John Simpson, Veteran BBC News Correspondent, Announced as Keynote Speaker at Experience Oxfordshire’s Annual Cultural Platform for 2020

Experience Oxfordshire is delighted to announce its Cultural Platform event for 2020. John Simpson CBE, the renowned war zone correspondent, broadcaster & author, and current World Affairs Editor of BBC News, will deliver a keynote speech at Heythrop Park Resort on 11th March 2020. His speech will be followed by a conversation with Richard Venables DL, former High Sheriff of Oxfordshire 2018/19 and board member of Experience Oxfordshire.


Taking place amid the opulent surroundings of Heythrop Park Resort, the conversation will explore John’s experiences gathered during his rich and varied career as a foreign correspondent for the BBC. The event will take place on Wednesday 11th March and will be followed by a networking reception.


Paul Russell, Resort Director for Heythrop Park Resort said:

We are delighted to host the prestigious Cultural Platform this year. Heythrop Park Resort’s story combines a 18th century manor house with a stylish, contemporary estate and we are conscious of our place within the wider story of Oxfordshire – combining the historic with the modern to create an unique sense of place. We very much look forward to hearing John Simpson’s stories of the many places he has reported from, and how they have shaped him.


The Cultural Platform is organised each year by Experience Oxfordshire, the Destination Management Organisation for the county, to bring together Oxfordshire’s cultural community to seek ways of encouraging and enabling the exploration of Oxfordshire’s cultural treasures by local people. Speakers in previous years have included David Cameron, Prime Minister at the time; author Philip Pullman, Arts Correspondent Will Gompertz, political broadcaster Robert Peston and Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust.


Commenting on the forthcoming event, Hayley Beer-Gamage, Chief Executive of Experience Oxfordshire said:

“Our Cultural Platform is part of Experience Oxfordshire’s continuing commitment to promoting culture and pride of place in Oxfordshire. It will be a privilege to share the perspective of a correspondent of the calibre of John Simpson CBE, and we delighted to be holding it at Heythrop Park Resort which will provide a wonderful setting for this year’s event.”


The event is attended by invited guests and partners of Experience Oxfordshire. There are also limited tickets available to the public for this exclusive event, priced at £69 each, which can be booked online via the following link:








For more information contact:


Antonio Ferrara

Phone: 01865 686433

Email: /


Experience Oxfordshire is the official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Oxfordshire. We are the trading arm of the parent charity, the Experience Oxfordshire Charitable Trust, and are a not-for-profit partnership organisation that is committed to the promotion, management and development of Oxfordshire as a great destination to live, work, visit and do business.


John Simpson CBE is a veteran broadcaster and accomplished author, having covered most of the major world news events from the 1960s to the present day. His seminal reports on the big moments of recent history make up an illustrious list to include the Iranian Revolution, the First and Second Gulf Wars, the Fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall, the end of Apartheid in South Africa, the Genocide in Rwanda, the wars in the former Yugoslavia and the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

John has reported from 140 countries and interviewed 200 world leaders and dictators ranging from Michael Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, British Prime Ministers and U.S. Presidents to Fidel Castro, Colonel Gaddafi, Robert Mugabe and Saddam Hussein.


Richard Venables DL, former High Sheriff of Oxfordshire is an Oxford-based businessman who is also a keen participant in Oxfordshire’s economic development, sporting and cultural life. He is a Board Member of Experience Oxfordshire, Active Oxfordshire and Oxfordshire Youth. Chairman of the Oxfordshire business network Reciprocate and until recently a Board Member of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. In 2018/19 he was appointed High Sheriff of Oxfordshire. He is also a member of the Oxford Strategic Partnership.


Sponsors of this year’s event


Heythrop Park Resort
Heythrop Park Resort is a wedding & events venue, golf course, spa, and 4* hotel. Set amid stunning scenery on the edge of the Cotswolds, it’s a place of both age-old decadence and contemporary style – incorporating an 18th century manor house and a stylish Crowne Plaza hotel, creating limitless opportunities for business or pleasure.


VSL & Partners was formed in 2002 and comprises six leading commercial property experts as a niche commercial property firm in the Oxfordshire area. We aim to provide our clients with unrivalled local and regional advice. Our clients benefit from a very personal service mainly dealt with at director level.


Richardsons Chartered Accountants is a team of forty, dedicated to building trustful relationships with our clients, so we grow together. We work within a variety of business sectors including technology, solicitors, estate agents, farms and estates and pension schemes. Richardsons has a strong reputation in dealing with technology start-ups.  Much of our business in this sector consists of spin-outs from Oxford University and the science parks around Oxfordshire, such as Harwell and Culham. We specialise in assisting companies setting up in the UK.  About 10% of our audit clients are subsidiaries of holding companies based in USA, Australia, Germany, France, Denmark and Holland.


If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of this event, please contact for details.