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How About A Campaign?


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Guest Cynic

It is a disgrace that FJ does not already have a KBE, (he does have the CBE) and while he is still here with us to enjoy it, I think the moment has come for a concerted effort. We need to bombard 10 Downing Street with letters.

 

If anyone else knows a better way of getting this matter dealt with, please speak up and we can all rally round.

 

For my six-penny-worth, in the 1980's I was writing about Francis Jackson in programme notes as the north's equivalent of George Thalben-Ball. He was in every way as good an ambassador for our instrument and he is a highly gifted and prolific composer in the way that GTB was not. Nearly thirty years have passed, and I find it incredible that we should be so lucky as I was to hear him give a stunning recital at the age of 90 on the organ of Beverley Minster (on Easter Monday).

 

It took an effort to get GTB his K, that effort is equally well worth making for FJ and the time is NOW. Who's with me?

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I agree totally and support any such campaign totally. Everyone speaks of what a nice, friendly person he is and we must not forget the constant support he has had from Mrs J. They both deserve the titles that would come from a KBE. Great ambassadors for our cause.

 

I was speaking to an organist friend (Ron Bayfield) and his wife on Saturday. From their own experiences they were moved, during the IAO congress in Paris when they came across the Jacksons, to speak to Priscilla first on the grounds that so many organists completely ignore colleague's wives when they meet. Apparently she was really appreciative of this.

 

I remember at an IAO congress in Hull about 40 years ago FJ made a speech at a dinner and referred to two cows having a conversation in a field. They had seen a bill-board advertising milk which was pasteurised, hermogenised, skimmed &c., &c., and one cow turned to the other and said "It makes you feel really humble, doesn't it?" Funny how these trivialities stick in the mnd.

 

Malcolm Kemp

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I remember Barry Williams saying here that it has been tried before. One would assume from this that a lot of the spade work has already been done, but for whatever reason the case was deemed not strong enough. no reason to accept defeat though. It would be worth contacting Barry via his website to see whether he knows anything about the submissions that were made; it might save some work.

 

This link explains the process for nominating someone: honours nominations.

 

See also the Orders of Chivalry. KBE would seem to be the one to aim for.

 

Does it strike anyone else as morally bankrupt that civil servants can get knighthoods just for doing the job they are paid to do while people such as FJ, whose contribution to society has been far above the call of duty and far more appreciated, are simply ignored?

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Does it strike anyone else as morally bankrupt that civil servants can get knighthoods just for doing the job they are paid to do while people such as FJ, whose contribution to society has been far above the call of duty and far more appreciated, are simply ignored?

No. Civil servants do not get knighthoods or any other honour "just for doing the job they are paid for". They have to make a specific and outstanding contribution to do so. The lines of communication for those who sponsor them are perhaps more direct but these honours are not granted on a whim.

 

Nevertheless, I agree that Francis Jackson is worthy of greater recognition than he has so far received, though we must not overlook the fact that the CBE is a very high honour indeed. If anyone is aware of a cabinet member who has a musical background, even better an organist, then that is the person to lobby.

JC

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There was a very great effort made, several years ago, to get a more appropriate honour for Dr. Jackson - I and many others, including Edward Heath, wrote to the Honours Secretariat, to no avail. There were several mentions of the 'blocking' of a high honour by a certain adviser to the Cabinet Office.

 

That was all a long time ago and in June 2006 I decided to have a poke and wrote:

 

Mr. Tony Blair,

10, Downing Street,

Westminster,

London.

SW1 2AA Date: 26th June 2006

 

 

Re: Dr. Francis Jackson, O.B.E.

 

Dear Prime Minister,

 

It is now over ten years since Dr. Francis Jackson (a former Organist of York Minster) was nominated, by several hundred people, as a popular candidate for a Knighthood. These nominations, which included those of The Rt. Hon Sir Edward Heath and others, were rather pointedly ignored.

