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Issue 355 - October 2001

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Chairman's Column

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Welcome to Roger Hanbury

On behalf of the Society I am delighted to welcome Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive of the Waterways Trust to our October Meeting. Since the Trust was established in 1999 it has firmly placed itself at the forefront of the Waterways movement, particularly concerning its support for canal restoration. Some defunct waterways which many of us thought there was little realistic chance of restoration are being actively supported by the Waterways Trust.

By coincidence, this month's Newsletter carries a report on the Parliamentary Waterways Group's June meeting, which was addressed by Roger.

Parliamentary Waterways Group

Speaking of which ... the Canal Society's representative on the PWG, Eric Lewis, has advised the Committee that, due to personal circumstances, he will no longer be able to attend meetings of that Group. I want to place on record the Society's appreciation of Eric's efforts on our behalf. He has regularly travelled to London for the PWG evening meetings, always paying his own travel expenses. He has even interrupted his holiday cruising, in various parts of the country, to catch a train to London for the meetings.

The PWG has recently invited the Society to renew its membership. However, the Committee has decided not to renew at this time as it was unlikely that a new representative could be found to attend meetings. The door has been left open to re-join at some time in the future.

Newsletter

We are gradually receiving contributions to the Newsletter from the wider membership. Many thanks to those who have contributed so far but that shouldn't let the rest of the membership off the hook!

Monthly Raffle

Thanks are due also to those members who have kindly donated prizes for the Monthly Raffle. As I have said previously, every donated prize means one less to buy and, therefore, more money available to donate to waterways causes.

Thanks to our Tea Makers

We are always grateful to Joyce and her band of helpers who provide us with refreshments at our meetings. Joyce and Eric have not been able to attend the September and October meetings and I would like to thank Linda and Laurie Pearce, and their helpers, for stepping into the breach.

Boating Members Register

In the last Newsletter I floated (good word that!) the idea of starting up a register showing the names (etc) of boats belonging to our Society's members. That proposal seems to have been well received because we already have 6 entries and I know from chats with other boating members that more entries are on the way. So, don't forget, if you want to be easily recognised by your Society colleagues when cruising, let me have details of your boat for inclusion in the register. 

November Meeting

Our meeting on 1 November will be our annual Society event when members are able to enjoy looking at the slides or prints of their colleagues and take part in our own informal competition. So please bring along your photographs for us all to enjoy. Please see the separate item in this Newsletter.

Inter-Society Waterways Quiz

Just a reminder that the annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz will be hosted by the Society at the December meeting. The Quiz is being organised by the IWA Salisbury Group who were last year's winners. There will be more details of the event in the next Newsletter.

In the meantime it is essential that the Society enters its own team. A number of our stalwarts are unable to compete this year for a variety of reasons and this gives the opportunity for new team members to come forward and take part. So please give this some serious thought and let me have your names as soon as possible.

Future Programme

We are trying to put together our programme of speakers and other activities for 2002. From time to time we receive suggestions from members for particular topics or speakers. Please do not hesitate to come forward with your ideas.

In the past we have also organised very successful events including, for example, Boat Trips, Barbecues and the combined River Hamble Cruise and visit to Bursledon Brickworks.

We have had one or two ideas put forward which are different from the norm. One of these was to hold a Barn Dance or a similar type function for members and guests. Another recent suggestion was to hold an Auction by which members can offload, sorry, donate items which they value highly for general bidding by their member colleagues. I have been involved in such an event in the past and they can be thoroughly enjoyable and a good laugh for all those in attendance. Linda Pearce has bravely put her name forward to act as Auctioneer so please let us have your ideas/comments on these suggestions.

Paul Herbert


August Meeting

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Our August meeting tends to attract the lowest attendance of the year, this being mainly due to so many members being away on holiday. However, this year we were delighted so see an audience of 24 (our highest August attendance for many years) who were entertained by a really varied programme presented by Peter Oates and Brian Evans.

Peter occupied the early slot with an excellent slide presentation of his and Laura's participation in the 2001 BCN Marathon Challenge held in June, during a period of very hot weather. This was the second year that they had taken part, last year in a hire boat but this time with their own 65' traditional narrowboat 'Swallowdale'.

