The Ramblers Association, East Surrey Walkers Group
34th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING MINUTES
1.45pm Saturday 22nd October 2016, St Andrew’s Church Hall, Limpsfield Chart
Chairman’s Welcome: Arthur Darby welcomed 60 members to the AGM and thanked Nick for leading the walk. He also thanked Pamela Cunniffe and the social team for the delicious ploughman’s lunch.
Apologies for Absence: Lisa Dunning, Richard Hoy, John King, Liz Whittaker, Adam Wilson.
Minutes of 2015 AGM held on 7th November 2015 at 2pm were agreed and signed.
Matters Arising: to be covered off during the meeting.
Another successful year for ESW was reported. The number of walks has increased by about 10% with average numbers on walks staying fairly constant.
There were two holidays to Spain and the Isle of Wight in 2016, thanks are due to Judy, John and Tony for organizing these, and in the coming year there are three holidays planned.
A first for the group this year was a coach trip to Canterbury. The weather was lovely and 46 people had an excellent day with options of a 10 mile or 5 mile walk included. A coach trip to another area will be organised for 2017.
All social events have been well attended and feedback has been positive.
As ESW gets bigger the decision has been made to split some of the jobs. Adam Wilson is stepping down and his role will be split. This is your organization and all contributions are welcome.
Roy reported that the main challenge was to reduce the reserves, as we should not have more in our bank balance then we are likely to use. To this end 2 kissing gates have been bought and more are in the pipeline. There were no questions from the floor.
Membership Secretary’s Report
Amanda reported that we now have 395 members, and showed off the Surrey Ramblers recruitment cup which ESW won in 2015. Membership has increased by 95 people during Amanda’s 3 years on the Committee, and recently joined members are taking on organizational roles in ESW.
Prizes were awarded to those walk leaders who introduced the most new members, with Nigel Poulter overall winner with 11 new ESW members.
Walks Co-ordinator’s Report
Nigel Poulter, Walks Administrator, presented the report in Liz Whittaker’s absence. In the 12 months 3638 walkers took part in 230 walks. The Walks Programme has been expanded to 4 walks a week.
There are now 67 walk leaders (or pairs of leaders). Help is there for all new leaders and Leader’s Training Courses are held. The walk planner for January to March 2017 currently needs filling.
During the meeting Nigel sent the spreadsheet whirling for the Q3 walks leaders draw, and the winning leader, drawn at random, was Tony Pearson who received a bottle of wine.
During 2016 ESW took part in the Rambler’s ‘Walk about Britain’ Festival with walks provided on every one of the 9 days. Helen Whiteley is to be congratulated on completing all the walks.
John Nathan requested that the Walks Schedule be returned to the old format so that it prints as a booklet. Nigel Poulter agreed to do this, despite the extra work involved.
Tony Pearson had booklets on hand for any new leaders who wanted one.
Publicity Officer’s Report
The aim of the Publicity Officer is to keep interest among existing members and encourage new ones. There have been many news inputs but it is hard to quantify success, however the Group seems to be moving forward. Facebook, thanks to Tony and Stacey, reaches a 1000 people each week.
Stories for publication are put out every month. Human interest stories do the best. Helen and Amanda generate their own publicity! The other element is the flyers which are put up in the area every 3 months.
Keith is stepping down in 2017 and is looking for a volunteer to take over this role. It requires approximately 1.5 days of work a month.
Social Secretary’s Report
Social events are a team effort, with Angie Horrigan, Anne Jagelman and Fran Edwards assisting Pamela. John and Di Nathan and Rosie Bailey kindly let us use their gardens for summer events and contributions of salads and cakes made these events a gastronomic feast.
Arthur reported there is a separate bank account for social funding with a fluctuating balance. It is desirable to keep a minimum balance of around £200.
There was some debate over reimbursement of outlay for cakes etc. supplied by members. Barbara Bulman said that historically these have been reimbursed for those that require it and this should continue. Events are meant to be self-funding and there is money in the account.
