Not only is it a privilege to be Chairman of our Club but it is also a great challenge. The chair I have inherited has been well looked after by previous incumbents, the latest of whom was our President, Ron Mycock. And so the responsibility sits more easily.

As in previous years, the first six months of my year as Chairman have seen the Club enjoy a busy programme. Not only do we continue our monthly lunches and coffee mornings, but members have also been able to participate in a short spring break in Bristol, a trip to Beth Chatto’s garden in Essex followed by a visit to Colchester Castle, a cruise on the river Blackwater on a Thames barge and, then, a day at Hyde Hall for the Royal Horticultural Society’s flower show. All these events came to a climax in August with our summer lunch at Ardmore House which we shared with our partners and friends when nearly 90 people enjoyed an excellent lunch and fellowship. A pity that the service was a little slow, but the Events Committee was sufficiently impressed to arrange a return visit for our Christmas Lunch.

During the first period I have been fortunate to be able to rely on the strengths of an experienced committee. I have found the support of our Secretary, Keith Hamilton, particularly beneficial. Keith will be retiring from this role at the next AGM and Tony Savage is already gearing up to succeed him. Peter Fletcher and Tony Woodhouse continue to be towers of strength and Peter May valiantly stepped in to help out as speaker finder. Mike Western has the payment of subscriptions – and, perhaps, more importantly the system for refunds – all finely tuned.

We were able to welcome two relatively new members onto the Committee, David Robinson, who has taken over from Geoff Priseman as our Welfare Officer, and Dennis McQuillian. Thank you to all three! We still have a vacancy for a Committee member though and I shall be speaking to some of you to try to encourage you to overcome your shyness and volunteer. A revised and updated version of our handbook was distributed in May.

Two further events are on the calendar over the next few weeks. First (and this may have already happened when you get this Newsletter) is a visit to Jordan’s Mill and Swiss Garden and the second a trip to Milton Keynes to see the opera Cosi fan Tutte.

And finally, my thanks to you all for your continuing support of our Club. If you can, it will great to see more of you at our coffee mornings at Verulam Golf Club. We are most grateful to the Club for its support and continuing perseverance.