The Annual General Meeting of the DHRA - designated in advance "Addressing the Challenges of the New Millennium" - saw wholesale changes in the Association's Committee structure and membership as the organisation sought to refresh a setup which has been in place, unaltered, since 2009.
Association Secretary - Marjorie Billington-Marjorie (84) - stepped down in favour of Doris Endersely-Kindersley (79) in a move designed to "introduce new blood, fresh ideas and a dynamic forward impetus" to the Association as it faces up to the challenges of digital, on-line and cyber romance in the 2010s. Also "ousted" in what amounts to a next generation coup was Freda Thwarts (86), June Frivold (83), Agnes Lynchett (90), Ethel Peevish (81), Lady Temper-Tantrum (82) and the Rev Peter Prykes (Anglican Party 85). In come Sybilla Noris-Hope-Norris (68), Dorothea Malpractice (65) and - from "left field" - Marjorie Major-Morris-Minor (58) who only joined the Association 25 years ago. Asked how she felt about her meteoric rise, Mrs Major-Morris-Minor said it was hard to put her feelings into words but that she was "thrilled, delighted and emboldened by the memberships's trust in me which can only be understood to signal a general willingness to embrace change, find new paths and directions and generally address the future with hope confidence and a clear eye on the evolving world of romantic fiction as evidenced in the novels of - amongst others - Rowena Westlake, Brenda Oats and Favella Weymouth. I look forward to facing the challenge and in particular my own specific brief which places me in overall executive charge of stationary commissioning and allied issues..."
President for LIFE Mrs Amanda J Threadbone was not present at the meeting but addressed delegates via a video link. Asked if her absence signalled discontent with the changes, a spokesperson for the Threadbone Corporation was evasive "Mrs Threadbone is President for LIFE and naturally takes an ongoing interest in the affairs of the DHRS, however, rather like the Queen, her position puts her constitutionally above the everyday affairs of the Association and she does not comment in individual events, developments or personages". Critics have suggested that the changes signal a diminution in Mrs Threadbone's influence and a movement towards the lobby for change. However, ousted convenor of the DHRA's Inertia Maintenance Working group Evadne Stays-Thesame (95) said that "if memory serves - and sometimes it still does - it was Mrs Threadbone who ... what did you ask me again young man?" It is believed that she was about to refer to Mrs Threadbone's controversial support for the winner of the DHRA's logo redesign competition in 2016.
As well as changes to personnel, the revised committee structure at the DHRA introduces a new role: that of Convenor of the Group to Consider Possible Changes in the Very Long-term (the GCPCVLT) which has already scheduled a meeting for June 2021.
Hon Secretary Mrs Marjorie Major-Morris-Minor's statement in full: here
Contrasting Fortunes [CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT] DHRA Members arrive for the AGM; two of the "ousted" Committee members storm out of the meeting in high dudgeon;
Marjorie Major-Morris-Minor (2nd from right) celebrates with other newly-elected Committee members; the Rev Peter Prykes and unidentified female companion leave for "a well deserved break".