Last Wednesday night was one of those landmark evenings in the museum's history; an occasion tinged with sadness but overwhelmingly with admiration, appreciation and respect.
Both Dennis Roberts (Chairperson) and David Bathers (Vice Chairperson) made the difficult decision to retire from their roles with Penmaenmawr Historical Society and Museum after more than 60 years of service collectively.
Dennis has been involved with the Historical Society and Museum since 1973, mainly at its helm. In fact, the organisation wouldn't exist to this day if it wasn't for Dennis. His enthusiasm for collecting stories, articles, photographs and artefacts from the town's past has resulted in a treasured collection that the museum is proud of. Saying thank you doesn't seem enough for safeguarding Penmaenmawr's history as he has done so well. We don't need to tell you that what Dennis doesn't know about Penmaenmawr's history isn't worth knowing!
And David - the mountain man of Pen! David's love of the landscape around Penmaenmawr is infectious, and his passion for disseminating its stories and history has touched all of us. You can be having the worst day and just five minutes with David completely changes your perspective! He's a driving force for embracing change and experimenting with different ideas. That drive was the foundation for the museum's expansion - we have him to thank for the encouragement and perseverance which gave everyone the confidence to move forward with the museum's plans.
All of us who are involved in the museum have learned so much from Dennis and David. You only need to pick up a newspaper article about the history of Pen to find that it was written by Dennis, or scan a QR code somewhere and find that the information was contributed by David. So despite their retirement, the learning from these two amazing historians won't stop, it will always be there in what we read and the legacies that have been created through the publications, the museum displays and the collection. It's impossible to quantify how many people their knowledge has informed and will continue to inform, well beyond our lifetimes.
But it's not all sad news! Two new roles have been created for the Historical Society and Museum's governance which Dennis and David have filled. Dennis is stepping into the new role of President and David is taking up the role of Vice President. They will both remain on the board of Trustees and they will both continue to be involved in the museum and collating Penmaenmawr's history. However, they both want to spend a bit more time enjoying their retirement with their families, and particularly their wives Beryl and Michelle, who have been so patient with all of us phoning and knocking on their doors to ask questions or to ask them to sign things, sometimes when they are in the middle or dinner or wanting to go out! To David's wife Michele and Dennis' wife Beryl, thank you so much.
And of course, this change in governance leads us to two new people who were elected at the AGM to steer the museum into the future with the Trustee team. Shirley Cox has taken the role of Chairperson, and Roger Hammer as Vice Chairperson. Both of them have worked tirelessly for the museum over the last few years and we congratulate them in taking up their new roles.
Thank you to all of our supporters and to those of you who came along to the AGM and talk. There are some exciting changes ahead and we can't wait to open this year and show you what has been happening with the refurbishment and the new displays. We aim to open in July but we haven't set a definitive date yet because we want to make sure everything is in place before opening the doors. Watch this space!
Thank you all very much, and to David and Dennis - happy retirement (but I'll be phoning you tomorrow to pick your brains ;) )