SoFA’s 50th Anniversary celebration

John and Marion

SoFA members celebrated the Association’s 50th Anniversary in April.  The Bliss Hotel, Southport was the venue chosen for the Covid-delayed event originally planned for 2021.  Over 60 members and National Trust guests enjoyed a delightful lunch.  The panoramic views across the gardens, sea and marine lake in the dining area together with bright sunshine added to the warm and friendly atmosphere of the occasion.

Carol and John + magician

During the meal, the diners enjoyed the added experience of ‘table magic’ with the skills of the magician Pete Turner who moved around the tables providing a fascinating display of magic tricks despite the close-up, determined scrutiny of his audience!

SoFA’s vice-chair Edwina Alcock reflected on the development of the group, some significant office holders and activities.  National Trust funding records cover only the last 35 years of the Association’s history but the funding total is in excess of £60,000.

50th Anniversary meal SoFA

To mark SoFA’s 50th Anniversary, the Association made its largest ever single donation to The National Trust as reported in the Southport Champion Newspaper. Edwina, who liaises with Formby National Trust on behalf of SoFA presented a cheque for £5000 to Vicky Blane, the portfolio manager and Paul Semple, the site co-ordinator. The donation will kick start funding for the important restoration work to be done at Wicks Lake on the Trust site.

Chair, Frank Hyland circulated a letter of congratulations and thanks from Hilary McGrady, the National Trust Director General. Eleanor Underhill, Director of Operations and a guest at the luncheon, thanked members for the special donation and the support given to the wider National Trust. 

Jean and Ian 50th Anniversary

A vaccine-driven strategy is now allowing the group to return to a normal programme of activities in 2022.  Members can look forward to organised outings, holidays and talks as we begin the next 50 years of SoFA’s history.

If you are not a member but would like to attend any of our events or are interested in joining our Association, please complete our Contact Form.

Article provided by Frank Hyland.
Photographs by Michael Rofe.

SoFA AGM

SoFA AGM

On 12 April the SoFA AGM was held at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Southport. This was the first SoFA AGM since 2019, with the 2020 and 2021 AGMs having to be postponed due to Covid.

There was a good turnout from Members. The voting was unanimous for the election of the SoFA Officers and Committee. Thanks was given to Norma, who had stood down from the Committee after over 20years. She was thanked her for her loyal service to SoFA and was presented with a bunch of flowers.

Frank, SoFA’s Chair, reminded the members that our outings are restarting in June and there is an outing each month until the end of September. Full details of the outings are listed in SoFA’s Spring 2022 magazine and will be advertised on this website.

Following the AGM we were pleased to introduce Chris Hunter, Lead Ranger at Formby National Trust provided those present with an update regarding what goes on at the site on a daily basis. They now have a new ‘Tuesday Group’ who will carry out controlled tree management.

Chris reported that there are currently around 200 red squirrels within their Formby boundary. This survey was carried out by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust. Chris asked that anyone who sees either a red or grey squirrel in their garden that they report the sighting on the Lancashire Wildlife Trust website.

Between April and August a survey of the Natterjack toads is going to be carried out, unfortunately, the breeding season in 2020 and 2021 were unsuccessful.

Chris also thanked the SoFA group for their generous donation which will kick-start funding for the important restoration work to be done at Wicks Lake on the Trust site.

If you are interested in joining SoFA please contact us using our Contact Form.