Chairman’s Report


Registered Charity No. 1098311




This is the Chairman’s report to the 29th Annual General Meeting of the Friends and thirteenth Annual General Meeting of the Charity as required by our constitution. The objects of the Friends are to advance the education of the public in Maldon and the surrounding areas by providing support and assistance to Thomas Plume’s Library (Registered Charity number 310661) through activities and projects and in such other ways as the Executive Committee may from time to time determine.  In planning our activities the Trustees kept in mind the Charity Commission’s guidance on public benefit.


Membership of the Friends now stands at 146 each paying a subscription of £5 supplemented by generous donations.  During the year 2015/16 the Friends held their AGM in the Octagon at St Mary’s Church followed by refreshments provided by the committee.   The speaker was Russell Savory, Manager of Stow Maries Aerodrome, who spoke about the wildlife that inhabits the land surrounding the WW1 buildings, illustrated by photographs.  A group of 15 Friends took part in a four day visit to Dublin in July where we had guided tours of Trinity College Library and Archbishop Marsh’s Library.  In September the Library was once again open for the Heritage Open Days when 16 volunteers acted as stewards.  Visitor numbers were down on previous years but we gained 5 new members for the Friends.  At the end of the month, an outing had been arranged to Saffron Walden where we visited the Fry Art Gallery and the Saffron Walden Town Library.  The Plume School Year 8 visits took place between the 7th and 23rd October when 11 classes came to look round the Library.  The prizegiving for the previous year’s winners of the Friends of Thomas Plume’s Library History Prize was held at the school in July.  Ellen O’Brien won the £20 book token as overall winner.  Holly Buckingham, Eleanor Delaney and Molly Lacey  received £10 tokens as highly commended runners-up.  Our final event for this year was the Quiz which as in previous years raised over £1000 for the Charity’s funds.

Replacement books purchased this financial year were:  Pindar  ‘Olympia, Pythia ….’ 1560;  Addison ‘West Barbary ’ 1671; Thomas Carew ‘Poems’ 1642; Raphael Thorius ‘Hymnas Tabaci’ 1651; and Thomas Smith ‘Remarks upon the Manners, Religion and Government of the Turks’ 1678.

A decision has been made during the year to close the Frank and Patricia Herrmann Award due to lack of interest.  During the seven years of the Award’s existence there have been two £500 award winners: Hannah Salisbury, ‘A World of Heat and Clamour, the life and times of an Essex Vicar (Hippolito du Chastelet de Luzancy) 2010 ; Hilary Wyatt ‘Preserving the Plume…’  2015, an analysis of the fabric of the Plume building.

The Committee (Trustees) has met four times during the year.  Sue Edward became a co-opted member at the January meeting and Al Brown joined us for our meeting in March.  I would like to thank all the members of the Committee for their help and support.  The Trustees of the Charity for the year 2015-2016 were:

Susan Swaffin-Smith                          Chairman

Martin Noble Wells                             Secretary and Correspondent

Clare Dobie                                        Treasurer

Diana June Arthur

Robert Anthony Doe

Helen Kirstine Kemp

Mary Carmen Wells

The principal address of the Charity is that of the Correspondent, Mr Martin Wells, 34 Beeleigh Road, Maldon, Essex CM9 5QH


Sue Swaffin-Smith,  Chairman                                                                                          12th  April 2016