Emergency Issue

This B.B. is not only smaller than usual, but has many of
the regular features missing.  It mostly
contains news about the Dinner and A.G.M. together with the minutes of the 1975
A.G.M.  The editor would like to
apologise to all those who have sent in contributions and to assure them that
that their material will be included in the B.B. as soon as possible.


Members must be concerned by the lack of B.B’s reaching
them.  Several people who have asked me
what is happening must be under the impression that the B.B. was still

Just as it looked like getting back to normal in June, after
a period in which the B.B. could not be published monthly because of
insufficient contributions, the B.B., printing machine broke down.

The committee acted promptly and agreed to finance a service
for the machine.  This proved to be
impractical owing to its age, so Tony Corrigan helped me to dismantle some of
the suspect parts, and volunteered to print the June B.B. on his own machine
before he got married and disappeared on his honeymoon.

Unfortunately, Tony’s machine works well enough with the
metal plates he uses but not with the paper plates used by the B.B. for
cheapness.  We finished up with a half
printed B.B. and a. wrecked master.  The
fault on the B.B. machine was still there.

So the machine had to come even further apart, and some
special tools had to be designed and made to do this.  Dave Irwin offered the Gestetner for the July
B.B., but there were no skins available and it was anybody’s guess as to
whether it would be quicker to do this and clean up the typewriter afterwards,
or to press on with getting the B.B. machine back in working order.  The last course was chosen, and at the time
of writing this, the machine looks as if it will work.  It has been decided to get this B.B. out
first – because it is vital to let members know about the dinner etc. and to
put the June B.B. out when possible.

After that, we shall have to see what happens next.  If there is not time to print the B.B. report
before the A.G.M., please come along and be prepared to take part in a
hard-hitting discussion about the future of the B.B.


Minutes of 1975 A.G.M.

The meeting opened at 10.55 a.m. with 36 members
present.  ‘Sett’ called for the election
of a chairman.  He was proposed and
seconded from the floor of the meeting, and there being no other nominations,
he was declared to have been elected. The chairman then called for member’s resolutions, and then asked
whether the meeting wanted to take the minutes, which had been previously
published, as read.  This was
agreed.  The chairman then asked for any
matters arising from the minutes.  Barrie
said that as far as he was concerned, his action from last year had been
carried out.

The Hon. Sec’s report then followed.  Dave Irwin read the first part of this,
covering the time from the last A.G.M. until his resignation, and Mike Wheadon
continued the report from then on.  Colin
Dooley asked if there had been many new applications for membership.  Mike said that there were not, but he would
keep the club informed of all new members and would instigate a drive aimed at
lapsed members.  Dave Turner asked how
the membership compared with last ¬year. Mike said that it stood at 165 paid up members, which was down on last
year.  Nigel Taylor then proposed that
the report be adopted.  This was seconded
by Annie Wilton-Jones and carried without dissent.

The Hon. Treasurer’s Report was then taken.  This had been published and Barrie added that
it was more detailed this year.  Bob Cross
asked for details of the donation and Barrie replied that it was made up of a
number of small sums.  Bob Cross asked
whether we had contributed to the M.R.O. and Barrie said that we had indirectly
contributed about £10.  Dave Irwin said
that the club’s position was very healthy because we had absorbed the cost of
the Belfry alterations and still made an effective profit.  Barrie agreed with this and said the deficit
of £56 was really a credit of about £100. Sett asked if the report would be in this form in future and Barrie
assured him that it would.  Dave Irwin
asked if B.B. sales were included as there were at least three subscribers to
the B.B.  Barrie said that they would
have been included, but all three had not renewed their subs.  Bob Cross asked what the £13.78 had bought
for the library and Dave Irwin said that most of this sum had been spent on
completing sets of journals.  The
remainder had been spent on a few guidebooks. Mike Palmer asked whether the repay¬ment of the I.D.M.F. grant meant.  Barrie said that £90 had been taken out of
club funds because there had not been enough time to withdraw it direct.  Annie Wilton-Jones asked why we had had a tax
refund when it appeared that we had paid no tax.  Barrie said that this was because of the way
that the tax authorities worked.  Nigel
Taylor asked why we had been charged for two years rates.  Barrie said that the rate demands always had
to be sent back for deduction and because of this we sometimes found ourselves
paying rates so much in arrears that two years rates were often settled in the
same year.  Mike Palmer asked about
dustbins.  Barrie said that we would pay
for these if we had to.  A discuss¬ion on
the payment of subs then followed.  The
meeting felt generally that members should not wait until the club was forced
to send out reminders.  Dave Turner asked
if we should consider a rebate for prompt payment.  This was received with mixed feelings and the
meeting felt unable to commit itself. Joan Bennett said that it was a very good sign to see that the club had
spent £108 on tackle.  Martin Bishop the
proposed that the report be adopted. This was seconded by Mike Palmer and carried without dissent.

