Chairman’s Report 2013-14

I have now completed the first of three years as your Chairman, and am delighted to report another successful year for the society due, in the main, to yet another outstanding programme of speakers arranged by Kath McCarthy.

We heard from a wide variety of visiting speakers as well as three talks by our own members

The Kaiser. The Tsar & Europe’s last Emperors by Peter Shipley.

Following the theme - The Causes of World War One by Brian McEvoy.

An Enclosure of the Waste at Limpsfield by John Tolley.

We continue to be greatly indebted to the Minister and Elders of the United Reformed Church for allowing us to meet here in these congenial surroundings.

Overall attendance has continued to grow, averaging between 70/80 with over 100 at one talk.

Our membership now stands at 94 and we have seen a large increase in income from visitors’. We also had a visit from Oxted School Six form students. Something we are going to encourage.

Our sound and visual technology has perform well, most of the time thanks to John Fogg-Elliott, our Equipment Officer. Our only significant hiccup occurred when a visiting speaker had the microphone on the wrong lapel. Our apologies to those who found it hard to hear. A lesson that we have now learnt.

I am sad to report that, after about 20 years, Moyna Bridge has asked to retire as our Hon Secretary and I must record our sincere thanks to her for her long and valuable service on our Committee. On hearing of Moyna's forthcoming retirement, Kath McCarthy expressed interest in taking over as Hon Secretary instead of continuing a Vice-Chairman, and succeeding me as Chairman in two years' time,

Whilst Kath's proposal was accepted with sadness, I am pleased to report that the Committee will be proposing Dr Peter Shipley as Vice-Chairman with the intention that he will take over as Chairman in 2016.

Publicity is important to the growth of our society and our thanks go to Keith Louis, our President, for preparing and displaying eye-catching posters for our meetings, in the Oxted area, and to Stuart Paterson, our Publicity Officer, for his amazingly quick reports on our talks and press reports for local newspapers and magazines.

Our society’s website for which I am responsible, continues and I am hopping will develop into a more interactive medium later this year.

Our Summer outing to ‘Strawberry Hill House’ was a great success with a nearly full coach and an exceptionally interesting pair of guides. Only enhanced by the delightful catering and surroundings..

Last year’s Newsletter, produced for the first time by our past chairman Trevor Burrage, is deserving of our sincere thanks and also mine for producing some exceptional material for the web site.

My first year as Chairman would have been much harder without the support, guidance and mentoring of our past Chairman, Trevor Burrage and the Committee. I must express my sincere thanks to those already mentioned and, also, to Moyna Bridge, our departing, 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, I am grateful for the help and support of our new Program Secretary, Roy Eaton who has organised a very interesting programme of talks starting in the Autumn.

Christopher Pendred