News archive

June 2018

Monday, 4 June 2018

2017/18 was another busy year for our Group

Last year saw us starting to run the HH RSPB group without a designated Group Leader. Well, so far so good. With a lot of effort and goodwill on the part of various committee members, the committee have shared out all the necessary jobs to keep the group on its feet and running smoothly. These include front of house things such as running the evening meetings, hosting and chairing the committee meetings, and attending local events. But it also includes booking speakers, arranging group outings, balancing the books, maintaining the website, the members' database and the e-mail newsgroup. All the committee have stepped up to the crease to ensure these things are all done and done well. Ian Wilson is the point of contact with RSPB regional office and RSPB headquarters; Jenni Anderson booked the speakers and organised the evening meetings. Alan Corner organised a great programme of outings throughout the year. Ian Brading, currently our only official appointed by RSPB, has continued to manage the accounts as Treasurer. Ian Parker has carried on as our very diligent publicity officer. David Brown has continued as our website manager, and although he is stepping down from the committee this year, he has volunteered to maintain the website until another volunteer can take over, and we are grateful to him for that. Diane Wilson has done a great job of running the monthly raffles, selling bird food and working with her husband Steve on other fundraisers such as selling vintage prints. Mary Attwood has carried on with her regular job of welcoming us all as she collects entrance subs at the meetings. And I still write to new RSPB members in the area, sending also the annual programme and newsletter.
Our other willing non-committee volunteers did a great job during the year as always, for which we thank them:
Marion Osman, Ann Farrer, Christine Brading, Pat Smith and Anthea Lovatt on refreshments
Peter and Sue Bolton running the Annual Grand Draw
Anthea Lovatt and Gordon Short organising sales of RSPB pin-badges at a number of local venues
Robert Moore setting the twice-yearly quiz night questions, and adjudicating on the night together with his wife Kathy, and with Jenni and Marion. Robert now wishes to relinquish the role of quiz-setter, so we are asking for a new volunteer to join the team and help with question-setting.

It has been a successful year for the group; attendance numbers have remained stable. We had another very good programme of speakers to entertain and inform the group; highlights included Yellowstone Park, The Falklands, the reserves of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife trust and an excellent masterclass on identifying wading birds. Alan's programme of outings included trips to Pagham, Frampton Marsh, Brandon in Warwickshire, and an amazing day of birding on a Thames sailing barge cruising from Maldon along the Blackwater estuary.
Fundraising continued: we held two successful quiz nights, despite the March quiz having to be postponed because of the late snow. The Grand Draw and monthly raffles also added significantly to our conservation donations. We thank you all for coming to the evening meetings, contributing to the fundraising and supporting the local group in whichever ways you do. And most of all for supporting the birds and other wildlife in your gardens, in the local area and everywhere that the RSPB works for nature.
We acknowledge with great sadness the recent death of Phil Farrer, who has contributed so much to the group over many years. Every year he used great desktop publishing skills to prepare and lay out our programmes and newsletters, spending many hours on these. He and his wife Ann toured the country giving wildlife talks and donating all their profits to our group's fundraising totals, and Phil continued to do this even when battling cancer, when nobody would have expected it of him.
The new season's programme is being finalised and will be printed and issued soon. It promises to be another good year of presentations at our evenings and outings to lovely reserves for birding and other wildlife watching. We won't be producing a newsletter in the summer but our outings reports, photographs and other articles can be found on our website in the meantime.
When we send the programmes out to you we will also be giving you a permission slip to complete and return to us. I'm sure you will all be aware that changes in the Data Protection rules mean that all organisations need to confirm that they have permission from us to hold our personal information on lists, databases etc. and how we wish to be contacted by them. We have to do it for our local group, for those of you who gave us your name and address for our mailing list in the past.
Remember, if you haven't done it already, you also need to give permission to the main RSPB organisation to hold your information and contact you, otherwise they will not be able to send you your magazine, letters, appeals, etc.