Rewriting the book on agency editorial services

The Royal Alfred Seafarers' Society Anniversary Book, Home From Sea

The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society Anniversary Book, Home From Sea

It’s not every day you get to shake hands with a senior member of the Royal Family, but Louise, Ellie and I got to do just that, when we met HRH The Princess Royal at a client event.

This was a very proud moment for all at Acceleris, for a number of reasons:

1)      Princess Anne is one of the busiest royals, with a wide range of public roles. She supports or is Patron of 327 organisations (only The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales represent more). In 2014, she carried out nearly 530 engagements in the UK and overseas. She had four appointments that day alone, and reportedly shakes 300 hands a week – that’s 15,600 a year!

2)      She is Patron of maritime charity The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, a long-standing Acceleris client, which this year celebrated its 150th anniversary of caring for former seafarers and their dependants. The Princess attended the anniversary event in July as the charity’s VIP guest and to present it with a new Royal Charter.

3)      She was the first to receive a copy of the Society’s 150th anniversary book Home From Sea – the first book to be produced by Acceleris!

Louise meets HRH

Acceleris’ Managing Director, Louise Vaughan, meets Princess Anne

I was also lucky enough to meet HRH!

I was also lucky enough to meet HRH!

Home From Sea charts the Royal Alfred’s history from its foundation as “a hospital for worn-out and disabled merchant seamen” in 1865, to the specialist care home and housing in Surrey that it is today. The brief was specific – to produce an engaging and informative record of the organisation that should be “picture heavy, wording light and suitable for a coffee table”.

Writers Inc., Acceleris’ editorial project division, really showed its mettle during what was a rewarding but often challenging task.

Strong client relationships really bolster successful projects. As this was to be a record of its first 150 years, the Royal Alfred understandably placed a lot of emphasis on getting this project right and set up a special ‘book committee’ of trustees and staff to work with us, each with their own valuable skill sets and insight into the Society.

Then: an early meeting with the book committee

Then: an early meeting with the book committee

Now: the book committee with the finished article!

Now: the book committee with the finished article!

After initial group meetings, the production process took 18 months. Efficient management was vital, covering:

  • Editorial services – working alongside co-author John Allan, a maritime historian, we wrote several chapters and edited and proofread the entire book.
  • Graphic design – it was a pleasure to partner with Rebus Design on the publication’s design work. They are an efficient, professional and creative team who had worked with us on Royal Alfred previously on its Annual Report and advertising.
  • Print – local suppliers Harrogate Printing did a sterling job, offering advice and support at every turn and producing a top-class product, complete with hardback, gold leaf and immaculate finishing throughout.
  • Research – in addition to our own insight and information built up over seven years of working with the charity, we delved into the charity’s archive, a veritable treasure trove of old photographs, poetry, cartoons, documents, press cuttings and personal journals and recollections from key personnel going back decades.

On 26 May, our book went to print, and on 3 July, the first copy was placed into the hands of Princess Anne.

Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt MBE, Chief Executive of the Society, said: “I am immensely pleased and proud of the book, which met and surpassed our expectations. Since the launch event we have had some very good feedback from residents, relatives, staff, partner organisations and other external sources. No one could fail to like it and be impressed. We have a book of which we can be justifiably proud and a fitting tribute to the Royal Alfred.”

Hear more from Brian here:

Now we look to the future and new similar opportunities. As technology evolves and shapes the way we consume content, it is heartening to confirm that the print publication still has its place and is often the most appropriate communications tool for some organisations and their audiences. The Royal Alfred now has an attractive, visual record of its first 150 years and, with this client’s support, we look forward to building on this new specialism for the agency.

For more information on this or other projects, please contact Charley Oakes on 0845 4567251 or email charleyo@acceleris-mc.com 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *