Extracts from the Minutes (1789-2006)

Here follow some extracts with paraphrases and comments taken at random from the minute books, some concerning important matters, some trivial. The minute books themselves are of interest – they are in the handwriting of the secretary who was usually the Rector of Forkill, and for nearly a century apparently written during the meeting with quill pen, and signed by all the members present. Later a clerk was employed and for many years the handwriting was in a beautiful copybook Vere Foster style.

1989 Inaugural meeting at Forkill Lodge –

Present: The Lord Bishop of Dromore the Rt. Rev. Thomas Percy.

The Rt. Hon. Lord Gosford.

The Rt. Hon. Richard Jackson (A second cousin).

The Revd. Dean Butler, Rector of Loughgilly.

The Revd. Edward Hudson, Rector of Forkill.

Mrs. Nicola Anne Jackson widow of the Founder.

The business consisted of a lease being executed to Susanna Barton, Richard Jackson’s sister, who lived at Forkill Lodge with Mrs. Jackson, and £3629-2-5 ½ d was received by the Trustees from the Executors, the residue of £20,000 left to pay legacies and debts. Immediately after this meeting, the troubles referred to earlier began. But meetings were held in Dublin where the byelaws were drawn up and within a year or two the Trustees were beginning to get into a routine of administering the Old Mans Fund and starting their educational and medical schemes.

1795 – “Alexander Berkely appears by his handwriting to be in good health in St. Domingo” so the secretary was authorised to pay him his pension.

The Board was engaged in the investment of funds for the appointment of schoolmasters and doctors, and wrestling with a Mr. Murphy, a builder who had claims on the estate for work executed for Mr. Jackson.

1804 – Mrs. Jackson’s last attendance. She died in March 1804. It was resolved to have the Board room built. It exists to this day. Up till now the Board had met at Forkill Lodge, at Forkill Glebe, and possibly at the local inn.

1810 – Often very poor attendances by Board Members. The business transacted apart from the income side was much concerned with the schools, their masters and the reports supplied by their inspectors. (The schools were Mullaghbawn and Forkill)

But Mrs. Ogle, niece of the founder, and her husband Col. Ogle of Carrickedmond near Forkill House, incurred the displeasure of the Board for interfering and attempting to disparage the work of some of the school masters and doctors.

1830 – At a special meeting in Armagh, the first mention is made of the S.P.G. in the East. This was because the Trustees had come into full possession of the income of the estate on the death of Mrs. Ogle.

The quarterly report describes the Dispensary at Forkill as highly satisfactory. In 1836 it received a grant of £50.

1832 – The Tithe Act caused complications in the working of the Board and a special meeting was convened at Tyrone House in Dublin for the purpose of adopting the provisions of the Tithe Compositions Act. This amounted to them having to pay the Tithe Composition to the Rector of Forkill. There seems to have been a great deal of legal work over this; consultations with lawyers and meetings in Dublin. For a long time there seemed to be doubt as to who should bear the composition, the Board or the lessee, but all was finally resolved thirty eight years later by the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland.

1836 – The Board passed a special resolution of gratitude to their treasurer the Revd. Dr. James Campbell of Forkill for “his frequent and arduous exertions on behalf of the Trust during the protracted period of vexatious litigation that had had to be undertaken.” They offered to remunerate him for his trouble, but he refused this and even his expenses for his many visits to Dublin in connection with this work.

That the litigation over this was prolonged and vexatious was only too true, and this made the Trustees almost over careful in their ordinary administration. For instance, so cautious were they at this period not to transgress in any way the no doubt pedantic and complicated rules regarding the disbursement of their funds that they could hardly assign a prize of 5/= for needlework to their best pupil without writing to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, or at least seeking counsel’s opinion, needless to say always at great expense in fees.

Thus we find them in 1830 considering it “fit and necessary that a plan or scheme for the due appropriation of the funds now at their disposal should be devised, and that it should be submitted with as little delay as possible according to the suggestion of their Law officers, to the Lord High Chancellor for his sanction and approbation, and that our Secretary be authorised to put himself in communication with the Secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign parts and also with the Revd. The Provost of Trinity College Dublin for the purpose of attaining information on the subject of missions to the East and also on the subject of the establishment of a Professorship of Hindoostanes in the University of Dublin.”

