By Jennifer Smith

It was with sadness that we learnt in the summer of Roy’s illness and, soon after, his death. Our sympathies go to Viv and his family who meant so much to him.

Roy was involved in many aspects of The Ramsgate Society: he was a wise and respected member of the committee for many years, becoming President when he gave up committee work. He was ever watchful regarding heritage buildings in Ramsgate and took part in the yearly Heritage Open Days scheme. Roy wrote the scripts for the guides when the Costumed Walks Group was formed and led groups as they explored Ramsgate during the summer months.

The natural world was one of his great interests and he was vehemently opposed to the development once proposed for the former Hoverport. He enjoyed visiting Monkton Nature Reserve where his friend Ron was Warden and he also kept a close watch on Weatherlees.

He was a member of the sub-committee who, under Professor Brian May’s chairmanship, spent three years producing the Ramsgate Millennium Book. He also used to proof read the quarterly magazine with great diligence.

He did not limit his activities to Ramsgate. He was a founder member of the Margate Civic Society and represented The Ramsgate Society at Kent Federation of Amenity Societies’ meetings, serving on that committee also.

Roy’s last involvement with The Ramsgate Society was attending the planning sessions for the Golden Jubilee celebrations. We miss his and Viv’s presence at our meetings but are so grateful for his unfailing support. It was a privilege to work with him.

Since the last edition of Ramsgate Matters your executive committee have had a very busy time: 

We are working closely with Thanet District Council and The Friends of Ellington Park in the preparation of a third bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the restoration of this much loved park.

The difference this time round is that we are getting much better support from TDC who are now fully engaged in the process having previously been lukewarm to say the least.

The intention at the moment is to submit a revised bid at the end of February 2016 for a decision in June 2016. I will keep members posted from time to time as matters progress.

The Society is in preliminary discussion with The Steam Museum Trust regarding the possibility of taking an assignment of the lease on The Clock House Museum in the Royal Harbour.

This would make an ideal base for the Society from which to extend our activities over the next few years. Part of the plan would be to carry out some essential repairs to the building. This would be a major project for the Society and would be dependent on HLF grant funding, but the Clock House is a Grade 2* Listed Building and probably the most prominent heritage asset in the harbour.

Its restoration would be a key element in the regeneration of the harbour area and the executive committee are looking into this project very seriously. TDC are being very supportive and if things go well we may be able to report on the matter again in the Spring edition of Ramsgate Matters.

The litter clean up on Sunday 11th October was a great success thanks to the organising committee Nigel Phethean, Gerry O’Donnell and Meher Basit who did a great job bringing it all together. We would have liked to have seen more society members taking part but this was more than offset by a large turnout of the Ramsgate 17th Sea Scouts and the Ramsgate 6th Scouts Group who did a superb job and really enjoyed the event.

Our thanks also go to Cardy Construction who provided high viz jackets for the participants and to TDC who cleared away all the litter we collected. The plan is to repeat the event on Civic Day in June 2016.

Gabriel Holland who came onto the committee in May has been proactive in taking forward the promotion of Heritage Open Days in September 2016. She has now registered the Society with Heritage England as the official promoters of Heritage Open Days in Thanet and I am pleased to say that Thanet District Council are once again being very supportive. More on this in the Spring and Summer editions of Ramsgate Matters.

It seems a little early as I write this but I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2016.

John is the Deputy Chairman of Civic Voice, the national organisation for civic societies in England and Chairman of The Kent Federation of Amenity Societies, one of the largest regional groupings of civic societies in England. He is also a founder member and Vice Chairman of The Canterbury Society and Vice Chairman of The Ramsgate Society. 

Until recently a Board member of CPRE (Kent), he was formerly a Trustee of The Kent People’s Trust and of The Museum of Kent Life. 

John has a business background, with over 35 years experience as a residential and commercial property developer. He was a Director of Ward Holdings PLC from 1974 to 1994 and a Director of Bovis Homes, followed by 15 years as a private residential developer specialising in high quality award-winning residential development.

Apart from his involvement with the civic society movement, John is also Chairman of The Whitstable Music Society, one of the most vibrant and successful chamber music societies in the country.

John moved to Ramsgate in 2011 and immediately joined the Ramsgate Society. He was asked by Jocelyn McCarthy to join the committee and was appointed Vice Chairman in 2012.

Written by Jocelyn McCarthy

I am sad to tell you that, as I stepped down as Chairman at the last AGM, after ten years in post, this will be my last Chairman’s Letter. During those ten years I have seen The Society grow in stature and ambition, and increase its membership. Its status and the work it does has been acknowledged by the community, the local Councils and organisations such as Heritage Lottery Fund, Civic Society, Community First, and even the office of the Lord Lieutenant. I hope that The Society will continue its brilliant work, and that its contribution to the community will continue to grow.

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