The Brontë Parsonage Museum in Howarth, West Yorkshire

Chair of Brontë Society steps down after one month in role

Rebecca Atkinson, 15.10.2014
Emergency general meeting to be held this weekend
The chairwoman of the Brontë Society, which runs the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, has stepped down just 26 days into her 12-month term.

The society said Christine Went had been forced to take the decision due to "ill health and an urgent family matter". She was appointed as chairwoman on 6 September after a unanimous vote, and formally stepped down on 2 October. Went had previously been a member of the society for four years.

Her resignation came ahead of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM), which takes place this Saturday. A group of more than 50 members have forced the meeting amid a number of allegations about the conduct of the council.

These included a claim that the council attempted to call an EGM to overturn a vote at the society’s AGM in June that defeated motions to extend the chairman of trustees' term of office and give the council the power to summarily expel trustees and members.

The group said the meeting would include discussion about electing a new council in order to “modernise” the organisation and bring “higher levels of professionalism and experience to the society”.

However, a clause in the Company Act prevents a vote removing the current council.

Doreen Harris, the honorary secretary of the society, who has taken on the work of the chairwoman until an appointment is made, said: “Regarding the EGM, we look forward to a frank exchange of views to enable the Brontë Society to go forward into the bicentenary period a stronger and more united organisation.”

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