Chairman’s Notes

“There is no wealth but life with all its powers of love, joy, creation and admiration”.

The words of John Ruskin, who supported Octavia Hill in creating The National Trust and financed another of her projects, to provide some better housing for Londoners.

I was reminded of his words when we visited Nuffield Place last year. Lord Nuffield and his wife lived simply in a modest home and he donated the millions he acquired from his car manufacturing business to health and education. I recalled those words again when, during the excellent tour of North Wales, we visited Erddig, where owners had cherished their servants and had portraits of them and poems lauding their attributes. The National Trust added emphasis by requiring visitors to enter via the servants’ quarters. 

We thank all our Tour Leaders for another varied and enjoyable programme of visits during 2014. We are delighted that three members have volunteered to become additional Tour Leaders. They are Anne Bennett, Richard Milsom and Chris Buckingham, who is also continuing with his role as Treasurer. Colin Benham has retired from his role in charge of lecture equipment. We thank him for many years of valuable work supporting speakers and wish him well. We would welcome a volunteer with technical knowledge of projection equipment to succeed Colin. Elizabeth Knight is stepping down as a Tour Leader and resigning her membership of the Association. We thank her for the many years of excellent work for the National Trust. 

Thank you also to members for their valuable contributions: organising publicity, arranging speakers and talks, compiling and distributing the newsletter, organising social and fund raising events, coffees and teas. These all make our flourishing Association, serving well its dual purpose of providing interest and enjoyment for members and contributing to projects furthering the work of the National Trust. We contributed £5,000 to the work on refurbishment at Sandham Memorial Chapel, creating the gardens and information and facilities for visitors. We made donations amounting to £3,000 to projects at other local properties. In addition we have continued to make grants to support school educational visits to National Trust properties. Students’ writings on their visits have been put together in a compendium available for members to peruse at meetings.

I am encouraged to make again the appeal to those who can to pay their membership fees by standing order because we find a higher proportion of the members in other Associations do so. This is simple, saves you postage and the Association the postage in sending out reminders. A form to arrange your standing order is at the end of this newsletter. For those who pay by standing order membership cards will be available for collection at future lecture meetings.

You will see we have an excellent programme of visits, tours, talks and activities for 2015 and I hope you will be able to enjoy many of them.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Gerald Orbell

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