We had the 2002 AGM at the end of May. There was a bigger turnout than last year which was encouraging. Our new chairman, Simon Poole, gave his first speech in which he thanked all of those who had helped him start out in his new role. He said that he took great pride in all that the society has done, and mentioned Ian Gregory’s performance on a recent Radio 4 debate as one example. He said that courtesy is beneficial in all walks of life since we all interact with each other, whether in business, socially or in the home. He sees the Campaign as the vehicle for the message that we need to raise standards in society, and in order to achieve this, is keen to find sponsorship in order to gain more publicity.
He told us that we are broadening our range of patrons – among the list we have Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Henry Cooper, Dr Jonathon Sacks, Esther Ranzen and Roy Hudd. In his founders speech, Ian said that sometimes it feels as if we are like dinosaurs who escaped extinction when the meteorite of man’s arrogance crashed into the earth, but we are still well regarded. He said that people often forget how much society has progressed, especially in terms of health care, technology, social welfare and so on, but the important values of human interaction seems to be regressing, and many people now have an opinion that we live in a shabby, foul-mouthed nation where violence and profanity are common place. It is important to commend the good things in society, rather than spend time condemning things, and he reminded us that many of the things that we notice depend on our own perception and view of the world. Ian told us that he believes listening skills are the hardest of the ‘Listen, Slow down, Smile’ keystones, but it is an important skill to have if we are to prevent the slide towards a selfish society.
Gerry Hansen began his speech quoting Dame Edith Sitwell: ‘I have often wished I had time to cultivate modesty…But I am too busy thinking about myself’. He went on to congratulate Ian on the Silver Cross of St George award that he received from ‘This England’.
As usual, the catering was top notch, and we had two new members elected onto the council, so it was a very successful day.