This year's Challenge attracted a record number of entrants, 60 boats taking part. The main objective of the event is to travel as much of the BCN as possible, amassing points on the way, in a 24 hour period within an overall 30 hours (thereby allowing a little time for rest). This involved a 4am start for all those taking part (I thought it was still dark then!). Various parts of the BCN are graded by the Challenge organisers (our friends Chris and Helen Davey) with the more challenging and under-used stretches attracting higher points.

Peter and Laura's slides were fascinating, showing many of the audience parts of the BCN they had never travelled or even seen, other than in waterways books and magazines.

Peter kept up a near non-stop commentary as the slides continued, regaling us with their experiences as they went along, and the additional challenges that were faced by participants, including the scourge of vandalism.

This was a most interesting presentation and you could tell from Peter's enthusiasm that he and Laura cannot wait to return for the 2002 BCN Marathon Challenge.

After the refreshment break Brian entertained us with an illustrated talk that he has been promising some of us for years. As many members will be aware, Brian has been actively involved for many years with using real film - none of this video nonsense for Brian! On this occasion Brian showed some of his 8mm Standard Cine Film which covered a trip that he and Annegret took covering Telford's Caledonian Canal way back in 1974.

The trip started at the eastern end of the Canal at Clachnaharry Sea Lock, Inverness where the canal leaves the Moray Firth. The entrance to the next lock, Clachnaharry Works Lock, was interesting, being party obscured by a railway swing bridge over the entrance. A sailing boat in that lock was dwarfed by the size of that structure. From the lock we entered Muirtown Basin and saw the original Caledonian Canal Office then occupied by BWB, with its adjacent maintenance yard complete with massive spare gates and their lifting vessel. Inverness Castle was pictured alongside the River Ness which is parallel to the canal at this point.

One particularly interesting sequence was of Scott II, a trip boat and icebreaker.

Brian's presentation dipped into numerous locations along the length of the Canal, and we experienced a mixture of scenery - industrial and the lochs with their heavily wooded slopes. In Fort Augustus the canal and locks was almost like its main street.

The content of Brian's film was so varied that it is not possible to cover it all here. There was some spectacular scenery and some fantastic buildings and canal structures. It was obvious that the summer of 1974 was blessed with good weather, at least at the time of their visit. It was interesting that, though we often saw images of a young(er) Annegret and the children, Brian was nowhere to be seen. I suppose he must have been there somewhere, otherwise he was doing the filming?

At one point we saw the Evans family preparing for a picnic and we understand that Brian and Annegret are still using the same equipment, nearly 30 years later!

Our visit to the Caledonian Canal finished at Corpach in the west, with its basin, sea lock and small lighthouse, where the canal joins Loch Linnhe near Fort William.

Thanks Brian for giving us such an entertaining insight into the Caledonian Canal and in such an atmosphere, with the cine projector gently whirring and clanking away in the background, alongside Brian's interesting commentary and his many humorous anecdotes.

Paul Herbert


September Meeting

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We are indebted to Society Member, Dave Butcher, for arranging the speaker for our September Meeting. We were pleased to welcome Dick Elder, Southern & Western Region Chairman of the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs. Dave is, in fact, both National and Regional Quartermaster for the AWCC.

Dick introduced that organisation as 'an association of waterways clubs for mutual benefit to its members'. He explained the objectives of the Association which had approximately 105 clubs currently in membership, representing about 6,000 members. Dick continued to describe the Association using his high-tech computer generated slides, explaining the range of organisations eligible for membership. These could be boat clubs having moorings as a base; or those based on a particular waterway; a boat owners club (eg: Wilderness Boat Owners Club); a Virtual Club (via the Internet); or waterways societies and organisations. An example of the latter was the Boaters' Christian Fellowship which had recently joined the AWCC. The Association was fairly open and flexible in its attitude to the clubs it accepted for membership.

