This year I feel that I must start this report with my deep thanks to the members of the Committee for so ably and willingly keeping the Trust running smoothly while I have been unavoidably absent from many of our activities as a result of bereavement and illness. I was particularly sorry to miss the AGM, to be able to thank Bill Mitchell for being such a splendid President, and to welcome Mrs. Ethne Bannister as his replacement. Bill has been very much a ‘hands-on’ President, and we have benefited greatly from his expertise and advice in many areas of our work. I have also personally enjoyed his company on a number of ‘official’ outings. We are delighted that Mrs. Bannister has agreed to take his place, and hope that she will enjoy her term of office. In this Journal you can read a biographical piece about our new President.
Since my report to the 2008 AGM, we have been able to run all the usual winter activities and, as I write, look forward to more lectures, walks and our Summer Outing this year. Our host church for the Annual Recital in January was St. James’, Clapham, and we are most grateful to the vicar and churchwardens of St. James’ for their hospitality. Our Christmas Party was also a very enjoyable occasion, as usual, with a delicious buffet, accompanied by more of Mary Slater’s quizzes and entertainment by the JazzAire Trio. This year the Committee has decided to move to having a ‘Jacob’s Join’ as an experiment - a good northern custom. More information on this will follow later in the year. The number of members taking part in this year’s Sunday walks has been rather lower than the turnout in previous years, and the leaders would be glad to see more members coming along. You will be most welcome.
This Journal promises to be as varied and interesting as ever, and I look forward very much to reading it in a couple of months’ time. Many thanks to our editors for all their hard work on it. I must also add especial thanks to our advertisers for continuing to support the Journal in very difficult times; and to John Geale for continuing to collect their existing subscriptions and for looking for new advertisers. This year members will also be receiving with the Journal an index to all the numbers of the last 16 years - something I have been keen to see for some time. The members of the Publications Sub-committee have spent many hours, with our professional indexer, working on the index, and we hope that members will find it useful and instructive. Finally, my continuing thanks to all those who help to keep the Trust running in many different ways. Your contribution is very much appreciated by me and by the committee. The Trust couldn’t continue without you.