October, 2018-10-03 EGM. History Society 21.9.2018
(This EGM is probably the most important in the 41st year of the Society’s history. Printed below is the summary of our present position, which was put to the meeting by our Chairman, Alan Stoyel).
We are at a crossroads and we have to decide which turning, or turnings, we take. A working party was set up comprising Margaret Atkinson, Nick Robinson and me, to analyse the Society’s problems. You have seen our recommendations regarding combining forces with the Museum, and we will be taking a vote on this later. The following is our assessment of the present position with regard to this Society.
Our financial problems were set out in the previous Bulletin, and the future looks unsustainable.
The basic problem, however, is that members are so unwilling to help in the running of the Society that we cannot continue in the same way as we have in the past. We have tried to fill committee places, but to no avail.
Following our Constitution, in our committee we are supposed to have Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Programme Secretary, Treasurer & 6 other members. The present situation is very different. We are really struggling. I cannot cope with being chairman for much longer, we have no Vice Chairman, no Programme Secretary, our Treasurer is retiring in October and we have only 3 other committee members.
To make matters worse, our secretary is having to do much more than she should. Apart from her secretarial duties she runs stalls to raise money for the Society, answers queries and carries out research for members of the public on our behalf.
Nancy Wheatland, our former programmes secretary worked extremely hard to come up with an excellent series of very good talks and visits. She gave plenty of notice of when she was going to leave, but nobody would take the job on, so we have no programme, even for this season. Her husband Mark, who is no longer on the committee, has been incredibly supportive, preparing the room for talks and acting as chauffeur for some of the speakers
John Potts, our Treasurer, and his wife Thelma (who is not on the committee), have done way more than would be expected of them. Apart from keeping immaculate accounts, between them they maintain membership lists, past & present, and see to it that all members receive their Bulletins, postingand even delivering by hand. They are both invaluable, but they are retiring at the AGM.Nearly all this activity on behalf of the Society has either finished, or will finish next month.
Our President, Vera Harrison does the editing and organises the printing of bulletins and annual papers, as well as doing the Christmas Quiz. She also maintains the Bulletins by email to members who have opted for this method.
Margaret Atkinson has kindly agreed to take over as Treasurer, but she has many other commitments and cannot be expected to do the extra tasks which John & Thelma have taken under their wing. For a start she has already stepped into the breach of being Treasurer for the Museum.
Now, If we have no more talks or visits, we cannot expect members to pay a subscription. Who is prepared to arrange these to justify our existence? Maybe we should have fewer talks and visits, but we still need someone to organise them. Most of all we need a programme secretary. The committee will give whatever encouragement and help they can. If anyone feels able to give this a try please come and see us
The next most important vacancy is a vice chairman. As I said before, I cannot cope with being chairman for much longer, and I have other commitments which mean I cannot always attend functions, also, continuity is so important. Again, if there is anyone here tonight who would be prepared to step in, please make yourself known. In addition, we still require more members of committee with particular skills to offer.
I hope you have all read the text which was circulated with the Bulletin about the possible amalgamation with the Museum. Be quite clear, however, if our decision is to go ahead with this, we still need to build up our strength now so that we can continue as a partner with the Museum rather than be swallowed up by it. If you feel able to help in any way, please let us know.
I now open the meeting for discussion, followed by a secret ballot. The results will be announced at the AGM.
[To date nobody has offered to fill any of the vacancies]. Editor: V.Harrison