2023 AGM

The Chair`s report detailed that although the committee had shrunk in numbers, they had plenty of speaker meetings, walks and events planned for the future. This year our big event had been the celebration of our 40th Anniversary marked by a unique day that took place in the Cruck barn. Huge thanks were given to David Taylor and John Miller for their knowledge and contacts and their determination to put on such a successful event. The Chair and her committee were voted in for another year. Anyone not wanting to serve on a committee or become a trustee, but would be happy to bring any of their expertise or additional help, please get in touch.

Members voted for a small administration amendment to the Constitution and the website will be updated. Members also voted for a slight increase in annual membership fee: £15 for single membership and £25 for family membership. A popular vote was for Honorary Life membership for Shelagh Derwent and John Miller. Shelagh was instrumental in the formation of the Friends forty years ago. John Miller was a founder of Pendle Heritage Centre – one of four Heritage Centres in England. He is involved with many more Heritage Trusts in the North West and is an invaluable source of information to the Friends.

A report from Pendle Heritage Centre was read by the Secretary. It included news that with the departure of Liz Moss as CEO of HTNW, a new CEO will take over in December. Rhona Brett has taken over as manager of PHC, Bank Hall, Higherford Mill, Heysham Visitor Centre, and Slaidburn Archive. She has changed the way the Centre operates and wants to use the site in different ways to make a community-based hub, accessible to everyone, with health and well-being the main focus. She acknowledged the hard work and generosity of the Friends over the years and hoped that over the coming year, the two charities can work alongside each other to their mutual benefit.

After the business part of the evening was concluded our speaker, Rod Marsden, took to the floor: As Rod had been a headteacher of three primary schools for over twenty years, it seemed fitting that he opened his speech by blowing a whistle, holding aloft a piece of chalk and brandishing a cane. We were happy, yet amazed to hear, that corporal punishment was abandoned as late as 1986. He was missing a blackboard duster so we were relieved he couldn`t demonstrate his throwing techniques at the audience. His stories, from his school being banned by British Rail after a school trip, to his interviews and Ofsted inspections were entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable. A donation of £50 was made to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for Rod’s attendance, as his grandson had previously been in their care for some three years with a kidney condition.