Chairman's Report for 2003

Sylvia Harrop

 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

It is quite a responsibility to find myself in the position of Chairman, but as you will all know my predecessor, Roy Gudgeon, has left the Trust in very good shape after his seven-year period in office. I should like to start by paying tribute to Roy and to thank him for all the time, enthusiasm and energy he put into leading the Trust so ably. Two other important and valuable members of the Committee also retired last October, Harold Foxcroft, our Secretary and John Chapman. Harold brought us into the modern world by putting our records on to a computer, and John was responsible for walks and footpaths and was the main author of our publication 'A Short Walk round Settle'. Our thanks also go to them. So we now have a largely new team leading the Trust, and inevitably we are having to learn some of what needs doing as we go along. The Committee works very hard to run the Trust and all its activities, and I thank its members for their support and friendship.

As I write this report, the contents of this year's Journal are being assembled. This publication is the jewel in our crown, and I am sure that most of you are as proud of it as I am. We are fortunate to have such hardworking and dedicated editors and members and others supplying the editors with articles to make the final result so interesting. This year has marked the 25th concert given for the Trust by the Leeds Parish Church Choir; and the article here by Peter Read sketches the history of this event and records the music we enjoyed on a snowy day in January in the beautiful Norman setting of the parish church at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, where local people have been worshipping for at least 900 years.

Another article has been contributed by David Johnson, who has volunteered to be responsible for the Trust's archives. I have been exercised about the lack of archival material relating to the Trust for some time, and remedying this lack was one of my top priorities on becoming Chairman. (I see from past Journals that the subject has been aired before, but nothing transpired.) David is collecting papers recording the early years and development of the Trust and its predecessor, and we have purchased proper archival boxes in which to store the material as it is found and gathered together.

Since I became Chairman last October we have enjoyed the usual range of activities, with interesting and well-attended lectures, walks, our Christmas Party and the New Year Recital. The Trust's lack of equipment to offer to our lecturers was becoming something of an embarrassment to our Programme Secretary, so the Committee decided to purchase slide and overhead projectors and a large screen for future use. The Christmas Party was, as usual, a happy occasion with wonderful food and a most enjoyable entertainment by the Kirkby Lonsdale Handbell Ringers. Thanks to Jill Sykes and her team for organising everything for the party. The Committee is already thinking of new ideas for this year's party and any ideas from members would be most welcome. Reports of the walks will be found elsewhere in this Journal. I must make note, however, of Bill Mitchell's final all-day outing last July. As Roy mentioned in his report last year, Bill has been leading an annual outing for the Trust for 21 years, and has decided it is time to hang up his walking shoes. I know that you would want me to thank him for all the pleasure he has given to so many members for so many years. We are delighted that David Johnson has agreed to take on Bill's mantle and carry on the tradition.

Your membership cards and copies of the Journal come straight to you courtesy of our team of distributors, and I want to thank all of them for their time and support and to say how much the Officers and Committee appreciate their role in helping to reduce costs and keeping up personal contact with members. Welcome also to all our new members since the last edition of the Journal: I hope that you will enjoy the benefits of membership, and I look forward to meeting you.

The Trust celebrates its 35th year in 2003, starting from its foundation as the 'Settle and District Civic Society' in 1968. In a changing world we look forward to keeping true to our objectives in the coming years, and to having a relevant role to play in North Craven.

Old gate post used to bridge a stream
Photo: Jill Sykes