Many members will already know that our Chairman, Jack Chapman, has now found it necessary to resign, and the Editor has asked me to comment briefly on his stint of almost twelve years in the Chair, prior to a more formal review at the Society's forthcoming AGM.
Jack took over from Peter Odell in the summer of 2000 and quickly made his mark on the Executive Committee. He established good relations with the Chief Executive of the Borough Council, firstly with Jim Hehir and recently with Russell Williams. The Society has always avoided political posturing while ensuring that it can work well with the Officers of the Council and with whoever has been in political control.
As Chairman, Jack has always taken a keen interest in the work of the Executive Committee members who had accepted responsibilities for specific activities. He took particular interest in the many Society visits and tours and frequently participated in these. He chaired most of the Winter Lectures and was a regular contributor to the quarterly Newsletter, being very supportive and appreciative of the Editor.
He also continued to represent the Society on the Waterfront Steering Group, an advisory body comprising representatives of organisations involved with the development of the whole Waterfront, which he chaired successfully until its demise - due to the current recession. His views were particularly valued as he did not represent any commercial interest.
Peter Odell's period of office culminated with the Society's fortieth year anniversary celebrations and conference: perhaps the highpoint of Jack's chairmanship will have been the fiftieth anniversary in 2010, in the planning of which he had been deeply involved.
So what has he achieved during his time of office these last dozen years? He has encouraged the growth of the Society's membership (now in excess of 1200) and has personally raised the profile of the Society which continues to have a good and respected name in the town. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude and appreciation for his leadership over these years, the more so as he has unfortunately had to cope with ill-health for most of the time, which he has borne with much fortitude.