Foxearth and District Local History Society

The Society held its 20th Annual General Meeting in Foxearth Village Hall on 12th March 2019. There were 28 members and guests present’

Chairlady Lynda Rumble welcomed all  especially Mr Slater,  Web site administrator for the Melford History and Archaeological Society.

A financial report was presented by Secretary Clare Mathieson showing a very satisfactory surplus of £420 in last year’s activities and a bank balance of £2,500 of which £986 was the “ring-fenced” book fund. A grant of £250 from the Foxearth and Liston Parish Council was gratefully acknowledged. It was agreed that membership and guest fees should remain at £10 pa and £2 per visit respectively and Mark Mathieson was thanked for keeping the books. Clare reviewed a successful season in 2018 and outlined an attractive programme for this year; highlights would include a visit to the Stow Maries Great War  aerodrome, including lunch in the officers’ mess: also  President Ashley Cooper and Lord Phillips reviewing their  memories of Sudbury Market Hill and businesses around.(full programme available on www.foxhistsoc.org.uk)

Thanks to all members who helped by writing reports, providing refreshment, setting up the room and managing the web site were voiced by Ashley. Particular mention was made of Lynda and Clare who run the Society so expertly. On the question (by Clare) of whether we needed a larger committee the unanimous view seemed to be not to change a winning team – and a substitute’s bench would be superfluous! Ashley expressed his delight at the vibrancy of the Society citing members’ contributions such as John Geddes’ research into Foxearth burials, Corinne Cox’s archaeological test pit excavations and Isobel Clark’s gravestone researches.

Andrew Clarke spoke about our constantly growing web site – with new material offered as he spoke – and noted that it was admired world-wide attracting about 2,800 visits each day.

After a break for wine and some delicious canapes past Chairman  Alan Fitch entertained us with reflections on his life so far. Born in pre-war London Alan experienced some family difficulties. A move towards Epping Forest just before war started  fired up an interest in climbing trees – without mishap. This facility later served him well when he had a sign making business for 40 years and never lost his footing on a ladder; he saved that for after he had retired! Evacuation to Buckinghamshire during the conflict saw him (aged seven) fishing and  – under the influence of a very much older colleague -smoking a pipe to deter midges.After Walthamstow Technical College Alan worked for a time at a division of J Arthur Rank where he was fortunate to meet such celebrities as Edmundo Ros and the boxer Freddie Mills and it was here that a fascination with cinematic technology developed. Called up for National Service  Alan opted for the Royal Air Force signing for 4 years on the promise that he could follow his interest in mechanical engineering. He became a crack rifle shot, He met the love of his life, Jo, they married in 1958 and were blissfully happy until she sadly died. Alan later married again and this wife encouraged him to practise faith healing – a talent he had not discovered! And this is the point at which the narrative ended. Surely, Alan, there’s more to come – at least another instalment. We wait with bated breath as an appreciative audience demonstrated.

Next meeting: Tuesday 9th April 7.30pm in Foxearth Village Hall when Robyn Lloyd-Hughes will talk about The rise and decline of the  Stour Valley Railways.

 

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