Presumably the Lord High Chancellor didn’t express any approbation of the latter project for nothing more was heard of it.

1836 – A receipt came from the S.P.G. for £2,000 sent to establish missionaries and scholarships at Bishops’ College Calcutta. The Founder had wished that Danish Missionaries should be assisted, but by this time these must have faded from the scene. Sir George Jackson, who with Nathaniel Alexander was concerned as executors and surviving relatives, requested that funds be set aside for the alleviation of distress (in Forkill?) but the Trustees did not feel themselves competent to accede and replied firmly in this vein. Sir George was not the only one to bring up this sort of request and many times residents on the Forkill Estate sent petitions, usually to receive a similar answer.

This was of course because the Trustees had to keep strictly to the letter of the will. But they did often make special donations, as well as many alleviations in the rent.

It was not till after 15 years that the Board began to wonder what exactly was happening to the £1,000 per annum that they were remitting to India, as they had had no account of it, and apparently no Indians had been converted to Christianity.

Replies from India have not been preserved, but in 1856 we find suggestions being made for subscribing to religious establishments in Malta, Constantinople, Columbia (sic) in Ceylon. But to do this, a further Act of Parliament would have to be invoked; however the S.P.G. was directed to contribute to the building of a stone church in Edeyengooly, which is in Madras, - not south Armagh, though it sounds as if it might be – and otherwise the S.P.G. presumably was able to direct the funds to suitable channels.

1837 – The Treasurer was directed to address himself to the Secretary of the S.P.G. “requesting information respecting the Establishment of our missionaries and the Endowment of our scholarships in Bishops College as the Trust lamented they had not received any intelligence from the Venerable Society on this interesting subject.” This sort of entry appears several times over the years:

1838 – “We are of the opinion that the rents on Forkill Estate ought to be extremely moderate.”

1838 – A letter from the Bishop of Meath (lessee of the estate) about his having been made to pay the rent promptly. He points out that he is unable to get the rents from his under tenants and doesn’t see why or how he can pay the Trustees before he gets it himself. He is again enjoined to pay promptly.

1841 – Henry Alexander, son of the Bishop of Meath is the new lessee. He asks to be allowed to pay the rent, heretofore paid in July, in October. The Trustees accede to this request with many protestations of amity and respect, and hoping for the good order of the estate.

1845 – Henry Alexander wrote from Barham House asking to be elected a Trustee, but he was rejected.

The trustees resolved, “to pursue some sort of method of book keeping, with statements of expenditure and income as this would make for increased intelligibility.” All the same the accounts did not become too easy to understand till John Ribston Garstin rationalised them.

1846 – “Resolved that we view with great concern the general and prevailing distress of this country arising from the failure of the potato crop, we heartily sympathies with the poor tenantry of the Forkill Estate who are subjected by that Calamity to the Evils of a dearth and Scarcity in the Main Article of Subsistence and anxious to alleviate and abate the heavy pressure by which they are borne down we deem it our bounden duty to appropriate to their relief as much aid as it is in our power to bestow.”

As a result of this resolution a special meeting was held, at which £200 was donated to relieve the distress of the tenants. Part of this was voted for the provision of a “Soup Kitchen, and the distribution of Soup”. But at a later meeting it was announced that the money had been expended on the purchase of seed corn, from which it may be inferred that actual and immediate starvation did not occur.

At the same meeting it was impressed on henry Alexander that immediate payment of the overdue rent must be made, as much inconvenience had arisen from his default. They had however, to agree to an abatement of 15% which continued for many years.

1871 – Owing, to Disestablishment, the Trustees wondered if they could appoint their own Catechist at a salary of £200 per annum. After legal advice this was allowed but the salary was £100.

Killeavy parish was split and the incumbent of Mullaglass, one of the divisions, applied for a seat on the Board. Legal Opinion was sought and many complications arose, but the incumbents of the four divisions of Killeavy were not given seats on the Board.

1879 – Mr. Quin, agent of the estate, applied for a reduction of the rent, owing to unfavourable seasons and general distress. 10% was allowed. In 1881, there was another reduction of 15%.