Dick described the administrative set up of the Association with its National Executive and six Regional Committees. Its recent national activities had included participation on the review of the Boat Safety Scheme and Corporation Tax & Mutuality. To ensure it had a voice in the political arena concerning the waterways it was a member of the Parliamentary Waterways Group.

His presentation covered other areas such as Rick Assessments, Boater Education and Fund Raising. Regarding the latter, the Association had produced its own Millennium Plate in support of the restoration of the Anderton Lift and had collectively raised in the region of £10,000 towards that appeal.

The AWCC participated in user meetings with British Waterways and other Navigation Authorities and its other consultations with BW included the licensing issue regarding non-continuous cruising and pilot schemes such as fishing lengths and moorings.

Dick then outlined the membership benefits to clubs and the membership application process.

Following the refreshment break, the second part of Dick's presentation concerned the more technical part of the AWCC's work relating to Health & Safety etc. This is a very much involved issue, which Dick summarised in some detail, and I won't attempt to repeat all that information here, though I did keep notes as he was speaking! However, the AWCC has produced a CD and appropriate notes which would be of particular interest to Boat Clubs with their own premises and moorings.

At the end of the presentation there was the usual question and answer session, with both Dick and Dave fielding the questions.

It was a very informative meeting and we are also grateful to the AWCC for donating a prize for our raffle that evening.

The AWCC has its own Web-site, as follows: www.penpont.demon.co.uk.awcchp.htm [corrected to www.awcc.org.uk on 15/04/04]

Paul Herbert

Please note the separate item in this issue of the Newsletter regarding the Society's possible membership of the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs.


Proposed Changes to BW Logo

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Over the past 11 years we have all become familiar with British Waterways' canal bridge and reed mace (not bullrushes, as stated by BW) logo. However, BW has announced that it is considering minor modifications to the logo and various options are now being considered. Watch this space!

(Note: The above item had to be carried over from the last Newsletter due to lack of space. Now, there's a first!)

Now for an update. In response to a critical letter published in the October issue of 'Waterways World'......
"A spokesperson for British Waterways said: The minor modifications to British Waterways' logo are part of a wider overhaul of the way we present ourselves, which we hope will communicate the enthusiasm and excitement of British Waterways today. With so much happening on the waterways, and with so many opportunities to develop and broaden their appeal, it's vital that we present ourselves as fresh and forward looking, while acknowledging the importance of waterway heritage and traditions. Although our slightly modified logo does not include a boat, it does feature the classic hump backed brick canal bridge, readily associated by millions of people with the waterways."

Old BW logo

New BW logo

The old BW logo

... and the slightly amended version

Spot the difference?

I feel that I have lost the plot somewhere along the line!

Paul Herbert


CANAL DAY MEMORIES

by Laurie Pearce

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It all started back in 1963 when friends, with whom I was staying Harrow, took me out to a pub alongside the Grand Union Canal. It turned out to be alongside the Soulbury Locks. I was enchanted by the scene and was determined to learn more about our inland waterways. The landlord told me that all the canal boats had been iced up for three months that winter which had literally decimated trade.

I discovered that one of my nearest canals was the Kennet & Avon, which although derelict in parts, boasted a strong Association whose aim was to restore the canal to full navigation. I then joined the Newbury Branch whose headquarters was the old Stone Building on Newbury Wharf.

My first boat was an 8ft fibre glass dinghy which I bought for £20 locally. I named it "POUNDER". I then acquired an old second hand outboard engine plus a roof rack in order to transport my boat.

I found that there was clear water at Tyle Mill where the river flowed towards Sulhampstead Lock. So together with some friends, we launched "Pounder" over the canal bank below Tyle Mill Lock.

With four occupants there was little freeboard, but we proceeded merrily with the current until we were confronted by the weir before the cut to Sulhampstead Lock which was just a sea of solid weed! We hastily turned and returned to Tyle Mill feeling quite pleased with ourselves that we had navigated a part of the K&A canal! I gave no thought of having a licence at the time!

Over the next few months, we navigated lengths at Newbury and at Honey Street, where renewing shear pins on the outboard was not our favourite pastime!! We also attended a rally at Pewsey where our third crew member was a dummy of Barbara Castle, MP, who was Minister of Transport at the time.

