If you had told me a year ago, that on Friday the 14th of October 2011 I would be surrounded by a bevy of lovely ladies hosting a dinner party in a Royal Establishment I would have said…yup that sounds like me. If you had told me most of the ladies would be my mother’s age and older I would have shaken my head in disbelief. But as I welcomed my guests at the Royal Windsor Rose and Horticultural Society’s 2011 Harvest Supper at the York Club in Windsor Great Park that is exactly where I found myself.
I have now been Chairman of this ancient and august Society for almost a year and I have spent most of that time simply observing, understanding and contemplating. My prognosis is that it is fair to say that the Society is a shadow of its former self and in need of some serious resuscitation. Membership is barely in 3 figures, the committee structure needs extending and revitalising, the original purpose of the Society needs to be brushed off and polished up and related to the world of River Cottage rather than Downton Abbey.
But it is also true to say that revitalised, the RWRHS would have a lot going for it. It is 107 years old, it was once the most important flower show in Britain, our summer show is held in the most famous castle in the world, our cups and trophies are some of the best you can win and we are one of only 200 British organisations that count Her Majesty The Queen as patron .
So this year we are beginning our 5 year plan to raise this worthy phoenix from the ashes. We will be focusing on making the Society relevant, fun and educational. We will be making the summer show an unmissable part of the Windsor social calendar, we will be recruiting more volenteers and sponsors and we will be focused on giving our members a year’s worth of value for their subscriptions.
As for me if I am re-elected as Chairman at this year’s AGM I will just have to get used to spending more of my Friday nights in the company beautiful English roses.