Minutes AGM 2017

Print

Minutes of the Newark Ramblers Annual General Meeting held on Sunday 5 November 2017 at South Muskham Village Hall at 10.30am.

Present

Gordon Douglas, Pauline Hall, Marie Legg, James McGill, Ken Martin, Joyce Pedersen, Ann Raymond, Margaret Shaw, Val Swain, Carol Wilkinson, Jenny Williams

1. Apologies for Absence

Carol Bristow, Dilys Carby, Jean Everington, Jean Quickenden, Martin Hall, Judy Price, Mike Price, Charles Raymond, Rita Rippin, Janet Rix, Anny Sergeant, Peter Sergeant, Beryl Walker

2. Minutes of Last Meeting

It was proposed by Marie Legg and seconded by Margaret Shaw that the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Sunday 6 November 2016, having been circulated, are an accurate record of that meeting.

3. Matters Arising

The meeting was informed of Mike Price’s recent illness and best wishes were sent to him for a speedy recovery.

Jenny Williams presented M&S vouchers to Marie and Carol from the proceeds of a collection held at Cober Hill during the 3 night stay in September.  This trip was very successful and rooms have been reserved for another visit in 2019.

Val Swain asked about the merits of the Training Day attended by James, Carol and Jean Everington.  James said it went well but he had not learned very much.  He said that Ramblers Association is spending money on training days rather than on marketing which is much needed to attract new and younger members. 

Val Swain also asked about the Code of Practice for parking.  There are frequent email reminders asking people to car share where possible.  Jenny said that she asks leaders whose walks are starting at a church to check with the churchwarden re funerals and also to ask permission to park at garden centres and pubs. 

4. Chairman’s Report

2017 has been a year of consolidation for Newark Ramblers.  Numbers have been steady but with new members contributing actively to the Group.  The walks programme and the social programme have been interesting and varied and, after many years, we have had a “mini-break” for members, this time on the Yorkshire coast. 

These things don’t just happen on their own, of course, and we owe a debt of gratitude to our hard-working, enthusiastic and competent committee.  Everybody has contributed but special thanks go to our very special secretary, Carol Wilkinson, who has been the driving force behind all our initiatives.

On a personal level I need to inform the Group that I am not standing for re-election as Chair.  I have been in post for five years and feel I am running out of steam – indeed some Groups insist that a Chair cannot stay in post for longer than five years!  I have always been conscious that I do not play a full part in the Group’s activities and that my over-riding interest has been ROW work.  I would like to feel that I have introduced some changes to the Group that are of long-term benefit but think that a new Chair who is more involved in week-by-week activities would be of benefit.  I am very happy, however, to continue, if re-appointed, as Area Representative and Footpath Secretary. 

5. Secretary’s Report including Social Events

I have now completed four years as Secretary of Newark Ramblers.  It is a pleasure to be part of Newark Ramblers committee working with such dedicated people.  It is encouraging to note that we are still attracting new members and that many of our newer members are willing to lead walks and hopefully, some of them will feel that they would like to contribute to the running of the group by joining the committee.  The committee works well together I would like to thank every one of them for all their hard work. 

As you may know, James is stepping down this year as Chair but he is willing to remain on the committee and continue his roles as Area Representative and Footpaths Officer.  I would like to thank James, on behalf of you all, for all the work he does for Ramblers.  On a personal note, I would like to thank him for his guidance and support, especially when I first became Secretary and was totally unaware of what it would entail.  

During the year I have carried out my duties as Secretary by attending meetings, writing up Minutes,   preparing Agendas and dealing with correspondence and emails from individuals, Area Office and Central Office.   

I consider it to be very important to keep members well informed about what is happening in Newark Ramblers and within the Ramblers organisation and I do this by contacting members through email, Facebook and, for those members who don’t use email, ‘snail mail’.  Members are very good at passing on information to those who do not use email and I am very grateful to those who do this regularly.  More and more of our members however, do have access to email and my aim is to increase this number year on year.  If anyone who doesn’t have a computer feels that they are missing out on receiving information, please let me know and I’ll do my best to improve the situation.     