In due course, I became ambitious and sold "Pounder", which is still in being on the Hamble river. I bought a Microplus cruiser and trailer from a gentleman in Chandler's Ford. I attended rallies at Reading and another on the Slough Arm of the Grand Union, but decided that I would advance ambition further. So I sold the Microplus and bought a second hand 18ft Callumcraft. By this time I was in possession of a BWB cruising licence, but didn't require a mooring licence as the boat was kept in my garden. Both my last two boats were named "BITTERN", the secretive bird which nests in the reed beds.

With the trailable Callumcraft we ventured further afield and went up to Wales with fellow SCS members, Peter and Margaret Wheble, and launched the two boats at Govilon Wharf on the Brecon & Abergavenny Canal. Except for the after effects of eating a "poisoned" cream bun in Brecon and also falling overboard, the holiday was a great success! Other trips were on the Oxford Canal for a few days launching from a slipway near Kidlington, and a two week round trip taking in the Thames, Grand Union and Oxford Canals.

The highlight of our trips was attending the 1973 IWA Rally at Ely in the Fens. We launched at Oundle on the River Nene where we obtained our licence to navigate the Middle Levels. This proved to be a most interesting experience with the guillotine lock gates of the Nene to add to one's pleasure!!

We were accompanied on this trip by the late Joan and John Reed (SCS members who had moved to Braunston) and owned an old Holt Abbot cruiser. Much fun was had at Salters Lode where we entered the River Ouse and made our way the short distance to Denver Sluice. Two other SCS members also attended the rally - David and Margaret Kesslar-Lyne in their home built cruiser "MARAVE". There was much ill feeling from the local fishing fraternity who were not used to seeing such a large number of boats navigating the Fens and angry exchanges were often made!

Thank you, Laurie, for the reminiscences. They will be continued in next month's Newsletter.


MORE NEWS FROM WESTMINSTER - PARLIAMENTARY WATERWAYS GROUP

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On 19 June 2001 the Parliamentary Waterways Group held its Annual General Meeting. After the formal business, during which it was noted that 42 MPs and 8 Peers of all parties and 89 Associates (including the Southampton Canal Society, of course) were now in membership, the speaker for that evening, Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive of the Waterways Trust was introduced.

The Society's representative, Eric Lewis, was unable to attend that meeting as he was away cruising.

It is interesting that we should be covering the report of this meeting in this particular Newsletter, because Roger Hanbury is, of course, our guest speaker this month (October 2001).

A brief background about the Waterways Trust which was established in March 1999 to bring about the widest possible awareness and enjoyment of Britain's inland waterways, focusing on conservation, regeneration, improvement and access through partnerships with individuals, communities and organisations.

Roger Hanbury told the meeting that a British Waterways exercise on behalf of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) had revealed public support for a charitable trust to raise funds and facilitate regeneration. This had been endorsed by DETR and Ministers. The decision by HRH the Prince of Wales to support the Trust had aroused great interest.

There were no constitutional restraints on the Trust's activities as long as it kept within its charitable objectives. It aimed to receive donations and Gift Aid, to take on new waterways at the discretion of its Trustees and to develop strong relationships with waterway organisations, owners and managers.

Restoration schemes had been categorised into four groups in order to set priorities:

  1. The current programme. The Trust had taken over the Rochdale Canal restoration and was participating in the Ribble Link and Anderton Lift schemes.
  2. The next generation of projects with a prospect of a start in five years. These included the Foxton Inclined Plane, Montgomery and Lancaster restorations.
  3. Longer-term projects and those with short-term needs. These awaited assessment. Selection would be pragmatic, taking advantage of opportunities.
  4. Rejected schemes lacking the basic standards for partnership.

In future the Trust planned to include community boats, waterway buildings, structures and habitat schemes, which would affect a wide corridor of land managed for non-intensive agriculture. Interest had been attracted from the Heritage Lottery Fund and major environmental charities.

Good progress had been made with fundraising, for example £960,000 for the Anderton Lift. A presence had been maintained at boat shows, TV advertisements were planned and landfill tax funding successfully applied for. Existing museums and archives were being developed.

