Chairman’s Notes

What a wonderful year we have had – if we dismiss the weather!

Following the Diamond Jubilee celebrations we had the Olympics and Paralympics in London with the brilliant performances and achievements by the Olympians, enhanced by the magnificent setting, organisation and leadership of the games and all the splendid work of the thousands of volunteers - “the games makers”. Chatting with a volunteer she told me that she, “Felt stupidly proud!”     I assured her that she was entitled to feel very proud and far from stupid. Voluntary work is precious and priceless and again we thank our volunteers for all their time and effort in organising a full and excellent programme of activities, talks and events and our members for their support and participation. Our 30th Anniversary Lunch was thoroughly enjoyed and we were pleased that some long standing members were able to join us. Mary Hepburn, our President, a founder member of our Association, paid tribute to colleagues who helped in various ways to establish it.   She pioneered early programmes of visits and was Chairman 1987 – 1991. A precis of her speech is included in this Newsletter and we pay tribute to her for all the voluntary work she has done and indeed continues to do.

During our Anniversary year it was also the 100th Anniversary of the death of Octavia Hill a founder of the National Trust.   A service was held in Westminster Abbey in October 2012 to dedicate a memorial to her and give thanks for the work of the National Trust. In her early years she saw how poor housing and social conditions were the greatest threats to life. She believed in the “self- enhancing virtues of pure earth, clean air and blue sky” and wanted these accessible for all to enjoy.   She devoted herself to the development of social housing and establishment of the National Trust to make our heritage open to all.  She had the support of John Ruskin who, from his inheritance, helped finance her projects. In November we enjoyed a fascinating talk on “John Ruskin and the Origins of the National Trust”   by Professor Wheeler. I concur with John Ruskin, “There is no wealth but life and the immense power it gives to love, create, admire and enjoy.”  

We have repeated with this Newsletter the Standing Order form for payment of annual membership subscriptions which are now due. There is also a reminder about receiving the Newsletter by email. Nearly 20% of members have opted to receive their newsletter by email already which will enable us to save at least £50 in postage. Both are, of course, optional but it would be helpful to have a response indicating yes or no, please.

Our Organisers have planned another very good programme of visits, talks and events.

Best wishes to you all for the New Year and enjoyment in all our National Trust activities.


Gerald Orbell


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