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14 September 2008

Chair's report

This may well be my last chairman’s report for the Newsletter as I intend to resign from the position at our AGM on 15th October 2008. Please come along to the AGM and support or, better still, join the new committee. To encourage you to come along, we shall be having the AGM in The Hob public house and comedy club in the centre of Forest Hill. Unlike previous AGMs where we had guest speakers, we wanted this one to be an opportunity for people in Forest Hill to have a few drinks and meet the new committee.

As this is my final report, I want to take a moment to reflect on the last two years since we first set up the Forest Hill Society. In this time, we have taken the Society from a small group of people sitting round a table in the Dartmouth Arms, to a real civic society with almost 500 members and a significant impact on local issues. We have proved our capabilities particularly with respect to the railways and were able to get some significant enhancements to rail planning over the next eight years. But more importantly, Forest Hill now feels more like a community again rather than a non-descript suburb of London (not that it was ever non-descript).

As I step down from chairing the Society it is my hope that others will rise to the challenge of developing this community for the benefit of all local residents. I have chaired the Society for two years and we have some exciting times ahead. 2010 will see Honor Oak Park and Forest Hill being connected to the tube system as the East London Line finally makes it to SE23. We hope that we will see some improvements to the Horniman Gardens to improve this great public space. And, of course, we should see work progressing on bringing swimming facilities back to Forest Hill. But all of these projects require local people to get involved and make their voices heard. I hope that you will now consider what you can contribute to the Forest Hill Society and to your local community.

Of course the chairman is not the only person in the Forest Hill Society and I would like to thank everybody who has supported the initiation and development of the Society; particularly the team of people who organise the events, the finances, chair subcommittees, write the minutes of meetings, publish the newsletter and distribute the newsletters, those who provide their expert analysis to a range of issues, and those that have simply offered their feedback – positive or negative - on the work of the Society.

If you would like more information about joining the committee of the Forest Hill Society please contact me and I shall be delighted to give you more information.

Michael Abrahams

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