The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: John Williams

Cover:  ‘Gonzo’ in Soft Rock Cruise (The Sand Swims) Daren Cilau
Photo by: Peter “Just One More” Bolt


1996 - 1997 Committee

Hon. Sec.                Nigel Taylor
Treasurer                 Chris Smart
Caving Sec.             Jeff Price
Hut Warden             Becca Campbell
Tackle Master          Mike Wilson
Hut Engineer            Ivan Sandford
Membership Sec.     Richard Stephens
B.B. Editor               John Williams
Librarian                  Alex Gee
Floating                   Hilary Wilson

                               Estelle Sandford



Okay so here we are again, the first BB of the club year.  Hopefully from now on I will be able to produce a more satisfactory rag than the last couple of issues, given that I have more time on my hands and better computer access.

First off, as some of you will already know, I have moved.  I am now living in Very North Somerset....Chapel le Dale in fact...see address list at front of rag.  Its just conceivably possible if you are up my way that I could be found at the Hill Inn .... but don't listen to rumours ... they are often untrue.  Let me know if you are about though.

Sadly one of our oldest members passed away recently ... Dan Hasell.  He died peacefully whilst having a nap.  The club was well represented at the funeral and the turnout was a testament to the respect in which Dan was held.  I had only recently got to know the man but liked him immensely as did many of us I'm sure. It was rather nice that he had attended the club dinner recently.

I'm sure we would all pass on our commiserations to Stella at this time.

The AGM and Dinner were as usual….the AGM and Dinner.  For details see the minutes published later in this edition.  The dinner was held at the Cross Hands Inn in North Wooton and was attended by approx 100 people, a fairly good turnout considering it was the 61st year.  Malcolm Cotter of MCG was the guest speaker and provided an interesting slide show after dinner ... thank you Malcolm.

Snab proposed the toast to absent friends remarkably well considering Jingles had rigged the PA so he sounded like he'd been breathing Helium one minute and speaking in slow motion the next much to the hilarity of those present.  Added to which a rather inebriated Lil Romford was determined to find out what he had under his kilt.. .. work the rest out yourselves.

It seems a good evening was had by all and was only slightly marred by the absence of beer back at the Belfry afterwards.

What else???

Congratulations go to Dick-Fred and his New Wife Jacqui, married on 15.11.96 .... kept that one quiet didn't they.

Can't really think of much else at this stage.  I understand that work is still going on in Five Buddles and also in Barrow Rake when its dry .... keep me informed you guys.

Finally ... as usual I am in need of articles to publish, and am loathe to publish issues just for the sake of those of you who moan that there aren't enough BBs .... this is your chance ... put pen to paper and write something this ish we have articles from Mr Wand Alex Gee ... thanks lads .... perhaps we could have a few more bits for the Xmas issue.

Anyway I'm off diving in Hurtle Pot now, which is a mere 5mins walk from my front door .... how sad eh???  No more freezing my B******s off.  Mind you Keld Head is still a bit of a hike .. (2 Miles) .. can't have it all though .... or can you???

See you all soon ...

Good Caving.



From the Belfry Table

I write this note with great regret, as it gives me no pleasure to inform the Membership of the passing of one of it's founder members, and a man who I have always regarded as "One of Life's Gentlemen".

Dennis (Dan) Henry Hasell Honorary and Life Member Number 4, died peacefully on Thursday, 24th October, 1996.

The Club I know will extend its deepest sympathy to Dan's beloved Stella, and as one of those fortunate enough to be able to attend his funeral at St. Mary's Church, Moorlynch on Friday  1st November,  there was some

pleasure at least in seeing nearly fifty BEC members from across the broad age spectrum from the club. Each person there, as well as those who could not attend, had been touched in same way by Dan's radiance. His sometimes gruff, but always well intentioned and far sighted advice and interest in club affairs will be missed by many.  His keen and intense concern in the welfare of the BEC, Cave Diving group and his Motor Club would be a hard match for anyone to follow.  We know that Stella will miss him, the BEC will miss him, you and me will miss him, for we have lost a true friend, farewell, and thank you Dan.

