Our mission to look after special places, forever, for everyone is as relevant now as it was 116 years ago when we were founded
National Trust members gathered in Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall for the Annual General Meeting. Cliodhna Giltinan and Frank Allais, along with their daughters Bo (aged six) and Eve (aged eight), were welcomed by Director-General Fiona Reynolds and Chairman Simon Jenkins and received life membership, in celebration of becoming the four millionth family member.
Cliodhna is a teacher from Dublin and Frank is a photographer, originally from France. They live with their children in Hackney, East London. Looking to find out more about the UK and British history, they joined the National Trust. The also use their membership to enjoy great days out as a family. On discovering they were the charity's 4 millionth member, Cliodhna revealed that they were very surprised, saying: "When we received the phone call from the Trust's membership department saying we were the four-millionth members we couldn't quite believe it.
Cliodhna said it was her family's visit to Knole that inspired them to join the National Trust. She remarked that the price of a family membership felt like money well-spent since they would only need to visit a few places per year in order for it to be worthwhile.
This presentation by the Director General and the Trust's Chairman marks the start of the day when official National Trust business is undertaken, with up to 1,000 National Trust members gathered together.
According to Fiona Reynolds, 2011 is a very special year. She said she was delighted to meet Cliodhna and Frank and that she is proud that four million people are members of the National Trust. She explained: I'm proud because it shows the strength of feeling behind our cause. Our mission to look after special places, forever, for everyone is as relevant now as it was 116 years ago when we were founded.
"The support of our members really matters, so I want to say a huge thank you. It's only through their support that we can look after the places in our care for millions more to enjoy. Seventeen million people visited our houses last year and 75 million our coast and countryside.
"People join us for many reasons - a love of their local place, a passion for beauty, for heritage and art, for surfing and cycling, or simply the joy of family time together. What all our members have in common is a love for beautiful and historic places."
National Trust Chairman, Simon Jenkins, shared in the pride of reaching the milestone, but said there's still much more for the charity to do: "Growing from 2.8million members a decade ago to this 4million landmark is amazing - but we know we cannot stand still. We have set ourselves an ambitious target of reaching 5million members by 2020. So, we strive to make the experience our visitors have of our places better and better. And we're constantly seeking new ways to connect people with place - whether through food, or technology, or through becoming more open and involving."
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About The National Trust:
The National Trust is involved in the whole food chain, with 200,000 hectares of food producing land, over 150 restaurants and tearooms, and historic kitchen gardens, orchards and mills. The charity has community growing spaces - from allotments to kitchen gardens - at over 50 locations around the country and is increasing these annually. These spaces inspire the Trust's 3.8 million members, 60,000 volunteers and visitors to think and learn about food.
The National Trust is the largest non-governmental landowner in the UK, owning approximately 660,000 acres of the great outdoors across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Assistant Press Officer
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