Chairmans Chat 2023

April

Peter in the stocks!

Hello all Country Linkers,

I hope you all had a good Easter Holiday. Lorna and I went to visit my sister in Italy which was very enjoyable, and it was good to have a break from the rain here in the UK!

Now that the clocks have changed, and the evenings are becoming lighter, it would be good to get some better weather so that we can all start to enjoy some outdoor events again.

It's good to see that most programmes are being updated, and uploaded to the website, on a regular basis and I'm always impressed with the different things each club chooses to do. There's a good variety of walks, visits, and meals on offer.

In Nottinghamshire, our regular evening meetings are on the first and third Wednesday of each month. However, to try and encourage more people to come along we also have a coffee morning on the 5th Wednesday, about 4 times a year. Maybe your own club could consider holding a daytime meeting occasionally as some members may find a daytime meeting more convenient.

During March we held our planning meeting for the summer programme. Several members turned up for a meal, and a few more came along later to join in for a drink and chat. This was followed by a pub night at The Gleaners Inn, Calverton - our normal meeting place.

For our first meeting in April, we joined in with the Radcliffe-on-Trent Local History Society for a talk about the history of Radcliffe's pubs. There was a short introduction about the history of pubs in general, and the difference between an ale house and a public house. This was followed by a detailed talk about the history of each pub in the village (there has been several over the years), along with the names of the landlords over a long period of time. One pub in particular had a succession of landlords with the surname Hallam and our member Sue Hallam wondered if they may be related in some way.

Peter Hurt, our national president, organised a dinner dance in March which was held at a local golf centre. This was attended by several Nottinghamshire members, as well as Rodney from Oxfordshire. Derbyshire members often come along to this event as well but unfortunately, due to a change of date this year, were unable to make it.

A few of us met up the following day when we visited the Nottingham Transport Museum at Ruddington and then went into the city of Nottingham to visit the Galleries of Justice. These are two really interesting museums if you should ever get the chance to visit. See the photograph of me standing with my head and wrists in the stocks!

The National Committee had a successful meeting on 24th March, held at Leek Wootton village hall. It's always good to catch up with fellow committee members as well as discuss the main business of Country Link itself. We have received nominations for the posts of Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary ahead of the AGM but, to date, no-one has been nominated for the role of Vice-Chairman. Nominations or proposals for Vice-Chair will be taken from the floor at the AGM in Telford. If you would like to be considered for this role please put yourself forward, or talk to a member of the committee.

I would remind all of the clubs that there is £500.00 per club available to help with the cost of advertising locally. This can be an advert in your local press, a show guide, small items that can be carried away such as pens or pencils, or you could consider having a stand at a local show.

I'm now looking forward to the National Weekend in Telford and hope to see some of you there.

Peter Hunt - Chairman

If you are reading this and would like to know more about Country Link, please take a look at the programmes section on the website to see what sort of things we get up to. You are welcome to get in touch with your local club directly or use our contact form. If there's no club in your area, you are welcome to join in as a national member.

Country Link looks forward to hearing from you.

March

Tucking into pancakesTucking into pancakesTucking into pancakes

Hello all Country Linkers,

Hopefully it's not too wet in your part of the world.

Nottinghamshire Country Link has had a busy February. At the beginning of the month there were enough members from our group to enter 2 teams into a fund-raising quiz, for another organisation, at Hoveringham village hall. We didn't win but it was an enjoyable evening, great to catch up, and the included curry supper was very good.

Our first programmed meeting was a talk by Pam Farquhar. Pam spoke to us about the role of military dogs both past and present, she covered the history of military dogs and how dogs have been used by the military in different countries. She also spoke about some of the dogs themselves as she has taken in a number of retired dogs and rehomed them herself. These dogs often need specialist handling due to the experiences encountered as working dogs. Of course, explosive detection dogs have saved numerous lives.

This was followed by pancake night at Peter Hurt's. It's a good opportunity to sit and chat with other members. There's always an excellent turnout for this (annual) event, and everyone enjoys their pancakes! Peter provides the eggs, Michele makes the batter, and Tim cooks the pancakes. Roma and David provide hot roast pork and cobs as well so there's always plenty of food to go around. It's a real team effort.

I have included a couple of pictures of people enjoying their pancakes, and of Tim preparing to toss a pancake. It is much harder than it looks to get a good action shot!

Our first meeting in March will be a planning meeting for our Spring / Summer programme. I am certainly looking forward to the (hopefully) better spring weather and the start of some outdoor meetings again.

I've noticed that some clubs are coming towards the end of their programmes so I'm sure that most of you will be having planning meetings too. Please remember to send the updated programmes to Vicky so that she can have them put on the website. I do know that Vicky does chase up the clubs as their programmes are coming to an end, and she will have programmes taken down once their last meeting date has gone.

The National Committee will be holding our next meeting this month, focussing on preparation for the AGM. If you have any ideas, suggestions or comments you would like raising at the committee meeting please contact your area rep who will include them in their report at the meeting.

The AGM will be held at the National Weekend in Telford during May. The positions of National Chairman, National Vice-Chairman, National Treasurer, and National Secretary all come up for re-election at the AGM. If you wish to stand for one of these positions, or nominate someone else, then the nomination forms need to be sent to Liz Goodwin by 15th March. The forms are available for download from the website country-link.co.uk/documents/Nomination-form-January-2024.pdf and completed forms should be sent to Liz on the following email address: nationalsecretary@country-link.co.uk

The National Weekend in Telford is now sold out, and I am looking forward to visiting this interesting part of the country. Hope to see many of you there.

