Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Focus on: The Flying Ducks

Today we welcome Jean Fullerton with the first of her Chapter interviews. Jean has taken over from Natalie Kleinman who did a magnificent job interviewing the RNA Chapters over the past couple of years. Over to you Jean.

Although, as Chapter Liaison I’ve been absolutely thrilled that there has been so many new cheers set up it gives me great pleasure to welcome one of the long established chapters The Flying Ducks on the RNA blog this month.

Can you tell us who you are?
We’re the Northern chapter is known as the Flying Ducks because at the time of our formation most
RNA activities happened down south to which we must “fly” from all points north.

How long has your chapter been running?
For the above reason it was suggested we form a Northern Chapter after the first regional conference at Stoneyhurst College circa 1997?

Has the chapter changed over the years?
The core membership has changed over the years with more members coming from the New Writers Scheme through to traditional publication and /or down the self published route.

How often do you meet?
We meet on the first Thursday of the month from September to December and from March to July.

Where is your regular meeting place?
We tried to accommodate the distances members travelled by meeting around Harrogate and eventually settled on The Smiths Arms Beckwithshaw. Other groups have branched off from this group nearer to home

Do you have many members attend your meetings?
We have a core of about 20-25 members with attendance around 15 at our meetings. It is not unusual for members to come from as far as Southport, Settle, Barnard Castle, Scarborough, York, Hull, Beverley and Huddersfield.

Do your meetings include a meal?
We order our own meal at the bar and then it is served all together at a long table in the restaurant.

Is your chapter open to non-members of the RNA?
Our Chapter is open to non- members of the RNA and former members, some of whom have changed genres. Guests and partners are welcome too. So many writers in the North live in isolated districts and like to join with us.

How long are your meetings?
We assemble for lunch at 12 -30pm and finish around 2-30 to 3 0pm. Many of us stay on to chat after that.

Can you give an outline of speakers/guests you’ve had in the past year?
We have had many guest speakers over the years: novelists, agents and visiting committee members but lately rely on the varied talents within the group such as Frances Brody, Jessica Blair, John Jackson, Val Wood, Freda Lightfoot and many more.

What do you have planned for the coming months?
Our first meeting after a break is always to have a “round robin” meet and greet session so members can tell us their news, introduce new attenders, discuss a possible programme for the rest of the “term’s “meetings. We are keen to use the talents of our group to lead us in discussions around publishing and writing. As members travel long distances we like to have something useful or inspiring to take back to our desks as well as a chance to catch up with Friends in the group.
Being one of the longest formed groups we have witnessed many changes to the RNA and its social activities but it is within this smaller gathering real issues can be thrashed out, problems shared and successes celebrated. A warm welcome to new members is always guaranteed.

Does your chapter have a website, Facebook page or Twitter account?
Our group shares a closed group email and a closed Facebook group page: The Flying Ducks

Who is the contact for new members? 
The contact for new members is Helene Wiggin/Leah Fleming Tel 01729 822550 or or by just requesting to join the online Facebook group to find out more about our meetings.

Thank you so much Helene for taking the time and trouble to answer my questions and I hope to be coming to see you again sometime in 2017.

Thank you Jean and Helene.
If your RNA chapter would like to be featured on the RNA blog please contact the team on

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