Judith Feather, Liverpool City Council’s events boss, is retiring after more than 38 years of service.
An incredibly influential figure on the Liverpool event and maritime scene, and credited for being one of the key players in repositioning the city as a major visitor destination, Judith is taking a well-earned departure from the hectic events programme she has spearheaded since 1991.
Her city council career began in August 1975 in the library service, and from there she worked in the cemeteries and crematoria team before taking up a post with sport and recreation.
It was in this team that Judith developed her flair for staging big events – from organising snooker tournaments in St George’s Hall to major televised activities such as the Tour of Britain and indoor High Jump at Wavertree Athletics Centre. She also managed the city council’s then funfair and circus programme, and remembers clearly the sight of camels tethered in Newsham Park and hearing lions roar in Sefton Park.
Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008 saw Judith’s strong maritime reputation cemented as she headed up the team which saw more than a million people flock to the waterfront to witness one of the largest fleet of Tall Ships assembled on British waters. And, fulfilling her love of all things maritime, in 2011, she oversaw the return of the hugely popular River Festival which hadn’t been part of the activities programme for six years.
Following 2008, Judith’s role evolved and she also became responsible for the Liverpool Cruise Terminal, the Film Office and the arts and participation programme which is responsible for awarding funding to 42 cultural organisations.
Judith said: “I can honestly say the past 38 years and six months have been truly amazing – I’ve worked for the best, with the best, in the best city in the world.
“There have been so many highlights – from leading the team thorough 2008 right through to contributing to the events which make this city stand head and shoulders above everyone else. The projections celebrating the centenary of the Liver Building, the annual River Festival, the Pageant of Power in 2010, Sea Odyssey and the re-opening of Central Library are just a handful of the hundreds of projects I’ve been lucky enough to have worked on.
“It was a real challenge post 2008 to maintain the momentum and people’s passion for culture, but it’s a challenge Liverpool has risen to.
“I’m positive Liverpool will continue to steal the limelight when it comes to first class events, particularly as the responsibility will lie with the outstanding culture team I’ve had the pleasure of working with for so many years.
“With the giants returning this summer and the three Cunard Queens in May 2015 I’m looking forward to watching and enjoying the goings-on without having any responsibility for placement of barriers, stewards, toilets, concessions etc – perfect!”
Liverpool City Council’s assistant mayor and cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Judith is a well-known figure in the city and it’s a sad moment for many, as for years she has been at the heart of every city council event.
“She is the font of all knowledge when it comes to staging activities – large and small – in the city, and can be credited for being part of the team who have secured the city’s unparalleled reputation when it comes to events.
“We are hugely proud of Judith’s achievements – she exemplifies all the best qualities of someone who has dedicated so many years to public service.
“We wish Judith well in her retirement and we look forward to impressing her as a spectator at our future events!”
Judith’s And Finally…:
Who’s your favourite royal you’ve met during your time at the city council?
The Uncle (the diver)
Top 3 highlights/achievements:
The success of the 2005 European Cup Trophy parade which attracted a million people. It was hectic from the moment LFC won until the moment the players were off the coach and home.
Standing on a pier in New York at 5am waiting for the Liverpool Clipper and her crew to arrive safely.