Last-ditch effort to save Axminster business group

Chris Tipping and Lisa Lyman.

Chris Tipping and Lisa Lyman. - Credit: Archant

Traders and business bosses are being urged to turn out in force next week to support an eleventh-hour bid to save Axminster Chamber of Commerce.

Shane Morgan

Shane Morgan - Credit: Archant

The future of the organisation looked bleak with the planned resignation of chairman Lisa Lyman and her committee.

An extraordinary general meeting was called last month to wind up the group, but, on the night, former chairman, estate agent Shane Morgan offered to take up the reins again.

The meeting was adjourned after claims that his nomination had come too late and breached the rules.

But when members gather again on Monday, February 16, at 6pm, at the United Reformed Church Hall, Mr Morgan and Joy Raymond – a long-standing member and deputy chairman of the Axminster TIC - will put themselves forward as chairman and deputy in the hope of rescuing the organisation.

Joy Raymond.

Joy Raymond. - Credit: Archant

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“Shane Morgan urges members to attend this vital meeting and support his nomination as chairman so Axminster chamber continues and remains a vibrant organisation in the community,” said Ms Raymond.

“I think it’s brilliant news that he is prepared to pick up the reins of the chairmanship of the Axminster chamber again. I am sorry that Lisa Lyman’s vision for the chamber has failed, but we must thank her for running the chamber for the last 18 months when no one else wanted to do the job. May I take this opportunity to urge all chamber members and Axminster businesses interested in joining to come to the next meeting to lend their support to ensure we keep the chamber running as a vibrant organisation in the town that will be celebrating its 70th birthday this year.”

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Former Chamber stalwart Fred Wells told The Herald: “As a past chairman and honorary member of the Axminster Chamber with commercial interests in the town, I am delighted that Shane Morgan is willing to take over as chairman. For many years Shane has strongly supported the Chamber and has done amazing work in keeping the TIC functioning since EDDC withdrew funding. Through a huge effort along with his team, Shane raised a considerable portion of the money needed for the TIC via the successful organisation of the annual beer festivals.

“A strong functioning Chamber and TIC are essential if Axminster is to stay on course as a commercially viable town. Shane has a successful track record and I wish him all the best.”

Fred Wells.

Fred Wells. - Credit: Archant

Lisa Lyman told the Herald: “We were shutting the chamber because I intended to resign as chairman along with Chris Tipping, my deputy, and the committee.

“But, because Mr Morgan stepped forward at the 11th hour and members were not notified of his self-nomination, we are having to have another meeting to allow the entire membership to vote on his nomination.

“I still intend to resign but I can’t speak for the others. At the moment I am still the chairman.”

Mr Morgan declined to comment when contacted by the Herald.

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