They say it takes all sorts of people to make a world. Over the last 16 years it feels if we as if our history society has met them all. Thank goodness, most we have met have been wonderfuly good and fully support our efforts.
However, articles which we itend to place here under the subject heading 'Local History Hard Talk' will not pull any punches. We will discuss in depth both the highs and lows of running a history society in Barry.
First, let's deal with with what we call rumour control. This is run by people who simply assume what Axis Historical Society has been doing, without first hand knowledge of the present activities of our society.
It has come to our notice on a number of occaisions that there is a rumour going round that states that Axis Historical society has folded. I would like to assure our loyal support that this is definatley not the case.
We would also like to point out that there will be always be circumstances that will arise from time to time that will require the need for us to withdraw from the public eye. One example may be what we call unseen labour.
In many cases, the public will only see the end product of any one particular project we carry out. Example's of unseen work could be. Research, the planning of an event, maintenance of our extensive collection.
Please also remember that Axis Historical Society has no paid staff. We are all volunteers. So it would also be good to keep in mind that volunteer's are people who have their own commitments too.
In our experience. When we are out of the public eye is when the rumour control is most active. With that in mind. We have created a 'Historical Timeline' which allows the interested party to know what Axis has been doing, since we were formed in 1993.
See page - 'Axis Historical Society Timeline' to see what we have been doing between 2003 - 2009.
This, we hope, will also assist those who run rumour control to move away from bad habit of circulating innacurate information about Axis Historical Society.
Overall, the golden rule when dealing with rumour control, is not to listen to it. We would encourage those with genuine interest in the history of Barry, always to check with Axis direct, if you want up to date, reliable, information about our activities.
On the other hand, a rumour created by malicious intent, is a very different kind of animal. The kind of person that often adopts such a tactic, has no scruples as to who they hurt, young or old. Or what they damage in the process.
In our case, actions by one individual could have so easily led to loss of life. Mentioning no names the nature of their action needs to be explained.
My mother was 79 year old and Secretary of Axis. She had also entered the last few years of her natural life, when an individual chose to conduct a hate campaign against us.
First, they got a free web site through MSN and proceeded to fill it with mis-information about Axis. The person even posted an entry in my name on the site which proclaimed that I fully supported their activities, of which I did not. One could call that action alone, a blatent and brazen attempt at identity theft.
The matter was reported to police, who said that the perpatrator was committing breaches civil law. Our society contacted Microsoft UK in London and spoke with a senior legal officer and lodged a complaint reference the wrong doing.
Cutting the long story short. The legal officer agreed with our findings and the perpatrators site was shut down as it was being used for defamatory purpous against, myself and Axis Historical Society in general.
I will now reiterate that my mother was 79 years old when the above happened. Furthermore, she had only just been discharged form hospital following a four month stay which involved life saving surgery. Despite that fact a series of silent telephone calls then began to arrive at my mother's home.
We soon established that there was a pattern to the calls. I will again, cut a long story short. The perpatrator of the calls quickly moved into the realm of criminal activity. This they did by contacting monumental masons and will making company's in my name.
In the first instant, the perpatrator was asking for quotes for a head stone for my my mother's grave (note : at that time she was still alive) and in the second, asking for will making companies to come to my mother's home to assist in the making of her Will. In both instances the perpatrator gave my mother's telephone number as the point of contact to get in touch with me.
One can only imagine what devastating effect the person's action's could have had on a woman, already weakened by life theatening, serious illness, of my mother's age.
Fortunately the malicious caller had made mistakes. They had left his voice on tape. Which I was allowed to listen to. I identified the voice as someone who had ran at one point, a similar organisaton to our own.
Net result was that we had no option but to hand the taped evidence to the police. An arrest was eventually made. The perpatrator admitted making the calls. End product was the person was cautioned for harassment. A police caution not a let off. It's an admission of guilt without going to court. For the perpatrator it meant a criminal record. Such an offence remains on persons record for five years.
Even more amazing was a much later attempt made to gag us by one individual from telling senior officials about this persons criminal acts against our society when seeking support for our activities.
As it stands with our society, the perpatrator of the calls now has a life ban from taking part in any of our activities or attending any of our events.
In addition we have not given in to the attempt to silence us over this persons actions. After all. Why should any organisation, let alone ours, give in to this kind of extreme misconduct?
In fact the attempt to gag has only served to strengthen our resolve on this issue, not simply brush such serious incidents under the carpet. Cover ups. Simply don't interest us.
Certainly, if ever we went to a meeting about local history and found ourselves sitting around the table in the presence of the individual that found it neccessary to operate a hate campaign, so low, it could be considered gutter tactics, we would find ourselves in a position of haveing to ask for private council with those in charge of the meeting to air our grievences.
We will as stated. Not be silenced on an issue as serious as someone launching a hate campaign that wished a 79 year old Dead. I am sure the majority of people, who read this article, will agree, on the highest of moral grounds, that the Axis Historical Society has the right, not to accept to be gagged over such an evil and maliscious act.
Sadly, my mother has since past away and we feel that it would be an insult to her memory for our society to be silenced, after all the good work she had carried out for the local community, from 1993, until the time of her sudden death in February of 2005.
Hopefully, the, individual who would attempted to see us silenced on the above issue, will also now realise, that we will reserve the right to speak out and protect our interests when comes to an individual that adopted the lowest of moral standard's and set out to undermine the quality of life of a 79 year old and the efforts of our society in the field of local history.
Many thanks for taking time to read this article. As I feel that it goes some way to clearing the air with any potential support that may come our way.
Now let's get back to the original purpous for which Axis Historical society was designed. Preserving the history of Barry by way of photograph's, documents and artefacts, and the locating that all important permanent exhibition space in Barry, where our local history collection can be shown. Not in part. But in full.
Martin Adams B.A. (History)
Chairman : Axis Historical Society. Local History For Barry South Wales.