I have loved being your Chairman and am very gratified that we are known to be a friendly society. The committee has been very supportive and I have to name Heather (our long suffering) secretary, Margaret who has arranged such a varied series of lectures, Liz, who looks after our membership, Jacqueline who deals with publicity and the website, Annie, whose study days have been very rewarding and Patrick who arranges such interesting visits. Bruce, our treasurer, keeps our finances in order and is pleased with us this year and Alistair Cooke our auditor.
John McCaig is so brilliant with our power point projections and Terry Wiggs assists him. Bruce Gear who arranges the hall so efficiently and Johnny and Anne Bramall who, with help from Jenny Newton, ensure that our coffee and biscuits are always ready. I thank you all.
Some lectures were more interesting than one might have thought – in particular the one on Middle Eastern decorative glass. The skill of the artists in such early times was amazing. We were fascinated by the talk on 17th Century Dutch art and Douglass Skeggs brought the historial background to life. We have learned about a variety of subjects from gardens in Florence, the lives of the Hamiltons and his liaison with Emma, to Napoleon and Waterloo and May Ray and Lee Miller.
A study day on English water colour artists was held in the more intimate location at Hole Park and was greatly enjoyed. Another day with Peter Medhurst on Mozart will be held in the Benenden village hall because of a large demand for places.
We have visited the stunning Wallace Collection, marvelled at the amazing gifts received by the Duke of Wellington at Apsley House and had a recent trip with an excellent guided tour of Parham House, also enjoying the very well preserved Elizabethan gardens, with the beautiful little church.
I want to thank Jane Sawyer for her encouragement when I was first on the committee many years ago.
My best wishes go to our new Chairman and her committee and I feel that I am handing over the reins of a thriving society.
With kind regards to you all.