Chairman's Report

Roy Gudgeon

Once again as I look through our activities for the last year, I believe that we have provided a varied programme and interesting events for all concerned with the local history of the North Craven area. It has been particularly rewarding that all our events have been well attended and really that speaks for itself. However we are always looking for new activities and suggestions and would welcome members' comments.

The monthly Sunday walks are usually attended by about twenty members and all have been extremely enjoyable, and have taken place in different parts of the area. I am most grateful to everyone who led walks in 1997 and to John Chapman who organises and sets out the walking programme. For those members who may be hesitant to join us, the walks usually cover 4/5 miles at a leisurely pace, taking about 21/2 to 3 hours depending on our inclination! I am sure that part of the enjoyment is the social side, when we have opportunity to meet our fellow members.

The three lectures which took place during the year were most stimulating and well attended, and our thanks go to Mike Clarke, Robert White and David Joy for providing such interesting evenings. Once again the annual day out with Bill Mitchell attracted an excellent following, and we had a delightful day exploring the hidden delights of Nidderdale, and we are most grateful to Bill for organising these popular excursions. As a new venture we asked Peter Fethney to lead us on a ramble around the Grassington area, and again it was a most interesting and illuminating experience, and all who attended gained much information about the settlements and early inhabitants of the area. We are holding a further walk this year with the emphasis on lead mining which is sure to attract many members.

The four evening 'Know Your Area' walks proved popular with expeditions to Ingleton, Kirkby Malham, Austwick and a tour of the coaching Inns of Settle. This year we have plans to visit Giggleswick School, Burton-in- Lonsdale and Clapham, and all members are encouraged to attend and find out more details of the area. On the musical front we had another recital given as usual by the Choir of Leeds Parish Church at the Zion Congregational Church in Settle in early January, which was followed in April by another excellent Craven Camerata concert held at St James Church in Clapham.

The Annual General Meeting was to be held at Langcliffe Hall, but unfortunately due to illness the venue was changed to the "Bowerley" at Langcliffe, where we had a good attendance and a most interesting lecture delivered by Melinda Elder on Lancaster and the African Slave Trade, which was warmly received by a packed audience. I am delighted to say that this year due to the kindness of Mr & Mrs Bell we intend to hold the Annual General meeting at Langcliffe Hall on Wednesday 28th October.

Looking at our programme I believe that we offer a very varied agenda, and it is pleasing to note that our membership is increasing. I am delighted that Elizabeth Shorrock joined the committee, and her botanical knowledge and expertise will be more than welcome. I cannot thank enough the Committee for all the hard work that they undertake on behalf of the North Craven Heritage trust. In particular to Maureen Ellis for her magnificent work in compiling this Journal, to Harold Foxcroft for arranging and planning our programme, to Barbara Middleton who looks after our finances and to Arthur Lupton and Jill Sykes for looking after the secretarial side of the Trust. My personal thanks go to all the remainder of the committee for their valuable assistance. Not forgotten are the distributors who play a vital role in our organisation. As members will have learned earlier this year we were all shocked to hear of the death of Brenda Capstick a member of the committee and a former Chairman of the Trust. Her experience and local knowledge will be sadly missed and a separate appreciation is printed elsewhere in the Journal.

Members will be aware that the Trust made a significant donation toward the cost of the new Burial Ground in Settle, and some of you may be aware that we have provided financial support for a venture in Bentham to photograph buildings in the area, and to have them available for people researching local history. We are pleased to be associated with such ventures and wish to encourage local involvement in the area.

For many, many years the annual party at Harden in Austwick has signalled the start of the Christmas festivities, but sadly this year we had to find a new venue, as the property is for sale and we cannot arrange our 1998 Party there. I know that many of you will have very happy memories of delightful evenings at Harden, but we have had little choice but to find alternative accommodation. After much searching we believe that we have found an excellent substitute, and this year the Party will be held at the Dalesbridge Centre, the Old Harden Hospital, on the A65 on the outskirts of Austwick. It is planned that the organisation and content of the evening will remain the same, and you can be assured that Jon Beavan and his staff will ensure that we have an enjoyable evening. At least everyone will be able to see the musical entertainment! I look forward to another good turn out!!