Chairman's report for the year 2018-2019

AT LAST year’s AGM the existing committee members were re-elected en-bloc with the exception of Jean Chaplin, Roger Brown and Sarkis Kupelian who resigned from the Committee. In accordance with our constitution, the committee officers were elected at the subsequent committee meeting. Ray Watson decided to stand down as Deputy Chairman due to personal circumstances and Keith Souter was elected to that position. The other officers remained unchanged. During the year we have welcomed Anna Sykes and Harriet Swainson to the Committee and will seek to confirm their appointment later this evening.

Our summer 2018 event was a Medieval Family Festival run in collaboration with the Friends of Sandal Castle at West Yorkshire Sports Club on August 11. Whilst this was enjoyed by all those who attended the attendance was disappointing. We concluded that any future such event should be held at the Castle once phase1 of the refurbishment works was complete, which was borne out by the very successful event held there on 5 May this year. For 2019 we reverted to “music on the lawn”.

In September 2018 our fourth scarecrow festival was, by popular consensus, the best event the SCA has ever staged in bringing the whole community together and, as you are probably aware, preparations for this year’s festival are well underway.

The festive season commenced with the Christmas tree light-up. The switch-on was followed by an entertaining evening, featuring Sandal Singers, at Sandal Castle School.  As the “live” Christmas tree, which was planted in November 2017, is still rather small we decided to have a cut tree as well in 2018. Early December drew another packed house to the West Yorkshire Sports Club where we again enjoyed listening to the Horbury Victoria Youth Brass Band. We plan to repeat both these popular events prior to Christmas this year.

In January we held a joint event with the WYS&SC with SCA member Bill Tomlin entertaining the sell-out audience with an evening of swing music. As this event proved so popular the Sports Club intend to repeat it later this year.

These events were augmented by a few regular favourites such as the cheese and wine evening including a fascinating talk by Paul Blythe about his career as a nuclear submarine commander, a litter pick to coincide with the Great British Spring Clean, afternoon cream tea at The Spring and the return of hanging baskets for the summer months. Our final event of the 2018/19 financial year on March 6th was a visit to the West Yorkshire History Centre which was free to members and so oversubscribed that two sessions were required, with the extremely interesting presentation and tour provided by archivist Helen Walker.

In the current year we will again be staging a few more “firsts”. However, if you have any ideas for future functions we would welcome suggestions, particularly if you are willing to help with the organisation. One of my key aims as chair of the Association is to engage with the wider community so please let me know of any ideas you have to enhance community spirit and inclusivity within Sandal.

On the communications front, the website continues to be updated, our Facebook “likes” increased from around 2000 to 2400 in the last year and we continue to be on Twitter at “sandalvillage” in addition to continuing to update our members through regular emails.

So 2018/19 proved to be another good year for the Association with membership again around 430 households. Thank you to those members who have continued to support the Association and we extend a warm welcome to those who have joined during the year.  We will strive to increase membership again during the coming year. Membership application/renewal letters will again be distributed to approximately   3,000 households with our autumn newsletter prior to the October 1 renewal date.

Finally, I would like to thank both the committee and the members who regularly assist us at events for their work and support during the year. If anyone else wishes to join us please contact myself or any other committee member.

Les Goddard