The BEC Committee 1996-1997, The Election, and the AGM.

If you were one of those thirty odd people who made it to the AGM, thank you!  If not, why were you not there please?  So few people actually attended, that for most of the AGM, we were not quorate, in fact for a period of some thirty minutes we actually became quorate, then people drifted away again, it will be necessary to adopt all the AGM business at the 1997 AGM as a result.  It is your club, your chance to have your say, if you could not be bothered to attend, then fine, but don't expect the BEC to make another sixty years, and don't gripe about matters at some later date. The 1997 AGM will be held at the Belfry at 10.30 am, Saturday 3rd. October 1997.

The 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, AGM's and Annual Dinners will always be on the first Saturday in October of each year. Have you understood that?  Make a note now in your diary, your head whatever, please, I am fed up with people saying "I didn't know the date of the AGM/Dinner so I missed it!"

Again as you will note from the AGM minutes, I was concerned with the poor response or return of voting forms.  These I had produced and passed out for circulation with the BB in the required time scale.  Many members said that they had not received them, but as I am assured that all of these were sent out, perhaps the Post office industrial action was to blame? The result is that all eleven contenders for the election were put-in by the floor of the in-quorate AGM as a caretaker committee for 1996-1997.  Now, though not constitutionally correct, as technically no meeting business can be held without the AGM being quorate, it would have been an insult to those same thirty odd individuals who bothered to attend if I had not started the AGM, and under Bob Cork's excellent chairmanship, we had not attempted to bring some order to the potential chaos that would have otherwise occurred.  The eleven member committee will continue to act as a caretaker committee unless members call for an EGM and fresh ballot, given that there are no objections, I am sure that these people will do their best for the club.

Nigel Taylor, Hon. Secretary.


Germany - Sauerland Notes.

Having tackled Bullshit Pot it was time to be serious for once.

Hilary and I were cordially invited to visit Helmut Posch his Wife and daughter and their home in Solingen.  They live near a limestone region called the Sauerland which is east of Dusseldorf and embraces the Towns of Wuppertal and Hagen on the West and Warstein and Brilon on the East of the caving region.  The area is approx 50K east of Solingen with Koln and Dusseldoerf being the two major cities.

We travelled from Bristol via the Ramsgate Ostende ferries, cheap at £110 return, including a cabin. From Ostende the most direct route is via Brussels and Koln, total mileage approx 430.

Within the region there are cheap air fares to Dusseldorf and cheap Bus and Tram fares locally based on a Zonal fee.

The areas we visited with Helmut and his family were Ennepetal and Wuppertal with one visit to Hagen.  In Ennepetal at the side of the road on the outskirts of town lies a caving system called Heilenbecke Hohle.  This is one of the larger systems "Well decorated and Locked." Helmut, myself, Annete and a local caver called Stephan took a trip in this system. 3915m in length.

The cave lies in a 10m thick bed of limestone capped with a layer of solid slate.  The limestone runs down dip and in several places the system has a slate roof with obviously interesting formations resembling what I call Hairy Armpits .. .'Most Unusual'.

At the end of the system, Stephan showed us some blue lakes, quite small but one is worth diving coz the local lads reckon it is the only way on!!  Perhaps this region holds more interesting caves worth diving.  I know of one more called Kluterhohle with an interesting water system as yet un-dived due to the owner not being co-operative.

The other caves in the region number about thirty of which 15 or so are worthy of a visit.  There are more caves being explored and surveyed at the time of writing.  Please note that anyone wishing to visit the region would be advised to contact the two main local clubs.

To carry on with the caving ....

