Vice President’s Report to the FEW Court

19 March 2022 at Leicester

Fraternal Greetings to All. In the light of friendship and courtesy, I trust we can all look forward to a more harmonious year ahead.

May I begin by reporting with great sadness, the passing of our good friend and colleague, Nick Johnson, Warden, and former Hon Secretary of FEW. Nick had been bravely battling with severe illness for some time, although this never prevented his interest in the activities of our Association.

My report is relatively brief as the Covid pandemic has continued to limit much of my actions. The activities of the Area Wardens have likewise been obstructed though we have held several Zoom meetings that provided lively discussions. There unfortunately remains an air of some discontent over certain matters within FEW and its administration. I am conscious that we should make some effort to regain our normal harmony.

In the meantime, I have been directly involved assisting a lady with her application for admission to the Freedom of Ipswich and most importantly with the potential resurrection of the Ipswich Guild. I have been approached by two guilds who are actively designing apprenticeship schemes to enhance their admissions.

It is of some considerable relief that we are now able to return to something like ‘activities as normal’ and Covid free operations. The position of Warden for the North remains vacant, and I would particularly like to see that position taken up by a freeman of York. So far there have been no takers.

I have been invited to attend the Civic service at Gloucester Cathedral 6th March 2022. The Dean of Gloucester is to receive the Honorary Freedom of the City and I shall be pleased to attend along with my wife Kathy.

The recent suggestions to shrink FEW, cause me concern in respect of the ‘values of our Association’. Removing all costs may appeal to some, particularly as they have not recently been receiving value for money. However, it should be understood that this cheapens the organisation’s resources and could lessen the value of membership.

The size and versatility of FEW give it a more powerful voice and protection against any adversary. A low funded Association could result in a negative future. Going forward, FEW requires even greater strength of presence rather than a diminished one.

Alan Shelley

VP of FEW and Guild Rep of the Borough Freemen of Sudbury

PS and NB

The proposals put to the Court requesting major changes to the Constitution of FEW were rejected.

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