Petworth Society reports members and donations up

AUTHOR Mel Rees entertained members at the 38th annual meeting of Petworth Society with stories of his life and family.

Chairman Peter Jerrome welcomed 55 members and reported on activities.

He said outings and visits to Dover Castle and Chichester Harbour (by boat) were coming up.

The annual dinner which started as a one-off` had become an institution.

The bond with the Harris brothers, showmen of Ashington, was still strong, perhaps surprising after the disastrous fire which almost destroyed the Gallopers in 2005.

The magazine, approaching its 150th edition, inevitably reflected the personality of the editor, who had to interest a very diverse audience. He said all copies of his latest book Peter, dead drunk had been sold.

The regular book sales were not only a vital source of income, but also appealed to people outside the society.

There followed slides of activities by Ian and Pearl Godsmark and David Wort, walks around Lodsworth, Ambersham Common, Osiers Farm and Burton Park, the annual dinner with a tour of the Petworth House stables, the visit to the BBC television studios, Fair Day, the memorial seat to the late John Grimwood, Rohan McCullough’s portrayal of Beatrix Potter and the meeting with live hedgehogs, ending with shots of the town and countryside taken from the tall crane used in the construction of Morgan Court in Station Road.

Treasurer Andrew Henderson pointed out that attendances at meetings had risen.

There had been an increase in donations, for which he expressed the society`s gratitude. Magazine printing costs had fallen slightly, but increasing postal charges could mean a rise in subscriptions for members receiving their magazines by mail.

Production of a publicity leaflet accounted for the rise in printing costs, but it had resulted in recruiting 27 new members to the society.

Michael Hubbard, the society’s town crier, gave an account of his engagements during the year.