 

Last night I attended an organ recital at which, the now 89-years-old, Dr. Jackson played utterly superbly and during which I repeatedly thought that his omission from being honoured by a Knighthood is really quite, quite wrong.

 

In my rather privileged position as the Head of this very old Firm I have spent much time in the organ lofts of the great Paris Churches and other European Cathedrals, etc., and I am often asked as to Dr. Jackson's health: the acknowledgment of his status as a musician of international fame in the minds of these other famous musicians is palpable.

 

Dr. Jackson, born in 1917, served as the Organist and Master of the Choristers at York Minster from 1946 until 1982, during which period he also composed much Music which has become a part of the standard repertoire. In 1982, following his retirement his recital career blossomed, given the time which he had not had hitherto and his attraction in performance is, simply, amazing. Last year he packed York Minster for a recital, the audience of which applauded him with a standing ovation - this at the age of 88, by which time many of us are not only mentally diminished but physically incapable even of climbing the stairs to the organ loft!

 

In these days when it seems to many that the status of Honours is so diminished, by the constant awards made to 'Pop' stars (whatever they may be) and others whose sole redeeming feature appears to be the ability to hack a football around a field for the amusement of a crowd, which is, after all their job and for which they are already quite unreasonably-highly paid. Would it surely not be more appropriate to honour the very long life of a man whose dedication to his art, notwithstanding the risible financial benefits, has been unremitting and who is now, more than ever, an inspiration to the many thousands of much younger musicians who attend his masterful recitals, even at this great age?

 

 

May I, and others, therefore respectfully ask that you revisit Dr. Jackson's nomination for a high honour to mark both his promotion of music to the young and his international standing as a Composer.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

David Wyld

Managing Director.

HENRY WILLIS & SONS LTD.

 

 

and I received the following reply from the Ceremonial Secretariat, 35, Great Smith Street, London. SW1P 3BQ:

 

19th July 2006

 

 

Dear Mr. Wyld,

 

Thank you for your letter of 26 June to the Prime Minister concerning the nomination recommending Dr. Francis Alan Jackson OBE for a further honour.

 

I understand your disappointment that Dr. Jackson has not yet received a further honour. We receive over 3,500 nominations every year. This far exceeds the number of awards available and as a result many good candidates do not succeed against what is always extremely stiff competition.

 

I can confirm that Dr. Jackson's nomination continues to be carefully considered, but I do hope that you understand that I am unable to guarantee a successful outcome.

 

Yours sincerely etc.....

 

 

As John Carter says, the CBE is certainly a high(er) honour, but the fact remains that a Knighthood IS appropriate and hasn't been forthcoming. So I'm with Paul D. and will certainly get stuck in again if required!

 

Any more for any more......?

 

DW

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Guest Cynic
There was a very great effort made, several years ago, to get a more appropriate honour for Dr. Jackson - I and many others, including Edward Heath, wrote to the Honours Secretariat, to no avail. There were several mentions of the 'blocking' of a high honour by a certain adviser to the Cabinet Office.

 

That was all a long time ago and in June 2006 I decided to have a poke and wrote:

 

Mr. Tony Blair,

10, Downing Street,

Westminster,

London.

SW1 2AA Date: 26th June 2006

Re: Dr. Francis Jackson, O.B.E.

 

Dear Prime Minister,

 

It is now over ten years since Dr. Francis Jackson (a former Organist of York Minster) was nominated, by several hundred people, as a popular candidate for a Knighthood. These nominations, which included those of The Rt. Hon Sir Edward Heath and others, were rather pointedly ignored.

 

Last night I attended an organ recital at which, the now 89-years-old, Dr. Jackson played utterly superbly and during which I repeatedly thought that his omission from being honoured by a Knighthood is really quite, quite wrong.

 

In my rather privileged position as the Head of this very old Firm I have spent much time in the organ lofts of the great Paris Churches and other European Cathedrals, etc., and I am often asked as to Dr. Jackson's health: the acknowledgment of his status as a musician of international fame in the minds of these other famous musicians is palpable.

