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Club Officer’s Reports 1977

These reports by club officers for the Annual General Meeting have been approved for publication by the committee.

1.   HON SECRETARY' S REPORT

Of the many duties required from the club Secretary, the hardest thing that I find must be done is to compile and present the annual 'state of the nation' report which must be factual yet carefully collated so as not to steal the thunder of my fellow officers. Ideally, it should report the club's progress during the year and decide whether or not the year has been, good or bad for the club.  This is a most difficult decision because what may appear good to one group of members could appear equally bad to another group.  However, if the criterion is in membership then the club must have had a reasonable year.

We have, as you will know, invoked the constitution to disbar any members who have not paid their subs by 30 April.  Additionally, the subscription rate has risen to £3.00 and £4.25 for full and joint membership.  Although we have lost one or two members due to this (particularly from joint membership) we have claimed 17 new members and we have persuaded one or two older ones to rejoin the fold.  The present club membership is 198 (individual members) of whom 58 are Life Members.

There was no election to the 1976/77 committee, the only nomination received by the time of the AGM being that of Paul Christie who was therefore automatically elected.  The further vacancy - that due to the Climbing Secretary vanishing up north - was filled by Russell Jenkins who was co-opted and agreed to act as climbing secretary.  The committee, to the date of this report has met ten times, one meeting was voided due to the quorum being on holiday.  Attendance by committee members has been quite reasonable and there has been little trouble in managing a quorum.  Alfie, Barrie and Tim managed a 100% attendance.  Mike and Chris managed 90%; Paul and Graham managed 80%, Russ at 70% and John at 60%.

One of the major considerations of the committee this past year has been that of the Central Heating of the Belfry which was passed on by the membership at the AGM.  Much discussion took place on this, at all meetings, and quotations were obtained from a variety of experts in this field. Generally, the out¬come seemed to be that the feasibility of installation was OK, but the expense and practicality (at a time when the configuration of the Belfry looked like changing) not so good.  We were unfortunate on one occasion that a system which was removed from a building in Bristol was missed due to there not being any transport or effort available at the right time to make a collection - ¬there was effort available later but by this time the system was scrapped.  Perhaps it is a sign of the times that effort is no longer as readily available as it was in past years.

The Belfry has again been subjected to criticism of its facilities and there was a proposal put to the club (via the BB, by the Engineer) to remove the library facility in favour of enlarging the changing and shower area.  Once again though, there has been no effort available to this work and to some extent it could be thought due to the irregularity of the BB issue.  However, only one formal working weekend has been called during the year and this was not well attended.  I hesitate to sound off as criticising the Engineer on these matters as there is, I’m sure all will appreciate, a multitude of 'minor' tasks needing to be done each week just to keep the Belfry ticking over and it would be unfair to expect the Engineer to carry out all the work without any assistance from the membership. Nevertheless, I would like to see the activity of Working Weekends becoming a routine led by the Engineer. After all we all saw what a great deal was accomplished in a short time when the Belfry 'Christmassers' wanted to eat their meal in reasonable cleanliness.

On the Caving side, the club has enjoyed a quiet year with brief bursts of sudden activity especially during the period of (or breakthrough into) Tynings Farm Swallet. This was a combined club effort with others including the Grampian well to the fore.  BEC cavers were well represented in this venture though and an early article appeared in the BB.  A further early appearance was Dave Turner who requested that Sandpit became an 'official' BEC dig and much more recently, Nigel Taylor has requested that Wigmore Swallet also be made official - thus we are in the happy state of having two official digs under way though action is quiet on the Sandpit front. Apart from these activities, the membership has been quite active in Cuthbert’s (on a tourist basis) and our cavers are making regular trips both on and off Mendip.  A 'mixed.' club Friday night caving is very regular and my only complaint is that for some reason there is a reluctance to complete the Caving Log thus spoiling much useful BB material.

Probably enough has been said of the BB elsewhere but with luck it should be rapidly returning to its true course and although no doubt it will arise at the AGM as a topic for discussion I feel secure in saying that the team seems to be successful and, if the machine holds out, we are in a reasonable position for the future.

Clearly, Climbers are on the up.  Russ Jenkins seems to have breathed a slice of life back into the section which is still, unfortunately, very small.  Still, small or not they are active and their exploits are being regularly reported in the BB.  Russ has spent a lot of time on the administrative aspects and one result of this is the decision that the clubs be again affil¬iated to the BMA on an associate basis.

The Belfry continues to be well used but once again the malaise of the age ¬inflation - has affected things there and it was decided that there should be an increase in fees to both members and non-members.  On this occasion it was decided that we should attempt to make it more beneficial to the club members and the differential was widened to give a more economic deal to our¬selves.  Chris has worked hard again during the year and has come to several decisions concerning the amount of work he is prepared to do.  One of these ideas meant that the cooking utensil are to be removed and he hopes that this will result in more washing up being done by those who make the items dirty in the first place.  It is an unfortunate event but Chris has, I believe, also decided that he no longer wishes to be our Hut Warden.  He has done the job now for two years and although he is still keen to be involved with the running of the club, he has decided enough is enough.

Since this is the Secretary's report I suppose that it is only proper that I report my own lack of achievement during the year.  Amongst the catastrophes I count the 1976 Dinner and I think that least said about that the better.  Still, it did force our hand into a referendum and it is to be hoped that this year we shall fare better than last.  The venue for the Dinner is the Cliff Hotel at Cheddar (recently under new management) and apart from the Dinner we have a welcome return of the Dramatist's Art. Other things not done by yours truly during the year include any attendance at the various political associa¬tions.  However the club has been extremely well represented (by our Chair¬man of Committee, Caving Secretary etc) and these meetings I'm sure would have been no better for the attendance of a one time caver.

Finally, on a Secretarial level, I have decided that the only post in which I can make any contribution to the club is that of Secretary.  However, the success of a candidate in the election to committee does not carry any guarantee of tenure of post with it and this could be my last report to the club as an officer of the committee.  If this is the case I should like to take this opportunity to thank the membership for its assistance in making my job as secretary so easy to manage.  I cheer you on the way by stating that, in my opinion, the BEC is alive and well and can look forward to 1978.