As usual at PWG meetings, a discussion then followed.

In response to a question from Peter Luff MP, Roger Hanbury said significant funding was being finalised for the Droitwich Canals restoration.

The Inland Waterways Association said that the Trust had no statutory obligation to consult with users and asked if it had decided on any formal consultation procedures.

Roger Hanbury responded that they would consult but that fees and charges were dependent on the market. John Dodwell (individual member) observed that the Trust's fees already established were too high.

To the Community Boats Association, Mr Hanbury said medium-sized grants would be available when funds permitted, and to the National Association of Boat Owners that the accounting schemes of BW and the Trust were in the process of being separated.

In response to questions from Peter Lea (individual member) he said the small grants scheme would be widely publicised and confidential negotiations were progressing for the removal of obstacles to the Lichfield & Hatherton restoration.

To the Grantham Canal Trust he said schemes in category 3 could well move to category 2 in time (see above under priorities).

In response to the Thames Hire Cruiser Federation, he said the Trust was helping the Environment Agency (EA) with its Thames Ahead regeneration scheme. The Trust could approach potential donors who would not fund a statutory body.

To the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, he acknowledged that inclusion of a scheme in a low category by the Trust might influence other funding agencies, however he was happy to discuss any problems restoration groups might have as a result.

Eric Lewis and Paul Herbert

See the Parliamentary Waterways Group item under the Chairman's Column on the front page of this issue of the Newsletter.


Members' Slides and Prints Evening

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The November meeting will be our annual Members' Slides Evening. This will give everyone the opportunity to show some pictures - even those who feel they might not have enough of interest to make up a whole evening's show. If you can put together about 10 to 15 pictures that you feel will entertain / educate / amuse your fellow members, look them out for this evening.

We have the facility to project prints (up to 7" x 5") onto the screen as well as transparencies. So if you don't take slides, you too will be able to show something of waterways interest as well.

Again, like last year, the evening will also incorporate a photographic competition. To be held just before the tea interval, this competition is open to all members - you don't have to be showing other slides / prints during the evening. What we're looking for is one picture which can be anything to do (even loosely) with the waterways. The competition will be judged by all those present at the meeting.

And as an incentive to enter, there will be a mystery "double" prize given to the winner.

So don't be shy, this is YOUR opportunity to show others your interest in waterways or where you went and what you saw on holiday. The world (or rather the Society) is your oyster.


IWA WELCOMES GOVERNMENT DELIVERY ON PROMISES

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The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) today welcomed news that the Government had provided a £300,000 funding package for the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal. The package will finance a tunnel to allow the canal to be rebuilt to navigable standards under the Manchester and Salford Inner Relief Road, currently under construction.

The road had been a major threat, as the final phase of construction had already commenced. This length runs over and alongside the River Irwell with a planned embankment across the entrance to the canal from the River Irwell. With design work nearing completion, in order to be finished before the Commonwealth Games, there were worries that the Government's recent promises about non-obstruction of canals "that stood a reasonable chance of restoration", had come too late. The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society and IWA are therefore delighted with the recent announcement. 

IWA National Chairman, Richard Drake, said: "IWA and many other waterway interests had lobbied hard to find a solution to resolve the high profile potential obstruction to the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals, threatened by the construction of the Birmingham Northern Relief Road. We were delighted when the government announced a solution to that problem in July. This latest announcement for the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal confirms that we have truly entered a new era, where road builders need to have respect for viable waterway restoration schemes."

Richard Drake added, "I am aware that a great deal of lobbying and negotiation went on behind the scenes and I congratulate British Waterways, The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal Society and IWA's North West Region on the success of their hard won achievement here."

The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal was opened in 1796 from Salford to Prestolee, with branches to Bury and Bolton. In 1806, the canal was connected to the River Irwell. The success of the canal was due to its position, enabling it to transport coal between the four nearest collieries. Its use declined with the advent of the railways, finally closing in 1961. The majority of the original line of the canal remains intact, though partly filled in.