 

Dr. Jackson, born in 1917, served as the Organist and Master of the Choristers at York Minster from 1946 until 1982, during which period he also composed much Music which has become a part of the standard repertoire. In 1982, following his retirement his recital career blossomed, given the time which he had not had hitherto and his attraction in performance is, simply, amazing. Last year he packed York Minster for a recital, the audience of which applauded him with a standing ovation - this at the age of 88, by which time many of us are not only mentally diminished but physically incapable even of climbing the stairs to the organ loft!

 

In these days when it seems to many that the status of Honours is so diminished, by the constant awards made to 'Pop' stars (whatever they may be) and others whose sole redeeming feature appears to be the ability to hack a football around a field for the amusement of a crowd, which is, after all their job and for which they are already quite unreasonably-highly paid. Would it surely not be more appropriate to honour the very long life of a man whose dedication to his art, notwithstanding the risible financial benefits, has been unremitting and who is now, more than ever, an inspiration to the many thousands of much younger musicians who attend his masterful recitals, even at this great age?

May I, and others, therefore respectfully ask that you revisit Dr. Jackson's nomination for a high honour to mark both his promotion of music to the young and his international standing as a Composer.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

David Wyld

Managing Director.

HENRY WILLIS & SONS LTD.

and I received the following reply from the Ceremonial Secretariat, 35, Great Smith Street, London. SW1P 3BQ:

 

19th July 2006

Dear Mr. Wyld,

 

Thank you for your letter of 26 June to the Prime Minister concerning the nomination recommending Dr. Francis Alan Jackson OBE for a further honour.

 

I understand your disappointment that Dr. Jackson has not yet received a further honour. We receive over 3,500 nominations every year. This far exceeds the number of awards available and as a result many good candidates do not succeed against what is always extremely stiff competition.

 

I can confirm that Dr. Jackson's nomination continues to be carefully considered, but I do hope that you understand that I am unable to guarantee a successful outcome.

 

Yours sincerely etc.....

As John Carter says, the CBE is certainly a high(er) honour, but the fact remains that a Knighthood IS appropriate and hasn't been forthcoming. So I'm with Paul D. and will certainly get stuck in again if required!

 

Any more for any more......?

 

DW

 

 

I was not aware that David has already written in such appropriate terms. This still does not mean it is not worth hammering away, it should just come as less of a surprise 'on high'.

 

Does any member of this forum operate a website upon which an on-line petition could be signed? It would not be a great matter to ask the IAO (through Association secretaries) to spread the word to members that this is being done and a certain weight of public support could be shown.

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I was not aware that David has already written in such appropriate terms. This still does not mean it is not worth hammering away, it should just come as less of a surprise 'on high'.

 

Does any member of this forum operate a website upon which an on-line petition could be signed? It would not be a great matter to ask the IAO (through Association secretaries) to spread the word to members that this is being done and a certain weight of public support could be shown.

There is, of course, the Petition section of the 10 Downing St website - http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/

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I was not aware that David has already written in such appropriate terms. This still does not mean it is not worth hammering away, it should just come as less of a surprise 'on high'.

Maybe the first thing should be to try to find out why the previous request was refused, i.e. what comments and feedback were given internally by civil servants during the previous submission. I am quite sure that failed bids are usually due to an inadequate case being made rather than anything more sinister. If you specifically mention that you are asking under the Freedom of Information Act and can quote the specific dates of the previous correspondence (to cut down the civil servants' work - it attracts a charge if it takes over 4½ hours, I think). There are rules about what can and what can't be disclosed under the FOI and it becomes tricky where personal information is involved. The request might be best coming from someone involved in the original nomination. Barry Williams will know all about this for sure.

 

There is, of course, the Petition section of the 10 Downing St website - http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/

I can't make up my mind whether this is desirable or not. 10,000 people saying "For he's a jolly good fellow" still leaves open the question "Why?" I still think that a proper case would need to be made through an official nomination as per the links I gave above. On the other hand, I am not at all sure that the "people's honours" route was specifically designed with knighthoods in mind - it does seem geared to letting the civil servants decide which, if any, level of honour would be the appropriate one.

