F.A.O: All Members of the Order of the Magi
C/O Secretary Mike Sharples
11th September 2018.
OPEN LETTER TO MEMBERS OF THE ORDER OF THE MAGI
I write to officially give my resignation from the Order of the Magi.
Due to Family Holidays & other commitments I have been unable to write this letter and address these matters until now, for which I apologise.
I shall also be emailing this to all members for whom I have direct contact emails and/or am connected to via Social Media.
I joined the Order of the Magi after having been encouraged to do so by former member Jonathan Royle who himself resigned from the Magi at the 2018 AGM earlier this year, I was not present at the AGM but I have been told a few different version of events that took place that night.
According to Jonathan he was disgusted by the lack of apparent motivation or action being taken to help the club obtain new members and grow and was shocked to discover that the club had the previous year spent a couple of hundred pounds more on expenses than it had brought in through subscriptions.
I now find myself regrettably feeling that I too have no choice but to resign from the Magi due to the way that Jonathan Royle was treated by Mike Sharples (supposedly on behalf of club members) on the evening of 14th August 2018.
Ultimately Mike Sharples turned Jonathan Royle away at the door and refused him entry to the Adrian Sullivan Presidents Lecture in a manner that was unfounded and also highly embarrassing for Jonathan.
I am aware (as I was there on the night in question) that Jonathan approached the door to go into the room the lecture was taking place and was stopped by Mike Sharples who said words along the lines of “You Can’t Come in as you’re not a member and have been to 2 meetings during this club year”
Jonathan replied to this by saying “Yes I know I can’t come in without renewing my membership as stated on the club website and so here is the money to pay for my renewal of membership” and then he tried to hand the money to Mike who refused.
Not only did Mike refuse Jonathans membership money he also told Jonathan “You’re Not Welcome” and when asked why he replied “We’ve had lots of complaints about you from members” this seems to be misleading, as Jonathan had already spoken with a number of members who had already told Jonathan to just ignore the new rule and come along to the meetings as they would like to see him there.
Since the meeting I have investigated and to the best of my knowledge we as members were not ever asked whether Jonathan should be “refused entry” or “banned from re-joining” and thus I fail to see how such action and behaviour towards him was fair in any manner.
I am aware that at the AGM Jonathan’s language got quite heated and maybe offensive, however I am also aware that since then he has:
1) Apologised directly to anyone who seemed to be offended on the night including directly to Mike Sharples who confirmed that he had accepted such apology hence welcoming Jonathan along to the Magi Auction which took place a few weeks after the AGM.
2) Jonathan has attended Two Lectures Since the AGM and Mike was happy to take his entry money on both occasions with nothing negative being said to him.
3) Jonathan also attended the Close-Up Competition and again nothing negative was said to him by anyone.
4) On the night in question (14th August) Jonathan was sat with myself and a few other Magi member’s downstairs in the Irish Heritage Centre before the Lecture and nobody said anything negative to him at all.
5) Since the 14th August I have been made aware that the first any of the club’s members knew of Jonathan apparently not being welcome was when Jonathan contacted them after the event and/or spoke to them after the meeting which again illustrates that it seems no vote has ever been made on the matter and that the behaviour shown towards Jonathan is unfair.
6) Given that Mike Sharples as Secretary had the chance to tell Jonathan he was not welcome at The Magi Auction, Close-Up Competition and 2 Lectures all of which Jonathan attended and at all of which Mike Sharples and the Magi were happy to take his money at, it becomes clear that all is most certainly not what it seems.
7) The new rule of people to quote the website:
“Visitors are welcome to attend meetings and lectures by prior arrangement with either the President or Secretary for a fee of £5 (unless otherwise stated). Please note – This is restricted to two visits per person per Magi syllabus year, not including auctions and competitions. To attend all lectures and meetings, and to benefit from full Magi membership, please apply below”.
This seems to be something that was not discussed at the AGM, nor voted on democratically by the committee and instead seems to have been added AFTER Jonathan has resigned and AFTER he had attended the auction and a lecture, some may say it was instigated to force Jonathan out of attending, it certainly would seem that way.
In any event it is a ridiculous change as potentially this could lose the club money as some people may want to attend 3 events (or more) in a year at £5 = £15 for club’s funds but would only be allowed to attend 2 unless they joined which some may not wish to do.
Given that the club has spent more than it brought in last year surely it would be wise to bring every penny possible into club funds and that includes the fact it would have been wiser to accept Jonathan’s money on 14th August rather than Mike telling him he was and is not welcome?
9) Jonathan being refused entry in the manner he was is even more alarming when it is considered what an active member of the club he was including such things as him:
**Helping to set up and pack away.
**Taking photographs of meetings which went into the magazine monthly.
**Negotiating discounts for club members.
**Participating in the Magi competitions.
**Participating in Magi auctions.
**Always offering help, advice and insights to members when questions were raised.
**Often being asked to clarify things by and for visiting lecturers who have always thanked him.
**He Lectured at the Club 3 times before he joined.
**Having recently been asked by Max Townsend if he had another New Lecture available and in response offering to give such lecture to the club free of charge,
**Actively trying to get things happening to help get new members into the club and back on track to where it once used to be.
Despite all of the above and despite the fact that Jonathan had already apologised (and had his apology accepted) for his language used and any offence he had caused to those present at the AGM whilst resigning all of the aforementioned things it seems have been purposely ignored and subsequently refused membership.
It sadly seems as though those at the helm of the club have no real desire to do what is right for the club and rather are making decisions (without consulting other members or the club council) and taking actions aligned to their own personal agendas.
This raises the question “What is the purpose of a committee or council if important decisions which may directly affect the future of the club are being made by those in direct control.
I am not wishing to cause offence here but this is my honest opinion and I cannot remain silent on these issues hence I am officially withdrawing my membership from the club.
Should these matters be fully rectified and put right fully in the future, then I may possibly reconsider my position at that time, but for now I can no longer remain a member of the Order of the Magi.
I would urge all members to consider these matters seriously when choosing who to vote for at the next AGM, the future of your club depends on it.
PS: I have for some strange reason been removed from the magi mailing list & so am not able to find email addresses for other members hence I have sent this
letter to Jonathan Royle and given him permission to post it on his blog page.
FURTHER DETAILS ON WHAT HAPPENED TO JONATHAN ROYLE