CHAIRMAN'S REPORT 2021-22
This report was presented to the Annual General Meeting held on 15 March 2022
This report will be my last as Chairman. It has been an eventful three years, dominated of course by Covid but enjoyable nonetheless.
In terms of membership we have done well, being only very slightly down on pre-pandemic levels. So a big thank you to you all for supporting the Committee. With the split between live and Zoom lectures, it has been difficult to gauge the general feeling of members, but it is the case that attendances have been noticeably lower whether the lecture was live or by Zoom. It seems one half of the membership will Zoom but not attend the URC while the reverse is true for the other half. A number of you have paid your subscription but, as far as we can tell, have not heard a lecture in either format.
The lectures themselves have generally gone well and provided a wide spread of topics. Looking to next year, the booking of speakers is progressing, led by Peter Shipley, with Stuart Dennison and myself assisting. Peter will update the programme at the AGM, which it is intended will consist primarily of live meetings with one or two via Zoom.
The Society could not function without the hard work of individual members of the Committee. Anna Burrage has handled membership, speaker's fees and expenses and a host of other matters with her usual quiet efficiency. Fiona Shipley as Secretary has kept me in order with timely reminders of things to do, has excelled at producing agendas and minutes of our meetings and has taken on the role of “meeter and greeter” of our speakers, a role carried out admirably for many years by Janet Brealey, and to whom we are very grateful.
Stuart Patterson has continued to produce for the local media succinct reports of our meetings. John Fogg-Elliott has continued to ensure that speakers technical needs are met. In this connection I would single out Russell Guthrie of the URC for special thanks. He ensures that the URC's equipment is in working order and works closely with speakers to ensure the lecture can proceed without the glitches with which we are all familiar. They both work hard before and after each meeting. While mentioning the URC I would like to thank Alison Stott, their secretary, until her recent retirement and Claire Harris, her successor, for their help and understanding during the pandemic.
As I mentioned last year, my term of office has come between a Past Chairman and a Chairman Elect, both of whom excel in the computer wizardry which I lack. What takes me hours of often frustrating sitting at a computer, they are both able to achieve in a matter of minutes. This is especially true of Peter in the area of communication with members and the Society's website and in Stuart's case, in setting up the Zoom lecture and committee arrangements. To both of them I owe particular thanks.
We did not hold a summer outing last year and there are no immediate plans to do so this year. Local feedback suggests that organisations who have tried to organise visits have had difficulty in filling coaches. The subject will be kept under review as will the holding of any social events at the URC.
I think the Society can take satisfaction from the knowledge that we have managed to complete a full programme of lectures over the last two years despite Covid. That has not been the case with a number of other societies. I hope you will continue to support the Society and I look forward to future seasons of lectures with confidence.