Chairman’s Report 2012-13

This is my third Chairman’s Letter – and my last, as I handed over the reins of office to Chris Pendred at our AGM in March – and I am very happy to be able to report another outstanding year. We enjoyed another fine programme of lectures arranged by Kath McCarthy which, as usual, provided us with a wide variety of topics covered by both visiting speakers and our home-grown talent – Michael Compton and Gerry Walkden as well as Ian Tolley, son of John Tolley. As before, we have been greatly indebted to Kath for her work on the programme and I am delighted that she was elected as Vice-Chairman at the AGM.

Attendance at all meetings continued to be high, averaging 65 – 70 at the lectures. Our membership now stands at 89 and we have seen a 25% increase in income from visitors’ fees. On two occasions, we had over 90 attending with almost standing room only. Again, our thanks are due to the Minister and Elders of the United Reformed Church for enabling us to meet there, also to John Fogg-Elliott, our Equipment Officer, for his quietly efficient work with the sound and visual equipment.

Our President, Keith Louis, continues to be much more than a figurehead, producing the series of eye-catching posters for our meetings – posted in nine different locations in the Oxted and Limpsfield area – and providing wise advice whenever I needed it. Our Publicity Officer, Stuart Paterson, always very promptly submitted press reports but, sadly, these were not always so promptly published in the local newspapers and magazines. Our website continues to expand, masterminded by our in-coming Chairman, Chris Pendred.

The Summer Outing to Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham was another success with a nearly full coach – another thank you to Chris Pendred.

Last year’s Newsletter achieved even higher peaks than before and was a superb finale by Betty & Brian Shearing who, very sadly, decided that they had to retire from the increasingly onerous work of producing not just the Newsletter but also the programme flyers, membership cards and visitors’ receipts. Our sincere thanks to Betty & Brian; we shall continue with their work, but the Committee has decided that, whilst the other items will be produced as before, this and future Newsletters will be in an abridged format published on our website but with printed copies available for those members who do not have internet access.

My three years as Chairman would have been much harder without the support and guidance of our strong Committee and I must express my sincere thanks to those already mentioned and, also, to Moyna Bridge, our Hon Secretary, and Anna Burrage, our Hon Treasurer, for their very important work in keeping the administration of the Society in such good shape.

Finally, on a sad note, 2013 has seen the loss of two members, Stephen Miles, our former President, and Michael Compton who provided us with two excellent lectures in recent years – they will be much missed and their obituaries appear later in this year's Newsletter.

Trevor Burrage