Newark Ramblers receives invitations to attend several civic events throughout the year and we have to thank Jenny and Gordon who have volunteered to represent us at many of these occasions.

This year, once again, the Walks Programme has been put together by Jenny and Ken, both of whom have worked very hard to ensure that we have as many and as varied walks as possible.  We do try to have walks of different lengths, walks on different days, walks in different areas, walks using the train, eg Cromford and Attenborough and walks in the evenings.  Our thanks go to our walk leaders for coming forward to offer walks and for liaising with other members in order to have longer or shorter  walks starting from the same point.   All of our walks have been added to the Ramblers website which feeds into our own website.  This gives our members access to walks anywhere in the country and  Ramblers from other areas access to our walks.  I am pleased to say that we often have visitors from other areas and that we receive favourable comments about our friendliness.  This year we even had a visitor from France who was keen to join a walking group in order to improve her English.   

Sadly we lost Freda Kirby this year.  Freda was an active member of Newark Ramblers for many years taking on various roles on the committee.  Freda’s family contacted us about the funeral and some of our members who remember Freda attended the service.  There was a collection at the service, part of which was donated to Newark Ramblers.  We received £70 for our funds.  

Once again Newark Ramblers took part in the Newark Parish Church Christmas Tree Festival.  Our tree was decorated with the theme of ‘The 12 days of Christmas’.  The tree looked lovely and received some favourable comments.  Unfortunately a pair of walking boots, which Marie had loaned for the display, were stolen from the church. 

On 24 October a group of members visited the Veolia Recycling Centre at Mansfield which was very interesting and made us much more aware of what we should be recycling. 

On 24 November several people went to the Robin Hood Theatre to see a play about Anne Boleyn. 

On Sunday 11 December we held our annual Christmas Fuddle.  We were very pleased that Richard and Lorraine agreed to entertain us by leading a sing-song.  Sadly, not many members attended.  We have recently arranged a Fuddle for this coming Christmas but it has clashed with an outing to Beverley which many of our members are going on.  As so few people would be attending, we may have to cancel this event and discuss with everyone whether they would like something similar in the New Year. 

On Wednesday 14 December around 30 people enjoyed a meal at the Lord Ted following a local walk. 

On January 26 members attended the Robin Hood Theatre to see ‘Ladies Down Under’. 

On Friday 7 April a group of Newark Ramblers visited the Robin Hood Theatre to see ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ which was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

On Friday 5 May 49 people attended a ceilidh at Norwell Village Hall. 

On Wednesday 26 July we organised a coach trip to Wells next the Sea which was very successful.  41 people were on the coach and around 35 of these walked the 7 miles from Burnham Overy Staith into Wells.  Our thanks go to Ken for leading the walk.  The smaller group who continued on the coach into Wells enjoyed a walk along the sea bank to the beach. 

Monday 18 September saw 24 people making the journey to Cober Hill, near Scarborough for a 3 night break.  Jim had arranged a Walking Treasure Hunt for the Monday afternoon as we arrived and on Tuesday and Wednesday we were able to offer three walks of different lengths.  We had our own Lounge at Cober Hill and during the evenings we played games, enjoyed quizzes etc.  On Thursday a group of people visited Ryedale Museum on the way home.   Our thanks go to everyone who led the walks and to Marie for all the work she did towards the organisation of this trip which, we felt, was very successful.  We have reserved rooms for May 2019 so that we can do something similar again.

On Thursday 28 September a small group visited the Robin Hood Theatre to see The Accidental Death of an Anarchist.  Although this play was generally well received, it was not to everyone’s taste.    

On 30 September Jean Everington arranged a quiz night which was well attended and very enjoyable.  The Faith Supper worked well and there was plenty to eat for everyone. 

On Thursday 19 October a large group of members went to the Palace Theatre to see The Nutcracker ballet performed by The Russian Ballet. 

