Museum association stalwarts bow out at AGM

Last month around 40 members of the Hastings & St Leonards Museum Association gathered for an Annual General Meeting with a difference.

Apart from the usual business of an AGM they were saying goodbye to two longstanding stalwarts of the association.

Marion Purdy has been the Chair for 37 years and played a very large part in keeping the Association going through difficult periods in its history. Her successor, Richard Street, paid tribute to her tenacity and dedication to the museum and its staff, never fearing to stand up to the council when necessary but being a supporting, calming voice when needed.

Erica Barrett organised more than 50 events and trips for the association’s members and friends over 17 years enabling them to visit places of interest around London and the South-East with the same authority and attention to detail that she displayed in her former career as a school teacher.

The trips also raised large amounts of money for the association’s funds every penny of which goes towards supporting the museum.

Another longstanding member of the Association and current Mayor of Hastings, Councillor Nigel Sinden, was on hand to pay his own tribute and present the gifts bought from donations made by the association’s more than 200 members.

Newly-elected Chair, Richard Street said: “We have been so fortunate to have been able to count on two such wonderful and dedicated people over so many years. Let’s hope we can encourage more, younger people, to follow in their footsteps to ensure the association and our wonderful museum continue to inform, educate and entertain residents and visitors well into the future.”

The Hastings & St Leonards Museum Association was formed in 1889 and is believed to be the oldest such Museum Friends group in the country. In 1892 the association opened the Hastings Museum in the Brassey Institute, now Hastings Library, and was responsible for administrating and funding the museum, for mounting displays and collecting exhibits.

The Corporation took over responsibility for the Museum in 1905, since when the association has continued to play an important role, including the organisation of lectures, special visits and other social activities.

For further information, contact Richard Street hstlmuseumassoc@gmail.com or visit website www.hmag.org.uk/aboutus/assoc/ 

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