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It has been a privilege to be the Chair of Birtley Heritage Group for the past ten years.   In 2009 we were formed from a Grant awarded to Birtley Library as an Adult Learning Challenge to encourage and inform Birtley people about their heritage and initiate activities involving the community to use Library space in new and innovative ways.
These ten years have been challenging, and we have grown in confidence, knowledge and stature and have used every opportunity to do exactly as we were meant to do.   Our greatest achievement was the award of an Heritage Lottery grant to produce our Birtley and the Great War  exhibition which was meant to reach all sections of the community - from the youngest children in our schools, to all residents in Birtley and beyond.   We are still reaching out in that way, and I am satisfied that we have fulfilled our initial challenge.
However, the time has come when I feel it is right to pass on the baton to an enthusiastic, knowledgable and very capable person who has the Group's best interests at heart and will take it forward into the future.   That person is Jean Atkinson, who has been carrying out the duties of Chair for most of 2019 and will be confirmed at our AGM in February.   Thank you Jean. 
I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart, all those who have helped me along the way, from the Library Manager and Staff who were there for me at all times, the local History and Heritage Groups at Washington and Chester-le-Street, and Beamish Museum's willing support for our exhibitions.   I have been humbled and grateful for the support of the Group itself, and I must also thank all of Birtleys Councillors and Gateshead Council staff for their great support  - I could not have done it without you all.   It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with you all.
Yvonne Armstrong.    Birtley Heritage Group.     December 2019

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