Friday, 4 November 2011

Big shoes to fill at museum

THE announcement over the weekend that Mary Godwin was resigning from the post of curator at Lyme Regis Museum will have been received with shocked inevitability.

Mary tendered her resignation at a meeting of the trustees on Friday afternoon, informing them that she is taking up a new role with the Arts Council.

She has been in post at the Lyme Regis Museum since 2008, and during those three years she has added much professionalism to the running of this unique building, increasing both its profile and numbers of visitors to nearly 30,000 a year.

Mary will leave Lyme for a job she probably could not refuse with the praise of the trustees and all those who work at the museum ringing in her ears.

And no one will be surprised that she is moving on to an important role within the Arts Council, working with museums across the South West, including Lyme.

She admits that it was a “difficult decision”, such is her affection for Lyme’s museum which now plays such an important role in the community life of our town.

Mary, of course, has been crucially involved in the £4 million project to extend the museum and her enthusiasm and sheer professionalism was, I believe, the key to persuading the town council to back the plan by granting an 80-year lease for the extension on Guildhall land.

Some members of the former council had reservations about the development of one of Lyme’s most historic sites but a presentation by Mary in September persuaded the new council that the extension to the museum would be good for Lyme and they gave their unanimous backing.

There’s a long way to go before the project gets underway, not least the raising of £4 million, but the trustees have decided they will be pushing forward with the plans for which Mary has shown such faith and commitment.

Although Mary’s will be difficult shoes to fill, a new curator will be appointed as soon as possible and I doubt whether there will be any shortage of candidates, such is the reputation of Lyme Regis Musuem after Mary’s three-year stint in her tiny office which commands glorious views over Lyme Bay.

The town will wish her well in her new post at the Arts Council.

Failed attempt to swim to West Bay - 50 years ago

THIS column is never adverse to a bit of nostalgia and a press cutting which came across my desk recently, caught my eye.

It is clearly from the Bridport & Lyme Regis News and dated 1961 which means it will almost certainly have been written by doyen reporter and ex-councillor David Cozens MBE.

It records an unsuccessful attempt by two young Lyme men to swim from Lyme Regis to West Bay.

The two “young men” concerned were Rodney Jones, who now lives in Germany and Peter Flux, who sadly died a couple of weeks ago and was buried on Monday.

Rodney, a hard-tackling footballer and fast bowler, and keep-fit fanatic Peter made good progress after diving into the sea at The Cobb and making towards West Bay.

But they were forced to surrender to the cold and choppy seas before getting to their destination. Peter was suffering badly with cramp and was first to abandon the swim after about an hour in the water. Rodney went on for another 20 minutes, getting as far as Golden Cap before he had to give in.

Rodney and Peter were accompanied by their friend, Derek Hallet, in his grandfather’s rowing boat. He told the Bridport News: “When they came out of the water, Peter and Rodney were just too cold to do anything for themselves.

“The grease they covered themselves in didn’t do the trick. It just washed off in the sea.”

The story concluded by saying the plucky pair intended to attempt the swim again in more favourable conditions but Mr Hallett, the town’s former dog warden, says he can’t remember whether they did or not.

Well, it was 50 years ago.

Duty calls - at 91!

OLD soliders will be polishing their medals over the next few days. Young men back in civvy street having served Queen and country will be standing to attention once more. Royal British Legion members will be standing on windy street corners selling their poppies.

This will be happening in virtually every city, town and village up and down the UK as Remembrance Day approaches.

In Lyme Regis last week, a proud, grey-haired war veteran, wrapped up well against the cold, stood for several hours with his poppy tray in hand.

He collected the most that day - £74. That man was Cecil Quick, 91 years old, and a Royal British Legion stalwart in our town for over 65 years. The branch president.

On Sunday, November 13th Cecil will lead the Lyme remembrance parade. Duty calls.

Christmas special

OF ALL the numerous events in which I have been involved over the years, staging and presenting the Lyme’s Got Talent concerts these past two years have been among the most enjoyable and satisfying.

In August all the contestants were 18 years and under and there is something very special about working with youngsters. Their talent always amazes me.

Last year we intended staging a Lyme’s Got Talent Christmas Special but it was snowed off at the last minute.

But we are determined to do it again this year so put Friday, December 16th in your diary and look out for posters around the town and advertisments in the View.

You won’t be disappointed.

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