Seats have been reserved at The Robin Hood Theatre for the next production which is A Christmas Carol.

A Ceilidh has been arranged to take place at Norwell Village Hall on 10 November, again dancing to Lambskinnet.

As you will see, we have quite a few social events during the year.  Social events are a very important aspect of Newark Ramblers.  They give an opportunity for members to get together to enjoy an evening out, get to know each other a little better and very often to eat together.  If you have an idea for a social event, please let me know so that together we can make it happen. 

6. Treasurer’s Report

You will see from the Statement of Accounts that at the end of September, which is the Ramblers’ year end, our group had funds totalling £797.59 which means we have again made a profit during the year of £100.71.

Although we received less from Central Office and from Ramblers Holidays the surplus of the Ceilidhs (£203) and the donations from Freda Kirkby’s funeral (£76) more than made up for this.

We spent some of the surplus by subsidising the coach trip by £36 and paid £35 for walk recces.  I was asked at last year’s AGM about paying mileage for recces and I subsequently contacted Central Office and it was confirmed that walk leaders can claim 28p per mile for one recce.  I would like to encourage more leaders to make this claim and have some claim forms with me.

I would like to remind people that if you are booking a holiday with Ramblers Holidays to mention that you are a member of Newark Group and we will then receive a donation between £10 and £30 depending on where the holiday is. 

Roger Spencer has agreed to examine our accounts again next year. 

Marie asked how the money from Freda Kirkby’s funeral had been spent.  This was discussed at committee and nothing specific had been decided.  James said that he wants any extra money to be spent on the charitable aspects of Ramblers.  Marie responded that she thought it should go to something in memory of Freda.

Jenny asked if any surplus should be spent on getting younger people interested in joining Ramblers. The general feeling was that younger people want to walk with people of their own age. 

Pauline suggested that we could recruit a group of younger people who would recruit more.  It was agreed that the local area is not good for adventurous young people – no mountains etc.  James said that there is a national problem with recruiting younger people. 

Marie talked about the Notts/Derby 20/30 group but this group is older now.  Ann said that Nottingham University has a very active Rambling group.  James said that we should be actively seeking young people to join Ramblers Association not necessarily a local group. 

7. Website Secretary’s Report

I continue to update the website with walks, social events and any other information as it occurs. 

Each week I add information about our walks to the Facebook Page and each day check to see if there have been any comments to which I send a response.  I try to add some additional information about the village where the walk begins or some interesting facts concerning the area.  The Facebook page has, on average, 50 hits per week but more if I include a link to another website, for example, a village’s own website. 

As well as our own Newark Ramblers website, it is worth looking at the Ramblers Association website and the Nottinghamshire Area Ramblers website too.  You will be able to find walks in other areas that you can join when, for example, on holiday.  There is also information about special events and initiatives. 

8. Footpath Secretary’s Report

I continue to be active in footpath work at both Group and Area level.

As well as investigating sundry ROW problems I have attended several site meetings including ones at Balderton (re the Newark South development), Wellow (re flooding of Wellow Footpath 2), Collingham (re possible level crossing closures), Church Warsop (re the creation of a possible new bridleway) and Maplebeck (re possible new footpaths).

Ramblers has also been consulted by SusTrans about opening up a cycle route along the east bank of the Trent which will contact North Clifton with Langford via Collingham.  This involves turning some footpaths into a multi-user track and also involves stretches of the Trent Valley Way.  After much discussion and a site visit, Nottinghamshire Ramblers ROW Committee decided to support the project with some provisos regarding safety.

Gordon said that cyclists are a nuisance on some paths.  James said that Central Office policy is to encourage links with cycling and horse-riding organisations.

9. Walks Co-ordinators’ Report

Jenny and Ken said that they had put together four Walks Programmes during the year and though the Wednesday walks are well attended and generally people come forward to lead walks, the Sunday walks are proving more difficult to find leaders for.  There have been some Saturday walks during the year with varying degrees of success.  It was agreed that email addresses for both Jenny and Ken should be added to emails sent out regarding walks. 