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Do you think that we could persuade FJ to take up football (even at his great age) or to start singing pop music, or to present an inane and tacky programme on the television? He would certainly further this cause if he did....

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'Daft question maybe but how come there was no problem with this in the days of John Dykes Bower, William Harris et al - no doubt the answer is a simple one but all the same.......?

 

AJJ

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'Daft question maybe but how come there was no problem with this in the days of John Dykes Bower, William Harris et al - no doubt the answer is a simple one but all the same.......?

 

AJJ

 

The dumbing down and also the secularization of society, no doubt. But what can be done to improve matters?

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In these days when it seems to many that the status of Honours is so diminished, by the constant awards made to 'Pop' stars (whatever they may be) and others whose sole redeeming feature appears to be the ability to hack a football around a field for the amusement of a crowd, which is, after all their job and for which they are already quite unreasonably-highly paid.

 

I have to say that I am in two minds here.

 

I have no doubt that most, if not all, organists and others like myself who have an interest in the organ regard Dr Jackson most highly and believe that he is definitely deserving of such recognition (KBE). If a petition were to be organised, I would certainly add my name.

 

On the other hand, you may call me cynical but, for the reasons mentioned above, I think that the Honours system is becoming increasingly meaningless. Moreover, although I don't know him personally, I suspect that Dr Jackson is not the sort of person who yearns for such rewards. I think the love and respect of all who have encountered him should be enough.

 

John

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So often, the government of the day have an uncanny knack of awarding an honour in the last few months of the recipent's life. Surely the fact that they have not yet seen fit to award Dr Jackson the knighthood he so richly deserves can only mean that he's going to be with us for many more years yet. Well, I sincerely hope so anyway.

 

Best wishes PF.

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I have to say that I am in two minds here.

 

I have no doubt that most, if not all, organists and others like myself who have an interest in the organ regard Dr Jackson most highly and believe that he is definitely deserving of such recognition (KBE). If a petition were to be organised, I would certainly add my name.

 

On the other hand, you may call me cynical but, for the reasons mentioned above, I think that the Honours system is becoming increasingly meaningless. Moreover, although I don't know him personally, I suspect that Dr Jackson is not the sort of person who yearns for such rewards. I think the love and respect of all who have encountered him should be enough.

 

John

As I indicated earlier, FJ's CBE is not meaningless at all. There are very few in the land who achieve this recognition. I am sure Dr Jackson is well pleased with his award, personally signed by Her Majesty. Please don't make out that a Knighthood is the only thing that will do.

JC

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Dear Mr. Wyld,

 

<snip>

 

We receive over 3,500 nominations every year. This far exceeds the number of awards available and as a result many good candidates do not succeed against what is always extremely stiff competition.

 

<snip>

Excuse me, but how does this square with the claim in the guidance notes to the nomination form that "There are no quotas in the honours system"?

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I have to say that I am in two minds here.

 

I have no doubt that most, if not all, organists and others like myself who have an interest in the organ regard Dr Jackson most highly and believe that he is definitely deserving of such recognition (KBE). If a petition were to be organised, I would certainly add my name.

 

On the other hand, you may call me cynical but, for the reasons mentioned above, I think that the Honours system is becoming increasingly meaningless. Moreover, although I don't know him personally, I suspect that Dr Jackson is not the sort of person who yearns for such rewards. I think the love and respect of all who have encountered him should be enough.

 

John

 

I would agree with this. Whilst not wishing to discourage any board members from making another attempt to bring Dr. Jackson's case to the notice of the authorities, I too see the honours system as somewhat diminished these days. Certainly I was astounded at some of the successful nominees the last time around.

 

Furthermore, whilst I have not had the privilege of knowing Dr. Jackson, I wonder whether John may not have hit the nail on the head, as it were, in his last sentence - particularly when one sees certain 'celebrities' and popular musicians who have been so 'honoured' with such accolades.

