In September 2020, we received the news of a generous bequest from Bernard Wawman, a skilled amateur violin maker. He had thoughtfully made provision in his will that the contents of his workshop, a comprehensive collection of high quality books, tools and wood, should be donated to the RAB Trust.
Bernard lived to the ripe old age of 95, and in his younger days was extremely active in the violin making world. He was a founder member of the British Violin Making Association, and participated on courses at the London College of Furniture, South Thames College, West Dean College and Cambridge Violin Makers. He made quite a number of instruments, including all necessary sizes of violin for his granddaughter as she grew up, and a cello which he donated to the Benslow Loan Scheme. Renate Fink, who taught him on the West Dean courses, describes him: ‘…one of the sweetest gentlemen I ever met. He had made an impressive amount of instruments both at West Dean and at home, mostly for his grand children, starting with a 1/4 violin.’
One of our trustees, Luke Lindforth-Delaney left his house in Cornwall at the crack
of dawn to arrive in Southampton at most people’s idea of first thing in the morning, and ably helped by Malcolm and family members, loaded his car to the roof and drove on to the next staging post in Hertfordshire. A week or two later, in a lull between Covid lockdowns, RAB Chair Helen Michetschläger picked everything up and brought it back to her workshop in Manchester, where she sorted and listed all the items.
The lists were circulated to students at Merton and West Dean colleges; appropriately as Bernard had taken courses at both institutions. The items were, as is our policy, offered at nominal prices; a double benefit for the students to be able to buy high quality items at well below market rates, and raising money which the RAB Trust will in turn return to students in the form of awards.
The students were delighted to have the offer of these items and everything was snapped up fast.
About 16 parcels were carefully packed and despatched to some very happy students. When they were surveyed afterwards to ask what they would like to see the RAB Trust do that it doesn’t at present, one of the responses was ‘more tool sales’.