Chairman’s Report 2017

Presented to the Annual General Meeting, March 2017

At the end of my first year as Chairman of the Society, I’d first like to record my thanks to our members for inviting me to take on the role, and to my predecessor, Chris Pendred, whose successful stewardship of its affairs over the previous three years has made my task so much easier.

It has been a great privilege and a pleasure to take the chair for another stimulating season of talks on a wide range of topics. During the 2016-17 season we had four new guest speakers and two members of the society, Terry Philpot and Bob Evans, also given main presentations.

The number of members and the attendance at meetings, however, fell slightly over the year following an increase in the subscription fee, but as a result of a rise in the number of visitors we recorded a financial surplus. I’d also like to record my appreciation of the efforts of all those people who make these meetings possible. Thanks go first to the Minister and Elders of the United Reformed Church for continuing to allow us to meet in the church and to use their audio-visual system, which these days is so much an essential part of a successful presentation.

Further thanks go to Professor Patrick Alderton, for taking on the presidency of the society.

We all owe a great debt of gratitude to the members of our committee, who ensure that its affairs are smoothly and efficiently run and do so many tasks behind the scenes to organise, promote and advance the interests of the society throughout the year. There have been a number of changes in the last twelve months.

We have lost the services of two loyal and long-standing committee members. Our former secretary, Kath McCarthy, moved away, and as her successor we have been pleased to welcome Jill Shillito. Our Programme Secretary, Roy Eaton, whose organised our schedule of meetings for 2016-17 also stood down and we were deeply saddened in July 2017 to hear of his death. A tribute to him appears elsewhere in this newsletter.

Anna Burrage remains our Hon. Treasurer, and we’re grateful to her for all her hard work in maintaining the society’s accounts and managing subscriptions. Trevor Burrage is active in so many ways, editing and distributing the newsletter, producing and putting up promotional posters in Oxted and Limpsfield, and this year organising the summer outing. This was another highly successful trip, with a full coach party going to East Sussex to visit Charleston Farmhouse, famous for its association with the Bloomsbury Group, and Firle Place, the home of the Gage family. Thanks go too, to our Publicity Officer, Stuart Paterson, who submits reports of our talks to the local press, which also appear on our website, and to John Fogg-Elliott who continues as the Equipment Officer and works with Chris Bruce-Jones to see that the audio-visual systems are working.

Our immediate past chairman, Chris Pendred, has remained on the committee and manages the society’s web site, for which he has arranged a new host company. Chris has also done a huge amount to raise the profile of the society locally by helping set up an exhibition of early twentieth-century prints by a local architect, Arthur Keen, which took in the Millennium Hall at St. Peter’s Church, Limpsfield, in April 2017, in conjunction with the Limpsfield Fine Arts Society. Chris has also been busy arranging the digitisation of a nineteenth century ordnance survey map of Limpsfield and other documents.

We are also very pleased to announce that Peter Jarvis has recently agreed to become our Vice Chairman.

We now look forward to another full and varied series of talks over the 2017-2018 season, which covers topics from the Anglo-Saxon period the Second World War, ranging from London and Surrey to the Crimea and India. Full details appear in this newsletter.

Peter Shipley