As I look back through the activities of 1998, I think that once again we have managed to provide an interesting and varied programme for our members. We are constantly looking out for new speakers and we are always open to suggestions from the members to introduce new ideas.
The membership has remained at the same level, but we have welcomed many new members who in most instances have become involved with our events and given added impetus to some of our activities. I would like to see our membership increase, and I hope that most members realise that to prosper we always have to recruit new members and if you can provide the 'leads' I will do the following up!
The Sunday walks are becoming more popular, and many members enjoy the opportunity of exploring areas away from their home ground, with the bonus of having a guide and an informative commentary highlighting points on the way. Most walks are about 4/5 miles in length taking about 2 l/2 hours or so. Apart from the exercise the walks are a great social occasion and a good way to meet members. May I thank John Chapman and all who led walks during the year.
The three lectures which we held during the year were extremely popular and as always were on varied topics. Phil Hudson gave a most interesting talk on 'Reading the Limestone Landscape' in March; Bill Mitchell found some excellent snapshots of the area and some of the celebrities in Victorian times at the September lecture; and finally Nick Harling gave an extremely interesting talk on 'Coaching in Craven'. Each was different but gave us all an insight into areas of our local history.
The Annual Day out organised by Bill Mitchell again attracted much interest. A following in excess of fifty members journeyed to Mallerstang and Appleby to visit interesting sites and places not always on the tourist's agenda. We are most grateful to Bill for his continued interest and for the effort he takes to ensure all runs so smoothly. The 'Know Your Area' Walks again proved popular, the venues being Giggleswick School, Clapham and Burton in Lonsdale. We are fortunate that there are people willing to give their time and effort for our enjoyment.
For the annual General Meeting we were royally entertained at Langcliffe Hall by Mr and Mrs Bell who made everyone most welcome and we are extremely grateful for their generosity in allowing us to invade their privacy. After the formal proceedings had taken place we were given a delightful lecture by Len Moody on 'Thomas Dixon along the Wenning' which was well received by an attentive audience.
On the musical front, once again the Choir from Leeds Parish Church entertained us at Giggleswick School Chapel. The event was in fact so well attended, that all the seats were taken well before the commencement of the recital. Members will no doubt be aware that we have been fortunate in arranging a recital again at Giggleswick School Chapel, being our first event in the new millennium! Make sure it's in your diary as I am sure it will be well attended. The Craven Camerata concert was held this year at Long Preston, and whilst the attendance was lower than expected the performance was first class and a tribute to all connected with the Group.
We were concerned that our Christmas party would have some teething problems after such a long stay at Harden, but I think everyone enjoyed the evening. We realise that there were difficulties with the catering which we shall overcome for this year's event. The Dalesbridge Centre did their utmost to assist, and I am confident that 1999's party will come up to the usual high standards of the Heritage Trust parties. If you have not been before please try and attend this time as it is a good opportunity to meet friends and renew acquaintances.
As you will see elsewhere in the Journal we are making some positive efforts to help and assist with local history. The Trust made a donation to enable Bentham to make a photographic record of all the houses in their area, some 1200 pictures, copies of which can be inspected at Bentham Library. It is hoped that the pictures will also be put on to a computer disc. Well done to David Johnson and his willing band of helpers.
Also in the Journal you will see that Nick Harling has 'grasped the nettle' and is attempting to record milestones, boundary makers and the suchlike in our area. This is an opportunity for you to assist, and is a worthwhile task and should also prove rewarding. If enough people agree to assist it should not be too onerous. There is a likelihood that we shall be providing information signs at the Hoffman Kiln area, and there is the possibility that we may be involved with printing books connected with the North Craven area.
There is plenty that can be done, but it cannot happen without the help and enthusiasm of members who are willing to become involved in different projects. I am extremely grateful to everyone on the committee for the help, guidance, knowledge and effort that they have provided for the benefit of the Trust over the past twelve months. Without such dedicated members none of the events that occurred during the year would have been such a success, and because we have such a strong committee I am sure that we shall have another successful year. Please show your support by attending as many events as possible, and encouraging new members to join the North Craven Heritage Trust.