Image courtesy of Sentinel News and Media - Alan with local schoolchildren at Middleport Pottery
On behalf of City Voices I am very sad to announce the resignation from the group of our Chair, Alan Barnett. Alan has had health problems for some time now, as has his wife, but his devotion to the group and its achievements (not to mention some moral blackmail from me) kept him going. In the end of course, health and family matter more than anything. Alan formally announced his resignation at the AGM on 20th January. He is very sad to leave us and there will always be an Alan-shaped hole at the committee table. Alan was, as group founder Paul Williamson said, in truth a co-founder of City Voices, which emerged in 2007 from a drop-in group which started out life as Hanley Writers. Alan has worked tirelessly for City Voices, often assisted by his wife Maria. On paper, the office of Chair may look like a figurehead position, but it has been much, much more than that and Alan has always been the heart and soul of the group. Happily, Alan has accepted the offer of honorary membership of City Voices, which makes me feel like he will never be too far away. Also announced at the AGM was the resignation from the committee of Secretary Anita Oxford. I joined CV some time in 2012 and Anita shortly before me. In November of that year we both became part of the committee (if my memory is wrong please forgive me). Anita’s skills and knowledge of the group will be sorely missed by the committee but she told us she will be staying on as a (sic) rank and file member. So how is 2018 looking now? After the annual stepping down of the committee so that elections can take place, the office of Chair was filled by Debbi Voisey (formerly Vice Chair) and the Secretary’s role was taken up by new member Joanna Wright – or “Jo” as she prefers! Adam Boustead bravely put himself forward for Vice Chair and I was happy to stand again as Treasurer and Social Media Manager. After all the “new” committee had been voted in unanimously we took a deep breath and headed for the tea and biccies! Despite the sadness at Alan’s departure the meeting was very positive and some great ideas were mooted for this year – we were all really quite excited (including Alan, I might add…) and upbeat by the end.
It is without a doubt the end of an era. Alan was the bedrock of the group, a friend to everyone in the room, and I hope it is farewell but not goodbye. City Voices wish Alan all the best of luck in completing and publishing the book he has been working on for far too long, and we hope he will drop in sometime in the not too distant future. He will always be welcome.