At the end of my relatively short three year term as Chairman I would like to thank those who have made it possible for me to enjoy that great privilege.
Firstly, thanks to Mike Savage, my immediate successor who provided speakers and topics for these meetings for all of five years and has been forced to retire owing to ill health. Also to those good humanists who have sustained our group over the last fifty years, in particular Rosemary Bennett and Don Liversedge who between them have served for 50 years or more. Most importantly, thanks to Julie Crow without whose ever reliable and efficient hard work as Secretary, our group could not have made such remarkable progress.
Since my appointment as Chairman in May 2013 much has changed and most of it for the better. Our stalwart Treasure John Rayner's sudden death was a great loss and one of our founder members Don Liversedge is also deceased. Two new recruits to our committee have injected more energy and new approaches. David Cryer has been most generous with his time in developing our website as well as supporting my efforts to introduce and exploit the advantages of up to date audio-visual equipment. Charles Rudd has willingly taken on job of Treasurer and Membership Secretary. This was such an important contribution because John Rayner had been presenting our accounts most professionally for several years and we were at something of a loss to know where to turn for our next Treasurer. So, many thanks to Charles for his kindly acceptance of a difficult job.
As for our reach-out to children in schools there is a greatly improving performance. Julie and I have visited primary schools in Harrow and Watford on at least four occasions, introducing the concepts of Humanism, "The Happy Humanist" and "Good without God" to 1800 children in the 7 to 11 age group. We have also visited St Helen's all girls secondary private school in Northwood having six interactive work groups of 25, totalling 150 children. We have also addressed assemblies in Bamet and Bushey, adding another 2500 children. We hope to continue or expand this work in the coming year. In addition to contacts with children we have worked hard to establish contact with teachers and parents. David and I enjoyed flying the Humanist flag at a multi-faith evening held at Newton Farm Primary School where our simple messages and Humanists UK literature attracted much more attention from parents and children than the somewhat inexplicable artefacts presented by the various faiths.
Our campaign against the Bishop Ramsay C of E Secondary faith school extending its reach into Harrow from Hillingdon ended with the Highfields school premises reverting to Harrow Borough as the new secular Pinner College.
With the election of your new committee endorsed by this AGM I believe we can look forward to further successes in the immediate future. Particularly, in strengthening our connections with teachers and students supported by further excellent work on the Harrow SACRE where Julie has been Chair of the Locally Agreed Syllabus Conference. My commitment to the new committee position as Education Officer will keep me pressing for more and more impact of Humanism in Harrow schools.
The way forward with respect to growing our membership has proved quite difficult. But David Cryer's work on our website will be pivotal in this direction. I feel sure that, as our new Chairman, David will have his own ideas to raise our profile and expand our membership. We all should offer our best ideas and support in whichever way we can to his leadership.
TERRY LILLEY 11|05|2017