Annual General Meeting, and talk by Pat Skillicorn

A dreadful evening – sleet, and snow, an annual meeting and yet still a good crowd in the Centenary Centre. True, we also had Pat Skillicorn giving us one of her splendid talks in the second half as a sweetener, if any were needed. It’s very comforting to enjoy such a level of support from intrepid people of all ages, including two in their 90’s!

Mike Berry welcomed us all and we moved swiftly through the formal agenda. Minutes were approved and signed before Mike gave his report on the year’s activities. This included pleasure at the recent award of the Island’s top, national cultural award of the RBV to Joan Caine for her services to the Manx language and related activities. In congratulating her, we were reminded that this was the third award to Peel – Robbie Farrer RBV and Les Quilliam RBV being previous recipients. These represent a mere tip of an iceberg in this centre of the nation’s cultural heritage.

A survey of the year’s activities and warm thanks to all our speakers, committee members and the Centenary centre for hosting us so splendidly, brought Mike’s second term of office to a jubilant end.

Richard Banyard, our treasurer and membership secretary presented a very encouraging set of accounts and membership figures.

Committee elections added Jane Killey and Corrie Wooding.

The Peel City Guardian newspaper has grown in size and popularity. We actually sold out the last edition in a few days, which is pleasing in some ways but a disappointment if you missed out. We’re going to increase the print run for April but get in quickly!

The open part of the meeting brought some splendid suggestions for future meetings.

It now fell to me, to thank Mike Berry for his ten years of service on the committee. One usually delivers a panegyric following someone’s demise. What a treat to do this when the recipient is still very much alive! I feared that when Mike retired as head of the Clothworkers’ School, we would lose him and his dynamism, but not so. A chairman who leads from the front, including mundane tasks such as preparations for parties is hard to find. Mike will no longer serve on the committee but will be concentrating on his local involvement ‘over the bridge’ but has promised to visit whenever he can. Thanks and good luck!

With worsening weather, we waved Mike off, enjoyed our refreshments and I had the pleasure of introducing one of our regular, local speakers, Pat Skillicorn.

Pat’s talk on Peel’s Wesleyan Chapel and Guild Room was fascinating. This ranged over the buildings, and the little known burial ground from 1839. Much effort, even then, was dedicated to try and keep youngsters profitably occupied and not going astray. The Minister in 1887 said that, “Only Eternity will judge as to whether or not they had been successful.” This still applies!

Next meeting, THURSDAY, 18th March in the Methodist Chapel. Eddie Lowey will reveal more ‘Memories of Childhood’.

John Slater