Anther quaint trip is situated in the town of Wuppertal near the botanical gardens.  It is called Harthohle and the entrance is in a road near the gardens.  You have to stop the traffic in your oversuit (Only Mike Wilson could have traffic in his oversuit....ed) and hop in quick before you are run over like a passing frog!! Also there is more than one manhole so be sure you pick the right one or you'll end up in the sh**!!

At 4000m long the cave is a 2 dimensional maze still being dug and only recently linked between 2 levels. A new survey is being prepared at this moment.  I have seen the proof copy.  It is an odd system and route finding could be tricky due to the exit routes being small and hard to locate, whereas the central system has large interconnecting passages.  Well worth a visit even if only to try your skill at exiting in traffic.!!

Another interesting Arvo wander (What??? .. ed) is Kluterhohle .. .'Mainly for tourists'. The majority of the cave has been converted into a sanatorium for Athsma sufferers.  Although the system is fairly large it is only possible to visit a third of it due to the inmates not taking too kindly to being leered at by grockles. There is a small river in this cave which was used as a refuge during the war ... Dare I mention the War??? .. Yes!!

Finally for those with an engineering or fairground interest, Wuppertal hosts a large suspended tram system which is quite unique and was built in the 1900’s.  It runs from Vohvinkle to Barmen (???) and is called the Sweiberbahn.  We confess to riding on it for a whole morning but didn’t join the 10m Sweiberbahn club though.

To finish there are surveys, journals etc deposited in the BEC library for all to read and make use of.

Mike Wilson.



Recent Exploration In 'Wookey'

Alex Gee
(Foreword by Jingles)

During the course of 1996 there has been a fair bit of activity at Wookey Hole one way and another. There have been several pushing attempts on sump twenty five by Mike Barnes and Petes Bolt and Mulholland ably assisted on various occasions by BEC members myself, Nick Mitchell and Alex Gee amongst them.

This year also saw the Jubilee celebrations of the CDG at what has become a kind of cave diver's Mecca. A not to be repeated event this was possibly the largest ever assembly of cave divers in this country and certainly there will never again be such a gathering of divers from right through the decades.

With all this in the limelight it is easy to forget that there is always a fair degree of exploration going on in the farther reaches of Wookey Hole.  Most of us only ever get as far as the gantry overlooking what to dry cavers is the terminal sump pool; but what to divers is the start of the cave 'proper'.  Sump 9b.

The Somerset section of the CDG has a fairly high percentage of BEC members amongst its number, most of whom are active if not pushing divers.  The following pages document the efforts of Alex and others over the past eight months in chamber 22, high up above the static pool.

This aven was originally climbed and bolted by Rob Harper in 1966 (I think ... ed) but has been pushed considerably further by Alex.  Speaking to Alex since he gave me this article, he informs me he has in fact continued working here and now reckons to be within 15m of the surface and although probably 100m away horizontally he is within 3m of the vertical level of Halloween Rift.  Perhaps Mr Hughes will start digging again and meet him half way??

What is not to be forgotten is the degree of organisation and commitment in a project such as this. Getting to the dig site involves two fairly deep dives (as one) giving a 'sawtooth' dive profile.  The dives are fairly long ... it takes approx 10- 15 minutes to dive from 9b to ch 22 .... and its COLD.

Once at chamber 22 Alex has been climbing up into the roof for heights approaching 60m and then wrestling with boulders.  (Why??? is a question that readily springs to mind!!)

A lot of work has gone into this project thus far and I am sure  Alex would thank all those who have assisted.

It is to be hoped that there will be an update on this in the not too distant future .....


Alex Gee Personal Diving Log.


Wookey Hole.
Ch22 Aven.  Static Pool.

April 1966.
Divers: N. Mitchell.  A. Gee.

Took climbing gear to 22 to investigate the limit of Rob Harper's attempt to climb the aven above 22 static pool.  Dumped gear then investigated why Nick hadn't appeared.  Found him in 9:2. He had lost a bottle en route and then got a line tangle his pressure gauge having become wedged between two rocks.

May 1996.
Divers: N. Mitchell. A. Gee.

