The accidental chair
In the beginning… by Doreen Holley
In 1965 certain of us MRG (Minority Research Group) members had been disquieted with its running by Esme Langley. At that time MRG had small local groups and I was the Chairman of the Surrey and SW London group. Cynthia Reid, one of the group, and I were very aware of this.
At one of our local group meetings the possibility of setting up a new organisation had been discussed. One of the members present pointed out that we were a properly elected committee and she then proposed that this committee should form the nucleus of a new organisation. Her proposal was duly seconded and the motion carried.
Because I was the Chairman of that committee I held the same position in the new group (which was not yet known as Kenric). All this had taken me quite unawares and, because Cynthia Reid had not been at the meeting, the first thing I did was to tell her what had unexpectedly happened. (It was my opinion then, and still is, that Cynthia should have headed any new group).
As we had been overtaken by events it was decided to give the new group a new name. After discussion we chose Kenric. We had members from both Kensington and Richmond, the name itself had a pleasant ring to it and was completely neutral. The rest, as they say, is history!
After that the committee met regularly and I vividly recall those sessions with the Roneo and the production, envelope stuffing, etc., to get out the Newsletter. The group became bigger and we had our first AGM when Jean Thomson (from North London) succeeded me as Chairman.
I am very proud to have been part of the early history of Kenric. It was (and is) very necessary for lesbians to overcome feelings of isolation and to be able to talk together and socialize. Through it I have been fortunate enough to make many very good friendships which have lasted to this day. May Kenric flourish for many years to come!
Note: I am sure many of you will have winced every time you saw the word “Chairman”. Sorry, force of habit, and that’s the word we did use then!