14th Annual General Meeting of the F&DLHS
As members assembled for the 14th Annual General Meeting of the Foxearth and District Local History Society in Foxearth Village Hall on 12th March they displayed and discussed items they had brought along. These included old maps and prints, newspaper cuttings of local interest, photographs, old bonds and deeds, a wartime identity card and other historical relics; there was even a library book (non-municipal!) overdue by 95 years! Cheese and wine was served on arrival leading to a relaxed atmosphere before proceeding to the business side of the evening.
Chairman,Alan Fitch, addressed the 14 members present referring to an interesting year of visits and talks but expressed disappointment at the downward trend in membership numbers. An additional meeting has been arranged for Saturday 13th April at 2pm when two metal detecting experts will be present to assist members to search a field in Foxearth. He thanked the Committee, officers and others who had helped in various ways for their services. The Chairman, Officers and Committee were re-elected en bloc and President Ashley Cooper expressed appreciation to the Chairman for the way in which his enthusiasm and initiative had seen the Society through another successful year.
Treasurer John Geddes presented a financial report showing an operating loss over the year of £225 ; whilst expenditure had been slightly less than in the year ended Feb. 2012, income from member and visitor subscriptions had been reduced in the last twelve months. Mr Geddes indicated that at the present rate the Society would run out of general funds in about 4 years. It was agreed that the membership subscription should remain at £10. It was suggested that the Society should apply to the Parish Council for a grant.
There was considerable discussion about the need to attract more members and it was felt that communication was the key. The President pointed to the example of the Bulmer Society which had been going for some 20 years and which had members from Halstead and surrounding villages. This society met only 3 or 4 times a year, would often have two or even three speakers at a meeting each being limited to 25 minutes and was financed entirely by raffles. Mr Cooper urged that with so many people now being on email it was essential to build up a local register so that ready information could be made available. It was also important to circulate details to other societies and local libraries including the mobile one.
It was agreed to change the time at which evening meetings began to 7.30pm and this would be implemented when the next printing takes place.
The next gathering of the Society will be on Tuesday 9th April and will be a guided walking tour of Castle Hedingham beginning at 2pm: afternoon tea will be available in the Magnolia tea rooms.