The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal Society was established in 1987 to restore the canal to full navigable standard. Most of their effort has concentrated on protecting the line of the canal from further encroachment and developing political support for their aspirations. The potential of the MB&B Canal is considerable in terms of increased recreational and leisure use of waterways in north west Manchester, but just as importantly it will prompt regeneration of many areas along its length. The heritage and education contributions it can make are self-evident.

IWA Press Release 01 October 2001


Possible Membership of the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs

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At the Society's September meeting we received a presentation from Dick Elder, South & West Regional Chairman of the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs (AWCC). Whilst this talk was, hopefully, interesting to all those present, it would have been of particular interest to our boating members. During the question and answer session I asked Dick whether membership of the Association was available to Societies such as our own and he advised that a number of waterways societies were already in membership.

Proposal to form a Southampton Canal Society Boat Club

Being aware that a growing number of Canal Society members were regular boaters, I had been thinking for some time about the possibility of forming a Boat Club as a sub-section of the Society. The talk by Dick Elder gave added impetus to that idea. Having first spoken informally to other boat owning members, who agreed that the proposal could have merit and certainly deserved consideration, the Society's Committee discussed the idea at its meeting last week and agreed to the principle of forming such a sub-section of the Society, which could then apply for membership of the AWCC, subject to there being sufficient interest from our members.

What is proposed is that a Boat Club be established as part of, and under the umbrella of, the Southampton Canal Society. Either the existing Society constitution might be amended accordingly or, alternatively, the Club could have its own constitution, if needed. The establishment of such a Club would have no detriment to the wider Canal Society membership and no additional expense would fall upon the Society.

Benefits to Members of a Society Boat Club

As I see it, the main benefits of belonging to such a club could be as follows:-

  1. Member Clubs of the AWCC could possibly provide assistance in the event of a breakdown.

  2. AWCC affiliated clubs could offer temporary moorings to other AWCC members (subject, of course, to availability). This could be simply overnight or for longer periods eg: weekend cruisers could 'hop' from one mooring to another, thereby extending their cruising range.

  3. Access to AWCC club facilities where available - ie: clubhouses, toilets, showers, water, fuel and sanitary disposal facilities, slipways, car parking, etc.

  4. Social involvement with other boaters belonging to AWCC.

  5. Assistance with legal and other matters concerning boating.

Financial Aspects

The annual cost of club membership of the AWCC from 1 January 2002 will be £60.00 If there was sufficient interest within the Canal Society for the formation of a Boat Club, that membership cost and any other additional incidental expenses would be divided equally between its Boat Club members. The Boat Club accounts would be accounted for separately within the main Society accounts.

The Next Stage

It is obvious that such a proposal can only proceed if a sufficient number of our boating members are interested. One would not have to be a boat owner to join the suggested Boat Club. If any application to the AWCC was successful then all our boating members in possession of an AWCC membership card, be they owners, members of a syndicate (boat sharing arrangement) or hirers could benefit from membership.

If we are to proceed I would suggest that we move forward positively to enable an application for membership of the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs to be submitted early in the New Year, thereby allowing members to enjoy the benefits during the next 'cruising season'. It is considered that a minimum of 5 members would be sufficient to make the proposal worthwhile.

So, if you are a boating member and would like to enjoy the perceived benefits of forming a Boating Section within the Southampton Canal Society and membership of the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs, please contact me as soon as possible.

Paul Herbert
Tel: 023 8026 2365
E-mail: p.herbert@ukgateway.net


FOR SALE

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Solid brass "rabbit" tiller pin complete with anti-theft lock. £5

Contact L Pearce on 023 8056 0657.


WHEN DID YOU LAST

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Visit the society sales stand? Have you seen the latest GEO maps? Is your tee shirt wearing thin? Maybe it is time to order a new one.


Thanks from Gill

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I would like to thank everyone for their kind words, good wishes, cards and other messages given to me since I was last able to attend the Society's meetings. I have greatly appreciated your encouragement.

I am pleased to say that I continue to make good progress and hope to join everyone at the October meeting.

Gill Herbert


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Page created 12 November 2001. Updated 20 May 2003 - layout changes 8 January 2004.

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