We were sorry to lose Muriel as a member but happy that she is moving close to her family who own property in Ireland. Doubtless we will hear about the new life she she is so looking forward to.
Muriel on the left.
Muriel has been indefatigable in her organization of the tea rota and has taken an enthusiastic part in readings at care homes and other venues. Last summer she took some of us round Westminster Cathedral where she acted as a guide.
We shall miss Muriel for her cheerfulness and the active part she played at Committee meetings when she was Treasurer. It was owing to Muriel that we had a Poetry Cup to present to the winner of a poetry competition at St. Olaves School.
On leaving Muriel donated a pale blue glass tankard engraved with the Kentish horse, perhaps to be used as a future prize.
Three meetings have been held since the end of February including our AGM on March 14th. This was particularly well attended and conformed to the usual format of Officers’ reports and the election of a committee. As Diane Chorley had come to the end of her three year term as President, Ruth Smith, the former Vice President, was inaugurated to take over that role. Nola Turner became Vice President in her place. Jane Knight took over from Muriel Letman as Treasurer and Isabel Turvey took over from Mavis Robinson as Secretary. The Membership Secretary, Christine Pope, has kept the office and told us that although we have lost members for various reasons we have acquired new ones and our total membership remains the same. We were very pleased to have a full committee and grateful to those who had already served.
Special thanks and a gift was given to Diane Chorley for all her efforts on our behalf with appreciation given for her gift of instantly connecting with people.
After the meeting, Jim Lord from the Avenues Group addressed the Circle. The Avenues assists people with learning disabilities or who have other complex needs. Two of us had already volunteered to help on a short project and one member also offered her services.
Listening to the radio, whilst ironing, back in 1986, I heard an appeal for teachers to go to Brixton. Following the riots, Brixton was a ‘no-go’ area. People had fled and classes were unstaffed. I was a Primary School teacher and, at the end of seven years in a ‘leafy green’ Beckenham school, I was completing a year off to do an OU degree. I volunteered to supply for two weeks in Brixton. It was tough but I loved it and stayed twenty years!
Whilst there my Poetry Club evolved and I became a regular user of the National Poetry Library on the South Bank. One day I glanced at a notice on a display board announcing the centenary of a Poetry Circle. I was intrigued to know how any such society could last 100 years and read further. Shortlands Poetry Circle, which met fortnightly at Ripley, was to celebrate its centenary in July 2011. I live within walking distance of Ripley – how had I missed it? So I joined.
For years I shared poetry with the children but SPC widened my horizons from John Donne to Gerard Manley Hopkins, with a flippant dash of Joyce Grenfell. For some strange reason I remember a crazy poem by Paul Durcan about a Toothbrush!
In addition to our meetings we have read at the district hospital and entertained diners at a local restaurant with ‘food’ poems. We go to poetry readings and concerts and have enjoyed memorable evenings at Langley Park Boys’ School with the pupils entertaining us with their considerable talent.