Coffee Morning 04 September 2021

Coffee Morning

At last, SoFA members were able to meet face to face for the first time in 18 months. Our opening event was a very successful Coffee Morning held at the United Reform Church in Formby.

We were delighted to welcome over 80 SoFA members, and it was a great pleasure to be joined by Justin, one of the Formby National Trust Rangers, as well as Anne, a member of the ‘Meet and Greet’ team at the Formby site.

Justin was able to update our group regarding the projects currently underway at the Formby site, and some of the future projects aimed at improving the woodland areas for the benefit and survival of both flora and fauna.

It was so nice to hear so many people chatting and happy just to be together again. A good time was had by all who attended.

For more information about the Formby site, please click here.

If you would like to join our Association, please complete our contact form.

National Trust Director General Visits Formby

Hilary McGrady
Hilary McGrady
Hilary McGrady

The National Trust Director General, Hilary Mc Grady visited Formby at the end of September 2021 as part of a programme of visits in the area.

During her time at Formby, she was shown aspects of the conservation work being undertaken along the coastal area and discussed future plans.

The visit provided an opportunity for Hilary to discuss with the staff recent cases of anti- social behaviour and its impact.

SoFA members form part of the volunteer group at the site and the Association has funded equipment and tools to improve response and management on the site.

If you would like to join our Association, please complete the contact form.

2021 National Trust Members’ AGM

National Trust Logo
National Trust Logo

For the attention of all National Trust Members – A Message from Mike Innerdale

2021 National Trust Members’ Annual General Meeting

I am delighted to confirm that the 2021 National Trust Members’ Annual General Meeting is being held on Saturday 30 October at the Harrogate Convention Centre.

It is the first time that the AGM has been held outside of Swindon for many years, and a real privilege that it will be held in the North. So, it will be a great opportunity for our local Supporter Groups to attend and I hope you, or any members of your group will be able to join us. We have lots of information about what’s happening around the North region as well as key messages from our national Executive and Trustees.

I will be there on the day, and it would be lovely to see you and hear about your activities and to be able to thank you in person for all that you do in support of our cause.

I would ask that you raise awareness of this important event in the region to members in your Supporter Groups.

The AGM booklet was sent out with the autumn edition of the National Trust Magazine and is also available to read or download at the National Trust website:

Please note that we are asking members to pre-register in order to attend the AGM this year. Details of how to do this are in the booklet.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch, should you have any queries or require any further information.

May I also take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely

Mike Innerdale

Regional Director – North Region, National Trust

If you would like to join our local Association, please complete our Contact Form

Japan, Bowing to Tradition, Zoom talk by Jim Holmes

Japanese Umbrellas - SoFA

Jim Holmes kindly agreed to talk to our society on Tuesday 29th June on the subject of Japan.

Jim is a documentary photographer working on commercial projects and humanitarian interventions around the world.

Over 30 years of travel has taken Jim to some of the most remote and extraordinary places on earth including Japan.

Jim gave a very interesting and informative talk entitled Japan, ‘Bowing to Tradition’. He entertained us with stories from the northern ‘snow country’ to the southern tropical beaches explaining that Japan is a diverse and complicated country. Jim also informed us how Japan has integrated very traditional aspects of it’s culture into modern society.

Jim spoke of micro cars to beer from machines and houses to tatami mats. He explained how Japan is not quite what you imagine, as tradition meets modernism.

We would like to thank Jim for a very interesting and entertaining presentation for the Southport and Formby National Trust Association.

To read more information and view Jim Holmes’ photographs please visit his website here

If you are a member of the National Trust, and would like to join our local Association please complete our contact form

Article supplied by Lois Hughes

Restrictions are Relaxed at NT Properties

National Trust Logo
National Trust Logo

Below is a message that SoFA has received from Danielle Albracht, Supporter Group Development Manager, National Trust that restrictions are relaxed at their properties. Here is a link to the list of our local properties.

