Those who attended the recent Guild AGM will be aware that Trevor Heeks, Town Crier for Trowbridge, has stepped down as a Director of the Guild and as Guild Almoner after twenty years of dedicated service in the role. Our grateful thanks go to Trevor for his service. Andrew Fox has agreed to carry out the duty of Guild Almoner, but what is an Almoner, and what does he do? Andrew has kindly provided the following explanation:
The term Almoner comes to us from Latin eleēmosyna via Norman French almosnier as so many of our English words do. In England, it was originally a monastic appointment, the officer of an Abbey responsible for distributing charity to the deserving poor and, where the Abbey maintained a hospital or leper house, ensuring that the establishments were adequately supplied with food, drink and medicaments. And there, my friends, is where any similarity between me and a monk ends.
Essentially, today, an Almoner is a person charged with the welfare of others. That is my understanding of the role which, I have to say, I am still trying to get a handle on. We don’t, as a Guild, distribute alms. We do, however, very much care for one another. Our Guild is surely one of the friendliest organisations anywhere in the world. If we have a problem, there is almost always somebody to turn to, somebody to talk to – and from now on, I am that person. Members have my phone number and e-mail address. Please use it at any time. As our Town Crier population ages, health issues are the most likely, and sadly, each year brings the passing of more of our company. If you contact me, I may not always be able to solve a problem, but you can always be assured that my ears are open and, most importantly, my mouth is not, something a little unusual for a Town Crier.
Communication is the lifeblood of modern life. I am trying hard to modernise the role and the systems. I am working closely with Mark Wylie, our Webmaster and all round IT guru, to make communication quicker and more assured. This will happen in the near future. Watch this space, and the Guild Website. For the time being. However, we have to rely on older and a bit more clunky communication methods. So please call me, e-mail me or even write if you have any issues with which the Guild might be able to help.
News related to the health and wellbeing of members will appear on a new Almoner page, which will go live in the New Year. As always, only news that the crier has given their permission for will appear. As Andrew says, watch this space.