This will be my final letter as Chair and I’d like to start by saying how privileged I feel to have been given this opportunity and grateful for the encouragement to ‘give it a go’ when I was unsure whether to take up the role. I have learnt so much about the running of the Guild and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes for us all by the executive committee members on a voluntary basis. I’d like to send each and every one of them a huge ‘Thank-you’ on behalf of us all.

The Guild has given me the opportunity to learn about the wide range of enamelling skills and to try my hand at techniques I would never have heard of without the skilled and generous workshop leaders I have been lucky enough to learn from over the years at region meetings and conference. These tutors share their time and knowledge freely in support of the Guild and its members so I believe another big ‘Thank-you’ to them is in order.

As I write this we are putting the final touches to the Guild’s annual conference weekend (5th-7th April) at Thorpe Underwood Estate in York. I’d like to thank members for their tremendous support regarding this year’s conference. I am sorry to those of you who were disappointed at not getting a place on the workshop they requested. We had so much interest, many workshops were full by 2nd January and all tutors agreed to have more people in their workshops to try to cope with the demand – thanks to them for being so accommodating. Don’t forget to enter your pieces in the exhibition (you are not required to attend conference to enter pieces) especially for the themed award ‘All the fun of the fair’.

Pre-ordering from the suppliers attending conference will ensure they bring what you require as they will have limited stock carried with them. Many suppliers are only attending on the Saturday, please see your conference pack for details. If you are interested in applying for selection at next year’s conference I suggest you contact Ruby Tomes sooner rather than later as there are limited places and I believe she already has a few names on her list.

There are several forthcoming events the Guild is represented at this year including the Hobbycrafts Show at Birmingham NEC (March 21st -24th) and Art in Action near Oxford (July 18th -21st). I believe a full list is displayed on our website. Please let Lesley Miller know if you would like to assist at Art in Action; I would heartily recommend you do as I had a fantastic time both years I helped out.

My final thanks to all of you who have made my time as Chair so enjoyable. To the executive committee for their support and encouragement, to the members for their warm welcomes as I travelled around many of the regions and a special thank you to Jane Sheppard (conference secretary) for all she has done through the whole conference organisation on a steep learning curve for us both. I look forward to meeting up with old and new friends in York and hope I will be able to make the occasional visit to other regional meetings in the future.