1886 – Much full about appointing a local clerical Catechist. His duties were to be:-

To examine and instruct in Holy Scripture weekly in each school.

To examine in three schools outside the parish quarterly.

Inspect schools in secular matters twice yearly.

To produce a Report Book.

The Educational Commissioner attempted to interfere in the management of the Educational Endowment of the Trust. But after evidence had been given before the Commission, the President, Lord Justice Fitzgibbon upheld the objections of the trust, and further allowed changes in the management of the fund as long as they did not violate the Will.

Two years later a scheme to allot £8,000 capital to educational purposes was brought up, but it was decided that owing to further reductions of rent, and in interest in Government Securities, it would not be feasible.

1888 – Centenary year of the Foundation of the Trust. At the centenary meetings the Trustees directed that the portrait of the Founder should be renovated, that the first minute book he rebound and that the school children be given a holiday and a treat, which was to cost £2, not more.

The Trustees subsequently dined together in the Board Room, the Lord Primate the Rt. Revd. Dr. Knox being in the Chair. His trusteeship had attained its fortieth year, as Bishop of Dromore and as Lord Primate.

Among the toasts were “The Forkill Trust and its Guardians”, “The Charity Estate and the education and industry that it fosters” and “The memory of Mrs. Ogle and may her hospitable bequest be available for the next hundred years”.

The latter commemorates the bequest, which provides for the entertainment of the Trustees. It was honoured on this occasion at the instance of the Rectors of Loughgilly and Creggan though as the Irish Times put it, “not unduly so, inasmuch as the mineral waters of Dundalk were brought under requisition.”

The Dundalk paper copied the paragraph and made it a puff for the Backhouse shops!

The Trustees present were:-

  • The Lord Primate.
  • J.R. Garstin Esq. of Bragganstown, elected.
  • The Revd. J. Rainsford, Vicar of Dundalk.
  • The Revd. J. Chamney, elected.
  • Col. Maxwell Close of Drumbanagher, elected.
  • The Revd. T. Royce, Rector of Forkill.
  • The Revd. P. Jameson, Rector of Loughgilly.
  • The Revd. F. Austin, Rector of Creggan.
  • Major Hall of Narrow Water, elected.

The Lord Bishop of Dromore was the only trustee not present. Lord Claremont, a very long-standing and assiduous member died the previous year, as had the late Primate Marcus Beresford.

1889 – A very well got up petition was presented to the Board, signed by the Revd. Thomas Royce, but the real prime mover was one John Johnston a churchwarden of Forkill. This was one of several attempts on the part of the residents of Forkill to get the Trustees to divert larger proportions of the Funds of the Charity to them; the Board tactfully and firmly pointed out that it was not within their powers to do so.

1890 – “Owing to diminution of rents received and also of dividends from public funds, allowances to children must cease.”

But on the same day the Secretary was instructed to procure a new hat stand for the Boardroom. Also the stables were to be improved so as to accommodate four horses.

1892 - £170 unexpectedly refunded by the Income Tax Authorities. It had been got after much labour on the part of Mr. Chamney analogous to Dr. Campbell’s efforts 60 years earlier. It was donated to Dublin University Chota Nagpur Mission.

1893 – Archbishop Knox was commemorated. He had been a trustee for forty-five years.

1894 – The Board considers that the 15% abatement of rent should be reviewed. It had been in force since 1881.

1895 – The picture of the Founder is to be renovated. Now this is the fourth time in ten years that this resolution was entered. What happened? The first time the picture was renovated was in 1831.

1899 – The Trustees notice with pain that the gross rental has decreased from £3,615 to £3,057 without any explanation from Mr. Chambré the agent of the estate.

Mr. Chambré replied that the Land Courts were reducing rents more than he was and that there was no way of avoiding these reductions, if the tenants opted for them. Mr. Chambré’s operation for cataract also impeded the punctual payment of rent.

1907 – Often repeated resolutions to get Captain Alexander to pay the rent. If not paid in a fortnight legal proceedings were to be instituted. In spite of the threatening purport of these entries, I do not think that relations with Captain Alexander were as strained as implied. At least I hope not.

