Since the AGM in March 2022 Museum Trustees have invited three further individuals to join the Trustee Board. Each has specialist skills and knowledge that adds strength the Museum's leadership. The Constitution highlights that any Trustees appointed by the Board must be elected by the Membership at the following AGM. They will then enter the 3-year cycle of re-election. Trustees recommend that at the April 2023 AGM Sara Dowell, Elaine Pym, and Luke Talmage be confirmed as Museum Trustees.
Here are their stories -
Sara Dowell - Sara recently retired from Scott Rowe, Solicitors, where she worked from 1979 – 2022. Her family comes from the Axminster/Ilminster area. In 1958 her parents took over The Railway Hotel (now The Happy Return) in East Street, Chard, where she grew up.
Sara goes on to say that:
I started school at Chard Infants/Junior School (Manor Court), and I went on to Ilminster Girls Grammar and Wadham Comprehensive. I studied History, Economic and Social History, Archaeology and Latin for my degree at University in Leicester, with the aim of qualifying as a County Archivist. I did not get a place on the required course at Liverpool. University. I then took a secretarial course, worked for an electronics firm for a year, and then joined Scott Rowe as a secretary to one of the partners.
The partners in Scott Rowe gave me the opportunity to qualify as a solicitor and I became a partner in the firm in 1999. My areas of law were property and private client, but I also spent 9 years as managing partner working with our practice manager to achieve Lexcel and Investors in People accreditations.
I have always loved history, and when the Chard History Group was formed in 1965, I joined the Group with my two older sisters. I was lucky enough that Len Hoskins encouraged my enthusiasm, taking me to the old Somerset County Record Office to carry out research for the Group’s early publications. I carried out the research for a very small paragraph about the search for coal near the Ship Inn!
The Chard History Group at that time was a remarkable collection of people: it only took 5 years for the Group and its partners to achieve the founding and opening of the Chard and District Museum at Godworthy House in 1970.
Prior to the Museum opening, I spent weekends and holidays with Miss Amber, the first Museum Curator, selecting and labelling the exhibits from the Arthur Hull collection handed over by Taunton Museum.
I love costume – I have been a member of the wardrobe team for Axminster Drama Club since 1985, researching and making assorted historical and fantasy costumes for their productions.
I have been a property Trustee for Axminster Drama Club (a non-operational position) and a Trustee for Ferne Animal Sanctuary, when the charity built the new dog kennels and converted to a charitable company, but resigned in 2017 due to my work and family commitments.
I am married to Brian, with two dogs and no children!
Elaine Pym - Elaine lives in Chard and when younger went to Holyrood Secondary School.
El;aine goes on to say that:
After Holyrood I went on to became a teacher at Greenfylde School in Ilminster for 19 years. I started volunteering at the Museum around October 2021, cleaning and helping at the desk and meeting visitors. I have started showing people around the Museum, now that I know a little about the Chard five and the artefacts we have.
I have researched and built the history of the Blue Plaque Walk for visitors to Chard. This is an ongoing project that I have found both informative and rewarding.
I am very interested in the displays, tidying them, and making sure that they are shown to their best, then researching and deepening their relevance to Chard with labelling that tells their stories behind each artefact. I am working towards central storage areas for pictures and information so that people know where things are and that they are kept together. This is part of the planning for reaccreditation later in 2024.
I would be pleased to become a Trustee as I am strongly committed to the Museum. I feel I work well as part of a team and have good communication skills. I feel it is important to keep everyone informed and updated with everything happening at the Museum, I enjoy working with such a dedicated knowledgeable team of volunteers and colleagues.
Luke Talmage - Luke has lived in Chard for most of his life.
Luke goes on to say that - I have a BA Hon.s degree in History and Sociology, a Masters degree in History from the University of Southampton and have enjoyed the pleasure of being the Head Teacher of Manor Court Community Primary School since April 2017. I understand the importance of the Museum to the community and look forward to being a part of its further development.
The existing Trustees have benefited and shared the skills and strengths that Sara, Elaine, and Luke bring to the Museum. We hope that you will support our recommendation and support us in strengthening the Trustee body.