Oxford Centre of the National Trust

November 2019

Chairman's Letter

As your new Chair, I've been reflecting on all that 2019 has meant for the Oxford Centre whilst starting to think about 2020. It has been an eventful, interesting 50th anniversary year.

* Members have been offered 20 varied visits, ranging far and wide. From October, our winter Lecture Series hosts 6 stimulating and diverse speakers (and 200 Club prize draws). Other events have included an Anniversary Lunch, a cream tea, an AGM (with raffle), an EGM, and a 5-day holiday in Cheshire with daily excursions.

* Committee has hosted various arrivals and departures in the form of Tim Burman joining us for Forward from 50.. plus a new Communications role; Margaret Lipscomb taking over from Daphne Groat as Newsletter Editor; Lauriann Owens assuming the vacant role of Membership Secretary; myself as Chair. Rupert McNeile retired as Chairman after eight and a half years' dedicated tenure marked by acclaim and a presentation at our recent EGM, but happily remains with us as Ticket Secretary and Webmaster; Philip James stood down after a very remarkable 21 years of continuous service.

* In July, our Anniversary Appeal launched Forwardfrom 50.., targeting the need to grow our membership whilst seeking more help with the committee's workload: membership currently stands at 367, with others pending and subscriptions due for renewal in January.

* A total of 38 member helpers past and present, were invited to Tea with the President at Linacre College as a thank you for their crucial support - thereby launching our Anniversary Friends Forum. We hope to have more of you to thank in a year's time!

* The 200 Club thrives in the shared hands of Daphne Groat and Treasurer Felicity Peacock who keenly anticipate the return of the application form applying for shares for next year.

* We doggedly lobby The National Trust for help in connecting to their broad membership base as a vital means of introducing Oxford Centre to a wider audience - this has fostered a constructive dialogue wit the Trust in their sweeping review of Centres and Associations nationwide. We are delighted to have become closely involved.

* Our annual donations to Trust properties, in the likely sum of £5000 for this year, is under active and careful consideration and will be fully reported to our 2020 AGM by our Treasurer as is our usual practice.

* Phase 2 of Forward from 50.. is already building strong links with regional Trust Properties and Estates. We know that some of our members actively volunteer elsewhere for the Trust and would welcome their help and advice in forging new links with the properties. If you are in a position to introduce us, please get in touch with me - chair.ocnt@gmail.com, 01865 250870 or 07802 390914. Thank you.

With your ongoing support, we will continue to do all we can to make the Oxford Centre both better known and a very attractive proposition for existing and new members alike.

The chairmanship role is a very real privilege: I'm working alongside wonderfully dedicated committee colleagues, all deeply immersed in planning an invigorating, varied schedule of events for 2020. I look forward to getting to know all of you, as members, over the months ahead.

Pauline Martin