After 40 years, falling membership forces Residents Association in Winchester to be disbanded

First published in News

A HAMPSHIRE residents association has been wound up because of falling membership.

Winchester City Residents’ Association has been disbanded after some 40 years despite members voting to carry on with its work at their last annual meeting.

However, the organisation has been unable to recruit new blood meaning the workload was falling on an ever-dwindling number of people.

Chairman John Thomas called a special meeting to discuss the crisis which was attended by 22 people – many of whom had been members for more than 20 years.

Mr Thomas took the opportunity to pay a special tribute to one of the founding members and former chairman, Alan Weeks, who died in 2010.

He said: “He was the one who got me into the association in 1991 and he had this tremendous love of the city and he was absolutely dedicated to the interests of the residents of Winchester.

“He seemed to spend his whole life attending council meetings and drafting letters and I suppose also being a pain to the local administration. Sometimes when he stood up there was a groan from the council.”

Former committee member Annette Lodge recalled demonstrations carried out by Mr Weeks and former member Chris Gillham, who formed part of the protests against such historic planning projects as the M3 through the water meadows in the 1970s, the motorway extension at Twyford Down in the 1990s and, more recently, the controversial Barton Farm development.

She said: “It’s such a shame, really, considering their achievements. I think it’s a problem with lots of the younger generation because so much is done through Facebook and people don’t join things as much as they used to. People don’t seem to want to do the kind of footwork that’s needed.”

While the decision was made to dissolve the association, former members say they are keen to reach out to any future newcomers to the city to reignite a city centre-focused group and continue the legacy.

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