Approaching the end of our 1st year

We are approaching the end of our 1st year. Your help in making available photos and memories has been invaluable. On the 15th July (our usual coffee morning from 10 am till 12 noon) we are holding our first AGM. If anyone wants to raise any questions they can send it in beforehand or raise it on the day. We are also having a general quiz on our heritage. Please get your thinking caps on. Subscription fees were due on June 1st and have remained unchanged from the 1st year.

June has been an enormously enjoyable month for the Society. More than 300 people attended our open day on June 19th at Great Wyrley Sports and Social Club. Our Honorary President, Mr, Fred Pritchard joined us during the day and the feedback has been excellent from everyone, including our neighbouring Societies that participated with us. Attendees bought in a number of items which were scanned during the day and we are continually looking for further items so that our library can continue to grow.

A week later, bathed in glorious sunshine, upwards of 6,000 people attended the Great Wyrley Carnival. We had a steady stream of people attending our stall and it was evident that there is a great level of interest in our heritage. Thanks to all people who joined us and to our volunteer team who helped make both occasions so enjoyable and rewarding. Did you see us on the field at the back of the Star?

Our first evening meeting went off well. Owing to the Volcano dust our intended speaker was unable to attend, but the Archivist from Walsall History Centre, in Essex Street, Paul Ford (a village lad), stepped in at short notice and gave a fascinating talk on the role of a Walsall Coroner in the early 20th Century, also numerous interesting local tales. Our second evening session has been arranged for October 18th. Please make a note in your diary for 7.30 pm in the theatre at the Performing Arts High School.

The speaker is Roger Oldfield. Roger has researched the Edalji case for thirty years and has been the author of two books on the subject. His latest research has unearthed further material which has been integrated into a new all-embracing book which is due to be launched in August / September. It should be a fascinating night and we hope you can all join us. Pam Ball is making the definitive arrangements for the session along with the coffee mornings held on the third Thursday each month at the Senior Citizens Centre. We welcome suggestions as to future speakers and Pam will be delighted to include them in the future schedule.

We have been fortunate in securing funding support from the heritage Lottery Fund. This has allowed us to move forward and invest in the future of the Society. We have installed secure storage facilities at the Centre for our library of archive materials. A further benefit is enabling us to work with a professional Research Historian, Dr. Paul Collins. Paul has written in the order of 19 books on a range of heritage topics, predominantly in the West Midlands and he is providing invaluable mentoring support as we move ahead as a Society. We hope to introduce Paul to members of the Society at a future meeting.

Finally, we are pleased to welcome Roger Knowles into the Society. Roger is a long-standing member of the Society of Archivists. His specialism will be invaluable to the Society and will build upon the professional efforts to date of Sue Challenger. Their combined skills mean we are especially well prepared to receive more of your memoirs so they can be copied and securely protected for members and future generations of the community.

We have had an enjoyable and rewarding 1st year. Thank you for your support.

Gary Smith

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