Carol was asked to send out an email appealing for walk leaders for January to March.

Jenny said that she would be happy to be a Walks Co-ordinator this year but that she would stand down at the 2018 AGM.

Val Swain asked if we have a Library of Walks.  Pauline said this was a good idea and would be very helpful for new leaders.  It was noted that offers of help have been made to new leaders.  Carol wondered if a 4 month programme instead of a 3 month programme would be easier to manage.

James thanked Jenny and Ken for all the work they do to produce such varied programmes.

10. Area Representative’s Report

2017 has not been the easiest year at Area level in view of the changes in key personnel which I mentioned in last year’s report. 

However, all the key posts on Area Council were filled at the 2017 AGM in Broxtowe, including the appointment of a new Chair, Martin Gawith.

I decided to stay on as Groups Officer but will not be seeking re-election at the 2018 AGM.

James said that Judith Anson is doing sterling work at Area.  He added that he would probably not be on the Area Council but will continue to be a representative at Area level. 

Pauline said how grateful we all are to James for his work at Area level.

11. Membership Secretary’s Report

We currently have 128 members.  During the year we have had 4 members transfer to us from other groups, 2 previous members have re-joined and we have had 11 completely new members making a total of 17 new to Newark Ramblers.

Unfortunately during the year 16 members have left resulting in a net increase for the period of 1. I continue to contact people, as and when appropriate, to try to ascertain why they have not renewed their membership.  Generally those who have left the group are either quite elderly now or have rarely, if ever, walked with the group.

Ann said that she rarely gets a response from the enquiries made to people leaving the group.  Val Swain said that many people join other walking groups such as U3A.  James added that he is disappointed that people join walking groups but do not support the Ramblers Association. 

12. Map Secretary’s Report

Judy had sent a report in her absence to say that during the year two maps had been borrowed. 

Carol was asked to send out a message to members reminding them that maps are available to borrow and to send out an annual list of maps available together with a note of Judy’s email address so that people can contact her if they wish to borrow a map.

James said he thought that most people have their own maps.

 

 

13. Election of Officers

Postholder

Proposed

Seconded

Chair

VACANT

Secretary

Carol Wilkinson

James McGill

Marie Legg

Treasurer

Margaret Shaw

Val Swain

Ann Raymond

Membership Secretary

Ann Raymond

Margaret Shaw

Ken Martin

Website Secretary

Carol Wilkinson

James McGill

Ken Martin

Walks Co-ordinators

Jenny Williams

Ken Martin

Ann Raymond

Marie Legg

Area Representative

James McGill

Carol Wilkinson

Margaret Shaw

Social Secretary

VACANT

Footpath Officer

James McGill

Jenny Williams

Pauline Hall

Map Secretary

Judy Price

Margaret Shaw

Ann Raymond

Committee Member

Marie Legg

Ann Raymond

Carol Wilkinson

Committee Member

Joyce Pedersen

Marie Legg

Pauline Hall

Val Swain commented that there was a time in the past when it had been impossible to appoint a Chair at the AGM but at the next committee meeting, the members of the committee had appointed a Chair from within the committee. 

Pauline said that members need to know we have no Chair.  Gordon said that we need to find ways to make people take responsibility in their organisation and wondered if there was any value in sending out a letter explaining that we need a new Chair and outlining the duties for that position. 

James said that it has been one of his ambitions during his tenure of office to try and move away from paper communications and to use email more. He added that it strikes him as a retrograde move to send out letters to the membership.

It was agreed that until a new Chair is appointed, the committee members will take it in turns to chair meetings and that Carol will send details of the AGM to the Newark Advertiser.  It was also agreed to send a separate note and a copy of the Job Description to all members together with the Minutes to say that we were unable to appoint a Chair. 

14. Any Other Business

Pauline said that she would like to thank the Committee for all their work during the year.

15. Date and Venue of next Annual General Meeting

To be decided at Committee Meeting on 14 December 2017