I would like to begin this Newsletter by wishing you all a Happy, Prosperous and Healthy New Year.
As you may recall, I informed members that in summer 2015 I had stepped into the breach caused by the resignation of Jack McGregor as our Chairman and agreed to act as interim Chairman until the A.G.M in October. At that meeting I was formally elected as Chairman and Donald Way as Vice-Chairman. All the existing members of the committee were re-elected, whilst Dianne Jackson was elected as a new member. I am grateful to all the members of the committee for seeking re-election. Our Centre is lucky to have such talented and public-spirited people.
Speaking of the A.G.M. in October 2015 I must apologise to those who were present for the poor quality of the sound system in the Mayfield Centre. I myself, sitting on the left of the first row could hear only snatches of what was clearly a fascinating talk on the real Robinson Crusoe. As result of this mishap, the committee has been able to switch the A.G.M. for October of this year to St Ninian's Church Hall, which has much better acoustics.
At the A.G.M. I raised the possibility of our Centre running a three day holiday in 2016 visiting NTS properties in Aberdeenshire. Neil Pollock, our Membership and Booking Secretary, held discussions with Lennox Mackie of Mackies Coaches of Alloa, as Mr Mackie had been very helpful with the organisation of our five-day holiday to Northumberland in June 2014. Unfortunately, due to extreme pressure of business Mr Mackie was unable to devise a programme to meet our deadline of the end of November. Therefore, I regret to inform you that there will be no holiday organised by the Members' Centre for 2016. I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Neil for his efforts on our behalf.
As members will know, in our one-day summer outings, after leaving the main starting point of Springkerse Retail park at PC World, the coach made a stop at the Smith pickup point. Recent experience has been that very few passengers have opted for this facility. The committee has decided that in future the coach will no longer routinely stop at the Smith as a pickup point. However, the committee would not want to disadvantage the few passengers who have used this facility. Accordingly, depending on the number of persons opting for the Smith as pickup point, we may arrange for Smith passengers to be given a lift to Springkerse. The Booking Secretary will confirm the arrangements individually with those concerned.
I am pleased to inform members that the long-running saga of the Borestone plaque had finally been resolved. Members will recall that the Centre donated a considerable sum of money to the new Bannockburn Centre to enable a cabinet to be built to house the remnants of the original Borestone. All that we requested in return was that a plaque should be enclosed to record our donation. For reasons that remain unclear to this day there has been a very considerable delay in the ordering and installing of this plaque. Anyway, all's well that ends well, and the plaque is now in place.
Much of the committee's time since my last Newsletter has been taken up with the issue of increasing our declining membership. At our last committee meeting on 13 October 2015 Chris Major, the newly appointed Members' Centre Support Officer of the National Trust for Scotland, discussed with the committee a wide range of suggestions about how we could increase our membership. One of these has already been undertaken. Members who read their Scotland in Trust magazine will have noted that there is now a new section called Members' Spotlight, which highlights the work of an individual Members' Centre. I am pleased to inform you that our Centre will feature in the March 2016 issue of the magazine. To this end in early December Neil Pollock, Sandy Moreland and myself were interviewed in Sandy's home by Jonathan McIntosh of Think Publishing Ltd. which publishes the magazine on behalf of the Trust. We even had our photograph taken. I just hope that it does not put off new members joining our Centre! Chris also informed us of two further developments to raise the visibility of Trust Members' Centres. He has created a Members' Centre link to the NTS website, as well as a Members' Centre Facebook page for the use of Members' Centres which he will administer.
In conclusion, I hope that members will continue to enjoy the programmes of winter talks and summer outings.
Any member wishing to pay his/her annual subscription by Standing Order (due 1st October each year) or has not completed a Gift Aid mandate and wishes to do so, please contact Robert Jackson, our treasurer, who will supply the appropriate form(s).
£650 for Low Pressure Tracks and £200 for tools for Young Naturalist Club Members carrying out work (see photo).
Plant labels - £1,000.
David Livingston Centre
Plants and Tools - £700 (see photos).
We received a lovely letter in thanks from Iain Siekman the Garden Volunteer Project Leader. It can be seen in full with the pictures at our website www.spanglefish.com/ntsstirling
We currently have 196 memberships representing 262 individuals.
We are very pleased to confirm that Grahams Family Dairies have agreed to continue to sponsor the postage costs of our bi-annual newsletter for the foreseeable future. Our grateful thanks for this sponsorship to all at Grahams.