I was looking forward to spending the rest of the year catching up with friends and family both here and abroad and thought that 'work' would be limited to my involvement with AMBA, a little light School Governance, and occasional AMP catch ups.

On 21st March Gina Perryman (wearing her AMBA Secretary hat) contacted me and said that she'd been approached by Claire Driver to look at forming a group to look at the issues around CV-19 'because they can't contact you'. There was another project around at the time, (I can't recall what it was) but I said to Gina that I'd contact Claire if she could take on the other matter.

For a while I thought that maybe Gina got the best part of that deal however 800+ emails, multiple Zoom meetings and countless telephone calls later and AMERG is, as is said on Tyneside, 'knockin' doors oot a windas' (def; achieving significant results and outperforming all reasonable expectations....)

For my part I've worked to establish and operate the Telephone Support line and to then set up the Volunteer Registration system. In parallel, I've see others establish the Alston Essentials service, design and produce print materials, create a Facebook page set up the financial system, submit a grant application etc.

I'll make two observations;

Firstly, most of the committees that I've seen operate or served on have a nucleus of members that actually do the work. One was recently mentioned as having "A membership of 16 and a workforce of 2". It's heartening to look at the rogues gallery during our weekly Zoom meetings and note that everyone present has a role and is carrying it out - in many cases in addition to other activities and / or full time work.

Secondly, our group is made up of folk who would be described variously as 'strong characters', 'Alphas', 'Shapers', 'Leaders' etc. (and that's being polite) in their various fields and / or day jobs. Grouping them together would usually be a recipe for disaster, but in our case, presumably because we passionately share the same objective, it works!

We've all adapted to various roles, resisted the temptation to get overly involved in areas outside of our own and co-operated where required. There have been queries raised and comments made but they can all (at least in my opinion) be classed as 'constructive'.

I know that I don't always give credit or praise where it's perhaps due and that I can be curmudgeonly at times. It's been said that my default expression 'is that of a man who thinks that he may have left the gas on' but it's the one that I was given so I live with it.

That said in this case I can say that it's been a genuine pleasure to work with this group so far and that I take a real pride in what we have achieved collectively. This feeling should be shared by everyone involved - and also by our community at large as it shows the intangible element that makes Alston Moor unique and special.

I'd write more but I need to make sure that I did turn that tap off......