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Changes Reported at the AGM

Friends and supporters showed up in force for the AGM of the History Group, held in the Memorial Club on March 20th. The evening began with necessary business including the election of officers for the coming year and they are: Chairwoman, Brenda Burtenshaw, Secretary Karen Howman, Treasurer Margaret Sonnenburg, Vice-Chairwoman Eve Hostettler.

In her Report from the Chair, Brenda emphasised that the past year had been one of change and progress. A sad change was the resignation from her position as Chairwoman of Katie Carr-Tansley, who had been an enthusiastic member of the group since it first began. We owe her an enormous debt of gratitude for the work she has put in and are delighted that she intends to remain an active member.

The Group has been pleased to welcome new members, bringing valuable skills and energy. Our biggest change has been in acquiring premises for the Group, where at last the material collected in the past years can be assembled under one roof, sorted and, eventually, catalogued for easy access. Already many hours of voluntary work have made the rather daunting pile of village records more manageable. In learning how to deal with the records, we had a useful trip to the Museum at Orford, hosted by curatorJenny Hall. The local representative of the Oral History Society, Juliana Van der Griff, paid us a visit to discuss some of the techniques of oral history recording.

Funds are required to handle and store the records and we have been very pleased to receive £213 from Waitrose and £100 from the Parish Council. An appeal to the charitable trust associated with Adnams Brewer was unsuccessful, but we will continue  to press forward with fund-raising. To this end we plan a Quiz Night in the autumn which we hope all our friends will support. We are also producing a  Calendar for 2019, featuring 13 local artists, and again, everyone is urged to support us by buying this!

On a lighter note, members and friends enjoyed an outing to the  Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket; we learned so much and had a delicious lunch- well worth a visit!

Concluding her Report, Brenda said that members of the Group hope to continue work on the records, eventually making them accessible to the local school and to every resident in our two villages.

The Treasurer’s Report, showing a reduction in funds from the previous year, again drew attention to the importance of fund-raising.

There are some good bakers in the History Group and  the refreshments following the business meeting were delicious and were accompanied, of course, by plenty of lively conversation!

Then we moved on to what was undoubtedly the main attraction. Local historian Richard Crisp had been persuaded to spend the evening with us. Apart from his long-term involvement with the Saxmundham  Museum, Richard is also active in the group promoting the resurgence of Saxmundham Market Hall. He had lovely stories to tell about the Hall in its heyday as corn exchange and entertainment venue, some of which he had heard from his own father. He described how the Hall had come into being in the 1830s on the initiative of the townspeople and how it was now being revived, nearly two hundred years later, by drawing on the same source of energy and expertise. We studied the drawings showing the plans for the building and came away looking forward to it once again becoming a central feature of life in the town and surrounding villages.

Finally Richard drew tickets for the raffle which raised £52, nicely covering the cost of the evening’s entertainment.  

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