Whilst the pandemic had been a terrible time for everyone, I wanted in this short message to reflect on some of the positives that have come out of 2020, as you are all too familiar with the negatives.
My very first message of 2020 was focused on 41 Club getting out into the community more, to raise our profile and to encourage ex-Tablers to join us.
I am pleased to say that during the pandemic the majority of clubs have done this by getting involved in volunteer groups to help the community in different ways.
We have all had to engage and learn to use the digital world, which has given us a great way to keep in touch and also have fun doing it.
The majority of clubs have held their AGMs online, and are meeting more online than they would have face to face, especially during the winter months. This is ideal for the older members.
As President, I haven’t met the National Board face-to-face yet, but I feel we have got to know and support each other in many new ways – far more than would have been the case meeting face-to-face four times a year. We are in touch much more often, and I have a great team working hard to keep the Association going in these difficult unprecedented circumstances, for that I say a sincere thank you to these guys.
We have the 41 Club Connects events with some fantastic speakers, which is something I think we should keep going on a monthly basis when we are back to anything like normal. During January 2021 we have three events lined up for you, because we did have a feeling that this was going to be a strange month:
- On Thursday 7th January we have an evening with Richard McCann, renowned international author and speaker, whose late-mother was a victim of The Yorkshire Ripper.
- On Thursday 14th January we have a virtual tour of the Hanger 42 Spitfire Museum and Display Team, at Blackpool Airport.
- On Tuesday 26th January (a day late so it doesn’t clash with anyone’s existing plans) we have a Burns Night Celebration.
Full details of these events will come out in the next few days.
I feel that the coming months, no matter what Tier you are going to be in, will be challenging for us all.
We have members living alone, and members that just need a chat with someone to discuss the challenges around them, with that in mind we have launched the 41 Club Buddies – someone at the end of a telephone to chat to from 10am until 10pm 7-days a week. I believe this is a member support that will be needed as we come out of this year into the light of 2021. The number is 03301 07 07 40.
Just yesterday, when out on my walk, my view on how this year has affecting people in different ways was really brought home to me. As I was walking through a village, 2 miles away, a car pulled over; it was a friend just wanting to give me New Year greetings. Unfortunately, he also said “sad news about Will”, a mutual friend, and a very successful property developer, who retired when he was 40 and was now 56, living alone in a big isolated farm house. He had taken his life on Christmas Eve. He had waved to me that morning, as we travelled through town. Little did I know he was waving goodbye.
I do not want any member to feel alone and that is why 41 Club Buddies is there for you.
A positive note that came about in 2020 is that people have got to know their neighbours. One of our members said that he had lived in his house for 20 years and had never met his neighbours until this year. There is a lot more kindness about again.
So, it’s not all bad! We have had good things come out of 2020 and these we should take on board and keep with us.
Myself and Lesley would like to wish you all a very “Safe New Year” with the hope that the vaccines will eventually enable us to meet some of you face to face in a happier healthier world. Yours in Continued Friendship
Peter Good, National President