Chairman's Summer Newsletter 2020

Mid year updates
When I wrote the first draft of my Chairman’s Statement back in mid-January, no one would – or could — have predicted where we’d be by mid summer. Annual General Meeting postponed, Members Tours cancelled, Snave service cancelled and little or no activity on the Marsh or elsewhere as the whole country headed into an enforced lockdown.I felt therefore that it would make sense to bring forward my usual Autumn Newsletter so that I could up date on news and plans — such as they are – for the future.
May I just start by saying that I hope all Members and their families and friends are safe and well and if any of you have had the virus, I hope that you are well on the way to a full recovery with no long lasting ill effects. Thankfully, we have not heard of any Members who have died as a result of Covid-19 but if there have been, we extend our deepest sympathies to all their friends and families.
Moving on to Marsh matters, you will all be aware that we had to postpone our AGM in May. This would have included what I feel sure would have an excellent address from our intended speaker, Sandra Howard. Sandra has very kindly said that commitments and health restrictions permitting, she will speak to us next year and as soon as there is some greater clarity on what sort of gatherings can take place, we will try and fix a date for 2021.
However, we are required by law to hold an annual general meeting each year and enclosed with this Newsletter is a Notice of Meeting for our AGM to be held at 12 noon on Saturday 5 September at St George’s, Ivychurch. As you can appreciate, this will be a somewhat different meeting to previous years. Sadly there will be no lunch beforehand and obviously no speaker; it will be no more than the basic meeting in order to fulfil our statutory requirements. I anticipate that the meeting itself will take no more than 20 minutes. Of course any and all Members are fully entitled to attend and we would be delighted to see you but unless you live nearby, you may prefer not to make the journey. Ivychurch is a very large church and we are confident that we can maintain suitable social distancing but so that we have an idea ofthe possible numbers attending, would anyone planning to come, please let Elizabeth Marshall know in advance. Her contact details — physical address, telephone number and email address are shown at the head of the Notice. When you arrive at the church, please wait to be shown to your seat. We will also ask everyone to leave their name and a contact telephone number.
Members will all be aware that our Treasurer, Ian Meier died earlier this year. It is proving extremely difficult to find a replacement and of course subsequent events as the country closed down have not helped our search. The role would be ideally suited to someone with accounting or book keeping skills as well as a certain amount of spare time to devote to the Trust. If any Member would like to take it on or who has a friend or colleague who they think might be suitable, please do contact us via Elizabeth.
Although the implementation of grants has taken something of a back seat this year, we have in fact made funds available for a number of repairs; to be undertaken when circumstances permit. A grant of £17,000 has been awarded to Old Romney for redecoration of the church whilst a grant of just over £13,000 has been made to Newchurch for a range of repairs following their quinquennial. In addition, we have made a provisional grant of up to £10,000 to Snave which will cover general maintenance during the year to both the church and churchyard. Visitors to Snave may have seen that a number of bird boxes have been placed in the churchyard. This is an initiative by Kent Wildlife Trust who will maintain and record activity in the boxes. Finally a small grant of just over £1,000 has been made to Brenzett for repairs to some of the stonework which have been carried out!
Postage costs are an ever increasing expense for a Trust such as ours and I hope Members will forgive me if I use this Newsletter to draw attention to the three new Christmas cards we will have on sale this year. Given all that has happened this year and that I am writing this in July, it is hard to get one’s head around thoughts of Christmas but thanks to Agnes, who prints our cards for us, we managed to get our cards under way before the lockdown took effect. If it’s too much of a stretch to think of Christmas right now — and I sympathise — just put the form to one side for a couple of months but please don’t forget about us come the Autumn!
In the meantime, please stay safe and look after your health and those around you. Perhaps we will see a few of you at our AGM and hopefully, normal service will be resumed in 2021.
Peter Anwyl-Harris
Chairman