This is the time of year when we prepare for our AGM in July. You will shortly be receiving the paperwork for this meeting either by email or in hard copy. Those members who are not on email will be able to collect the paperwork at the June Lecture Meeting and we hope as many people who can will take advantage of this in order to reduce our postal costs which, nowadays, are considerable.
At the same time, there will also be the chance to renew your membership and the Renewal Papers will also be available for collection before they go in the post, so if you know anyone who is not on email, do tell them of this arrangement. Naturally, we do hope you will want to renew your membership and this year you will be asked to complete an ‘opt-in’ section which gives the Society permission to hold and handle your contact details. All assurances of our observance of the legal requirements will be listed on our Data Protection Policy a copy of which you will also find in your renewal papers, so there will quite a bundle for you either to download or to receive in paper form.
On to more social matters, Ann Pitt took a party on a Day Visit to Oxford on May 8th which was great fun and included a visit to the Ashmolean Musem and a special lecture on the history of its collections. The sun shone and the day went very well. We thank Ann for her meticulous planning.
Several of our members took the opportunity of attending the special service of celebration for the Golden Jubilee in Westminster Abbey on 16th May. It was a most impressive and moving occasion at which our Royal Patron, The Duchess of Gloucester, was present. Actor Simon Callow, musician and broadcaster Cerys Matthews and poet Mike Garry took part in the programme and there were compositions from Matthew Sheeran and Giacomo Smith. It was followed by the National AGM at Westminster Hall, for those representing their societies. Sir Roy Strong gave an eloquent and impassioned appreciation of NADFAS/The Arts Society, thanking the rank and file volunteers who run the societies and who have over the fifty years contributed so much for the fabric of our heritage and fostered a love of the Arts across the world. Our own member, Shaun Pitt, retiring Trustee and National Treasurer after 6 years’ service, explained the difficulties of the last financial year following the collapse of a travel company affiliate but reassured and encouraged the meeting by showing that the finances were in fact showing positive signs of recovery and should be back on track by 2020. He departed with customary optimism, rocking the audience with a good joke well told, and it was clear that his fellow trustees would greatly miss his good advice and his humour on the board. You will see Shaun’s name on your AGM papers as he has been proposed as our next Chairman. Florian Schweizer, Chief Executive, spoke on the need for keeping up with modern trends of communication and management and the new National Chairman, Julie Goldsmith, succeeding outgoing June Robinson, was introduced to the assembly at the meeting.
The Leamington Spa Photographic Society held their annual award presentation and exhibition launch earlier this month at which, as a sponsor, I represented the Society. The photographic display showed images which were wide-ranging in their subject matter and extremely impressive. There is great talent locally and, even closer to home, among our own membership. It was a most professional exhibition and highly enjoyable.
Church Trails: I wonder if anyone might be interested in composing a Church Trail. It would be super if an individual or a couple of people working together might take on another church in our area. There is support on hand for anyone who would like to do this as we have gathered quite a lot of experience from the excellent ones which we have done in the past. Please let me know if the idea appeals to you.
Publicity: The small Publicity Group also has spaces for anyone who wishes to help promote the Arts Society by keeping up our profile in the local press and through advertising where possible and effective. Please contact our President, Felicity Furber, or me if you are willing to help.
The June Lecture will be on Wednesday June 6th when we shall learn all about Basingstoke and its contribution to World Culture. Rupert Willoughby will enlighten and, no doubt, surprise us, too.
See you then,
Elizabeth Hunter (Chairman)