ANNUAL GATHERING 2008
by Tony Storey
This article was originally published in the December 2008 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
The day before our Gathering the sun was shining on picturesque Cookham and the traditional public house looked the perfect location.
Came the morning and the rain fell in torrents from a leaden sky. Worse was to come as we discovered that the venue we had booked was in a converted stable round the back and was somewhat smaller than we had hoped. The early birds amongst us worked hard and managed to reorganise the hall in time for the start of proceedings.
The essential business of the day is always the Annual General Meeting and the election of officers. John Amos had asked to step down as the Society’s Secretary after many years’ loyal service. We were fortunate that Rob Hina volunteered to take on the role. Rosemary Bailey agreed to rejoin the committee and the other officers were prepared to stand for another term. The new committee was duly elected by a show of hands.
Our President, Fred Sole, paid special tribute to the role played by the late Don Steel in the early days of the Sole Society.
The guest speaker, Eve McLaughlin, spoke for ninety minutes on the education available to our more humble ancestors and afterwards sold a good number of her latest guide on the subject of agricultural labourers. However, the highlight of the day for most people was the time allowed for the surname discussion groups.
Overall it was another successful gathering where any deficiencies of the accommodation were outweighed by the pleasure of meeting friends old and new and the chance to share an enthusiasm for family history.
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