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.
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.
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.
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.
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Article provided by Frank Hyland.
Photographs by Michael Rofe.