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Out of court

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Last Saturday night was the occasion for a grand dinner at the Athanaeum Hotel, London, hosted by Bude architect Jonathan Ball, his wife Victoria, plus daughters Jemima and Morwenna.

The dinner was to celebrate the successful conclusion of Jonathan's legal action over the Eden Project; in a nutshell, the action concerned intellectual property rights and the (happily failed) attempt to appropriate them by the rather creepy people who have made a fortune out of the development. Bude's most famous son embarked on a hazardous piece of litigation that put at risk everything he and his family owned, and which was fought tooth and nail by a well-funded opponent and slick City lawyers 'who treated us as though we were dirt off the heel of their shoes', as Jonathan put it. Friends and supporters of the family through the Dickensian action, which included a whole month in the High Court, were out in force at the dinner. No less than seven former RIBA presidents were there: Frank Duffy, Max Hutchinson, Paul Hyett, Bryan Jefferson, Owen Luder, Michael Manser and Larry Rolland. Former Lloyd's boss Ian Hay Davison chaired the dinner, which included a spirited speech from Victoria and a witty one from Alan Donald, former amabassador to Beijing.

All enjoyed a veritable Cornish feast, including a rather good white wine from Bodmin, the intriguingly named Camel Valley Bacchus. Among younger guests I spotted, William Murray, part of the Wordsearch empire, helpfully finished the port that had proved too much for diners on a diet.

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