Best Wishes

Peter Hunt - Chairman

February

Hello all Country Linkers,

I trust that you are all well.

In Nottinghamshire, our second meeting of the year was a talk, and our AGM. The talk was given by one of our own members, Nick Bereznyckyj, about a local memorial known as the Polish Cross.

The memorial is in an area known as Watchwood Plantation and is usually only accessible on foot. A woodland roadway to it is opened for remembrance purposes in November each year and with the agreement of the Forestry Commission. It is the site of an air crash from WW2 in which 3 Polish airmen were killed.

The Polish forces had a strong connection with a number of RAF bases across Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire where Polish aircrew from 300 Mosovian Squadron were based.

On 13th October 1940 there had been a successful bombing raid against invasion barges along the coast of Northern France and on returning to their base at RAF Swinderby a stricken Fairie Battle plane came down near to Calverton, tragically killing the three aircrew instantly. The original memorial was created by miners from the nearby local pit in Calverton.

The pilot was Flight Lieutenant Jan Gebicka, who was the grandfather of Nottinghamshire Country Link member Ania Gebicka. He was a very experienced pilot, having been a test pilot before the war. Nick explained that the planes always flew in pairs and the other plane in this pair also came down, approximately 2 miles away, and on the site of what is now a private hospital and Nottinghamshire County Police Headquarters. The crew from this second plane all survived and walked away from the crash.

The talk was followed by the Nottinghamshire group's AGM. This was a couple of weeks earlier than usual, due to Notts committee members other commitments and to fit in with our programme. We always find that more people attend the AGM if we combine it with a speaker meeting rather than having a stand-alone AGM.

Please remember when you hold your own AGM that you should advise Liz Goodwin of any changes in contact details for your group.

Liz can be contacted by email on nationalsecretary@country-link.co.uk

It's positive to see that clubs have up to date programmes on the website, with a good selection of events. It will be great to get into the Spring with lighter nights and warmer weather so that we can all enjoy some good outdoor meetings.

The National Committee will be holding our meeting at the end of March. The main focus will be preparing for the National AGM which will be held in Telford during the National Weekend in May. If you have any comments or suggestions that you would like to raise at the committee meeting please contact your group leader or area rep. The area rep can then include these points in their report to the committee. The positions of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer come up for election in May and nomination forms for these posts need to be received by Liz Goodwin (email address as above) no later than Friday 15th March 2024. If anyone is interested in taking on one of these roles please talk to a member of the National Committee, or your area rep, to find out more about it.

Finally, I understand that the National Weekend in Shropshire is now sold out. Well done Carolyn!

Best Wishes

Peter Hunt - Chairman

January

Hello all Country Linkers,

Wishing you all A Happy New Year, and all the best for 2024.

It has been a particularly wet end to 2023 and start to 2024, with flooding in many parts of the country. My thoughts are with those who have lost winter crops and vegetables, and who may be struggling to feed livestock.

Aside from the weather - I hope that everyone had a good Christmas and New Year, with the usual Christmas meals, visits to the panto and New Year's Eve parties.

In Nottinghamshire we had a very successful Christmas meal at the Royal Oak pub in East Bridgford with 21 members attending. It was great to catch up with people and the food was excellent too!

Our first meeting in 2024 was for mulled wine and nibbles at Pat Bosworth's home, with 13 members attending plus a couple of other invited friends as well. Unfortunately, I was unable to go to Pat's for this event. Two of our members needed to cross the River Trent to go home and shortly after they'd left Pat's we heard that the road, and bridge over the river, had been closed due to the flooding in the area.

Lorna and I took the opportunity to join Derbyshire Country Link at the panto held at Derby Arena, where we saw a matinee performance of Mother Goose. We all had a good laugh and were far enough back in the auditorium to escape the 'Super Soakers'. This was just as well as there was heavy rain on the day and we'd become quite wet getting out of the car.

The next National Weekend is from 10th to 13th May and will be held at the Holiday inn, Telford. Shropshire is an interesting place to visit with many historical attractions, including Blist's Hill Museum and the famous Iron Bridge. For those who want to go your deposit needs to be paid by 14th January but please note that there are no single rooms left.

There is currently no National Weekend planned for Autumn 2024 and we are still looking for volunteers to host this event. There is plenty of advice and support available from the National Committee and in the Country Link handbook.

Lorraine Clarke continues to arrange National Days Out, and the details for January, February, and March 2024 are all on the website. Lorna and I joined Lorraine's visit to Upton House in December. It was an enjoyable afternoon and a good opportunity to meet members from other clubs. Visits arranged so far for 2024 are:

Please contact Lorraine if you would like to go, and follow the links from the Upcoming Events section on the Home Page for more information about the venues.

Best Wishes

Peter Hunt - Chairman

If you are reading this and would like to know more about Country Link, please take a look at the programmes section on the website to see what sort of things we get up to. You are welcome to get in touch with your local club directly or use our contact form. If there's no club in your area, you are welcome to join in as a national member.

Country Link looks forward to hearing from you.

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