It doesn’t seem twelve months ago when I sat down to write the 2013 ‘Christmas Message from the Chairman’ – doesn’t time fly! 2014 has been a busy and fruitful year for the Society, welcoming new members, enjoying excellent talks and having a successful set of Heritage Open Days in September. 2014 has also been a sad year for the loss of our Patron, Robert, the 7th Baron Methuen. Though Lord Methuen had not been our Patron for too long, he was always interested in receiving copies of Spotlight and corresponding on various matters of interest. It was unfortunate that I was ill and unable to attend his funeral in Derbyshire, but I wrote to Lady Methuen and to James Methuen-Campbell sending our sincere sympathies for their loss.
This will be the last time I write to you as Chairman at the end of a year, as I will be retiring at the May Annual General Meeting. I have held the post for six years, and, for me, it has been a great pleasure and privilege to head this Society in my home town. I shall look forward to welcoming my successor at the May AGM, and I can assure them of my full support in their first year of office.
One piece of ‘good news’: more than 6,000 people have viewed the Society’s website since it went online in March of this year, and according to the Webmaster, Michael Wilkinson, most people have viewed at least five pages. We have also received a good number of enquiries from members of the public through the website, and these have been answered quickly by various knowledgeable committee members.
Dr. Negley Harte will also be retiring as our programme organiser. Negley has provided an excellent programme for the last six years, and he says he will be pleased to mentor his successor in their first year of office.
Finally, all that remains for me to say is to wish you the compliments of the season and a very Happy New Year.