Kathy McLean, Chair
This article is from Signpost 67, Spring 2103
As 2021 started, so did my role as Chair of the Society. I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, David Hurrell, who sadly passed away in 2020. David was a great advert for the society and a committed chair and path inspector. I also want to say thank you to David Gosling who acted as chair during the interim and has been hugely helpful during the past few months.
Whilst I know we are still in the middle of a pandemic there are reasons to hope for better times ahead. Although limited to very local walks I am sure like me you have seen signs of spring. Snowdrops in clumps, wild garlic just appearing and more bird song filling the air, great tits and robins particularly abundant. The seasons don’t stop and whatever our personal challenges it is comforting to know that we can rely on them changing.
Behind the scenes members of PNFS are continuing with their important work, which is impressive. There will be backlogs of improvements and with the increased use of paths over the past months some serious inspecting to be done once it is safe and we are allowed.
I chaired my first Management Meeting in February and it was tremendous to hear about the rising membership numbers. This reflects the good work the society has done to publicise PNFS, but also the greater interest in walking and being outdoors which has been a feature of the past year. Increasing our membership and making the Society relevant to everyone is one of our aims this year, we are entirely dependent on volunteers to undertake the work of maintaining Public Rights of Way and we should ensure we appeal to a wide range of people.
Inevitably our regular programme of walks had to be postponed but I hope we can get that started again as soon as it is allowed safely. Joining others for a shorter or more challenging walk is a great way to make friends and explore an area you may not be familiar with. We will let everyone know when these start again.
The society is run by Trustees, volunteers who take on leadership roles to ensure the society is able to function effectively. We currently have seven Trustees but over the next few months we plan to increase this number to enhance the capacity and skills in the society. I will update you on progress in a future Signpost.
Although we cannot gather together to have meetings or training sessions, David Gosling has set up a great training programme on line. Many people have adapted to communicating on line and I am sure we will continue to benefit from this approach even when no longer strictly necessary.
Our website is a great resource for members and inspectors, but we feel it will need updating to make it more interactive and modern. We are making good progress in identifying someone to help us with this significant piece of work. It will take time but should make a big difference to members and others, big thanks to our webmaster, Mel Bale for his work on the website.
I am hoping I will meet many of you when that becomes possible. In the meantime, stay safe and stay local.
If you'd like a reply, please include your contact details.