AGM 2018 Chair's Report

23rd July 2018

As we come to the end of another excellent season of lectures, study days and visits, it seems remarkable that only 11 months have elapsed since I took on the duties of Chair of this Society on a very hot evening in June at our Gala event in Ludlow Castle.  This occasion enabled members and their guests to enjoy a social gathering, as well as raising funds which contributed to conservation work on the Ludlow Castle Heraldic Roll.

However, this has been a rather difficult year for your Committee.  There were two resignations in September and then, of course, Michael Shaw, who was serving in the dual role of Treasurer and Membership Secretary, succumbed to a serious illness just before Christmas.  We were fortunate indeed to find a new Treasurer/Membership Secretary in Jeff Walker ; at the same time Geoff Neden stepped in to take charge of our website.  Given all these changes to the Committee, it is unsurprising that we have been unable to do anything in respect of Heritage Volunteering, Church Recording and Young Arts projects this year.  Also, it is unlikely that we will be able to pursue any of these in the near future without considerable expansion of our committee membership.

With our limited membership numbers (130 this year), your Committee reluctantly agreed to an increase in the annual fee to £45 at its meeting on 19th April.  This has stayed at £40 for a number of years but costs have continued to rise.  You will find more information about this in the Treasurer’s Report which was sent out with the Notice and Agenda for the AGM.  I am sure you will agree that we also wish to maintain the high quality of our lectures.

We have enjoyed a very good and really varied programme of lectures this year as well as two excellent study days and two most interesting outings.  My thanks go to Pat Shaw, Avis Denny and Judith Payling for all the hard work and imagination they have put into organising these events for us.  Also, I hope you will have noticed that our publicity officer, Ann Marriott, has provided reviews on the website, especially useful to those of you who have missed some of these lectures.  My thanks also go to her.  Leaflets advertising the programme for 2018/19 will be available at the AGM next week.

Unfortunately, our excellent Secretary, Nancy Vose, will be retiring from the Committee at the AGM.  I wish to thank her for all her support in this my first year (even if I don’t respond instantly to all her emails!) and especially for liaising with our new website manager, Geoff Neden, on maintaining and improving the website.  I would also like to thank our ex-chairman, George Mills, for his continuing support and advice, especially his expertise in mailchimping my newsletters to you.

Looking forward, I hope to see many of you at next week’s AGM.  Please don’t stay away because you are afraid of being persuaded to take on a job!  We are, of course, hoping for some willing volunteers, especially to take on the role of Secretary, but also to participate more generally on the Committee.  After the meeting, there is the May lecture by Stephen Richardson (a Ludlow resident) on Burlington House and The Royal Academy which should prove most interesting and neatly round off the year.

With good wishes to you all and anticipating another successful year for our Society in the Teme Valley.


Best Wishes

Lesley Shew

Chair  The Arts Society  Teme Valley