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Couldn't agree more. What a great shame. When the HDRA changed it's name (over quite a few dead, but later, quietly composted bodies) I thought that it signalled the beginning of the end for the organisation.
It felt as if limp-brained marketing people had got a foot in the door and were now going to show the fuddy duddy old guard just how to put Ryton on the map.

I felt from the off their aims were very different from the original founders and now it seems they have taken what was once a fascinating, approachable, academically based but most importantly, self-sustaining organisation and pursued ambitions that were overblown.

To learn, as I only just have, that Webbs have assumed responsibility for such a large part of GO is a shock. Where they were once prepared to consult the membership on much lesser matters, not to let us know this is more than just insulting. It's deceitful. I would have considered my membership renewal very seriously had I known of this merger and I am sure the management at GO were well aware that many would feel like this and didn't want to see their subscriptions nose dive. How else to explain it?
To me, GO has lost its integrity and authority with this move. Although it's a different kind of deal, it now feels like any other organic brand that cashes in and sells out to a non-organic partner. After so many years of absolutely brilliant work in such a vital area, this is a great,great pity.

Couldn't better your observations, Matthew, as long standing members of HDRA (GO) we too are very concerned by the direction it has taken and believe that to involve an organisation that is neither organic nor sympathetic to local traders (in their shops they sell everything to everyone thus undermining local economies) is a grave mistake. We too are considering our renewal options (in April) and will take some convincing to continue.
We are very sad that so much work and goodwill by so many could go down the drain in the quest for corporate profit.

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