I now have my answer. Explained in the following letter sent out to former members.
Dear FoSMA Member,
It is with great regret that I have to inform you that on the 26th August, at the Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome Trust meeting the Trustees were informed that FoSMA will be freezing its operations, and why it has chosen to do so. At Tuesday's FoSMA Steering Committee the Trustees response was noted and the actions endorsed with immediate effect.
FoSMA itself will still exist for a short while, and you can still contact us via the FoSMA website, but we will not be accepting new members and the website will be modified to reflect this. The website will be monitored for messages, but otherwise not be maintained and all material pertaining to future events will be removed. A link to the official Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome website will be provided, where you will be able to get up-to-date information about the aerodrome.
Some of you will already know that the benefits of membership, such as free entry to the aerodrome, discount in the shop etc. have been withdrawn by the SMGWA Trust. As these benefits were the main attraction to FoSMA membership, in the interest of fairness, the committee will refund all subscriptions paid for the membership year, April 2015 to March 2016.
As agreed at FoSMA's July AGM, the Steering Committee will circulate a report to all members explaining the results of the negotiations with the Trust about the proposed Integration of FoSMA into the SMGWA structure. In brief, FoSMA, an independent fund raising members organisation, had, by the Trustee meeting on the 28th July, reached virtual agreement with the Trust to surrender its independence and integrate into the aerodrome structure on September 2nd. The Trustees supported a series of joint activities during August to flesh out the details of what integration would mean in practice. This "due diligence" exercise would lead to the final approval for integration at the Trustee meeting on 26th August, ratification by the FoSMA Steering committee on 1st September and formal integration on 2nd September. Unfortunately by mid-August it was clear that at least 3 of the 7 joint activities approved in July would not be allowed until at least September. On 21st August we offered to extend the "due diligence" period to allow them to take place. We received no response from the Trustees until the 26th August when we were informed that they had decided to shut FoSMA down. When asked why the Trust had changed its mind so radically between 28th July and 21st August the Trust issued the statement attached to this e-mail.
We are planning to send your subscription refund together with the report, by the end of September. Some of you made an additional donation with your subscription, and unless we hear from you otherwise, we will retain the donation element as part the legacy funds that will be used, in partnership with the Trustees, to purchase items for the Aerodrome and/or Museum. If you want your donation returned as well as your subscription, please let us know as soon as possible, by replying to this e-mail or via the FoSMA website. We will then include your donation with your subscription refund. If you wish to continue your support of the aerodrome you can contact the Trust through the trustees link on the contact page of the SMGWA website to ask for details of how to do this.
FoSMA will immediately cease its services to the Aerodrome and Volunteers, e.g. organising Specialist Talks, arranging exchange visits, giving external talks, authoring literature, etc. Those members who are delivering these services and wish to continue doing so as individual volunteers, should contact the Trust or Aerodrome Management for advice on how to do so.
This is a really sad day for all those associated with the Friends of Stow Maries Aerodrome who have worked tirelessly to support the aerodrome, the Trustees and the Site Management over the past two and a half years. The committee will work with the Trustees over the next couple of months to identify suitable purchases for the aerodrome with your legacy funds. Once this has been completed we will issue a final statement on how your money has been used.
We hope you will be able to continue your support of Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, we are just very sorry that FoSMA will no longer be able to support you in doing so.
On behalf of
Friends of Stow Maries Aerodrome