Friends group that fought Northampton Borough Council Sekhemka sale disbands

Abington Park Museum
Abington Park Museum

The Friends of Northampton Museums and Art Gallery has decided to wind itself up after 55 years.

A statement issued this morning said part of the reason was divisions formed over July’s auction sale of the Sekhemka Egyptian statue by Northampton Borough Council.

The Friends campaigned against the sale, but the statement reveals that some committee members believed it was not the group’s place to do so.

It read: “In addition to falling membership and an inability to recruit to the committee, there was a division within the group over the sale of the Egyptian statue, Sekhemka.

“A group was set up to actively oppose the sale, while a proportion of the committee, while strongly deprecating the sale did not feel it came within the ambit of the group to take a more active role against the sale.

“It did however make its views on the sale very clear to the council.

“Therefore sadly, after some 55 years supporting the museum both financially and practically, the Friends have decided to wind up as a group.

“However all our former members we are sure will wish the museum all the very best in the years ahead and with the exiting new plans for the museum that are currently being put in place.”

Falling numbers were also a big factor in the winding up decision.

The statement continued: “We are very sorry that this has happened but the membership has been falling for some ten years or so and while there have latterly been some 160 members, the average age has been rising.

“The committee until recently have all largely been in post for some considerable number of years and despite appeals to members no new committee members have been recruited.

“A working party was set up to find a way forward but again were not able to find any volunteers to move forward.”