It has been usual for the society's journal to be sent out at this time of year with the diaries. Unfortunately we have encountered several problems with the printing of a journal; these are now resolved and the publishing date will now be spring 2003. I can only apologise for this delay and trust in your patience, and will devote a few paragraphs to keeping you informed of society news.
The AGM in September was a great success, so much so that it was decided that this meeting should now be held in the autumn of each year rather than the spring. This brings us into line with most other floral societies, and of more importance is that it allows us to reflect on the growing season before the memories have time to fade a little while waiting for spring to arrive.
Sadly I had to report to the meeting that due to failing health our chairman, Fred Owen would no longer be able to carry on. Members will be aware that Fred has been our major exhibitor and prize winner during the years of the society's revival. His support has done a great deal both to ensure the society's survival and future development. To honour his work for the society it was decided to purchase a new trophy for the annual show. This has been obtainied and engraved THE FRED OWEN CUP and will be presented to the winner of the basket class at each show. Fred exhibited in almost every class each year, but his baskets were always a standout.
The vacant chairmanship has been filled by John Warmer. John has put in a lot of work behind the scenes in recent years and we look forward to having his steady hand at the tiller.
It was decided that subscriptions would need to be raised to maintain the financial well-being of the society. Thus from 2003 the minimum annual subscription will be £5.00. I hope that you will all accept that this is good value for money and renew your membership next Spring. The question of increasing membership was raised and indeed it would be a great thing to improve our numbers over the next few years as this is the real guarantee of the society's future. Over the last few years great strides forward have been made, and while consolidation has been good it could be better. As 2003 is the Year of the Viola we hope that we might just pick up on the publicity.
You will notice that a show schedule is included, rather early you may think. However upon reading it you will notice some large changes, mostly in the form of additions. In reviewing this year's show it was clear that the majority of exhibits were in classes for garden varieties. The committee therefore decided that it would try to encourage more members to attend the show and exhibit by putting in classes that were easy to enter. Please look carefully at the list of classes and make a resolution to bring something to the show. Grow it in a pot, pick up that pot and bring it to the show. It will help to make the show and turn the show into a real specatacle that we can advertise on a greater scale, and so improve our profile and membership. If you are growing any sort of viola or pansy there is a class in which it can be shown. The competitive element at our show is minimal. What we want is to fill the hall with colour and scent and show the public what wonderful plants and flowers can be produced from the genus viola. By just bringing a single exhibit you will be doing much to help the society, so please do give it some serious consideration and get some plants potted up.
Season's greetings and best wishes for the coming year
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Updated February 2003