All change at Civic Society

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The chairman of Whitby Civic Society has stepped down after four years at the helm.

Barry Atkinson handed over to new chairman George Dawson at the society’s annual general meeting on Monday evening in Whitby Museum.

He said he had “thoroughly enjoyed his time” as chairman but it was time for a change in order to maintain the progress the Civic Society had been making.

Mr Atkinson said he took over with a number of tasks in mind including increasing the profile of the society, working with other local organisations and other civic societies in the Yorkshire region.

The other thing he was keen to do was increase membership numbers and he told Monday night’s meeting he was pleased that all four had been met.

He said: “I thought it was necessary to increase and broaden our membership base. It is no good us all ageing and dropping off our perch.

“We want new people coming in and we have worked very hard on this and it has not been easy but we are beginning to reap the fruits of our labour, we are almost at a hundred.”

As chairman of the society he said there had been a number of ups and downs such as when plans to unveil a blue plaque were twice thwarted by troubles in Australia and the volcanic ash cloud.

But he picked out a couple of highlights from his time in the hot seat including the battle to save the tourist information centre from being converted into a cafe and the restoration of a public right of way at Bog Hall crossing

Mr Atkinson said: “I have a background in rights of way and I am a bit of a map fanatic and did quite a lot of work with the National Parks.

“I had a battle over four years on this and did get it sorted in the end. It is quite interesting what some old maps of Whitby and a bit of knowledge can do.

“Two or three years ago we were in danger of losing out tourist information building to yet another cafe. We were opposed for many reasons so I went across to Scarborough and addressed the full council chamber and we won the day. It was a bit nerve wracking but something different again.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as chairman but I believe four years is enough. If it is long enough for the American President then it is long enough for the Civic Society.

“To retain momentum and fresh ideas it is necessary from time to time for a change in leadership to be made. We are blessed with a first class candidate for the chair, George Dawson.”

At the election of officers which followed the following appointments were made - Betty Bayliss (vice chair); Doreen Wort (secretary); Libby Thompson (treasurer); Chris Whitlam (membership secretary).