The chairman then read out the Hon. Auditor’s Report.  Its adoption was propped by Tony Meaden and
seconded by Mike Palmer.  It was carried

The Caving Secretary’s report had been published in the
B.B.  Chris Howell proposed that the
report be adopted.  This was seconded by
Nigel Taylor and carried unanimously.

The Climbing Secretary’s Report was then read by Tony
Sharpe. Graham Wilton-Jones suggested that the club did not know how much
climbing tackle it possessed.  It was
suggested that the Hon. Treasurer knew. It was agreed that climbing ropes must be kept separate from caving tackle
and not stored in the Tackle Store.  Bob
Cross said that there had been no mention of his trip to the Lakes.  Nigel Taylor then proposed that the report be
adopted.  This was seconded by Mike
Palmer and carried nem. con.

The Hut Warden’s Report was then read by Colin Dooley who
mentioned the alterations to the Belfry and said that the bed-night total was
about the same as last year (1,200).  We
had, he said, been lucky to have had the naval cavers the Belfry who contributed
towards the bed-night figures and without whom the Belfry usage would have been
much lower.  With the costs of fuel and
other things rising, we will have to watch the expenditure.  In fact, the Belfry fees were put up halfway
through the year and there was at present no need for further revision.  The Hut Warden then went on to thank Chris
Batstone for his help and hoped that members would co-operate the new Hut
Warden Ian.  Wilton-Jones opened the
discussion by saying that the Craven provided no cutlery or crockery and
suggested that these items should be withdrawn from the Belfry.  This was received with mixed feelings and was
not put to the vote.  John Knapps said
that there were no tea towels at the Belfry. Nigel Taylor showed him some. Colin raised the question of Belfry security.  A general discussion followed during which
the new Hut Warden was informed that he was empowered to remove any non-member
from staying at the Belfry without permission. It was agreed that any local members should look in whenever possible
during the week.  The discussion
continued for some time until it was finally left to the committee to deal
with.  Martin Bishop asked whether the
Belfry would have been worse off than last year without the £140 from the
navy.  Barrie Wilton said that it would
have been.  This led to a discussion
about plans to house the navy elsewhere. It was agreed that if further competition was allowed to occur, then the
Belfry would find itself in a very serious position.  It was agreed that the committee actively
pursue this to all within its power to prevent such a situation occurring.  At this stage, the chairman called a halt to
the discussion as he proposed to adjourn the meeting for lunch.  Chris Howell then proposed the adoption of
the report and this was seconded Nigel Taylor and carried without dissent.

During the lunch break, in accordance with the proceedings
started last year, the new committee met to decide on the named officers of the
club as required by the constitution.

At 1.30, the chairman reconvened the meeting and announced
the new officers as follows: – Chairman, Alfie: Hon. Sec, Mike Wheadon: Hon.
Treas, Barrie Wilton: Caving Sec, Tim Large: Climbing Sec, Roy Marshall:
Tacklemaster, Graham Wilton-Jones: Hut Warden, Chris Batstone: Hut Eng, John

The Belfry Engineer’s Report followed.  Tony Tucker said that he did not approve of
the changes made.  The chairman ruled
this out of order and said that discussion must be confined to specific points
and not generalised statements such as this. Tony then asked why the plans drawn up by Jock had not been
followed.  John Dukes said these plans
had been outside the price range and added that Tony had been given the
opportunity to see the plans.  Nigel
Taylor said that he would like to compliment the Hut Engineer.  Colin Dooley assured the meeting that all
practical alternatives were examined before deciding on the present
scheme.  Tony said that the toilets were
very dark.  John Dukes said that they
admitted sufficient light for their purpose. Mike Palmer felt that there were more important issues than toilets and
that the plans represented the best compromise between the issues
involved.  He said that the Hut Engineer
was to be congratulated.  Annie Wilton
said that the heating bill was less than before.  After more discussion, Colin Dooley proposed
that the report be adopted.  This was
seconded by Martin Bishop and carried without dissent.