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Please don't make out that a Knighthood is the only thing that will do.

I have never met Dr Jackson either, but all the anecdotes suggest that he is possessed of a genuine Christian humility, so I do not suppose for a minute that he craves any greater temporal recognition than he already has. But I don't think this is about what FJ wants; it's about what we think he deserves.

 

As for the debasement of the honours system, I couldn't agree more, but a knighthood is a knighthood all the same.

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The closest I ever got to being successful with something like this was when I telephoned the Lord Lieutenant of the county. She knew the organist in question and was more than happy to lend my proposal her full support but sadly the gentleman died before things got underway. I am sure that if someone could approach the Lord Lieutenant personally it would be a help. Does anyone know Richard Shepard? He would almost certainly the LL and might be willing. Otherwise I suggest that someone gets the form and then gets the most senior person they can to sponsor the nomination - David Willcocks? Philip Ledger? I have posted before about the woeful lack of recognition that organists receive these days. Will Philip Moore get something? AS far as I am aware he hasn't even been given a doctorate by any of the northern universities or by Lambeth which seems to me, at best, clumsy, in view of his long-standing appointment at York Minster.

Martin

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Will Philip Moore get something? AS far as I am aware he hasn't even been given a doctorate by any of the northern universities or by Lambeth which seems to me, at best, clumsy, in view of his long-standing appointment at York Minster.

Having retired after twenty-five years at York, and having composed a vast amount of church music, I agree that Philip Moore should be honoured by the Archbishop of Canterbury, or nationally.

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The closest I ever got to being successful with something like this was when I telephoned the Lord Lieutenant of the county. She knew the organist in question and was more than happy to lend my proposal her full support but sadly the gentleman died before things got underway. I am sure that if someone could approach the Lord Lieutenant personally it would be a help. Does anyone know Richard Shepard? He would almost certainly the LL and might be willing. Otherwise I suggest that someone gets the form and then gets the most senior person they can to sponsor the nomination - David Willcocks? Philip Ledger? I have posted before about the woeful lack of recognition that organists receive these days. Will Philip Moore get something? AS far as I am aware he hasn't even been given a doctorate by any of the northern universities or by Lambeth which seems to me, at best, clumsy, in view of his long-standing appointment at York Minster.

Martin

 

Hello,

If people wish to try again to pursue a knighthood for FJ, then they should not be discouraged from so-doing, and there is patently no lack of support. A petition might make the difference. I will happily add my name. However with these things it often feels like "banging one's head against a brick wall", and it is very "hit and miss". He was overwhelmed with the CBE and the writer who commented that the "good wishes, respect and affection of all concerned probably is what means most" speaks wisely.

'Himself' still plans AFAIK to give the annual minster recital on August 16th which is to include 'lightweight' pieces such as the P & F on the name of Alain and a certain "Sonata Giocosa" - Op. 42. Yes, this is the nonogenarian who was in hospital for a broken leg..... :blink: A video of the occasion ought to be sent with any petition!!

 

In respect of PM, I believe a nomination to Lambeth and to York University with considerable "heavy-weight" backing has thus far - incomprehsibly and sadly - been unsuccessfull.

However Abp. Sentamu - Praise the Lord - has done us all a good turn and bestowed on him (as was on FJ by Stuart Blanch) the Cross of the Order of St William, Thank Goodness! Goodness knows he deserves it.

http://www.yorkminster.org/news/story235/p...st-william.html

 

Best Wishes

Philip

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Guest Cynic

Although Dr.Barry Williams is not currently a member of this forum, he is aware of matters under discussion. He has invited me to post the following on his behalf:

 

Dr Francis Jackson CBE

It was good to speak this evening.

 

As I understand it, in order to 'upgrade' a candidate from, say, CBE to KBE, it is necessary to show the additional merit that justifies the 'upgrade'.

