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Chairman's Report

Kettering & District Eisteddfod
It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since our last AGM and here we are with the 107th Eisteddfod done and the next one in preparation. For me it has been an honour to serve as Chairman – thank you for allowing me that privilege.

As we begin a new season, or “Eisteddfod Year”, it is fitting that we should pose the question as to how we measure the success of our organisation. Perhaps the fact that we are all here putting ourselves forward once more to continue this great tradition that was bequeathed to us should tell us something! Surely though it must be that last season we fulfilled the aims of the society again; we worked hard to be certain that everything was efficient and well planned; we had a few wonderful days of competition and performance and proceedings were not marred in any way by contentious issues, ill feeling or safeguarding matters. Could this be success? I think it might be!

The Eisteddfod week in March really lived up to our expectations with many fine performances and a pleasing atmosphere throughout the Festival at its various venues. Thank you to the ministers, elders and congregations of the churches we used for making us so welcome and affording us every facility. Particular thanks must go to Derek at the Salvation Army; Jill, Roger, Eleanor and Keith from Toller Church and this year Steve at Fuller Church. All provided us with great backing and support and we are indebted to them.

I must place on record our appreciation to our loyal friends - all those reliable people who assist on the days of the Eisteddfod - the accompanists, table clerks, stewards and those who keep us all going with refreshments! Without them the smooth running of the event would not be assured!

It was a pleasure for us to welcome our adjudicators and to work beside them. Their comments and encouragement were welcomed and valued by the competitors. They felt that the standard of competition was remarkable and some high marks were awarded. There were some wonderful people of all ages who worked so hard in both preparation and performance and who learned a great deal. Their dedication, the encouragement of their families and their teachers must be recognised.

As we know, events such as a four day Eisteddfod do not just come about. Careful planning has to be done and much of the year seems to be taken up with it. The committee is so dedicated to the Eisteddfod cause and to each of my fellow members I express my sincere gratitude for all that has been done.

Thank you to Doreen Godson, our President, who has great knowledge of the event, gives hands-on assistance and whose presence throughout is so welcome.

As always I must single out Penny Payne, the Festival Secretary, who has done sterling work again this year. In ‘Ofsted speak’ she is Outstanding!! She is our tower of strength, efficient, meticulous and conscientious and all that together with her devotion and tireless effort must be celebrated yet again! Our ‘clients’ hold her in high esteem and speak so highly of her. Penny – thank you.

Pat Wildman deserves a mention too for she is the one who records every word spoken in committee!! At tea times and with the after show hospitality Pat’s catering skills excel! – Thank you Pat.

To the sectional secretaries - Margaret Read and Linda Langdell - the vast amount of work you have to do, is recognised by all of us. Everyone says how helpful you are and how friendly you are when answering queries or chasing people up. On behalf of everyone, I want to thank you both most sincerely and your assistants too.

Enabling us to function is the revenue we generate and expend. In charge of this is Dick Stockham, our Treasurer, who keeps a keen eye on the finances and a firm hand on our purse. His work and advice is appreciated greatly. This year his knowledge of safety issues when preparing to use a new venue was invaluable. Dick – thank you

ICT plays an ever increasing role in our lives and our expert, Roger Payne, maintains the website, electronic archive results system, certificates – indeed everything where a computer is needed - so well. We are indebted to him and thank him for the many hours he spends on its development and his support for Penny in all that she does too. We thank them both for their hospitality when opening their home so often for meetings of the various sub-groups of the committee.

I have not forgotten the sponsorship, publicity, advertising and the myriad of other things that need to be undertaken and I acknowledge the great contribution made by so many individuals.

It is good to report that there were no Safeguarding issues reported at the 2016 Festival and those who needed to renew DSB certificates did so in March. Everything required by BIFF was in place and the documentation was reviewed and approved by the Assessor.

Items in the Centenary Book and from the website will feature in an exhibition at the Manor House Museum, Kettering in June and July. How much is devoted to the Eisteddfod remains to be seen and is dependent on the space and suitability of the other material available. Our history will be on parade, our founders will be remembered and one of the early shields and annotated photographs of the other two should be on display.

The finale of the 2016 Eisteddfod was our Celebration Concert. Again we managed to “Celebrate the Arts” well and as I say every year, and make no apology for repeating it again, I am certain our predecessors, whose vision all this was, would approve and be pleased that all continues as they envisaged.

My thanks to the Governors and Head of St. Peter’s School for letting us hold our AGM here and our other general meetings throughout the year.

Our thoughts and efforts are concentrated now on the new “Eisteddfod Year” and the 2017 Festival. My hope and expectation is that it will be just as successful as the last.

Chris Jervis, Chairman
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