The Tacklemaster was then invited to present his
report.  Bob Cross opened the discussion
by pointing out that a karabiner would not go through an Enfield clip and asked
if the Tacklemaster intended to go over to these for all tackle.  Graham said that it was not his intention to
do this.  The chairman asked if special
rope was required for S.R.T. and was told that this was so.  He asked if the Tacklemaster could recommend
suitable ropes to members if asked and Graham said he could do this.  It was stressed yet again that club lifelines
are NOT provided for any S.R.T. use. Mike Cowlinshaw proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Nigel Taylor and carried

The B.B. Editor’s report followed.  Alan Thomas said that he wished to re-iterate
the thanks of the club to the editor and others who had managed to keep the
costs down.  Nigel Taylor proposed that
the report be adopted and this was seconded by Chris Rowell and carried

The Publications Report followed.  There was no discussion.  Its adoption was proposed by Maurice isles
and seconded by John Dukes.  It was carried
without dissent.

In the absence of the Librarian, his report his report was
read by the Hon.Sec.  Alan Thomas asked
for access to the library was obtained. He was told the Hut Warden and the Hut Engineer had leys in addition to
the Hon. Librarian.  Alfie proposed that
the report be adopted and this was seconded by Bob Cross and carried without

The I.D.M.F. report was read by Mike Palmer.  In reply to a question as to how the fund now
stood with respect to its original capital, Barrie said that it was within
pennies of its original capital.  It was
then proposed that the report be adopted by Stephen Boyd and seconded by
Maurice Isles.

The chairman then dealt with members resolutions.  The first of these was from the retiring
committee who put it forward as a result of being auctioned by the 1974
A.G.M.  “It is proposed that this Annual
General Meeting (1) instructs the 1975/6 Committee to carry out an urgent
revision of the club rules to include a clause which waives the right of
members to sue each other for damages should an accident arise in connection
with any club activity.  An example of
such a clause is the Wessex Rule 10 (which was quoted). (2) Instructs the
1975/6 committee to carry out a revision of the club application for membership
form to include any waiver as given above and to issue it for retrospective
signature by the present membership.  A
separate form carrying such a waiver to be signed by parent or guardian should
be designed for minors.  (3) Takes note
of the possible untenable position of our trustees in respect of a possible
claim on our insurance and instruct the future committee to act on its behalf
so as to ensure that the trustees are suitably indemnified against being
preferential defendants in any suit for damages.”

After a lively discussion, an amendment to delete the waiver
so as to allow member to member actions but not member to club actions was
carried by the meeting with 13 votes in favour to 11 against.  The amended resolution was then put to the
vote and carried 29 – 0.

A proposal by Dave Irwin, “That the 1975/76 committee
urgently investigate a mechanism to enable school clubs in Somerset to
affiliate to the B.E.C. should they desire to do so” was then put to the
meeting by the chairman.  This aroused strong
feelings.  Some members were violently
against such a move.  Alan Thomas, for
example, said that such a resolution was counter to what had been the club’s
policy on affiliation since he had been a member.  Nigel Taylor said that if the club were going
to reverse their policy of so many years standing at a moments notice, we might
have to reconsider his membership.  On
the other hand, some members argued that the B.E.C. ought to recognise changes
in the caving scene and if necessary act accordingly.  Ian Wilton-Jones argued that it was better to
take part in and help to exert control over school caving rather than ignore
it.  After further discussion along these
lines, Nigel Taylor proposed an amendment, “that the committee be restrained
form taking any action on this subject and be confined to making
recommendations only.”  Alan Thomas said
that this was implicit in the original resolution.  Don McFarlane said that he would second the
amendment and a vote was taken.  The
amendment was defeated by 11 votes to 19.

