, House Butler to the Duke of Richmond 

It would have to be Christmas 1991 when I was a duty Petty Officer aboard HMS Valiant, a hunter killer submarine. I had been waiting for a draft order to transfer for about 5 months. When the mail arrived on Christmas eve I had to sort it into departments. The last one in the large pile was for me. I could not believe it - this meant that my lovely wife Ann and our family could move back to the south coast and end what had become a nightmare in Scotland. I ran around like a man possessed trying to find a frame that would fit the draft order so I could wrap it in Christmas paper.

My very good friend Pat Patterson had arranged to relieve me of my duties so I could get home in time to watch the kids open their Christmas presents, but the best present for me was the one I had for Ann - the draft order framed and wrapped in Christmas paper. "What is it?" she asked, I explained to her it was my draft to HMS Dolphin in Gosport Hampshire and as a family we would be moving south! Her face was one I hold dear to my heart till this very day. The previous year our two-year old son had been seriously ill and required a big operation in York Hill hospital in Glasgow and we were just glad that he was still with us and getting better. As a family we were all looking forward to returning to England making this the best Christmas present ever.

Chris Woodgate, Chief Executive Officer

Sega Mega Drive Street Fighter game – Champion edition. As a child of the '90s this was the ultimate fighter game. Although the graphics may seem a little basic back then it was so addictive and definitely still the best present ever…


Limited to 99 sets, made to order, you can now own the entire FOS or Revival badge collection

Sam Worthington-Leese, Flying Instructor

It's a tough one, as I don't go in for receiving presents too much at Christmas, I just like to give them. That said, something that I will always remember was what I was given for Christmas 2013. I had just been made redundant from the RAF and was re-adjusting to a new "life" as a flying instructor, while on the side I had bought my first property, a renovation in need of a complete overhaul, from top to bottom, with some help from my mother. That Christmas I received a sledge hammer, in light of the work about to commence. For me, that was great, as it was a tool to begin rebuilding my life, which had been shattered as a result of the redundancy only months earlier. The property was a success, selling it only a year later and making a tidy profit allowing me to continue instructing, which is certainly not the best paid career in the world, to put it kindly!

James Peill, Curator of the Goodwood Collection

I think my all-time favourite has to be the three-wheeler bicycle that my parents gave me. My brother and I came downstairs on Christmas morning and there were these two three-wheeler bicycles covered up in front of the fireplace. We were over the moon with excitement. Each had a little boot in the back and handlebars at the front just like a normal bike. My father used to put them in his trailer and drive us to a ford in the Black Mountains where we would ride backwards and forwards through the water. I remember repainting them ourselves when they began to look a bit tatty after all the use they had.

James Peil

Kevin Crisp, Estate Sommelier

The best Christmas presents I have ever received were a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem 1982 and my bass rod! It is impossible to describe the complexity of flavours of d’Yquem and the pleasure to be had from drinking it – the taste stays on the palate for a prolonged time. And aside from wine, my other passion is fishing so the bass rod has been well used and helped create many happy memories.

John Hearn, Master Butcher

When I was 13 my father gave me a set of butcher’s knives. He said when these wear out you will have learnt a trade – then you can do as you wish – travel the world – have fun – but you’ve always got something to come back to – something that you have learned – a skill. That was certainly the best gift I could ask for and one that probably lead me on the path to where I am today.

Darron Bunn, Group Executive Chef

The Christmas I had off work! It was Christmas 1995 I was working in the 3 Michelin Starred Chez Nico on Park Lane. I had only been a chef in London for a short while but had worked my first two Christmas’s, I had recently moved to work for Nico and his restaurant was shut for two weeks over Christmas and New Year, so I went home and had Christmas dinner cooked by my mother. It felt fantastic to be home with my then girlfriend (now wife) and all of the family. I was so exhausted I slept for almost all of the two weeks! I have been lucky not to have worked every Christmas (like a lot of chefs) as most of the restaurants I have worked in, have closed in a similar fashion to Nico, however, I remember this one in particular as feeling like a really great Christmas present.

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