The background story

west hall

WEST HALL BELFORD is a private family-owned castellated house that was surrounded by a moat;—documented in the 15th century as Castrum de Belford ©Mark Percy

The Lichfield Trust was established in 1957 to address exclusively the global issues of world hunger.

Over more than fifty years the challenges have intensified. With exponential growth of world populations and the attendant diminishing resources, simply conceptualising the magnitude of the situation has become problematic.

Although the former questions and obstacles have multiplied; it is increasingly clearer to-day that the approach to feeding the starving and hungry must be multilateral and global in scope.

Our gentleman visionary

Pictured below (left) is the pioneer gentleman aviator and experimental automobile engineer, Ronald Lough, of Earl’s Hall & Brampton Hall at Great Bentley in East Anglia, UK.

Brampton Hall

His family had settled in the month of June, 1309 at High Whittle, with its twenty-mile panoramic view of what was the de facto heartland of the ancient Kingdom of Northumbria.

The Founder, the Hon. RONALD LOUGH, c. 1933

the founder Ronald Lough c.1933

The kingdom devolved partly into the present county of Northumberland, which is the northernmost in England. High and Low Whittle are still occupied by the family, and as the old adage goes, “The heart is strong.”

In the early 19th century his paternal grandfather, William Lough, Bt., inherited the fine Manor Hall that had been erected on the high ground there some two centuries before.

This wealthy landowner was noted for his philanthropic endeavours. He rebuilt St. James Church at Shilbottle, where the family had been interred from the earliest times and this tradition continues.

St James, Shilbottle

Recent celebrations commemorated the 700-year anniversary of the Lough residency at Whittle.

Ronald Lough drove to the south of England with his father, George Lough, after coal had been discovered at Hart-Law, their home property, which comprised rich and extensive lands.

His father had gifts of a high order in the art of husbandry and stewardship of lands. Also, he was notable for two international sports. First, he was an unequaled marksman who not only created and crafted his own ordnance but also designed his firearms. He shot equally well from both shoulders, and is never known to have missed his target. He remained  world champion throughout his lifetime. Second, he successfully bred race horses, and more and more was active on the famed Continental tracks: at the renowned Jockey-Club de Paris and several courses in Belgium and on the circuits in the environs of Monte Carlo.

The move south

Thus, it was that they motored down to the village of Great Bentley, which has the largest common in the British Isles, in the county of Essex. That was in 1921. It was a very hot summer that year, as many of the younger generation later recalled as their first real sunburn experience.

But Earl’s Hall, shining in the creamy-white light, displayed its high observational turrets from which were viewed the meticulously manicured, landscaped gardens with advantage. They entered now the near half-mile driveway, which was the avenue to the entrance of the Hall — a vista overseen by tall and stalwart sentinels, precisely posted, planted in parallel alignment. These deep-green, beautiful and majestic Poplars were the guardians ‘against infection and the hand of war’. There was present another tree on the property, a relatively small one. It was thought a talisman of good fortune. This noble fig tree —  situated to the rear of the main residence, near the scullery — still grows, unlike the Poplars. Legend had it that it was planted there by the early Romans, when they visited, and decided to remain in BRITANNIA for four hundred years, establishing nearby the most ancient town of Colchester (thought the oldest in Britain) as the capital of the island home.

Indeed, included also as a part of this rich estate was an extremely rare prototype aeroplane landing-strip. This had been designed and built by the far-sighted Lord, and former owner, the Rt. Hon. the Count of Cologne. Naturally, this landing-strip was utilised in the Great War against the early Zeppelin menace.

Earl’s Hall – Buck Jones with Isabella & Dorothea Lough in 1927.

The second world war

It now proved an excellent place to hone those very skills that were used so successfully nearly twenty years after when he collaborated in the formation of what became the illustrious Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force. He was one of the honoured few, with steel’d nerve, a ‘star-gazer’ leading his wing in dark silence of night driving the Nazi horde, with ashes in its mouth, from the face of the earth. Although later his official designation would be Wing Commander Ronald Lough CBE DSO AFC, he never personally spoke of war, neither referred to it nor speculated upon it.

The aftermath and the mission

Witnessing the most terrible suffering of both the world wars of the 20th century, Ronald Lough established the above-named Trust in 1957; thereby ‘squaring the circle’ by keeping faith with his paternal grandfather’s deeds and memory. Ronald Lough’s lifelong concern for starving children, the poor and the dispossessed led him to conceptualise formulate and adhere to the EOS® philosophy nearly three-quarters of a century ago. He coined the phrase “Education on Sustainability”™ at least 50 years before ‘sustainability’ became an over-worked word.

Newton Hall

Newton Hall was built in 1722. Lord Nelson brought items there (1790-1803) from the W. Indies and Naples.

His family continues the work, inspired by his ideas and traditions. He never sought nor accepted any personal gain; neither applause nor recognition. Discrete ‘anonymity’ was an essential ethical imperative for him. That is his legacy. We who are left are therefore doubly blessed by having also the continuing heritage of his humanitarian associations.

Charles Joseph La Trobe, 1st Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria, 1851-1854

Charles Joseph La Trobe, 1st Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria 1851-1854

Members of the La Trobe family were originally Huguenots from France. However, these émigrés had also settled in Northumberland by the end of the 18th century.  One was appointed by Queen Victoria as her first Lieutenant-Governor of the colony of Victoria, now a state of Australia. He founded the city of Melbourne. Indeed the main street and university there are named after him.

Ronald Lough’s mother Jane Ann Lough (née Trobe of Newton Hall, Newton-on-the Moor and Swarland — shown above right) was widely known for a  ‘saintly’ gentleness, for which all language fails.

Her son not only inherited her grace but he encapsulated in his own life her simple gentility. In witness whereof her grandson, even now across this veil of years, hereby solemnly testifies that her maxim, ‘Be kind,’ was palpable in her presence.

From his maternal grandfather, Ronald inherited those refined manners, that gentlemanly comportment, a certain longevity of years, the slim frame, a delightful old-world charm, and with such a smile as golden warm as was his positive outlook by which men grow immortal …

AND therefore, wherever and whither he goeth or hath gone; the sun also shineth or hath shone ….



‘… remembered as the most beautiful moments of the day, Homer speaks her name over and over again … she is EOS, the pre-Olympian … she is the beautiful goddess; she, the daughter of the Sun god Hyperion … she is Aurora, the rosy-fingered Dawn …’


EOS® —“education on sustainability”™

EOS® —“education on sustainability”™