Chairman’s Blog – 22nd May 2019

Offa’s Dyke Association call for volunteers

Do you have a few hours to spare and interested in discovering what goes on behind the scenes at one of the leading heritage organisations along the Welsh borders? We might be what you are looking for. If you can spare a few hours, just once a week, to help us with day-to-day running of the Offa’s Dyke Centre  then please get in touch. Either call in, email oda@offasdyke.org.uk or ‘phone 01547 528753.

We are a membership-based charity and entirely self-funding. We do not receive any financial assistance from either central or local government.  

The dust never settles  

In its long history the past couple of months were without doubt the busiest that the ODA has ever witnessed. Our 50th anniversary year as the friends’ group for Offa’s Dyke and Offa’s Dyke Path has ushered in many changes, and firsts, as we continue to grow and evolve into a leading conservation orientated heritage organisation. The remainder of the year promises to be just as eventful.

In March the walkers’ Passports arrived from the printers and the finishing touches made to the stamping boxes before their delivery to the 12 stamping stations ready for the slightly early start this year of 15th April. Trailblazer delayed going to press in order to include the Passport in its new edition guidebook to the Trail, so becoming the first publisher to do so. Remember that income from the Passport supports the Offa’s Dyke Conservation Fund; they cost £5 + 99p p&p from our on-line shop.

March and April saw visits to our printers and designers, WPG Group of Welshpool, to commission four pieces of design work. Our new dual purpose Offa’s Dyke Centre / membership leaflet and walkers’ certificates both use the eye catching painting of Offa’s Dyke on Springhill by Knighton artist Elaine Morgan. The certificate costs £3.00 and is now available from the Centre and via our on-line shop.

A new interpretation panel explaining the making of ‘Offa’s Throne’, unveiled at last year’s AGM, was installed only the day before this year’s meeting on 4th May. The fourth design project was a permanent tribute plaque, unveiled at the meeting, to four of our founder members: Frank and June Noble and Ernie and Kathy Kay, all sadly no longer with us.

In April we said goodbye and gave our best wishes to our long serving member of staff Catherine before welcoming Harriet and Rhian to the Centre. Handovers are always busy times but not a moment has been wasted as we begin to work up ideas for taking the Centre forward.

The Kington Spring Walking Festival over the weekend of 13th & 14th April dedicated four walks to the our 50th anniversary and it was a pleasure to talk to a 100+ audience at their buffet on the Saturday evening. Organisers Kington Walks are members of the ODA and I sold a couple of 50th anniversary mugs and they have just announced that their September wakking festival will dedicate another walk, from Kington to Knighton, finishing at the Centre for coffee and cakes. Thanks Kington, looking forward to seeing you again!

The 50th anniversary AGM weekend was a great success with four guest speakers over two days. The proceedings kicked off with the official launch of the walkers’ Passport with keynote speaker Professor Howard Williams from the University of Chester and guest professional singer Emily Boulton stamping their Passports to launch the scheme.

Preparations for our ‘Living History’ Saxon re-enactment event on 13th & 14th July at the Centre, in partnership with Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, are in full flow. Now that is a date for your diary! Keep an eye on our events page for more details.

Only the week after the AGM two or our trustees, Ian Mackey and Mel Roxby-Mackey, both archaeologists, travelled to Conwy to talk to a primary school about King Offa and the Saxons. Mel is the ODA’s ‘Resident Archaeologist’ and Ian is in charge of our Outreach work. More about their their trip to follow soon.

The offer to talk last week to BBC Radio Shropshire’s Adam Green about the ODA and Centre was too good to miss. Adam said no preparation time, just start talking, as he toured the Centre and park. As soon as we stepped outside the heavens opened but that didn’t dampen our spirits. Adam also interviewed a couple of willing walkers who afterwards visited the Centre, enjoyed some cake refreshments and then bought two Passports. Altogether a good day with two five minute slots on Adam’s evening programme to look forward to.

We couldn’t let the 50th anniversary pass by without a dedicated souvenir and we are proud to announce our limited edition mug. Its design, very kindly donated by artist Mike Middleton (Twitter @wulfgarthebard) features ‘Offa’s Throne’. A must for everyone who loves Offa’s Dyke it costs £6.99 + £3.00 p&p from our on-line shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2018

Keep an eye on the new ‘ODA at 50’ page and remember, if you live in a village or town along the Dyke or National Trail and would like to organise and affiliate an event to our 50th birthday celebrations then pleas get in touch. So far we can report that walks are planned for next year in Chepstow and Kington.

Donations are now more important to us then ever before. If you have enjoyed your visit to the Offa’s Dyke Centre then please consider making a donation. The Centre has a donation box but you can also make a donation via this website.

At our AGM in May we simplified our membership categories. We now offer ‘Individual’ membership at £20 per year and ‘Joint / Family’ membership at £25 per year. We very much value our loyal membership who enable us to carry out our educational work here at the Centre and to maintain our Conservation Fund. In the past two years we have grant aided four conservation projects with one more in the pipeline for later this year.

We also have a new membership category for charity / not-or-profit / community groups at £20 per year. Contact the Centre on 01547 528753 or email oda@offasdyke.org.uk to request a pdf application form. If a group runs an amenity useful to walkers, for example a community shop or café, then the membership fee entitles the group to a website advertisement. See the Llandegla community shop advert at https://offasdyke.org.uk/where-to-stay/accommodation-on-offas-dyke/

Small shops and tea room / cafés can join for £25 per year and have the same advertisement.