Nick belayed me while I aid climbed up to Harper's limit.. .. Scary stuff ... I wouldn't have liked to have bolted it first!!  Nick then joined me while I climbed up another 10m in parallel roof tube which closed down.  Good draught. Tried to remove boulders blocking main way on.  Then large coffin sized piece of wall peeled off.  Most impressive.


Back again this time with Keith Savory and Carol Tapley.  I climbed up and levered several boulders off (while the others hid in a sand crawl). The way on was now open.


Just myself.  First Solo trip.  Slightly unnerving.  Reached previous limit then free climbed another 6m on shunt self line to boulder blockage.  Can see the way on beyond.  Adrian Hole helped in 9:2.


Solo trips to try to remove boulder.  Drill not working as bloody Blakey had given me the wrong drill!!  Keith and Adrian helped in 9:2 again.


Solo trip, this time drill bit broke!!  This is F*&I\%ng  jinxed.


Solo trip.  Success at last, drill worked and boulder removed. Light went out on return to 9:2. Adrian and Nick Gymer helped to 9:2.


Solo.  Jo waited in car.  Surveyed damage from last trip.  Spent 90mins trying to squeeze and hammer way up into alcove above.


With Nick then without Nick due to bad hangover. (Mine slightly better) went to 22 and managed to squeeze into alcove.  Part of large rift, can see 5-10 m in both directions and 10m upwards to roof that runs full length, can't see top.  3ft possible vadose passage runs along top but only 6 inches wide unfortunately.  De rigged for another date .... 24 next I suppose.

Total 10 trips.  7 Solo trips.



Although this project has not resulted in a great deal of passage being found (20-30mtrs so far) it has brought to light the following interesting facts.

1.                  The flooded passages from 9:2 to 22 do not head directly into the hill but follow the contours until 22 static pool, consequently they lie at a much shallower depth than the passages beyond 22 and more likely to have a surface connection.

2.                  The altitude of the water level in Wookey Hole Cave is approximately 60mtrs and the land overlying 22 is approximately 150mtrs.  Which means that when the aven height above water is 55mtrs there is only about 35mtrs between the aven and daylight.

3.                  On most trips I have observed a good draught at the top of the aven (cigarette smoke dissipating instantly even in the smaller passage.)  Another possible reason for a surface link.

So we conclude that there is a good reason for reactivating old digs such as Halloween Rift (which lies on the 130mtr contour in the vicinity of 22) and having a good look for other openings in the same area.  As a link here would allow easy access to 24 and the potential there via Cam Valley Crawl to 23.

So anyone fancy a dig? cheers Alex.


Minutes of the 1996 B.E.C Annual General Meeting - Saturday 5th.October.

The meeting was started almost on time at 10.35 am, by the Hon. Secretary, {Nigel Taylor} and is customary, he called for the handing in of any outstanding Ballot Forms.  The Hon. Secretary then addressed the meeting with his grave concern that he had only received fourteen returned ballot papers in total, and further that although he had prepared and handed these on for distribution some six weeks prior to the AGM, he was not happy that he could advise the club to accept these as a valid and representative expression of the clubs' members, he then suggested that although the meeting was not quorate they should commence business without further ado, and he called for nominations for a Chairman, there being one nominee, Bob Cork was duly elected.

It was agreed that Tellers were not required, and the Chairman proposed that the AGM will elect a caretaker committee, comprising all nominees" and further, "That all fourteen returned ballot papers should be placed in a sealed envelope, in the event of objections, and kept by the Secretary for three months then destroyed" This was carried nem.con. (25).

The Secretary had received apologies from: Emma Porter, Jeff Price, Andrew Newton, Estelle Sandford, and Rob & Helen Harper, whom he advised the meeting, were celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary.  Apologies received from the floor on behalf of: Nicola Slan, Graham Johnson, Tony Imalt, Steve Ostler (Later attended) Rich Blake, Adrian Hole, Jeremey Henley ,Brian Prewer, Stu McManus, Dave Irwin.

