Dear Bridge Friends,
First of all I would like to thank all the volunteers who took part in the Heritage Open Days at the weekend. It seemed to be a worthwhile exercise as we gained a handful of new members and the story of ‘how the bridge came to be’ was spread just that little bit further. The warm, sunny weather was very welcome too.
Second of all, we now have our date for the AGM. This will be Wednesday 15th October at 6.30pm. The venue is Horncliffe Village Hall.
At the AGM our ‘interim committee’ will resign and elections will take place for a proper committee of up to 10 Trustees to serve for the next year. All members of the Friends group are invited to stand. We hope to have a progress report from both councils, as prior to the AGM, on the 25th September, we will meet representatives of Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council. NCC has put aside £500,000 for the restoration project and we have been told yesterday (18th September) that Scottish Borders Council has ‘started the process of identifying the relationship between the Union Chain Bridge project and their capital programme.’
On this date we will also meet with Tony Kirsop who is the social enterprise officer from NCC. He will advise the Friends on the way forward with regards to raising funds for the restoration of the bridge. Both James Fell (Heritage Officer NCC) and Tony Kirsop feel that the Friends group could be helpful in accessing funds that the council- as a local authority – could not.
Once this meeting has taken place any outcome that needs to be written into our constitution can be discussed at the AGM and an agenda will be emailed out prior to the 15th.
Since our inaugural meeting the Friends have created a website at a cost of £440. Please see www.unionbridgefriends.com This has an inbuilt PayPal payment section so people can become Friends or donate electronically.
We have contacted English Heritage and Historic Scotland to ascertain their level of commitment towards the restoration of the bridge. We’re pleased to say that both bodies have responded positively and copies of their letters are available to members upon request.
The Paxton Trust has made a preliminary enquiry to the Brighton and Hove Museum with regards to the loan of the portrait of Capt Sir Samuel Brown, which could be part of an art exhibition in 2020 and in the meantime used promotionally.
Finally, I am pleased to report that we have 185 members and growing!
See you on the 15th October and thanks again,