Chairman’s Notes

We had very good attendance at our Annual General Meeting in March and reviewed another successful year. Our Officers and Committee Members were re-elected to serve a further term, save for the retirement of Edna Wall from the Committee, and we welcomed a new Committee Member, Anne Bennett.  Anne will also continue as a Tour Leader.  Edna is continuing as Tours Organiser but we thank her for her many years of dedicated work for the Committee. Valerie Jackson and Denise Symes wish to retire from arranging and serving refreshments at meetings. We thank them for the years they have provided additional pleasure to our meetings. Volunteers would be very welcome to join Jenny Dunbar in continuing with that good work. We are also looking for volunteers to take over the running of the raffle at our meetings and to help with the lecture equipment.

During the year we fulfilled our dual objective of providing further interesting, educational and entertaining visits, including an extended visit to another part of the country, and raising funds to donate to projects advancing the work of the National Trust.  Having donated the previous year to the Sandham Memorial Chapel refurbishment project, members were pleased to be able to participate and support the reopening ceremony. It was agreed this year to make donations, amounting to £6000 (with the emphasis on educational projects) to Basildon Park, The Vyne and the City Mill, Winchester.

We were fortunate to have the Director-General of the National Trust, Dame Helen Ghosh, attend and address our Annual General Meeting. Members enjoyed and were impressed with her talk, reflecting on its work and pointing the way forward for the National Trust. She is leading a 10 year strategy rising to the big challenges of the 21st century.    It emphasises enabling staff and volunteers to have the right skills, systems and processes to develop and apply solutions in conserving houses, gardens and countryside, and includes mitigating climate change by cutting energy use and securing 50% from renewable sources on our land. New economic models of sustainable land use will be developed with our tenant farmers and shared with others. The Trust will work with other organisations to conserve and renew the nation’s most important landscapes. There will be investment in properties to transform how we tell the story and give visitors rewarding experiences. 

We hope all members will be encouraged by this vision for the future and enjoyment of our activities to retain their membership subscription. Payment by Standing Order helps us tremendously. This avoids increasing postage costs both for individuals and the Association. An application form is included with this Newsletter and   Members paying by Standing Order will have their Membership Cards delivered (if not collected at meetings or on trips).  Those paying by cheque need to enclose a stamped and addressed envelope for their Membership Cards. Prompt payment at the beginning of January helps reduce the time and cost of sending reminders.

I hope you will continue to participate in and enjoy your local association activities.  Your Committee always welcomes suggestions for places to visit or activities to arrange.

Best wishes

Gerald Orbell


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