This is the first episode of Chair’s Chatter for me, being very new in the job. I want to thank everyone who came to the AGM for the confidence placed in me by voting for me to be the Chair for the next 3 years. I have only been a member of the Ramblers for less than 6 years and while I know many of you, there are also a majority who won’t know anything about me..
I am American by birth but have lived here since I was 14 and now hold dual citizenship. I was a solicitor by profession, specialising in commercial property but retired from that in 2007. Alice and I now run our own rental business, doing most of the work ourselves – so I am not really retired but probably work on average 2-3 days a week. We live in Woldingham and have a dog named Jenson, who many of you may know better than you know us!
Alice and I have been married for almost 12 years, together for 27 years. We joined the Ramblers almost by accident: we were putting our boots on in a car park to go for a walk on our own when someone came over and asked: ‘are you walking with us today?’ It turned out they were the North West Kent Ramblers, and they invited us to join them. We did, and shortly afterwards joined the Ramblers Association and asked to be put in the North West Kent Group. This request was ignored, and we were allocated to East Surrey Walkers. Within a year I volunteered to help John Nathan organise the overseas holiday to Morocco, and we’ve never looked back. Obviously, this was meant to be!
Since then I’ve organised or helped to organise other ESW holidays to Turkey, Spain, France and next year to Austria. I am a path warden, a path inspector and I do lead some walks although not as many as I would like to if I were fully retired.
But enough about me.
The Committee and other officers have been busy since the AGM in November. The biggest change has been to our website which had become seriously outdated and the software was no longer supported. Our Webmaster Brian Smith spent very many hours working on this and in December we launched the new site with assistance from Nigel Poulter and Adam Wilson. So far we have only received positive comments, and if you haven’t yet familiarised yourself with it I would encourage you to do so.
The Barn Dance in November was a great success, and we are now looking forward to our wonderful New Year’s Dinner on 21 January 2018 which will again be held in St Agatha’s Hall and catered for us. Pamela has also arranged a surprise for after lunch, so it will be a great event.
We are also in the midst of the Festival of Winter Walks, which is a country-wide event by the Ramblers which we fully participate in. It runs from 23 December until 7 January and we have walks every day except Christmas Day. Do look at the walks programme HERE and try to come along to one or more of these. It is often at this time that members of the public join us, so please make a special effort to be welcoming to any visitors and of course encourage them to join us! You never know, one of them may one day become our Chair….
Chair East Surrey Walkers