This report was presented to the Annual General Meeting on 14 March 2023

My report is in three parts namely, the programme for 22/23, the work of the committee and the future.


I consider myself fortunate in taking the chair of the society at a time when, despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic, the society had remained in a strong position. Our programme for 2022/23 was quite an eclectic mix of topics but has been delivered in my view to a consistently high standard. One challenge was losing a speaker at short notice because of medical treatment. The rather hastily arranged replacement lecture had the shortest notice but the best attendance of the year not that I suggest this is the desired way forward!


I am grateful for all the work and support of the committee members listed below:-

Trevor Burrage  as President but very much a working member of the committee prompting ideas and suggestions;

Roger Cornish as Vice Chairman bringing fresh ideas and organising the Summer Outing;

Fiona Shipley as our Hon. Secretary who keeps the administration in such good order and does so much to help the smooth running of the society;

Anna Burrage as our Hon. Treasurer who keeps our financial matters in good order;

Peter  Shipley who spearheads the programme setting and arranges almost all our speakers, is our newsletter editor and keeps the website maintained with up to date information;

Stuart Paterson our Publicity Officer who produces press releases of all our talks and has a good record of having these published;

John Fogg-Elliott who makes possible the smooth running of our meetings in the church;

Peter Jarvis, the Chairman before me, who advised during the year.


Mention must also be made of Russell Guthrie who has handled the display equipment splendidly for all of our talks at the URC.


Overall, it is a good team which works well individually and collectively. Over time, we need to bring in some fresh faces (in particular a new Programme Secretary) to keep the society thriving and to contribute new ideas. 


As to the future, we have a Summer Outing for the society planned for July, 2023 and a full programme of speakers drafted for 2023/24 and part of the programme drafted for 2024/25. Rising costs (speaker and hire fees) are an issue.  We can reasonably continue 2023/24 at current subscription levels and try to drive membership numbers in the hope there is then no need to change either future subscription levels or the programme extent. Let us approach the society in 2023/24 with confidence.


Stuart Dennison