Twenty five paid-up members signed the attendance sheet, these are recorded as follows:­ Chris Smart, Nigel Taylor, Dany Bradshaw, Alex Gee, Martin Grass, Barrie Wilton, Brenda Wilton, Peter Franklyn, Joyce Franklyn, Greg Villis, Nick Mitchell, Andy Thomas, Andy Sparrow, John Buxton, Nick Gymer, Chas Wethered, Babs Williams, Hilary Wilson, Mike Wilson, Ron Wyncoll, Ivan Sandford, Rebecca Campbell, Bob Cork, Robin Grey.

Later during the course of the meeting, five more members arrived:- John Williams, Henry Bennett, Mike ODriscoll, and Steve Ostler, and after lunch some members left the meeting to be replaced with five more members: - Graham Walsh, Colin Dooley, Angie Dooley, Mike Jeanmaire, Richard Blake.  Some of these arrived towards the end of the meeting, and in effect the meeting only became quorate for one brief period of half an hour.

 [NOTE:- Our Constitution as amended at the 1986 AG.M Paragraph 4. Section d] states “That a quorum shall consist of 30 members or 25% of the membership whichever is the lesser. No business shall be transacted without a quorum" There being 109 paid-up members and 42 life/Honorary members, Thirty has to be the minimum objective, THIS YEARS AGM BUSINESS MUST NOW BE RATIFIED IN 1997, I have recorded the number of members present at anyone time in brackets after the voting figures.  Nigel Taylor, Hon. Secretary.]

Martin Grass [MG] then voiced his strong criticism that several committee members were not present at the AGM.  The Hon Secretary defended the position of the three missing members, two were due to their having to work, and the third having to repair her car for work.

Item Five, Minutes of the 1995 AGM:- That the minutes of the 1995 AGM be taken as read was proposed [p:] by Dany Bradshaw [DB] and Seconded [S:] by Andy Sparrow, carried nem.con.

Item 6.  Matters arising from the Minutes:- The Secretary pointed out that these had been printed in the BB directly after last years AGM, and there being no questions from the floor, he read a list that he had prepared, to the meeting which raised the following points:-

1]. To look at the position of club archivist and act accordingly.

2]. To carry out two rescue practices annually.

3]. Repayments of St. Cuthbert’s Loans, Stock Position, and Sales Report.

4]. Examine and act to increase telephone use.

5]. Committee to enforce rules re hut debts.

6]. Ladder for St. Cuthbert’s to be made available.

7]. C.S.C.C minutes to be included in BB if relevant.

With regard to these actions, the Secretary explained that he spoken with Alan Thomas who wished to continue as Club Archivist.  Item 2 had been effected, as had the repayments in 3 above, but he added that the Hon Treasurer would speak on this later, as well as on item 4 above. Items 5 ,6, & 7 had been dealt with appropriately.

Item 7, Hon Secretary's Report:- Nigel Taylor then read this to the meeting as he had not wanted all of its' contents published in the BB and seen subsequently by outside interests or non members.  There was much debate on Nigel’s comments re St. Cuthbert’s, with contributions from MG, DB and Rebecca Campbell [RC]  the meeting was in accord with his proposals and his report was carried nem.con. with one abstention ,(25) P: Ron Wyncol {RW}, and S:Greg Villis {GV}

Nigels' proposal "That the BEC set up a St. Cuthbert’s Fund to enable the future tenure and associated legal costs to be met," was seconded by Chis Smart and taken out of sequence as it went with his report, carried nem.con. (25).

