Barking and District Historical Society

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Chairman's Report 2010/2011

Chairman's Reports



It has been another busy and successful year for the society and the coach outings organised by Richard Chapman have greatly helped to raise our profile. In June members and friends visited Purfleet Heritage Centre and Coalhouse Fort – this was our first coach outing in years! In September there was the hugely enjoyable trip to the Salute to the 1940s event at the Chatham Historic Dockyard. Then, despite the snow and ice, we had a great day out at the Dickens Christmas Festival in Rochester. The Thriplow Daffodil Weekend in March was also a resounding success and Richard was being asked to repeat it before we had even reached home! This has given Richard, our hard working treasurer, a lot of extra work and I offer my sincere thanks to him.

Pat Manley organised a very successful London walk for us in June. The proceeds were shared between the Society and the Friends of the Ilford Hospital Chapel, of which Pat is Chairman.

On a sad note, we lost two of our Vice-Presidents in August – Joan Harrison and Mary Blake. Joan had been a member of the society since the 1950s and she often recalled being taken home from meetings by the legendary J.G. O'Leary. She held various posts within the society and quietly made some substantial donations to us over the years. Even when she was too frail to attend meetings, she retained a keen interest in the society and I received regular lengthy telephone calls from her.

The death of Mary Blake came so soon after her election in May. Mary had been a member of the society for about eighteen years and I greatly value the help she gave me when I became chairman. Mary had also held a number of posts, but I guess she will be mostly remembered for the memorable outings she organised with her great friend, Hilary Brunt.

This March saw the sad death of one of our more recent members, Maureen Rollingson.

Along with other members of the society, I attended the funerals of all three ladies.

As chairman I represented the society at Essex Congress meetings, the Dagenham Girl Pipers 80 birthday celebrations in September, the Ilford Hospital Chapel Christmas Fair (together with Richard Chapman), the Working Lives of the Thames Gateway book launch at the Guildhall in January, Excursions 2011 at Alexandra Palace also in January. Yet another January event was the private preview of the
Famous for all the wrong reasons photographic exhibition at the Broadway Theatre. February saw a visit to Destinations 2011 at Earls Court. As a result of that visit, I was invited, along with members of the CHHS, to be the guest of Nick Charrington (of the brewing family) at his home in Layer Marney.
The same month came a visit to the Tourism and Leisure Show at the Five Lakes Resort near Maldon.

Richard and I braved the rain at the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Fair in May 2010-we were greatly heartened when the organisers informed us that they had found a space indoors for us. The final visit of the year was to the London Maze at the Guildhall. Our final participative event this year was the Chadwell Heath History Fair at the Wangey Chapel in Chadwell Heath – despite a demo by the English Defence League (not directed at us, but a mosque being built nearby in Green Lane!) it was a great success. The Society organised a royal weddings display and a competition that attracted over forty entries. Thanks to Pat Manley and Richard Chapman for their enormous help at the event. The proceeds of the refreshments were donated to St. Francis Hospice in memory of Maureen Rollingson, whom was a member of both Barking and Chadwell Heath Societies.

As usual, I have a number of other people to thank for their help with the smooth running of the Society over the past year including our hard-working President, Bill George, who continues to improve and update our website, which he established and it receives many favourable comments via email. He also edits the Newsletter, designs our posters and has given us a very entertaining and informative talk on the Essex coast during the past year. The Vice-Presidents, Dorothy Lockwood and Joy Lines have continued to support the Society in a number of ways. Dorothy recently donated the draft manuscript of Oxley's Barking book to our archives. The Catering team led by June Johnson has kept us watered and fed (not everyone knows that June also provides the same service to the CHHS). Nigel Harcombe works hard as our welcoming Membership Secretary and, despite ill-health, has soldiered on. Irene Flitcroft does a sterling job selling raffle tickets at our talks and I must thank all those members who have donated prizes. Tom White continues in his role as Publicity Officer ensuring that the local libraries display details of our events. Please forgive me if I have left anyone out!

We are now only handful of years away from our 80 anniversary in 2014 so we will have to get our thinking caps on as to how we can celebrate this momentous milestone.

John Blake, Chairman

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