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The Chairman's Letter
by Paul Burnett

As published in the January 2013 magazine

As I write this letter I have just received reports that the replica Bounty built for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard has been lost on The Atlantic, sunk by Hurricane Sandy. Worse, Claudene Christian, who was Fletcher Christian’s great (x5) granddaughter, died in the tragedy and Captain Robin Walbridge is missing, presumed dead. What terrible news. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the relatives and friends of Claudene and Robin. Our thoughts are also with the United States and it’s people in the aftermath of the hurricane. Disasters make us only too aware of our own fragility.

At our October meeting in London I was privileged to be elected as Chairman. I succeed Austin Meares who is required to step down under our Constitution. Austin has served with distinction for two periods and will be a particularly hard act to follow. I use this opportunity to sincerely thank him for his leadership and excellent service. Thankfully he continues as a valuable member of our Society.

I thank the committee and the membership for entrusting me with the opportunity to continue the good work that all of my predecessors have achieved, and I commit to doing my very best for you all over the next three year’s tenure. I am sure that you will take me to task if you feel I do not come up to the mark. A special thank you goes to David Sleep for his considerable work as Secretary. Similarly to Alan Fillmore who has devoted many hours to keeping our financial affairs “ship shape”.

David Ransom, as always, continues to delight us all in compiling and publishing what has to be the best twice yearly journal available representing a relatively small society – outstanding work! The efforts of Graham Ford, John Smith and Felix Driver are no less important and are much appreciated. I feel honoured to be a member of a committee with such dedicated and fine people.

Now a word about recent events since the last Log was published. On June 18th Graham Ford, David Sleep, John Smith and myself attended an evening function at the Speaker’s House in the House of Commons.

The invitation was courtesy of Andrew Rosingdell MP. Andrew heads the All Party Parliamentary Group which concerns itself with and promotes our overseas territories. At the function, hosted by John Bercow, Speaker of the House, were representatives of many Commonwealth countries and of some of the remaining former Crown colonies. Our committee members unofficially represented Pitcairn and it was useful that we were there to at least publicise Pitcairn’s existence as all too often it seems to be overlooked.

At our most recent AGM we were treated to a delightful presentation by Elisabeth Whitebread of the Pew Environment Group’s Global Ocean Legacy staff. Pew are promoting the establishment of a large no-take marine reserve in the vast waters surrounding the Pitcairn Islands. The area encompasses 800,000 square kilometres of ocean and is of considerable biological, geological and natural historical importance. Elisabeth, a recent new member of our Society, had just returned from Pitcairn Island and brought us much news of the island with her stunning PowerPoint presentation. She had us all spellbound for the afternoon.

I look forward to meeting you all at the Spring meeting when another interesting day is planned. Do please try to attend.

I hope that you all have had a lovely Christmas and I send my best wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful 2013.

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Number 46 • January 2013