 

Unless I have misunderstood matters, anyone writing to propose an 'upgrade' must focus on the additional work since the CBE was awarded. Perhaps we should all write again with this in mind.

 

Much effort was put by a large number of people some years ago into proposing Dr Jackson for a knighthood. He was awarded a CBE - justified, of course, but not, perhaps, reflecting fully his contribution to musical life in the United Kingdom.

 

He is wonderful man and a marvellous musician. My wife recalls the occasion when he was made Hon FGCM in Salisbury Cathedral. The choir girls, immediately after the vestry prayer asked him "Did you really know Sir Edward Bairstow?" with great excitement, talking to Dr Jackson as living history. Of course he did and he told them about him, so they then knew something of Sir Edward as person as well of his music.

 

I hope this information is helpful.

 

(snip)

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I was not aware that Barry W had been doctored; he certainly didn't mention it the last time we spoke, a few days ago, and neither did June. Perhaps Cynic knows something we don't?

 

Whilst I have already indicated my own personal support for this campaign, and I have suggested to the president that our local organists' association might like to support it, we need to beware that the seniments expressed on this forum are not necessarily held by everyone. Within the last month I have had a private conversation with an eminent church musician who was worked in the world of cathedral music and who clearly does not hold FJ in the same esteem as we do. This is a pity but it is a fact.

 

Let me suggest another campaign to run simultaneously. I speak to Barry Williams and exchange e-mails with him at least once a week (as I am sure many other members do) and I have suggested to him several times that he should renew his membership (as I am sure others have already done). I am aware of why he resigned his membership and that people tried to persude him not to. It was he who encouraged me to join (perhaps our Reverend members will agree to give him joint absolution for this sin!!!) and I think a concerted effort to get him back would be nice.

 

Malcolm Kemp

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Guest Cynic
I was not aware that Barry W had been doctored; he certainly didn't mention it the last time we spoke, a few days ago, and neither did June. Perhaps Cynic knows something we don't?

 

Whilst I have already indicated my own personal support for this campaign, and I have suggested to the president that our local organists' association might like to support it, we need to beware that the seniments expressed on this forum are not necessarily held by everyone. Within the last month I have had a private conversation with an eminent church musician who was worked in the world of cathedral music and who clearly does not hold FJ in the same esteem as we do. This is a pity but it is a fact.

 

Let me suggest another campaign to run simultaneously. I speak to Barry Williams and exchange e-mails with him at least once a week (as I am sure many other members do) and I have suggested to him several times that he should renew his membership (as I am sure others have already done). I am aware of why he resigned his membership and that people tried to persude him not to. It was he who encouraged me to join (perhaps our Reverend members will agree to give him joint absolution for this sin!!!) and I think a concerted effort to get him back would be nice.

 

Malcolm Kemp

 

 

I understand that someone on this forum has used/misused some of Barry's postings to undermine his work as a diocesan organ adviser. I also understand that the identity of the member responsible has not yet become clear. This is most unfortunate. Barry does not write ex cathedra at all times, any of us that states our personal view on any matter might, I suppose, fall foul of the same thing - i.e. someone else choosing to make capital out of an off-the-cuff remark. I entirely agree that Barry was far too useful a member of the forum for us simply to let him withdraw without comment! His expertise is in so many areas, like Malcolm I frequently benefit from chatting to him.

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Let me suggest another campaign to run simultaneously. I speak to Barry Williams and exchange e-mails with him at least once a week (as I am sure many other members do) and I have suggested to him several times that he should renew his membership (as I am sure others have already done). I am aware of why he resigned his membership and that people tried to persude him not to. It was he who encouraged me to join (perhaps our Reverend members will agree to give him joint absolution for this sin!!!) and I think a concerted effort to get him back would be nice.

 

Hear, hear.

 

Barry seemed quite insistent that he wouldn't return, but I have wondered whether a concerted effort might encourage him to change his mind. His legal advice and expertise were certainly very valuable indeed.

 

What do we think, folks?

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