1908 – The following resolution was adopted: “That in the event of an unsatisfactory or no answer being received, Messrs. Munro and Anderson be requested to investigate the matter of payment of Trustees luncheons and if necessary to take such steps as to enforce the continued payment of same.”

Messrs. Munro and Anderson replied that they had found a deed dated 16th March, 1803, providing 12 guineas annually to provide the luncheons. They enquired who had been applied to pay this and who had refused. It was of course a bequest from Mrs. Barton and it seems to have lapsed temporarily.

1909 – “Being desirous of helping as many needy old farmers as much as possible, resolve not to pay the £2 to those who receive the Government old age pension.

1910 – Miss Deven of Lurgangreen has her salary stopped because the religious knowledge of her pupils is not satisfactory as per report of the Inspector. This is a very rare type of entry, not more than a dozen or so are in this strain. Usually the inspectors show excellent reports of all concerned.

1910 – Capt. Alexander is again in trouble for late payment of rent and the hanging gale is called up, and in addition interest claimed on the gale.

15% being allowed for collecting, the Board considered they should not have to wait and in their turn to unable to discharge their liabilities. Note: in five years’ time, the estate is to be sold entirely and the rent troubles at least are over.

1912 – The Trustees thank Sir Thomas Jackson of Stansted house, Essex for helping build Creggan Schools. In his turn he thanked the Trustees for their contribution. He was a kinsman of the Founder, and was a banker in Hong Kong and had property at Urker, Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh.

1915 – J.R. Garstin’s son killed in the Dardanelles. He himself died the following year having been a particularly active member for 30 years.

1916 – “The money soon to come to the Board from the Irish Land Commission to be invested in 4 ½ % War Stock.”

This is the first intimation of the sale of the Estate. In the accounts for 1916, after a lot of erasures it transpires that the Trustees proportion of the Redemption price of the Estate was shown to be £29,506, 2. 6d. This was straightway invested in 5% Exchequer Bonds and 4 ½ % War Stock. They already had New Consols, and Government Stocks to the value of £20,000 so the balance sheet finally showed a total of approximately £50,000.

1920 – Insurance cover increased from £600 to £1,500 and the Insurance Company approached with a view to obtaining security against civil commotion.

1923 – No Roman Catholics attend the schools. The numbers now are:-

  • Church of Ireland 55
  • Dissenters 27
  • Total 82

This represents a great diminution from 1853 when the number was 504, denominations not specified.

1940 – Refugees from Belfast accommodated in the Teacher’s residence adjoining the Board Room.

1942 – Crown Solicitor asked if in view of petrol shortage meetings could be held elsewhere than in Forkill and at a different hour. The answer was in the negative. An Act of Parliament would be required to change the venue.

1942 – The Lord Bishop of Clogher apologised regularly for his non-attendance due to lack of petrol. Other members however, continued to attend in good numbers.

1942 – Mrs. M.E. Heatherington, for 17 years the teacher of Forkill Jackson P.E. School resigned and Miss Paisley from Hillsborough was appointed. Mrs. Heatherington returned to the school August 1943 – November 1944. She was succeeded by Miss Gilmore in February 1945 and Mrs. Graham in May 1945. Mrs. McLeod followed from November 1946 – September 1947, Miss Grogan was the teacher from November 1947 and Mrs. Heatherington who had been teaching at Creggan School from August 1946 returned to Forkill in February 1948 until October 1951. She was allowed to live in the teacher’s residence and continued as music teacher until August 1952, when Miss Barbara Murdock was appointed music teacher.

1944 – It is recorded in February that the son of the Archbishop had died as a prisoner in the hands of the Japanese.

1944 – Some American troops occupied the premises, but only for a short period. Later it was found that they had meddled with the safe, and it could not be opened for some time.

Extracts from the Minutes continued by Mervyn Kingston

1947 – After two years of negotiation, Mullaghbawn Girls School sold to the Roman Catholic Parish for £450.

1952 – Mr. Fred Gray was the locum tenens teacher until the appointment of Miss L.M. Craig in November. She transferred to Creggan Voluntary School as Principal in September 1953, following the closure of the Forkill Jackson Public Elementary School.

