Mercat Launch Lifetime Friendship of Talbot House

by Kat Brogan

MTI has a long-standing connection with Talbot House on projects such as the 2014 Christmas Truce and 2018 King’s Shilling tours.
Every guest on an MTI tour begins their journey in Flanders at the Pool of Peace, following the footsteps of 'TH' Padre Tubby Clayton and continuing the message of Talbot House - all are welcome, equally, in peace.

Most recently in November 2022 our 'TH' friends hosted our team on our first trip back after the pandemic.

LAUNCHING 2024 - Annual MTI Donation to Talbot House:

  • MTI pledges to donate £50 per school travelling on the MTI Battlefield Experience, annually

  • Pledge paid from MTI profits at no cost to students, families or schools

  • This will be a guaranteed minimum of £1000 per year, in perpetuity

  • The donation will be used to preserve TH artefacts in order to bring history alive through storytelling

Kat Brogan, Managing Director of MTI explains:
‘Mercat Tours International cherishes our friendship with Talbot House. We both believe in the power of stories from the Great War to make connections and move minds, giving a new understanding and gratitude for our lives and world today.  

For over three decades every guest travelling on an MTI Battlefield Experience has begun their journey at the Pool of Peace, one of the Messines mines blown in June 1917. This impressive war relic was purchased on the initiative of TH Padre Tubby Clayton so that future generations would have a powerful view of the story, a message that resonates with MTI. Today it is a compelling scene of beauty and message of peace, from war.

In the spirit of the Pals, of Peace and our shared belief that history needs ‘a damn good telling’ we’re delighted to make this annual pledge to Talbot House.  Our donations will help preserve this remarkable house, its artefacts and stories for ‘every man’ who visits now and in perpetuity.

The growth and impact of MTI & TH are now connected directly through this pledge.  We share our stories and success together.

Every MTI guide will reveal to every MTI Pal that they now have a unique and personal connection to TH, forever.’

Simon Louagie, Manager of Talbot House:

'Thank you very much for supporting Talbot House. The ‘MTI Lifetime Friendship of Talbot House’ partnership between Mercat Tours and Talbot House is the coming together of two organisations with a shared goals and values. Together, we assist visitors to discover the final resting places of their loved ones.

The journey of the MTI Pals commences at the Pool of Peace. This mine crater from the Battle of Messines was described by Revd. Tubby Clayton as a “veritable Pool of Peace” on his own pilgrimage in the early 1920’s. He raised funds to purchase the Peace Pool so it would be preserved for posterity so that future generations of Pals could come and visit. Whilst Talbot House is today the custodian of the Pool of Peace, it is Mercat Tours International who carry out Tubby’s message by taking today’s Pals to the important site.

It is passing on stories like these that again unites us both. The educational role of the storytellers in this is essential.

Set up as a charity, Talbot House can only exist thanks to the support we get from our many volunteers and financial backers. We refer to them as our Talbotousians, the successors of the over half a million soldiers who walked through the doors during the Great War. We are proud to call you one of them.

Hence it goes without saying that this partnership is indeed inspiring and applauded by all here at the House. We look forward to continuing our warm relationship with Kat and the team and look forward to future endeavors.

The donation for 2024 will be used in the upkeep of the Talbot House Chapel. The Upper Room, found on the third floor of the House, suffered badly from incoming water and storms this winter. Lots of essential works on the roof were carried out in the winter of 2023. Later this year we hope to repaint the interior with the help of some volunteers.

The restoration of one item in particular we would like to dedicate to Mercat Tours: the Memorial Chair to L Cpl. Archie Forrest. Archie embodied the true spirit of a Talbotousian. We look forward to share his story with you. The chair was restored very recently and will be used again in future confirmations in the Upper Room.'

Kat Brogan, MTI Guide & MD, with Simon Lougie, Manager of Talbot House at Pool of Peace. Image credit Eric Compernolle

What our customers think

"A very interesting and moving experience leaving us all with much to think about and remember."

The variety of the visits and the personal stories made it even more memorable. the supporting materials of appropriate videos, songs and information booklets made us realise that much thought and preparation and enthusiasm had gone into the planning and execution of our Battlefields experience. Thank you very much.

Mrs Shiela Allan, The WWI Battlefield Experience,

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