Dear SHTA Friends,

I am not sure what happened to 2015, but a New Year is already upon us. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy New Year. I hope

that you will agree that last year was a great year for the SHTA. Our membership continues to be strong and the social programme varied. We held our first Christmas dinner and party at the Fleur de Lis in Sandwich with the attendance exceeding our expectations. The Fleur was a great venue and they were particularly helpful in putting on a French themed dinner and allowing us to add our own decorations. I would like to give a special thanks to Stuart who did a marvellous job hosting the evening and encouraging people to do silly things!

The Vin Chaud was a little quieter in 2015 than the previous year, in part due to the weather and the lower attendance at the Sandwich Lights Festival, but we still managed to make a healthy £461 profit that was shared with the Lights Committee. Our thanks go to the ‘vin chaud brewers’ who cheerfully kept the supply of our highly praised warm wine flowing throughout the afternoon.

The cinema evenings are very popular and the committee has worked hard to choose films for different tastes. Of course on occasions this has meant some people have found a film absolutely fantastic but for others, not to their taste. I hope that you will agree that it is better to have a range of different film types to meet every ones’ interest throughout the year. Many thanks to the catering and bar teams for their continuing support.

The films for February 11 th and March 10th are two parts of the Marseille trilogy titled

Marius, Fanny and César, which is a love story which ‘still entertains and moves audiences more than eighty years after the initial production with its tender moments, playful humour and lovable Mediterranean characters’. The actor Daniel Auteuil won the French equivalent to an Oscar for his performances in these films.

I mentioned in the AGM that we would like to try a few experiments during the year and so on April 9 th we are going to try something new – we plan to run a race evening at Sandwich Bowls Club. If you are not familiar with these events you will be in for a real treat with a chance to indulge in a little flutter and the excitement of cheering your horse or dog to victory (or not!). We will let you know more about the evening closer to the date and once the committee has sorted out the details, but please keeps this date in your diaries.

The main event of the year will be the visit of our Honfleur friends on May 5 to 8th. We are in the early stages of putting together the programme and we expect our visitors to arrive late Thursday afternoon and depart Sunday morning.Recognising that a number of hosts may be working, we are thinking of having an evening event with food provided on the Thursday. In addition, we are planning an organised visit to Chartwell House on the Friday and therefore hosts do not need to worry about entertaining their guests on this day, if you are working. We will keep you informed as the plans evolve. A number of people have already offered to host friends from Honfleur and many thanks to all of you. It’s great fun and anyone else who would be interested in hosting, please let me know so that we can add you to the list.

Our final social event before the AGM will be a combined evening with the Sandwich Sonsbeck Twinning Association in June 2016. We were thinking of an outdoor activity, such as Bat and Trap, to take advantage of the improving weather. Again we need to finalise the dates and details, but we will let you know as these plans develop.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that our former Chairperson, Sue Wallis, has rejoined the committee and will bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the group.

I hope that you will agree that we have a very full programme of events for the next few months and I look forward to seeing you all at as many as possible.