1954 – The Trustees proposed to lease the former school grounds to the Department of Agriculture for forestry for a period of 150 years at £25 p.a. The Archbishop received a letter of protest signed by 29 local people, following which a deputation was invited to present their views to the Trustees. A new proposal to lease the land to Mrs Ethel Murdock, Carrickasticken for 20 years at £10 p.a. was then passed with one member dissenting.

1956 – All children in receipt of an education grant were required to attend a Church of Ireland school where available and to attend Divine Service in their parish church.

1957 – Governors of the Trust having a child attending Secondary School were declared eligible for an Education grant.

1958 – Education grants to be awarded in August instead of November.

1960 – The Title Deeds of the Trust’s property were obtained from the tin box No. 159 held in the Bank of Ireland, Dundalk. Electric light was installed in the Boardroom.

1960 – Out of some 30 applications for the post of caretaker only one was considered suitable.

1965 – Following changes to the legislation governing charities, the decision was made to sell 3 ½ % War Stock and 2 ½ % Consolidated Stock and to reinvest the proceeds in stocks and shares. The Trustees enquired form the stockbroker as to the advisability of continuing to hold shares in Gallagher’s in the event of Rhodesia declaring independence.

1966 – The grant of £10 p.a. previously given to Mrs. A. Christmas principal of Bush National School was not given to her successor Miss Veage, but instead awarded to the manager of the school for its upkeep. The school closed 30th June 1968.

1969 – The possibility of the amalgamation of St. Nicholas’ National School and the Presbyterian School in Dundalk was discussed, as it was again in 1973 and 2000.

1970 – As the Secretary’s salary of £80 p.a. had not been increased within living memory, it was decided to allow him £40 p.a. for expenses. The next salary increase took place in 1980 to £100 and 1982 to £120 p.a. In 1984 it was increased to £150 and in 1991 to £200 along with an increase of expenses from £40 to £90 p.a.

1972 – It was decided not to advertise at present for a caretaker because of the unrest in the province, and particularly in the nationalist area of Forkill. The following year the advert was placed and the last resident caretaker Mr. Reg Covey was appointed 1 May 1974. He retired 28 February 1994 aged 86 and continued to live in the house until October 1996, paying a rent of £150 per month.

1973 – Following a letter received from U.S.P.G. stating that ‘over the years Trust monies were allocated as follows: £600 for the employment of missionaries in the east, not less than three in number, to be called the Jackson Forkill missionaries. £400 for founding and endowing scholarships not less than six in number in Bishop’s College Calcutta, and enabling persons to be there prepared and educated as missionaries,’ and seeking confirmation of the allocations. £500 was allocated to St. Columba’s Hospital India and £500 to U.S.P.G. general funds, which could be allocated to missionaries in the east and Bishop’s College Calcutta.

1974 – A total of £1,000 was given to U.S.P.G. for the Armagh ward at St. Columba’s Hospital.

1976 – As the 20 year lease of the old school grounds to a parishioner at £10 p.a. was now up, in response to a letter from Newry & Mourne District Council, the Trustees proposed to lease the grounds to the Council as an amenity area for 25 years at a rent of £250 p.a. with a 5 yearly rent review. The Trustees received a deputation of three parishioners who said they had been asked by a local Councillor to intercede on behalf of the majority community – Roman Catholic; that the Council was very keen to make a playground and picnic car park on the old school site; that the rental of £240 p.a. proposed by the District Valuer was rather excessive, so they asked the deputation on their behalf, to see if this figure could be reduced; and that something like £50 p.a. would be more acceptable. The deputation considered it would be an ecumenical move for the Jackson Trust, in a predominately Roman Catholic district, to lease the land for the next 30 years for £50 p.a. One of the spokespersons said that the Council, when working in the proposed picnic area, would cut the grass in the adjoining parish graveyard, but that naturally the offer could not be put in writing.

The Trustees found it difficult to understand why the District Council did not communicate directly with the Trust, instead of going through a third party. They decided to invite the District Valuer and the Council’s Recreation Officer to their next meeting. In the meantime the District Valuer confirmed the value at £240 p.a. and the Trust obtained a separate valuation of £265 p.a. for a ten year lease with rent review every two years.