Dear Supporter Group

I hope this email finds you well. We have tried to keep you updated and informed throughout the pandemic, and in that spirit, I have compiled what I hope will be useful information about changes that came into effect from 19 July 2021, including a note on group size for NTV groups.

Please continue to refer to the National Trust website as further changes to Covid restrictions are announced in each of the nations. There you can read our latest Covid statement and find more information on our coronavirus FAQs page.

General visiting information:

Our gardens, parks, cafés, shops, countryside locations and many houses are open. Please check our website for visiting and booking information and visit the property webpage to see which facilities will be open for your visit.

Restrictions vary in England, Wales and Northern Ireland so please follow the latest government guidance for the country you’re visiting.

If you’re showing any of the symptoms of coronavirus, or if you’ve been in contact with anyone that has the virus in the last 10 days, please don’t visit.


From 19 July 2021, you’ll no longer need to pre-book your visit to many places in England. For smaller properties where booking has been introduced for guided tours, or to manage visitor numbers for other reasons, booking is still required. Pre-booking is also still required for some places in Wales and Northern Ireland so please check our website before you travel.

During your visit:

Following government guidance, we’ve lifted social distancing rules and other Covid restrictions in England. The safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff remains our top priority. We’ll continue to provide hand sanitiser and stick to our high standards of cleanliness, and face coverings are recommended in enclosed and crowded areas.

For NTV groups:

The previous limit of 30 people for volunteer parties has been lifted in England but remains for the moment in Wales and Northern Ireland. Please be mindful that it is the property’s decision as to when they will bring group volunteers back based on a number of factors including where there have been changes caused by the Reset programme and risk assessments which will be in line with covid-safe working. There may be places where teams are not in a position to restart group volunteering at this time, or they aren’t able to accommodate a larger volunteer party. If this is the case for any of your local properties, we ask for your continued patience. Please get in touch with your local property ranger teams to explore possible volunteering dates.

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve stuck closely to government and devolved assemblies’ guidelines, and the safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers remains our top priority. Thank you for showing others kindness and respect as we move forward into this next phase together.

Best regards,


SoFA Holiday in Norfolk

Members memories of a SoFA holiday in Norfolk

Write-up by Jean Higson – Part one

Ian and I have been on several holidays now with SoFA. We’ve visited The Severn Valley, Thursford, Cardiff, The Cotswolds, Kent, Norfolk, Durham and Devon. Now we have been asked to write about our favourite holiday. This was not an easy task as we have enjoyed them all. We finally narrowed it down to the two holidays in 2018.

The first SoFA holiday was in June to Norfolk and we stayed at the lovely Dunstan Hall Hotel. It was an interesting itinerary and we began with a full day at the Queens Estate in Sandringham where the Royal Family spend Christmas. We looked round the church where the Royal Family worship on Christmas morning. Then we had a tour of the house and the museum. We were then free to explore the wonderful gardens. The weather was glorious, and the temperature reached 27°C that day!

Sandringham, Norfolk, Southport and Formby Association

Next day we went to the Bure Valley Railway and travelled by narrow gauge steam train from Aylsham to Wroxham. After a light lunch we had a relaxing two hour cruise on the Norfolk Broads with an entertaining live commentary. We then had some free time to explore the pretty village of Wroxham, or to sit and enjoy a drink (or two?) watching the swans on the meandering River Bure.

That evening we met for pre-dinner drinks in the bar and then the hotel served a delicious carvery for dinner.

On our final full day, we visited Oxburgh Hall, a National Trust property. It is an attractive moated country house built for Edmund Bedingfeld. We then had free time in the city of Norwich. Some people looked round the cathedral, others enjoyed the open top bus tour.

All the holidays have had the most interesting itineraries, with lots of variety. These have been planned and organised by Michael Rofe, his wife Jean and Airedale Travel. We would like to thank Michael, Jean and Airedale Travel for arranging all these excellent holidays. They don’t just happen, they take a lot of planning and we appreciate it.

As a Member of the Southport and Formby Association you are able to go on these holidays. If you are interested in joining, please complete the SoFA contact form.

Jean & Ian Higson