Chairman’s Letter: January 2013

Hi everyone, happy new year to you all,

Sadly, I have to start with some sad news. Since my last letter the trust has lost two of our longest
serving members, Frank Whitehouse passed away just after Christmas in the Q.E. hospital after a
short illness. At the beginning of the year John Round one of our founder members died after
battling a longer illness. Frank has been a volunteer since 2000 and has manned the desk at the
centre nearly every week since we opened. John was married to Chris and together with her brother
David Bryant and Sheila they were largely responsible for the formation of the Trust in 1997. They
both will be sadly missed by us all at the centre and we all send our condolences to their families.
Our loyal volunteers, who keep the centre going, have continued to work with archiving, repairs and
general housekeeping throughout the winter break. We have some new artefacts to display and new
exhibitions to prepare. As you all know we continue to appeal for new volunteers, so if you have a
few hours to spare and in particular if you feel you have some expertise in finding funding to keep
our centre open or promoting our museum, please contact me at the centre.
Under Gordon Ratheram’s direction volunteers prepare to send out over 750 magazines every two
months. This month’s magazine is a little late to give members a chance to re-new their
membership. We now have 3 volunteers who help with delivering the magazines, Janet Cartwright,
Malcolm Scrivens and Judy Eynon. Unfortunately last month when Janet was in the process of
delivering her quota, she had her motorbike and magazines stolen! You can imagine the problems
that caused. Thank goodness she is ok but her bike is still missing. Bob our editor, continues to do a
good but difficult job compiling a new magazine every 2 months so please keep sending your
photographs, new ideas and features for future magazines.
I mentioned in my last letter that we are planning some new venues this year but dates have not yet
been finalised. In the next magazine we will publish an events list for your dairy, which will be on the
back of our new style cover. However, there is a slight change to venues. The first Roadshow will be
held at the Council House, on 16th March and the November Road show will be at Dorothy Parkes
Centre on 9th. During the summer we are also hoping to have a new venue at Holly Lodge School,
when the theme will be “Growing up in Smethwick”. Should bring back some memories!
There will also be a slight change this year to the opening hours at our museum. Following a few
comments about working folk only able to visit on Saturdays, we have decided to open for longer on
certain Saturdays from 11am until 3pm, when tea and coffee will be available. These dates will be
published in the next edition of this magazine. We will no longer open on Wednesdays except for
the first Wednesday in each month for our regular coffee mornings. The first one will be on the 6th of
March when we open following our winter break.
Looking forward to seeing you all, sometime over the coming year.

 Best Wishes – Mary Lee

Mary Lee