Manchester Centre celebrates its 70th anniversary
Kathleen Miller, Chair, Manchester Centre
Kathleen Miller is Chair of the National Trust Manchester Centre, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. National Trust Centres and Associations enable people to get together locally to enjoy all the Trust has to offer and fundraise.
How I became involved
I’ve been involved with the Manchester Centre for more than 40 years. I first joined in the early 1970s – it seemed a great way to meet up with like-minded people in the area. Gradually I became more and more involved, eventually becoming Chair more than 20 years ago.
We arrange regular trips to places of interest – including National Trust places – and have monthly speaker meetings too. It’s good fun and many people have made firm friendships through the Centre. At the heart of it all is raising funds for the Trust. The cost for our activities always includes a little extra, which accumulates over the year into a contribution to National Trust projects voted for by Centre members.
Where we've given money
Recently we bought several panes of glass for the glasshouse restoration at Quarry Bank, Cheshire. We are very closely connected with Quarry Bank and its industrial history means a great deal to many of our members, so we were delighted to give our contribution. The restored glasshouse opened to the public in 2016.
These places, and the Trust generally, really matter to all our members. We want to preserve and protect our heritage for generations to come, as others have done for us. And we discover new places and more about those on our doorstep at the same time.
Making new friends
Many of our members have limited mobility or don’t have their own transport. Being part of a local Centre orAssociation like ours makes it easier as we organise coach trips, so they can still visit places nationwide that they might not otherwise be able to enjoy. It’s a service for people, as well as a friendship group. We have visited Beningbrough in North Yorkshire, Speke Hall in Merseyside, Attingham Park in Shropshire – we go all over the country. The group recently went to Powis Castle, Powys, and we’re planning a trip to the Lake District soon.
" Over the years we’ve given to many other places, too, including Dunham Massey and the garden at Hare Hill, also both local to us in Cheshire. "
Celebrating 70 years
We’ll be celebrating 70 years of the Manchester Centre at our AGM in May. We were the very first group like this to be set up to help the Trust. Our Centre was formed in 1948 by a lady called Dorothy Barton. She wanted people to be connected with the National Trust locally, and I’m sure she would be very proud of how many groups are achieving this today. Our celebration will involve lots of cake, in true National Trust style.
This article was first published in the National Trust spring 2018 magazine.