Fifteen local residents attended the Reading Room AGM on Wednesday 20 November at which a new Management Committee was elected for the coming year. The meeting was chaired by Reading Room Trustee Lord Margadale, while fellow Trustee the Rev Elaine Brightwell was also present.  Apologies were received from the third Trustee, Patrick Middleton. 

Reading Room Treasurer Johan Denekamp reported it had been a good year for Reading Room finances.  Purchases had included a stage, funded by a generous donation from the late Sarah Sharp, and a memorial bench for the Reading Room patio, in recognition of the support of former committee members. The Disabled Loo had also been redecorated. Johan thanked Chilmark Parish Council for its own ongoing support and its £500 grant which this year was being used towards the cost of new lighting and heating in the Reading Room.

 Kirk Murray-Jones, Committee Chairman for the past year, noted that the Reading Room had provided a community focus for Chilmark in the absence of The Black Dog pub, hosting four four pop-up nights, plus a family barbecue in the Summer. He added that villagers who may have been worried about the lack of the traditional pub carols this Christmas need not fear, as Sophie Eden would be performing in the Reading Room instead, on the evening of Monday 23 December. 

 Kirk thanked all the regular users, hirers and supporters of the Reading Room, with particular thanks going to Jenny Gavin for her tireless work as Reading Room Secretary.  He said he’d thoroughly enjoyed his year as Chairman but was now keen to hand over and was delighted that Morag Philpott would be taking on the role.

The election of the committee then took place with the 10 existing committee members being re-elected as follows: Morag Philpott, representing the Parish Council;  Alison Whipp-Long representing the Friends of Chilmark School; Johan Denekamp representing the Parochial Church Council.   Sarah Miller, Liza Jack, Henrietta Cockrell, Jenny Gavin, Barny Guthrie, Kirk Murray-Jones and Dathan Trent were re-elected as regular committee members.  In addition, Karen Whewell was elected as a new member bringing the management committee to a total of 11. 

At the committee meeting immediately following the AGM, Morag Philpott was elected chairman whilst Barny Guthrie and Alison Whipp-Long were re-elected as vice-chairs. Jenny Gavin and Johan Denekamp were re-elected as Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

Boyles for organising another excellent Pop up Pub in the Reading Room on Friday 20 September. It was the 2nd licensed Pop Up in the Reading Room to be run by Peter of Exeter-based Premier Bar Services. The Pop Up evenings have provided invaluable opportunities for villagers to catch up in the absence of a functioning Black Dog pub.

New lighting and heating!
Thanks to the recently award Area Board Grant, the Reading Room now has new energy efficient overhead lighting plus infra red wall heaters providing an instant heating boost.  The latter are very ‘bright’ when first switched on, but tone down quickly and users have assured us they keep everyone very warm.  We are having dimmer switches fitted to ensure that users can turn the heaters up or down,  according to their requirements. 

Halloween night
Halloween at the Reading Room proved to be even more popular this year, as dozens of families dropped in on their Trick or Treat Rounds. A group of enormous pumpkins provided the welcoming Committee, and inside there were hot dogs, pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie; mulled wine for the adults and squash for the children. Games included  apple bobbing, searching for sweets in flour, eating the dangling doughnut, an amazing Lucky Dip, Halloween Tattoos and a disturbing 'Little Box of Horrors' Feely box.  Thank you to all of those people who attended and joined in, many wearing fantastic costumes, and to all the terrific helpers.

To read Minutes of the most recent Reading Room Management Committee meeting, please click here.

Please email your ideas/requests for the Reading Room to
Sarah Miller at

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