I have some news for you all. I am standing down as Chair and leaving the committee at the festival.
It is hard to believe that I would have completed two years as Chair. Ben Hewlett approached me in April 2020 to see if I would join the senior management team as Vice-Chair with a view of stepping up to Chair in the October, I agreed but for a maximum of 3 years, and as they say, the rest is history.
As I reflect on all of the work that has gone on since 2020; a new look HarmonicaUK in the way of the re-branding project which took the best part of a year, as did our new IT systems and automated membership systems.
In October the current Editorial team will be two years old too. My opening brief to the new editorial team back then was simply that we should create a magazine that wouldn’t look out of place at any high street newsagents. The energy and enthusiasm by this team and also by the contributors is really something and they easily surpassed my hopes and vision. Newsdesk will be a year old soon and already professionals and enthusiasts are using our one-stop-shop approach to promote their news.
Great work has gone on with outreach and harmonicas for health; this is an ongoing objective. Behind the scenes, our standing as a charity is now robust, and I would say that we are probably a beacon as to how things should be done. We strive for an inclusive and diverse approach in all that we do. Our processes are strong as is our approach to risk assessment and safeguarding.
Fantastic work has gone on since the beginning of the pandemic with online social gatherings, lockdown sessions and open mics. I must say through this alone that I have formed lasting friendships, a fact that I am very grateful for.
Finally, we have our two new ambassadors, Rachelle Plas and Sam Spranger, with two more joining this team at the October Festival - a fact that I am so proud of.
I would like to thank all of my team for being my inspiration, the hard-working committee, the communications and editorial teams, outreach, health and of course our honorary teams in the way of our President, Vice-President, Patrons and Ambassadors. We all had to step outside our comfort zone and trust that the direction that we were taking was going to be all right and it was.
Barry Elms will be stepping up as chair. I have worked closely with Barry in his roles as Editor, Head of Communications and lately as my Vice-Chair. Unbeknown to him, he has been assessed as a future chair for a long time now LOL, and I can report that he will be a fantastic chair for HarmonicaUK. Good luck Barry, we are all rooting for you.
Dave Hambley is retiring at the AGM, and Davina Brazier and Sammy Boy Wilkinson are also standing down. Their contribution has been so outstanding that I can’t give them the recognition in this email that they rightly deserve, so I would like to dedicate my final newsletter in October to them. We have several volunteers in the wings who will hopefully be joining our committee. We mustn’t fear change, knowing that change is often our very salvation.
It has been such an honour and a privilege to have been given the chance of going from teenage member to Executive Chair, one of the greatest chapters of my life.
As always, Happy Harping.