News from the YHACS AGM

Nearly 60 members and guests assembled at the Cedar Court Hotel in Harrogate at the end of January for the Annual General Meeting of the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies (YHACS). Some, who travelled to Harrogate on the evening before the meeting met in the hotel bar for drinks before moving to the restaurant for the traditional pre-AGM dinner; a lively and enjoyable occasion as always.

On the morning of the AGM, Stewart Holland, a member of Harrogate Civic Society, gave an informative talk contrasting how the town had changed over the life and times of HM The Queen; relating local developments to what was happening in society more generally, both at home and abroad. Members then took the opportunity to have lunch ahead of the afternoon meeting.

Opening the AGM, YHACS Chair Kevin Trickett welcomed everyone to the AGM including special guests Sarah James from Civic Voice and Susan Spibey, deputy chair of the North West Association of Civic Trusts and Societies. Members congratulated Kevin on the award of an MBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

Kevin then presented the YHACS Annual Report and Account, asking members to reflect on what motivated them to take part in running their own societies: with so many civic societies struggling to find committee members, perhaps all societies needed to think about how they could attract new people willing to do their bit – but to recognise that civic societies might need to change the way they operate to make themselves more appealing to new members and particularly to new committee members.

Members said goodbye to YHACS committee member David Winpenny of Ripon Civic Society, sadly not present on the day, but presented a gift token to Ripon Civic Society’s deputy chair, Chris Hughes, to pass on to David as a thank you for the contribution David had made to the Association since he joined the committee in 2009. All other members of the YHACS committee were re-elected, with Kevin being re-elected to the post of chair for a period of three years rather than just one following a change to the constitution agreed last year. Members were delighted to welcome Alison Drake MBE of Castleford Heritage Trust who had agreed to join the YHACS committee and she was duly elected.

After the formal business of the AGM, members heard guest speaker Ruth Garratt from the Canal and River Trust. Ruth, who is Heritage Adviser

North East & East Midlands Waterways, explained the work that goes into keeping the rivers and canals open and focused particularly on the work to preserve the associated heritage assets, of which there are a great many.

Peter Spawforth MBE was on hand to present the YHACS/Peter Spawforth Award for Excellence with Hornsea Civic Society winning third prize (£50), Bradford Civic Society winning second (£100) and Howden Civic Society winning the top prize (£200 and the Peter Spawforth Trophy).

The meeting concluded with the usual round up of news and views from members.