The Lower Albany Woodworkers Guild (LAWG) held its AGM at the Port Alfred Masonic Lodge on Tuesday evening and made it clear that passing on the knowledge they have acquired over the years was a priority as, if they do nothing, their skills will be lost over time.
As has become an annual tradition at the guild, before the meeting began chairman Brian Edwards donated toys made by the members to Child Welfare in Kenton-on-Sea and Port Alfred, represented by Susan Harty, manager and senior social worker at the Port Alfred office.
“I would like to sincerely thank all the members of the guild for their generosity. The toys will be given to the less fortunate children in our area who always enjoy them,” said Harty.
While it is uncertain exactly when the LAWG was formed, by 1961 Brian Edwards, the current chairman, joined the nascent organisation, was elected chairman in 1963 and, on Tuesday was voted in for his third stint in that position. However, on accepting the role he also said that this was the last time and that others must take over the organisation when his term as chairman ended.
Rob Moss was given the Chairman’s Award for the work he has done as a recent member of the guild. Roy Bramwell accepted the position as vice chairman, Errol Parsons was once again elected treasurer as did Theo Hurford in the position of secretary.
From 45 members to 39 in a year, the LAWG is now down to just 22 members, many of whom are not active. The guild is concerned that skills and knowledge will be lost if they do not pass it on to a new generation.
“Spread, educate and help,” was Edward’s motto. “It is essential that we share our knowledge and skills. We are all getting older and, when we’re gone, who is going to be able to use a lathe or a band saw? I am disappointed that our membership is floundering and we need to take action to recruit new members.”
The guild members discussed how passing on skills could be achieved and played with a number of ideas, one of which was to set up a hands-on demonstration and encourage people to try their hand at using a lathe, as suggested by member John Moss. Edwards was a little concerned in the safety aspect but supported the idea of a demonstration on the lathe. Edwards also thanked Buco for the support they offer the guild.
The meeting ended with Edwards saying that the guild would set up a demonstration in February next year at its first meeting.