We should mark the terrible fire at Parnham House, a reminder of the many treasures that Dorset contains and just how easily they are lost,” Lord Fellowes of West Stafford DL told members of The Society of Dorset Men at their 113th. Annual General Meeting and lunch, held on St. George’s Day in Weymouth. “We must protect the many beauties of Dorset, we have been given a marvellous county, but it does need our protection,” Lord Fellowes concluded.

In his customary review of the Society year, Chairman Stuart Adam declared “the Society continues to thrive.” He praised Selwyn Williams on “producing a wonderful Dorset Year Book- next year’s will be printed entirely in colour.” He urged members to seek out business advertisers, as the extra revenue offsets the cost of printing. The Chairman thanked Michel Hooper-Immins for “the excellent Newsletter, which keeps members in touch with the Society and what’s going on!” Andrew Prowse heads the Charity Committee, which makes several donations a year and “gives the Society a purpose.” Finally, Stuart Adam thanked Secretary Hayne Russell- “his retirement never quite materialises, which is certainly a good thing for the Society.”

Secretary Hayne Russell reprised the past year’s events, saying he hoped to repeat the popular Brownsea trip, but with more time on the island. He thought the 2016 County Dinner- with a military theme- was one of the best ever.

Chaplain Rev. Dr. John Travell FRSA had begun the lunch with a special Grace for St. George’s Day. “We wish England well and give her every blessing.” Later, the Chaplain led the traditional “splendid silence” paying tribute to the 32 members who had passed away during the year.

It was agreed to raise the annual subscription to £15 from 1 October. Life membership will now cost £200.

Members acclaimed the continued presidency of Oscar winner and ITV Downton Abbey dramatist Lord Fellowes of West Stafford DL. Sir Anthony Jolliffe GBE DL DSc DMus and Dr. Paul Atterbury Hon. DPhil BA [Hons.] were re-elected Deputy Presidents. All Officers were re-elected: Stuart Adam [Chairman,] Andrew Prowse [Deputy Chairman,] Hayne Russell [Secretary,] Ian Morton [Treasurer,] Michel Hooper-Immins [Public Relations & Newsletter Editor,] Peter Lush [Membership & Assistant Secretary,] and Selwyn Williams [Dorset Year Book Editor.] Committeemen Douglas Beazer, Shaun Cregan, Alderman Andy Hutchings, John Rousell, Paul Snow, Rev. Dr. John Travell FRSA and Sam Woodcock were likewise re-elected. Colin Fry from West Moors was newly elected to theCommittee. 

The Society of Dorset Men was founded 113 years ago on 7 July 1904. Originally intended for Dorset exiles in the capital city, since the 1970s, the main activities of the organisation have been centred on Dorset. Today, there are around 1,150 members throughout the UK and all over the world. The President is Oscar winner and ITV Downton Abbey playwright Lord Fellowes of West Stafford DL. 

The four objects of The Society of Dorset Men are: “to make and to renew personal friendships and associations, to promote good fellowship among Dorset men wherever they may reside, to foster love of the county and pride in its history and traditions and to assist, by every means in its power, natives of Dorset who may stand in need of the influence and help of the Society.”

Membership of The Society of Dorset Men costs £15 a year. For further information, consult www.societyofdorsetmen.co.uk