Chairman's Report

Michael Southworth
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

As the new boy on the block I would like to start my report with a tribute to Sylvia Harrop who retired at our last AGM after serving the Trust with great dedication for the past 7 years. During all of this time I ‘observed’ Sylvia as a fellow member of the Committee, which she steered with considerable skill and great patience. In addition to her chairmanship skills she also displayed considerable academic expertise in furtherance of the Trust’s objectives.

As a mere ‘lay-boy’ therefore, in terms of academia, it is with some trepidation that I inherit the Chairman’s mantle. I guess that my only qualification for chairmanship is that I was born in Craven and having spent the first 17 years of my life roaming the fields, fells and by-ways of the area, inherited an attachment for its beauty and charm to leave me with a care for its conservation, and a concern for its future.

Looking forward, I am comforted to be surrounded by an experienced committee and excited to welcome two new members - John Asher as Secretary and Sarah Smith as Publicity Officer. For some time your committee have sought someone who would be willing to take on the role of ‘publicity’ and we are delighted that Sarah has offered to do this. All good committees have a balance of differing talents and personalities, and we are very well served by a mixture of academics (three of your committee have doctorates) and enthusiasts!

New faces bring new ideas and I look forward to some challenging discussions about how we may take the Trust forward in fulfilling its Aims and Objectives in the coming years. Most of you will not have looked at our Constitution in recent times (if ever!) and it is worth reminding ourselves of what we stand for. Under the heading of Objectives the Constitution says thus:

The Trust is established for the public benefit in the administrative area of the former Settle Rural District Council to :

  • Encourage high standards of planning and architecture, and,
  • Stimulate public interest in, and care for, the beauty, history and character of the area, and,
  • Encourage the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest.
Challenging objectives indeed - and worthy too! But how do we do this? If you have any views, please feel free to voice them, either to me or to other members of the committee. One of the things we intend to do (and may have already done so by the time you read this) is to seek your opinion, as a member of the Trust, about which of our activities are of interest to you and what, if anything, you think we should change. From your feedback and participation we hope that we can tailor what we do to meet your aspirations within the framework of our constitution.

In the meantime enjoy this wonderful edition of our annual Journal.