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EPOC Makers

EPOC would not be here today doing the work it does were it not for the EPOC Makers – an heroic and modest assembly of individuals and organisations who, over the years, have donated money, support, guidance and time. There are probably nearly half a million children who have cause to be grateful for their unselfish generosity and kindness. Time temporarily prevents us from acknowledging everyone who has helped over the years - but we are going to try! Eventually we would like to acknowledge all the trusts, foundations, funding bodies, our Board members, the Friends - but for the moment here are just a few of the many individuals who we would like to thank an nominate as EPOC makers:

Marchioness of Cholmondeley
Patron of EPOC

Since the company first started in 1993 Lavinia, Marchioness of Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley) has been the company’s patron. EPOC tours have often included a visit to Cholmondeley Castle (Malpas, Cheshire) with performances in the chapel of St. Nicholas as guests of Lady Cholmondeley and her late husband George Hugh Cholmondeley, 6th Marquess of Cholmondeley.

The Cholmondeleys of Cholmondeley, near Malpas in rolling Cheshire countryside, came to Cheshire with the Norman Conquest and descended, on the male side, from the Norman Marcher Barons of Malpas and, on the female side, from the half-sister of William the Conqueror himself.

Originally holding their estates in return for defensive services on the Welsh border, the Cholmondeleys were always prominent in the military affairs of the County. Hugh Cholmondeley was rewarded with a peerage as Baron of Nantwich in 1689 and was given the Earldom of Cholmondeley in 1706. He re-built the half-timbered Elizabethan mansion by the Chapel and laid out magnificent formal gardens around 1700. The 4th Earl’s marriage to Lady Georgiana Charlotte Bertie in 1791 had brought the hereditary office of Lord Great Chamberlain of England to future generations of the family and he was created 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley in 1816. He moved the family seat to the more elevated and picturesque site when he built the current Castle between 1801 and 1804 when it became the first of Cheshire's picturesque Gothic revival castles.

The Marchioness of Cholmondeley is a great gardener and the truly splendid gardens of Cholmondeley Castle are open from the beginning of April to the end of September every year.


Darren Fox
(1967-2008)

Darren, who was EPOC’s ‘house’ tenor between 1993-2008, died tragically in December 2008 from a heart attack.

On top of all his obvious skills as a performer and singer, Darren’s laughter, enthusiasm for music, his ease with children, his love of food and life made him a popular and now irreplaceable and much missed member of the company.

His operatic rôles for EPOC included: Tamino The Magic Flute: Conte Almaviva Barber of Seville; Rodolfo La Bohème; Ramiro La Cenerentola and Don José Carmen.

He was instrumental in creating the house performance style in EPOC’s interactive presentations when he created the role of Ravanelli in Opera Hotpot when it was first devised at ENO. He went on to sing in literally hundreds of schools to thousands of children and was always a hit. At one school they wanted to create a website in his honour just so they could keep in touch with him on a more regular basis.

A memorial service was held for him at the ROH Linbury. His time with EPOC was well represented and there were many friends and staff present. His parents have left Darren’s CD collection to Music Platform. Part of the money raised from the memorial will go towards creating a listening post to enable children at Pooles Park to listen to Darren’s CD’s and a range of other music.

To see Darren’s 2001 choice of Desert Island Discs click the image below:


Nicholas Prettejohn
Ex Chair of Governing Body

Nick Prettejohn joined the board of EPOC in 1995 and shortly after took over as Chair of Trustees. When he joined EPOC it was still known as Camberwell Pocket Opera. Over the 16 years that Nick was a director and trustee of EPOC it went through two more name changes and a merger with another company. Nick has been instrumental in helping establish EPOC as the country’s foremost children’s opera company, leading it with passion and patience.

His interest for music, and opera in particular, has led him, during his career to take on ba variety of responsibilities with EPOC, Opera North, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and most recently with the Britten Pears Foundation.

He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford and was president of the Oxford Union Society. He joined the 300-year-old Lloyd's of London insurance market in 1995 as Head of Strategy and played a key role in the "reconstruction and renewal" restructuring process that saved Lloyd's from liquidation after £14 billion of losses sustained between 1988 and 1992. He was promoted to Chief Executive in July 1999. In 2004, he was made an honorary fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute and was appointed a member of the Financial Services Practitioner Panel, of which he is now chairman. In 2005 he left Lloyds to become Chief Executive of Prudential Assurance UK and Europe where he won plaudits in the City for turning around performance at the Prudential’s UK operations.

Married in 1997 with two daughters, Nick’s interests also include several sports (particularly golf and horse racing).

To see Nick’s choice of Desert Island Discs click the image below:


David Andrews

David and the company he founded in 1999, Xchanging, have been great supporters of EPOC.

For most of his career David has specialized in IT and outsourcing. He has worked in Africa, the UK, the USA, France, Germany, Scandinavia and Australia. Previously, he was Partner at Andersen Consulting (Accenture) for 14 years, a Board member of Andersen Worldwide and a Board member of Deutsche Börse, chairing their technology committee for five years. David is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountants, has an MA from Sheffield University and is a William Pitt Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

As well as sponsoring EPOC, Xchanging has been the title sponsor of the historic, annual boat race between the Oxford and Cambridge universities since 2005. The boat race is now officially known as the ‘Xchanging Boat Race’.


Graham White
EPOC Trustee 1996-2010

Graham has been a great supporter and inspiration to EPOC over the years. It was his sponsorship that enabled EPOC’s first British staged performances of Haydn’s L’isola disabitata.

Graham serves as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Argenta Private Capital Ltd. He has been a Reinsurance Broker, Company Secretary and members' and managing agent of Lloyd's market since 1968. He has been Deputy Chairman of Council of Lloyds of London since February 2007. He serves as Deputy of Argenta Syndicate Management Ltd. He serves as a Director at Argenta Holdings Plc. Mr. White has an MBA from Cranfield and a Tottenham Hotspur season ticket.