From: Catherine Rayner RGN, MA, BSc and BA, Life Member of the Brontë Society and former member of council.
It was with growing concern that I read the interview with Bonnie Greer, current President of the Brontë Society, in your newspaper (The Yorkshire Post, December 1). Following her warnings, at the recent EGM, “of the dangers of talking to the Press” and how “she did not want to hear any criticism of the Brontë Society in print”, I found it particularly offensive.
The Brontë Society Council is currently being challenged and constructively advised by a group of members (The Modernising Group) who know and understand the problems of the last 18 months and are trying to rectify a lot of mistakes and move the society forward in to the 21st century.
Ms Greer speaks of setting up an Advisory Group and bringing “money into the village”. Money seems to be the aim and yet she has not consulted with the village traders or the inhabitants, who may not want her interfering in their affairs. Ms Greer has not consulted with any of the Modernising Group, declaring that she does not know who they are despite many of us standing up at the EGM and declaring our names and concerns. By her own admission, therefore, she is woefully ill-equipped to advise anyone on the running of the society or on the future of Haworth and its residents.
I have been a life member of the Brontë Society for over 35 years and served on its council for six years. After being re-elected to council in June this year, I resigned a month later because of poor governance and internal wrangling. I find it unpalatable that the president, who holds an honorary title only, should be allowed to air her views whilst trying to silence the very people who are desperately trying to move the society forward.
Ms Greer has her own agenda and is trying to take on a role for which she has no local knowledge or experience. She appears to be riding on the backs of all those who have spent months trying to set up a dialogue and organise constructive talks and action, both within the society and alongside the local population. A great deal of positive work and fruitful liaison has been achieved by the local ministers working with the traders and the community. Ms Greer has continually turned a blind eye and is now trying to take on the role of saviour.
It is an insult to the hard-working and dedicated members of the Brontë Society and also to the people of Haworth, who have both benefited, and suffered, from having such a famous legacy in their midst.