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Contributed by Jim Worgan

Jim WorganAt the A.G.M. held on the 9th May 2009 I was re elected as chairman despite offering to stand down. I shall however be standing down at the next A.G.M. because I firmly believe that after 6 years “at the helm” the time has come for a new chairman to take the society forward. Following the death of our former president,  Mr. David Horne, long standing member Mr. Dennis Duffy was unanimously elected as president of the Society. For the first time since I became a member in 2002, the society elected a vice chairman and I am delighted to welcome Miss Joan Howe to that post. I believe that I am right in saying that she is the first lady ever to hold this position.
Mr. Ron Redgewell was re elected as secretary and Mr. Alan Varley as treasurer.  Mr. Phillip Crush undertook to continue as minute secretary, but indicated that he too would be standing down at the next A.G.M. after 6 years in post.
It is with great regret that I have to report the deaths of two of our long standing members, Mr. Phillip Hancock and Mr. Derek Reader. Members of the society attended both funerals.
I was invited to represent the Society at the civic reception held at Keele Hall on the 20th May 2009 following the inauguration of councillor Marion Reddish as Mayor of the Ancient and Loyal Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme.
A very successful lecture, organised by the Society, given by Andrew Dobraszczyc on the Burgesses of Newcastle-under-Lyme was held at the lecture theatre in Hartshill on the 29th June 2009. Once again the theatre was full and questionnaires were handed out to visitors seeking their views on the Society.
We go into our 41st year with renewed optimism and consideration is currently being given as to how to increase membership coupled with the timings of meetings. If we are to attract younger members then continuing to meet on a Friday afternoon may not be the best option.
Publicity is very important to the Society no matter how it “comes across” and although at times I am referred to as a local historian I always make the point that I am Chairman of Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society which I also do at the many meetings I attend on your behalf.
I have recently made contact with the chairman of Leek Civic Society and forwarded a copy of our newsletter. In a subsequent telephone conversation she indicated that following their next meeting an article on the activities of Leek Civic Society would be forwarded for inclusion in a future edition of our newsletter. I am reminded that before I joined the Society contact had been made with both Leek and Nantwich Civic Societies which has subsequently lapsed. Perhaps the time is now right for these contacts to be renewed.