The Present Preserving the Past for the Future

Chairperson’s Annual Report

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Chairperson’s report for 2019 AGM of Benarty Heritage and Preservation Group.

It was with deep regret that the group heard in January of the demise of one of its founder members and closest friend, Mr. Arthur Nevay.   Arthur brought many of his valuable life experiences to BHPG and the community at large.  He will be sadly missed.

This has been a somewhat busy and successful year for BHPG. The group at its annual open day in November 2018 submitted five new publications for the general public’s review. The book “Beneath the Sleeping Giant” was the second of an annual publication and was warmly welcomed.  The third edition of “Beneath the sleeping Giant” is well under way and almost ready for publication.  The group published the Benarty 1911 census in three volumes, namely The Ballingry and Lochore, Crosshill and Glencraig Census.  The fifth publication was the “Benarty Patriots” the fallen of WW1.  The group hope that these publications will be used as research tools for future group publications.

The group now have a forum where all our publications are displayed and are offered for sale.  This is at The Willie Clarke Centre at Lochore Meadows Country Park in the form of a display case. A similar display case awaits erection in the Benarty Community centre. The group would like to thank Ventient Energy & Foundation Scotland for their financial support in the publishing of those books which were published in 2018.  The group would also like to thank Mr. Iain Lang and his staff at The Willie Clarke Centre for marketing and displaying our publications.

The group, via Dunfermline Library, had a number of our publications and artefacts on display in the library. This was very well received and gives us a chance of building a relationship with Dunfermline library and other local history groups.  David Blane, the groups Military Researcher, gave an informed talk entitled “The Stewart Family of Lochore” at the library in November to coincide with Armistice Day.  David also repeated the talk on the open day.

The group continue to build their relationship with the local primary schools by sponsoring a visit to the National Mining Museum at Newtongrange. The group also provides copies of our publications to the schools and Benarty and Dunfermline Libraries.  The 2019 visitation to Newtongrange has been arranged for September and we hope this will continue into the future. This is the fourth visit that the group has sponsored.

The group, in no small way, can congratulate themselves for their efforts in bringing to a successful conclusion the boundary dispute concerning the southern boundary of Benarty.

The 2019 calendar brought conflicting reviews from some of our

sponsors and the general public. The quality of some of the art work and its presentation was called to question.  The group hopefully have addressed these issues in the design of the 2020 calendar which is well under way.  The group felt also that the control of calendar sales last year was rather haphazard with no one taking overall control of calendar sales and distribution. Maybe the printing of 550 calendars was over optimistic but the calendar sales issue will have to be reviewed.

The group voted this year to give £1,000.00 to two good causes. £500.00 was donated to the Dry Deck project at Lochore Meadows and £500.00 to the restoration of local art work in a project managed by Mary Clarke.

The group has been fortunate in the quality of a diverse number of speakers who have entertained and educated on a number of topics including Mining Heritage, My Jute Journey, and Mining in South Africa.

We hope that the number of speakers will expand in the coming years.

Future & Ongoing Projects.

The group have applied for stakeholder Membership at Lochore Meadows Country Park.  Contact with Kevin Sayers has been made and a participation request has been processed.

The group voted to consider the building of a miner’s memorial at Lochore Meadows Country Park, to honour the miners who lost their lives pursuing their employment in the Benarty area. Contact with Mr. Ivan Woods has been made and we are awaiting design details and costings.

The group proposed that a memorial publication, in memory of Arthur Nevay, entitled “The Lost Village Of Glencraig”, be published. Details are still being gathered but the project is ongoing.

The group in May 2018 had a very successful outing to Glasgow visiting The Riverside Museum, The People’s Palace and Pollock House. This was followed by a high tea in Grangemouth on the way home.  The group also had an entertaining visit to the Black Watch Museum in Perth later in the year. The group’s annual Christmas lunch was held at the Garvock House Hotel. The ladies in the group have been very active in fund raising activities in the past year, donating prizes and running the raffle on our annual trip and providing raffle prizes on the open day.  However, their effort at the Christmas Fair has to be recorded and thanked.  The quality of the Christmas prizes and in particular the hamper was outstanding and I would like to thank them most sincerely for their efforts considering what the weather forecast was broadcast for that Saturday morning.

I conclude by thanking all our members for their hard work and perseverance over the past year. Without your efforts, BHPG would not shine so brightly.

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