LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN 

Welcome to our centre website. I hope you find it interesting and are encouraged to join our centre as a result of seeing all we do. You should be a member of the National Trust, a member of staff or a volunteer if you want to join us. Our activities add a further social dimension to being involved with the National Trust locally and help to raise funds for it.

We have had a lot of activities in the last three months. Car and Coach outings have been well attended and the lectures season is taking place. The walking group still regularly explores the footpaths of Gloucestershire and local hostelries. 

The joint study day with North Cotswold Association took place on a warm sunny day at Croome last month. The highlight of November, the Christmas meal, is on the horizon as I write!

We are succeeding in reducing our basic costs in key areas. At the same time, we have invested in an up-to-date membership leaflet to circulate to promote ourselves. We are reviewing the location and times of our lectures for 2018/19 and have our subcommittee structure and roles sorted out and approved. This is a lot to take on but it helps us survive and hopefully, grow.

Although we have just under 400 paid up members at present, we need more members and for them to consider volunteering to help with our activities.
We can find roles now for any new volunteers from our membership to suit their talents and interests. 

There are roles at home helping in the background, or if you want to get more actively involved, the opportunities are seemingly endless. Volunteers can help out for as little or for as much time as you have to spare.

Please contact our membership secretary or leave a message on the contacts page of this website, if you would like to join us. We welcome you in any capacity principally as a member but if you want to help us run this long-established and active supporters group, as a centre volunteer, that would be great
                                                                                                  Bill Cronin, Chairman.

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                                        Joint Study Day at Croome 20th September 2017

A bright sunny day helped the twenty-three members of the two supporter groups enjoy their day at Croome. The organisation of the day benefited from the excellent management and enthusiasm of Hasnah Sheriff, the Visitor Experience Officer. The help given by the other staff and volunteers was generally praised by all who spoke to me.
To the background of the peal of the Church bells, the group walked or were driven to the House. Those who walked were accompanied by Hugh Warwick from the Parks Team who talked knowledgeably about the Estate and the influence of Capability Brown.

Once in the House we were given a full and enjoyable tour and were shown the furniture and artifacts recently returned to Croome from the 6th Earl of Coventry’s collection. The knowledge and enthusiasm of the House Manager, Tom Coombe and Volunteer Guide, Larry Freeman, was agreeably mixed with humour which always helps.
In the restaurant, the group enjoyed an excellent light lunch prepared by Vicky Burrows and the Catering Team.
In the afternoon the party split up into three groups to visit the RAF Museum, Walled Garden or The Red Wing.
Again, there seemed to be praise for all three activities. The Walled Garden attracted the most members and its extent, historic and technical innovation together with the distant views of the Malvern Hills seemed to surprise and pleased many. Chris Cronin is an enthusiastic co-owner.

The Red Wing Tour and RAF Museum group also reported an interesting time. These sessions were fronted by Rachael Sessford and Ken McDonald respectively.
This was the second study day jointly organised by North Cotswold Association and Cheltenham and Gloucestershire Centre. 

Bob Hann, the chairman of North Cotswold Association and I, have agreed that we need a volunteer to take over the organisation of any further study days elsewhere, although we will give support and advice. 

A volunteer can come from either supporter group.

Croome is now exploring the possibility of coordinating their own special interest days for local NT Supporter Groups, taking some of the pressure off supporter groups arranging their own visits.

Finally, a lot is changing at Croome and a regular visit to this constantly evolving property is worth it. Try it, and even though you have to pay to visit the privately owned walled garden, that is an experience worth trying. Formal tours of the House and Red Wing do take place as well. I suggest you always check the Croome and Walled Garden websites beforehand.
                                                               Bill Cronin, Chairman of Cheltenham & Gloucestershire Centre

 The AGM of the Centre took place at Sacred Hearts Church Hall, Moorend Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham on Saturday 25th March 2017 at 2.30pm. During the AGM the President of the Centre, Michael Forster-Smith, acknowledged the help and support of four retiring volunteers who have given long service to the organisation.

Andrew Ellis, the Treasurer, has been a member of the Centre since 1966 and has just completed his second term as Treasurer. His meticulous attention to detail and presentation of annual financial reports has been very helpful to the Centre. This is in spite of him having to deal with quite long periods of ill health in recent years.

Doreen Cook, the former Membership Secretary, volunteered at this post for 26 years. She must have been responsible for signing up hundreds of members and kept meticulous records of all of them. She is also a former committee member over several years.

Joan Wendon, the organiser of newsletter distribution, took over this post in 1991. At one stage all of the newsletters were delivered by hand to over a thousand members and Joan managed this major exercise. Again, Joan is a former committee member.


June Stroud, a member of the Lectures Sub-Committee was unable to attend the meeting. She has been a member since the mid-1990s and for a period was the Secretary to the Lectures Sub-Committee and has carried out a number of other roles for the Centre. Her most recent roles were welcoming members to the lectures and helping with the Newsletter preparation.

                

            Retirees at the 2017 AGM, L-R  Andrew Ellis, Doreen Cook & Joan Wendon, pictured with our                           President  Michael Forster-Smith.    

      

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