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STIRLING MEMBERS' CENTRE
NEWSLETTER, Spring 2018

Chairman's Report Spring 2018.

Dear Members,

picture of the ChairmanI would like to begin this report by wishing you all a Happy, Prosperous and Healthy New Year. I do hope that you are all surviving the unexpected snow falls that have hit us in the past week. Maybe like me, you are becoming, to use that wonderful Scots word, scunnered at having to dig out the car and the drive.

Our winter programme of lectures has fortunately not been adversely affected by the weather. We got off to a magnificent start with Craig Mair's superb lecture on the history of Bridge of Allan as a spa. I have never known so many non-members turning up on the day. At one stage, as I took their money at the door, I thought half of Bridge of Allan was pouring into the hall. In all 76 people attended. It is interesting to note that Dr Rankin's insightful lecture on his time as a police surgeon also attracted many non-members on the day. Naturally, our coffers were well replenished. Our December lecture by Dr Martin, which gave us a fascinating insight into the history of the Georgian house in Edinburgh, drew 41 members. We all enjoyed very much the festive fare provided once more by Liz Bryce and Kate Findlay, to whom we owe a big vote of thanks. However, I have to report that the attendance at the AGM and accompanying lecture on Ben Lawers by Helen Cole, saw the worst attendance at any lecture/AGM that I can remember. There were only 31 people present, of whom 8 were members of the committee. As the numbers attending the AGM/lecture have been dropping precipitously over recent years, the executive committee has decided that the next AGM/lecture in the autumn of 2018 shall be held in an afternoon.

The committee recognises that many members are reluctant to turn out in a winter's evening.
Since my autumn report to members there have taken place two meetings of the executive committee in October 2017 and January 2018. The main items of business were the following.
I am pleased to report that the committee's quest for a replacement for Neil Pollock as Membership/Booking Secretary has finally come to a successful conclusion. George Roberts has very kindly agreed to take on this post. Indeed, his wife Evelyn has volunteered to join him in the post. The committee is deeply indebted to them both. George and Evelyn had previously served on the committee several years ago but resigned when they then moved away from the Stirling area. They will take up their posts and places on the committee in the autumn, when their appointments will be put to the AGM for ratification.
Furthermore, I have to report that Robert Jackson has now agreed to continue in post as our Treasurer and his wife Dianne has most kindly offered to become Joint Treasurer. The AGM ratified this appointment.

The Membership/Bookings Secretary reported by email that since the last committee meeting in October 2017 the current number of memberships had fallen to 159 (previously 173), representing 216 persons (233 previously). This unfortunate fall in membership was mainly due this being the time of year when memberships were removed because payment of subscriptions had not been made for two years and there had been no participation from the people concerned.

Those of you who went on the summer outings to Kellie Castle/Hill of Tarvit and to Vikingar in Largs will recall that on both occasions the Mackies Coaches' drivers had trouble following the correct routes, seriously inconveniencing all concerned. Our secretaries have written to Mackies to make them aware of our complaints so as to prevent occurrence in future outings but have so far received no reply.

The Centre has received an invitation from Dr Murray Cook, Stirling Council's Archivist, to attend a Forth Valley Heritage Forum on Saturday 3 March 2018. There will be presentations from Historic Environment Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, Stirling Council, the Engine Shed, Forestry Commission and our Centre. This will be followed by a discussion about organisations' needs and possible future events/activities. The committee agreed to attend, being represented by myself and other interested members of the committee.

Members may have read in the press about the problems of preserving the fabric of the Hill House in Helensburgh and the ingenious solution of covering the exterior with a giant canopy. The National Trust for Scotland has launched an appeal for funds for this expensive project. The committee has agreed to make a donation of £1,000.

There have been recent changes at the National Trust's Headquarters in Edinburgh which will impact on Members' Centres. Chris Major, the Members' Centre Support Officer, has resigned. In his time in this post Chris brought a dynamism and dedication which was greatly appreciated by all who came in contact with him. In particular, he gave tremendous help to our Centre in our efforts to increase the number of members. He is being replaced by Katy Robinson, who will continue to hold her present post as cruise administrator.

As you will see from the summer programme, we are running five rather that six summer outings in 2018. The slightly reduced number is due to the fact that at time of organising the programme last summer the committee was short of members who could take on this responsibility. In connection with members' payments for these outings, as well as for the winter lectures, I would like to remind members the correct procedure for addressing their cheques. These should be addressed to Stirling Members' Centre NTS. I am afraid that many members have been inadvertently writing the wrong address. This does create much work for the Membership/Bookings Secretary and Treasurers in returning such cheques to their senders. In addition, I would request members to view and check if they have standing orders are in place, so that our Centre can reduce the incidence of duplicate payments. This involves duplications mainly by cheque, which have necessitated refunds by the Treasurers.

In connection with the departure of summer outings from Forthside Car Park I would remind members that there are ongoing roadworks at Kerse Road roundabout over the railway tracks. These are scheduled to last at least until the late spring/early summer. I would advise members who come to the Forthside Car Park along Kerse Road to check in advance the state of the roadworks before they leave home.

In conclusion, I would once again encourage members to bring their friends to our lectures and outings and to suggest to them that they might like to join our Members' Centre.

Wishing you all enjoyment of the remaining lectures and summer outings

Best Regards,

Bob McKean,

Chairman.

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Subscriptions

Any member wishing to pay his/her annual subscription by Standing Order (due 1st ctober each year) or who has not completed a Gift Aid mandate and wishes to do so, please contact Robert & Dianne Jackson, our Joint Treasurers, who will supply the appropriate form(s).

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Obituaries

Ian Collie
Passed on 20th June 2017. Ian was a longstanding member of the Centre.

John Thomson
Passed in November 2017. John was a recent member.

We would like to offer their family and friends our deep and sincere sympathy on their sad loss.

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Sponsorship

We are very pleased to confirm that Grahams Family Dairies have agreed once again to sponsor the postage costs of our bi-annual newsletter. Our grateful thanks for this sponsorship to all at Grahams.

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