From the Extraordinary General Meeting in September it was clear that a merger with Kington Museum was likely, due mainly to the lack of interest from the membership in helping to run the Society. In particular, since Nancy Wheatland resigned as our programme secretary, nobody has been willing to take this on, so we had no programme beyond the Annual General Meeting. At this point a working group was formed to look at the way ahead and to consider the steps needing to be taken, however the final vote went. This group comprises Julia Reid, Margaret Atkinson and Alan Stoyel, all of whom serve on both committees, Nick Robinson who is on the History Society committee, and led by Denise North, a Museum committee member with considerable experience of charities management. A ballot was held at the end of the History Society’s Annual General Meeting in October. The choice was a stark one – either the Society was to merge with the Museum, or be disbanded. By the time all the votes had been received, including those sent by email or post, the final result was 46 in favour of a merger and 3 against.
This confirmed that, from the History Society’s point of view, an amalgamation of the two bodies would be the better outcome. Caroline Giles and Mary Tolhurst did put themselves forward as being willing to be part of a group to plan any future talks and visits, but this had no bearing on the result. The working group has had a subsequent meeting at which the next steps were formulated. The reasons received from any members as to why they had voted against the merger were discussed.
It was now up to the Museum to determine the feelings of its committee, friends and volunteers. On November 20th, at its AGM, another ballot was held, and the results favoured an amalgamation.
In the meantime, since the Society had no ongoing programme, Vera’s quiz and the Christmas social were brought forward to occupy the space that, in the past, would had been occupied by a talk. This was the very last meeting of the Society, and an opportunity to socialise, but it was poorly attended. Many members missed a particularly good quiz and excellent refreshments. As usual we have John Rerrie to thank for providing the drinks.
At the Annual General Meeting our treasurer, John Potts, resigned, both from the treasurership and the committee. We owe him a tremendous debt of thanks for so many years of service. Our thanks, too, go to his wife Thelma, who, along with John, has done so much to further the interests of the Society in so many ways. We are fortunate in having Margaret Atkinson to take his place. Margaret is also treasurer of the Museum, and is to be assisted by Gill Wilson, the Museum’s former treasurer, who will be doing all the book-keeping.
From the two bodies will emerge a single organisation, and the working group will guide both committees through this transition, ensuring that every step is democratic, that all statutory regulations are followed, and that it is in the common interest. For the last three years I had had in my mind that this was likely to be the way ahead, and subsequent developments have shown that this has to be the best outcome.
Now that this stage has been reached, I have resigned from the chair of the Museum, and Denise North has taken the position on. She is younger and more able to see things through, and I am confident the new organisation has an exciting future, combining the assets of both bodies. What is important to us all is that precious local records and artefacts stay here in Kington for the benefit of the Kington area’s inhabitants and visitors.
In due course a further updating Bulletin will be circulated.
(Alan Stoyel, chairman)
WISHING ALL MEMBERS A HAPPY CHRISTMAS