A precious family celebration in Morocco

Growing up, Sam and I were always surrounded by a very close knit, large, extended family. Our many, many cousins felt more like siblings and our wonderful aunties (from both sides of the family) were constantly in and out of each other’s houses.

I have wonderful memories of mum, and her sisters Rose and Dorothy, catching up at least once a week at ours, for a good old Glaswegian natter and a glass of wine. Dad’s sisters Vanessa and Lindy, with their broods (9 kids in total), joined us every year, with Grandad Ted and Granny Eve, for fun family holidays where us kids ran riot. 

The Branson family at Strive Challenge 2018

As with many families, as the kids get older and spread their wings, our time together become ever more precious.

Last weekend was one of those moments as we all came together to celebrate Auntie Vanessa’s 60th Birthday. 

With the most wonderful smile and the warmest heart, Vanessa's love of art and support of creative talent from all over the world is an inspiration to us all.

Eve Branson, Vanessa, Leila Alaoui

Her passion and expertise of the international art scene beyond the western world led her to open her own gallery in 1986 where African art was featured for the first time in the city. She has since co-founded Morocco’s first arts festival Marrakech Biennale and runs an art retreat on a remote Scottish Island.

Auntie Vanessa has never shied away from bringing a unique and culturally diverse range of artists to the forefront of the global art scene. Many she displays proudly in the beautiful Riad she converted in Morocco - El Fenn - where we are lucky enough to be celebrating her birthday! She also hosts an artist retreat on the strikingly beautiful island of Eilean Shona in Scotland.

I wish I had even an ounce of Vanessa’s aristic knowledge. Our entire family loves to hear about the artists she discovers on her travels and we all share her passion for supporting creative talent.

Vanessa ad Richard Branson as children

Vanessa Branson: a ferocious reader (waking at 6:30 am sharp to devour the newspapers every morning); a terrific debater on almost any topic and the best hug-giver in the world!

Happy, happy birthday Vanessa! It's amazing to celebrate with you and all of the family.

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