1977 – The Council declined the Trustees suggested £200 p.a. and informed the Board that they had decided to take no further action on the scheme for the present. The Trustees decided to wait and see how the proposal might develop. When the Council later requested a meeting the Trustees asked their valuer to negotiate, stating privately that they would accept £175 p.a.

1977 – Following the birth of a first child to one couple the Trustees awarded an education grant of £20 p.a. the same as the other children in the parish, which could be set aside for the child’s education.

1978 – The Council agreed to pay £200 p.a. and the amenity area was leased for 25 years from 01/03/78. In June the Council asked the Trust to sell them a small plot of land needed to provide an entrance for a football field. This was unanimously approved in principle, and the Council’s offer of £150 for the .0o482 acre site along with a concrete post and chain link fence was accepted.

1979 – The Council decided to change the position of the entrance to the football field and that it no longer needed the site.

1981 – The grant to St. Columba’s Hospital was increased to £1,250 and in 1982 to £1,500. In 1989 to £1,750 and to £2,000 in 1990. It became £3,000 in 1993, £4,500 from 2002 and £5,000 from 2003.

1983 – The Old Farmers received £2 on 1st May instead of £1 on 1st May and £1 on 1st November.

1984 – Forkill Community Association wrote seeking a grant for equipment for a new pre-school play group. The secretary was instructed to write explaining that the request did not come within the terms of the Trust. The Old Farmers grant was increased to £3 p.a. and in 1986 to £4.

1987 – Education grants were reduced by £5 and no quarterly grant was to be paid unless the secretary had received a receipt for the previous quarter. Improvements to the two houses at 10 and 12 church Road costing £14,200 were undertaken with the assistance of a Northern Ireland Housing Executive grant of £9,600, leaving a cost to the Trust of £4,600. In order to balance the books payments to U.S.P.G., Creggan and Dundalk Parishes were delayed until the NIHE grant was received.

1988 – A second request was received from the District Council for monies for local use. The Council was advised that the terms of the Trust does not include that of general benefit to the local community.

1989 – One family’s quarterly grant was increased from £60 - £75. As children from another family were not attending their parish church regularly, their quarterly grant was reduced from £20 to £10 in the hope that they might be encouraged to attend more regularly.

1989 – Further to an enquiry made in 1987, an offer of £5,000 from the G.A.A. for the sale of 2 roods 250 sq. yards was accepted.

1990 – From 1st May meeting times were brought forward from 1.00 pm to 12.00 noon.

1991 – The Old Farmers grant, payable to 48 persons, was increased from £4 p.a. to £5. The question was raised as to the possibility of reducing the number of eligible farmers and giving a larger amount to those in real need. It was decided to leave things as they were. It was agreed to install central heating in 12 Church Road.

1992 – With the assistance of Rev. David Workman the accounts were made more concise.

1994 – The quarterly inspection of St. Nicholas’ National School was discontinued, and a pro forma issued to supply the required attendance details, with a saving of £40 p.a. to the Trust. In 1997 it was decided that the figures should be submitted annually rather than quarterly. Children in Ballymascanlon Union parishes were declared eligible for education grants.

1994 – After consultation with Charities Branch the Old Farmers were invited to give up their £5 p.a., with the money to be given to St. John of God Hospice, Newry, to care for old farmers from Forkill in the Hospice or in the community. Of 19 farmers, 12 agreed, 6 did not reply, which was taken as consent, and 1 said no. The last old farmer continued to receive his payment, which was increased from £5 to £10 in 1998 until he died in 2006.

1994 – Meeting times were changed from 12.00 noon to 11.00 am. Following a request from the secretary, the Archbishop directed that lunch should be provided only after the AGM, rather than after each quarterly meeting. The time of the November, February and August meetings was then changed to 9.30 am, with the AGM in May at 10.00 am.

1995 – A resolution was passed that no Trustee should be a beneficiary of Trust funds, except in proven circumstances of necessity for purely educational need. It was also decided that grants be awarded only at the time of need in the course of a child’s education. The old style cheques were discontinued, with members receiving one each to the value of £1.05 signed by all the Trustees as a souvenir.

