Friends of Guildford House reports

Committee:-  Co-Chairmen  - Hilary Leigh, Barbara Logan.
Hon. Secretary                      - Greta Willis.
Hon. Treasurer                      -  John Surrey.
Membership Secretary         - Phyl Morris.
Visits Organiser                    - Gwyneth Craske.
Lectures  Organiser             - Beryl Davies
Members                               - Ann Fearey,

                                          Tessa  Johnson,

                                           Pauline Read


The past year,2022/3, has seen the successful relaunch, after the disruption of the pandemic years of lock-down, of the Friends programme  of visits and lectures, thanks to the hard work of Gwyneth Craske and Beryl Davies. They made a cautious  start, not knowing  what restrictions lay ahead and how members would feel about mixing and travelling. Also costs had rocketed.
Our first event was the AGM in April  2022, when the meeting  was followed by tea and cakes and an illustrated talk about Guildford past and present. The afternoon was much enjoyed by everyone present. This was followed by a full summer programme of visits, beginning with Leonardslee  Gardens  in May. Other visits were to Hever Castle, Kew Gardens,  Royal Holloway College and Ditchling Museum. The winter lecture programme  began ,as usual, in October with a talk by Gemma Hague on John Russell,  the C18 Guildford portraitist and the exhibition of his works that had been on display in Guildford House. The following month Tammy  Ellis talked to us about the Spanish  painter,  Joaquin  Sorolla.
During  the winter and early spring  months,  the Committee decided to have just one event a month. Mary Broughton talked to us in January about Sidney Sime and the local Sime Gailery in Worplesdon. In February we ventured  up to London to the Cezanne exhibition atTate Modern. In March  a day was spent at Guildford Cathedral, becoming  more familiar with one of own local iconic buildings.


Many societies have found it difficult recovering from the effects of the pandemic, so we have teamed  up with the Friends of the Museum and the Friends of the Cathedral in opening a number of our events to each other.
A fulI programme of visits is planned for the sunmer (see  enclosed details)  and lectures and visits are being explored for autumn and winter.
BUT, of course, all this depends  on two things. Firstly, your support  - we cannot run visits at a loss. Secondly, having a fully active and computer literate Committee.
A number  of the present committee are well over 80 and are seeking to retire after years of sterling service. The following wish to retire and must be replaced.
Barbara Logan, who has been on the committee since 1995 and  a very active member.  She organised visits for the Friends until 2O2l  and has been Co-Chairman since 2020. In the 1990s and early 2000s she also ran holidays at home and abroad, as well as organising  and catering for'Winter
Lunches'  and 'Summer  Suppers'  at Burchetts  Farm Bam. She has been the 'heart and soul' of the Friends and we all thank her sincerely.
Hilary Leigh has been  a valuable  member  of the committee since 2014,  serving as Vice-Chairman since 2017 and latterly  as a most efficient Co-Chairman.
Greta Willis the present  Hon. Sec. joined the committee in 2011 and became  Hon. Sec. in 2012. Her knowledge of the Friends  of Guildford House, her commitment and efficiency as secretary have been  invaluable.
Phyl Morris joined the committee in 2018 as a conscience  Membership  Secretary.

We thank  all these members for their time and the hard work that they have put in, enabling The Friends  of Guildford House to operate  smoothly.
Now it is YOUR turn to keep the Society flourishing. If members do not come forward to filI the positions of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Hon. Secretary and Membership Secretary, as explained in our recent letter, an EGM will be called in October to decide on the future of The Friends  and the possible dissolution of the Society. Nomination forms are enclosed with this mailing and should be returned to the Hon. Sec. by 4th April. If you would like more information about what is involved, please  contact Greta Willis on 01483 575535 (wi11is632@btinternet.cqm).
The committee thank David Worrall. the Web Mgr, for maintaining the Friends  of Guildford House website and distributing information to members online. His help and work are very much appreciated
Among the Friends who have sadly died during the year, are two long standing members and officers, Iris Hawkins  and Nancy Butcher. Iris Hawkins was curator at Guildford House Gallery in the early years and founded The Friends of Guildford House 53 years ago. At fust she ran the
Society almost single-handed and remained an active member until a few weeks before she died.
Nancy Butcher was a long-serving member of the Committee, organising  the steward rota (when stewards were required for some of the exhibitions  in Guildford House), and more latterly, arranging  the lecfure programme.
Please fill in the Membership Forms fully and carefully, as details may have changed in the meantime, and return them by lst April 2023, together with the membership  fee of £15. Subscriptions  are being  collected so that we can ascertain the exact number of our membership. We are optimistic  that members will value 'The Friends' sufficiently to step forward  and prevent  our dissolution, but cheques  etc will not be banked until after the AGM when the future of the Society  is clearer.
We look forward to seeing many of you at the AGM in the Guildhall on 19tr  April 2023 at 2.30pm. The meeting  will be followed by tea, cake and chat and then a talk by David Rose entitled
'Origins  of Street  and Road Names in Guildford'
March 2023.


To download the last Chairperson's Report, click here Spring Newsletter 2023.pdf