Newsletter – 4th August 2020

Hello again Everyone. I trust you and your sunflowers have been enjoying the July sunshine, showers but maybe not the wind as I understand some of you have had some casualties from the strong Westerlies. I have also heard that the slugs and snails have been having an unsuspected feast of others and that sunflower wilt has been a result of lack of water by others. However, there have encouraging reports of some of your sunflowers reaching heights of 6 foot already. Roll on the competition of Sunflower Seed-heads to be judged in October – more about this later.

“The best laid plans of mice and men…..” (Robert Burns) has never been truer than events this year. Your Committee met last week to review the Covid19 situation for the club. Village Hall committees all over the country have been working overtime to decipher the conditions and guidance from the Government and regional authorities on the rules to enable their halls to reopen. Without going into all the fine detail the booking situation of Ampleforth Village Hall is:
a) – The maximum number which can be accommodated in the Main Hall based on the Covid19 regulations is 25 (our meetings regularly have 40+ attending).
b) – Strict regulations have to be applied regarding movement and activities to ensure social distancing and the recording of contact details of all attending and this requires supervision ( All 8 of the Committee members would be required to record those who attend for Track and Trace purposes and to supervise movement in and out to ensure social distancing.(this would leave only 15 members able to attend as the Presenter/Speaker would also be counted in the 25 maximum).Pre-booking would be essential and many would be disappointed not being able to attend a presentation.
c) – Our membership has a large number in the vulnerable age group and nationally there is evidence of a resurgence in the Covid19 infection rate and popular belief is that this could increase in the autumn months with the colder weather reducing ventilation in enclosed spaces.

Taking all the above factors into account the Committee unanimously decided – that resuming meetings from September was going to be totally unsatisfactory for all our members and have unanimously decided to cancel the remaining 2020 scheduled meetings as keeping all our members involved safely in club activities is a priority. The Committee will be meeting again in early December to revue the situation for 2021. This decision will affect the planned judging of the Sunflower Seed-heads at the October meeting and the planned A.G.M. due to be held at the November meeting and the advertised topics in the now cancelled Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec meetings – see the next section.

All is not lost as your Committee is determined to keep the club running as smoothly as possible until normal club activities can resume which we all hope will be early in 2021. In the meantime….

A) Due to the severe loss of over £1000 income (based on the last 3 years) for the Gardening Club by the cancellation of the Plant Sale in May of this year due to Covid19 and the loss of Raffle profits at our meetings which have been cancelled the Committee on advice of our Treasurer, Sue Shepherd has agreed unanimously that the Annual Subscription for The Ampleforth and District Gardening Club will be £12 per member in 2021. The subscription has not been increased for many years but the Covid19 has decimated our reserves. A full and rational document for the increase will be sent to each member in September explaining the details for this decision to increase the subscription for 2021. The good news is that you won’t have to pay the 2021 subscription until the first meeting in 2021.

B) Sue and Jon are opening their Gardens and Plant Sale at Hillside, West End, Ampleforth on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th September for public viewing as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS). This year they are donating all proceeds of the Plant Sale to Ampleforth and District Gardening Club. All members are invited to attend and our thanks go to Sue and Jon in advance for their generous support to the club. Entry will be by advance booking via the NGS web site, and full details for booking, entry cost, opening times and how you can donate plants for the Plant Sale will be sent to members in the next e-mail News later this month.

C) For this September as the club is affiliated to the Royal Horticultural Society, Sue Shepherd has arranged with RHS Harlow Carr a free entry to the gardens on Wednesday 30th September for up to 55 of our members. Members who wish to take advantage of this offer will have to provide their own transport as coach hire under the Covid19 seating regulations for private trips would not be feasible. Members will need to arrive at the Harlow Carr Car Park between 10am and 10.30am so that our group can enter together at 10.30am (you can leave the gardens with your transport party whenever you wish). Please contact Sue Shepherd to book your place on the visit by emailing or by phone on 01439 788993 asap.

D) The Sunflower Seed-head Judging – will still take place in October by arrangement with Ampleforth Village Hall Library on Saturday 10th October between 10am to 12pm when you can leave your LARGEST Sunflower Seed-head (just one per member) in a sealed plastic bag with you name clearly printed inside with the seed-head and deposit it in a the plastic tray provided. REMINDERS WILL BE SENT IN SEPTEMBER AND EARLY OCTOBER. Your Sunflower Seed-heads will then be measured by Committee members and the winner announced in an October newsletter with the winner being the owner of the largest circumference seed-head receiving £10 by special delivery.

E) The 2020 AGM will deferred until a date in 2021 when it is deemed safe for us all to meet again and the Membership Subscription Payment for 2021 will also be deferred until the New Year 2021.

F) Shirley Halliwell, our Programme Secretary is contacting all the speakers who were going to visit us this year to offer them the opportunity to rebook for next year so that you do not miss the excellent topics they had been booked to deliver this year – already Shirley has rebooked the April and May 2020 cancelled speakers for next year. We will endeavour to produce the 2021 programme before the end of 2020 possible.

Very Best Wishes to you all
David Badham – Chairperson and Newsletter Editor