Graham Wilton-Jones then proposed an amendment,
“Notwithstanding the implications of the resolution now before the meeting in
its original form, the committee be expressly empowered to act on any
recommendation they might make.”  This
was seconded by Mike Cowlinshaw and defeated by 10 votes to 23.  A further amendment to the effect that the
committee could act but only after having conducted a postal ballot and
obtained a majority in favour of the proposed action was also put to the
meeting and defeated by 11 votes to 18. At this stage, the chairman put the original resolution to the vote, and
it was carried by 24 votes to 10.

A second proposal by Dave Irwin was then taken.  This resolution stated, “That this club
deplores the proliferation of certification in both national and local caving
and climbing activities and will instruct the C.S.C.C. to continue to press its
philosophy as detailed in ‘Caving for Beginners’.  The recent circular letter by the C.C.P.R.
proposing a national standard award certificate should in particular be deplored.  This resolution was seconded by Alan Thomas
and put at once to the vote.  It was
carried with 43 in favour and a single vote against.

The chairman then called for any other business.  Mike Wheadon proposed a vote of thanks to
Colin Dooley and to Dave Irwin for their work as Hut Warden and Hon.
Secretary.  This was carried with

Mike Palmer questioned the need for a Climbing
Secretary.  He said that he appreciated
that the club constitution required the club to appoint one, and was not
proposing at this stage to start the process in motion for removing this from
the constitution, but merely thought that this might be the start for the
committee to start thinking about the role of the Climbing secretary in view of
the very small amount of climbing now carried out.  Perhaps a Miscellaneous Activities Sec. might
be a good idea.  There was a short
discussion and no formal proposal resulted. However, Bob Cross proposed that,” This A.G.M. take note Mike Palmer’s
remarks.” Bob’s proposal was recommended to the meeting from the chair and
carried with 22 in favour to 1 against.

There being no further business, the chairman declared the
meeting closed at 3.15 p.m.


In view of the printing troubles, a separate communication
has been sent to members requesting nominations for the 1976-1977
Committee.  Voting forms (if required)
will also be sent out separately from the B. B.

Once again, the A.G.M. and Dinner will he held on Saturday,
October 2nd.  The A.G.M. starts at 10.30
a.m. at the Belfry.  Please try to turn
up – and turn on time – as there may well be a lot to get through.  Two very important issues are the club public
liability insurance – a matter which affects every single member of the club;
and the future of the B. B. which again affects everyone.  These, and other subjects need a properly
conducted debate, and members like to have enough time to make their
preparations for the dinner, so PLEASE TURN UP EARLY.

The Dinner is at 7 p.m. for 7.30 at the Town Hall at
Glastonbury.  For those making their own
way, it is by the Abbey ruins.  There
will be COACHES starting from the Belfry and coming back to the Belfry
afterwards.  Please indicate whether you
want seats.  Nigel Taylor is running the

An attempt has been made to lay on a really good menu with a
choice of main course (there is also a wide choice of the sweet course from the
sweet trolley).  Please indicate if you
want Steak Bordelaise OR Coc au Vin when you get in touch with Barrie for your

There will be an adequately stocked bar and a Wine Bar to
ensure that you do not have to wait for wine during the dinner itself.  After dinner entertainment is being laid on
by Alfie and is such that it can be tailored to suit the wishes of those present.  The aim is to have enough to satisfy those
who wish to be entertained and not enough to bore those who prefer to spend the
evening chatting to old friends.

The price of the ticket is £3 – which is not high when one
considers inflation and the price of bought-out food generally.

Please book as early as possible WITH YOUR MONEY and give or
send it to Barrie Wilton.  The closing
date is likely to be adhered to this year, so don’t rely on being able to ‘get
in on the day’ – you could be disappointed!

The committee and organisers of the Dinner cannot, of
course, guarantee that a amazing time will be had by all but the indications
are good.  It is probably true to say
that the B.E.C. Dinner is the only large scale caving dinner now being held on
Mendip, so come along and help make it another of those dinners to remembered
years afterwards as one of the highs to your caving career.

A further reminder to those attending the A.G.M. and the
Dinner.  Are you still a member of the
B.E.C.  You cannot vote or speak at the
A.G.M. unless you are.  Make sure you are
paid up at the time!

© 2024 Bristol Exploration Club Ltd

registered in England and Wales as a co-operative society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered no. 4934.