MESSAGE FROM BARBARA CHAPMAN, RETIRED LGVA CHAIRMAN
When I made the decision over a year ago to step down as Chairman after being in post for over 17 years, it never occurred to me that I would be unable to attend the AGM last November, but sadly due to ill health I was not able to do so. It was the late Fred Buglass who persuaded me to join the LGVA Committee, and I took on the job of Vice Chairman in 1995, taking over as Chairman in 1996.
I have amassed many memories over the past 18 years including:
•the celebration evening in 1999 which we staged to commemorate Fred Buglass and the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Village Hall •being part of the team which fought the plans to build on Green Belt Land, and giving evidence first hand to the Inspector at the Public Inquiry. • the Village Sign which we unveiled on a very wet and windy day in December 1999. •Numerous fêtes including the Millennium fete when we had a Falconer and many of us lay on the field as this beautiful creature swooped down over us with just the near silent swish of his wings; and fêtes featuring BBC Robot Wars machines. •Then there are the annual Christmas Concerts still going strong in 2013-12-29 •The renovation of the Hall Foyer and entrance in 2001 •2002 celebrations for the Queen's Golden Jubilee with a Jubilee Picnic for which we commissioned a special Cake the size of a door, and the special Charity Gala evening at Shendish. •I was honoured to be the first recipient of the Buglass Award. • We planted snowdrops and later daffodils on the Village Green • We Published Christmas Cards, Calendars, notelets and my book on Lost Properties - the latter part of the drive to raise money for the major re- ordering of the hall which took place eventually between 2005 & 2008. • Also as part of that fundraising was a magnificent evening of entertainment put on by the Players, and the start of my annual local history talks. I believe we have one of if not THE best equipped and pleasant community or Village Halls in Dacorum •We've had many Quizzes over the years, which with the "electronic score board" magnificent ploughman's suppers and innovative questions have become something of a legend. •Then in 2012 were the celebrations both for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with the planting of a tree on the green, and LGVA's own 50th anniversary with not only a tree and a commemorative mug, but also a fantastic reception bringing together as many as possible of the people who have had an active part over the past 50 years in running this organisation.
Sadly of course it hasn't all been fun and laughter and success. We have had our failures when fighting the local authority and developers and many sad occasions as various members died, some well before their time. Then of course there was Buncefield, when Leverstock Green was put well and truly not just on the local or national map, but on the International one as well. The two years following the disaster also proved personally rewarding for me as I was involved in a working party from DBC resulting from the explosion, and culminating in the planting of trees on the green, a special Buncefield trail, and the production of a special document to be of help to other communities in the light of any future major disasters.
All told my tenure as Chairman, and before that Vice Chair has been both interesting and rewarding. I intend if my health will allow, to remain on the committee for many years to come, but from now on I will be taking a back seat and concentrating more on my local history research and getting my website up to date.
Lastly I would like to say a very big thank you to all the committee members over the last 18 years, but especially to the officers: Margaret Rayner, Iris Parish, Colin Gage, Ruth Carl, Neil Hall, Owen Perkins and most recently Audrey Weightman for all the help and support they have given me over the years.
Because above all, its the people of Leverstock Green, and especially those who have served on the committee who have played the biggest part in my memories. Without you all, none of the things I have mentioned could or would have happened. However, without the support and encouragement of my husband Martin, I couldn't have even considered taking on the role I have.
Barbara Chapman, November 2013
POSTSCRIPT - MARCH 2015
Unfortunately due to increasing long-term health problems and a long spell in hospital, I felt unable to continue on the committee, resigning at the AGM in November 2014. However I continue to support LGVA in any way I can. BAC