1996 – The Hospice allocation was increased to £300 p.a. and to £500 from 2001. From November Miss Brenda McCann, Ballymascanlon undertook the quarterly cleaning of the boardroom.

1997 – The Founder’s portrait was cleaned and restored. The AGM was held at 11.00 am.

1998 - £15,903 was spent on repairs to No’s 10 and 12 Church Road. A NIHE grant of £7,195 was received, leaving a cost to the Trust of £8,708.

1999 – An estate copy of the 1821 Forkill Census and 1820 Church and County Cess list was found in the Trust’s archive. The secretary had the data computerised.

1999 – The Revd. Frances Meigh a Priest-Hermit and Iconographer became the present tenant of 10 Church Road. In 2001 she was given permission to have a private chapel in the garage. No. 12 Church road became vacant 31st May, when the tenants left suddenly.

2002 – It was agreed to accept the plans and proposals of Hearth Houssing Association for developing our premises for social housing.

The failure of Marconi (Formerly GEC) meant a loss of £17,340 in capital value to the Trustees.

2003 – The 1821 Census data was given to Professor Leslie Clarkson of Queen’s University Belfast for analysis and publication. At the same time the text was given to Mullaghbawn Community Association for publication, to which the secretary contributed an introduction. The Community Association invited the Trustees to a ceremony of handing over the material in February 2003, and to the book launch in November 2003. The title of the publication is ‘Kick Any Stone’ and it is a most handsome volume, although it is marred by a number of typographical errors and repetitions.

2003 – The Trust’s archive was lodged in P.R.O.N.I.

2004 – Since the secretary had moved house to north Down, meeting times were changed to 11.00 am and the Trustees kindly reinstated the quarterly lunch. £500 was given to CMS for Bishop Allison Theological College, Sudan, in addition to the £5,000 for St. Columba’s Hospital, India.

2004 – The rental of the amenity area was agreed at £700 p.a. from 2003 representing an annual increase of £100 on the current figure, with five yearly reviews as before.

2005 – The secretary’s expenses, which were last reviewed in 1991, were increased by £200 per annum, and subject to annual review. A library book grant of £250 was given to Bush Post Primary School.

2006 - £5,000 was given to St. Nicholas’ School Dundalk where three new classrooms are being provided at a cost to the school of €75,000. The school will then be a five-teacher school.

2006 – Canon Stuart Lloyd Rector of Ballymena and Chairman of The Friends of St. Columba’s Hospital Hazarribah, gave a comprehensive presentation on the work of the hospital.

The hospital, 200 miles north-west of Calcutta, in a region that is 3% Christian, was founded in 1890’s as part of Dublin University Mission to Chota Nagpur, and still retains Irish links. It is a 150 bed hospital, with 100 beds usually occupied and is now staffed entirely by Indian nationals. The staff complement is 140 of which 50-60 are nurses, who are paid £50 per month compared with £75 per month paid by the State Hospitals. The total hospital budget is £164,000 per annum. The hospital provided Maternity and Gynae services, but does not have high tech equipment. The quality of care offered in the Mission hospital is better than that available in the State sector. The hospital seeks to help those who can least afford to pay, and provides a Christian ethos of care and compassion. Its most pressing problems are staffing, particularly a shortage of doctors, with four where they should have six, retaining their existing nursing staff when state hospitals are recruiting in bulk and paying higher wages, along with the demands of “consumer” cases which could result in the bankruptcy of the hospital should an award be made against them, and the inevitable bureaucracy of the east.

Following Canon Lloyd’s departure John Chambré said that in the 25 years he had been attending the Trustees meetings, this was the first occasion on which any detailed information on the work of the hospital had been presented to members and that he had found it most useful. It was agreed that in future payments to U.S.P.G. for St. Columba’s Hospital Hazarribah should be channelled through The Friends of St. Columba’s. A copy of the hospital’s annual report and last accounts were later forwarded to the secretary.

2006 – The Trust received its first Gift Aid donation, which enabled an extra £1,000 to be sent to the hospital. Further Gift Aid donations would be welcome.