The Committee had looked at ways to make the job simpler. Numbers attending social events have increased, so not having to handle money on the day is a plus, but clearly this is an issue for some members. Arthur Darby and Pamela Cunniffe were both on holiday when the last email was sent so were unable to respond immediately and were unaware of anyone having been refused reimbursement. Roy Battison confirmed that going forward anyone asking for reimbursement would receive it. This was agreed by Committee & the resolution was passed by a majority show of hands from the floor. Post-meeting note: Under the new Treasurer the Committee will discuss and finalise a new reimbursement process at the next Committee meeting on November 9th which will then be circulated to all members.
Local Footpath Secretary’s Report
The Rambler’s Association is there to protect and maintain footpaths. There are 3 local footpath secretaries all covering a different part of our area.
Tony thanked Ken’s Krew for their work, but more helpers are needed. 16 gates have been put up in the year. There are a few footpath situations which have been going on for years, in particular the one between Lower South Park Farm and Tillburstow Hill Road. Tony recommended more individuals contact the County Council requesting action on this obstruction. Roy suggested putting this information on the Noticeboard.
Report on Surrey Area
Arthur Darby reported that the Ramblers Association CEO, Benedict Southworth resigned in April and until the new appointee takes over there is a hiatus in policy decisions.
Tony Pearson represents ESW on the Surrey Rambler’s Area Council and at the last meeting he was invited to speak about recruitment and membership retention as this is a strength of ESW.
Area AGM is on 28th January 2017
Election of Officers
Amanda Whiteley and Roy Battison have come to the end of their 3 years on the Committee in their present roles. Roy has served a total of 16 years in Committee roles for the Ramblers, and thank you gifts were presented to them both.
Proposed by: Seconded:
Election of Treasurer Julie Atkinson Noel Cunniffe Nigel Poulter
Election of Membership Secretary Helen Whiteley Brian Smith Keith Chesson
En bloc nomination: Proposed by Roy Battison Seconded by Denise Birkett
Chairman Arthur Darby 2014-2017
Secretary Helen McDonnell 2015-2018
Walks co-ordinator Liz Whittaker 2014-2017
Publicity Officer Keith Chesson 2014-2017
Social Committee: Pamela Cunniffe, Fran Edwards, Angie Horrigan, Anne Jagelman,
Non-Committee Administrative Roles
Footpath Secretary Tony Pearson
Ken’s Krew Working Party Ken Clare
Membership Administrator Pauline Guy
Walks Administrator Nigel Poulter
Webmaster Brian Smith
Assistant Webmaster Judy Lowe
Website Content Editor Helen Whiteley
Welfare Officer Barbara Bulman
Any Other Business
Nick thanked everyone on behalf of Mike Wood who recently passed away. Many members visited him in hospital to keep his spirits up, and Tony Pearson and Sarah Darby had helped Nick who is executor of Mike’s will.
Adam Wilson is now standing down. Barbara W spoke on behalf of Adam as he was unable to attend the AGM himself. Adam joined ESW around 2004 and has led many walks. Initially he became the walks co-ordinator and started to expand the walks programme. He was also instrumental in setting up training courses. Latterly he became website content editor, and also assisted Amanda managing spreadsheets. Finally he introduced mailchimp as a more effective tool for communication. Pauline Guy will now take over as membership administrator whilst Judy Lowe is taking on the webmaster assistant role.
Tony Pearson felt that when the monthly newsletter / walks programme email was stopped, we lost some communication with members. He asked for the Committee to look at this again and maybe find a new volunteer to produce this.
John Nathan said that Ken’s Krew were getting older and he was investigating the purchase and use of a power auger.
Robert Coupland asked that Ramblers resist Network’s Rail goal of reducing level crossings.
John Nathan proposed a vote of thanks for the Committee.
Meeting finished at 15.15.