Item 8, Bon Treasurers' Report: This was read to the meeting by Chris Smart, and one the question of telephone usage, MG suggested that the club write-off the annual loss as the club simply need a phone.  Babs Williams {BABS} suggested the committee contact Mercury for an alternative cost or a more sympathetic view of the clubs status.  Barrie Wilton {BW}asked about BMC membership, Chris explained that only two members had taken up the Committee offer on this.  NT suggested that we still continue this proposal as it was a tiny return for those climbing section members within the club, the meeting concurred.  NT then asked Treasurer if he felt cheques were being received and enchased fast enough, CS thought they were generally, Richard Stephens {RS} felt that people did not always pay up on time.  Alex GEE {AG} asked if we received sufficient interest on club accounts.  Chris replied that in today’s financial climate, it was as good as we could expect.  The report was then voted on, P:DB, S:Ivan Sandford{IS} and carried 23 For, 2 Abst'n. (25).

Item 9, Hon. Auditors Report: Barry Wilton apologised to the Club, that as he had not yet had open-access to the books, he had not been able to audit them, further that he would still do so and report to a future committee meeting.  Deferred Vote, Audit awaiting.

Item 10, Caving Secretary's Report: Kindly read to the meeting by Babs Williams, on behalf of Jeff Price in absentia.  Martin Grass spoke upon the thorny issue of ex or lapsed members masquerading as full BEC members to gain access to controlled caves.  The meeting noted his concern, and NT pointed out that Jeff had acted quickly on this and circulated "Sister/Access Controlling Clubs" with up-to-date membership lists in event to stem this abuse.

The meeting expressed it's gratitude to Babs for the delivery, P:NT, S:John Williams, {JW},and carried Nem Con. (27).

Item 11, Membership Secretary's Report: Richard Stephens {RS} spoke strongly on this subject, he expressed his intension not to mollycoddle members, they must be responsible and pay up on time.  He did not intend to chase up members, if they failed to pay, he would delete them as per the club rules.  NT interrupted and stated his view that we did not want to lose any members, he thought every and all members were important, and he asked the Membership Secretary to pursue a policy of reminding them that their subs were due. John Williams echoed NT's sentiments, and Martin Grass concurred.  Brenda Wilton raised the potential of Direct Debits and Standing orders, NT advised that he had looked into this and though any members could set-up a Standing order, Direct Debits were not economically viable.  The Membership Secretary re-stated that though members could be asked to pay, he didn't want to go chasing them.  Andy Sparrow commented that since ten years ago (sic: 1986) we had lost fifty members, and warned against complacency, most members were now over thirty years of age.  Martin Grass again echoed these sentiments, and added that we should be actively recruiting new members as they came onto the scene.  John Buxton then spoke on the general state of the Belfry whenever he visited it, saying it "Always seems a tip".  NT quickly advised the AGM of the strong line with regards to discipline being taken by the out-going {And now re-appointed) Committee. Members called for membership cards, RS stated already in hand. P:JW, S:Mike Wilson {MW}Voting: 26 For, 1 Abst'n .(27).

Item 12, Hut Wardens Report: Published in the B.B.  Andy Sparrow asked Ivan to comment on Hut usage, Ivan agreed that it was in decline, Martin Grass noted that as many members now lived locally, they were unlikely to use the Belfry overnight, however it was probably these same persons who mess it up on their post-pub visits.  He added that things might improve if members were to stay again. Robin Grey voiced his concern - which was also shared by many members ­with regard to the "Trashing reputation of the B .E. C" Most especially known in Yorkshire.  Nigel Taylor swiftly replied that "Trashing will not be tolerated under any circumstances by this Committee". Henry Bennett complained about what he saw as a regular lack of ready cleaning materials to hand at the Belfry. NT suggested that a cleaner and tidy hut could still go in hand with the hut being used for caving purposes and result in attracting back members.  Mike Wilson suggested that members should try to stay at the hut, perhaps on a rota system, this met with a mixed comment from the floor.  Andy Sparrow suggested that we advertise in "Descent". Chas Wethered thought that all members could help spread the message of a new era at the Belfry by word of mouth in order to attract back guests frightened away by the bad reputation.  After much comment in similar vein from the floor, P:MG, S:CW, Voting: 26 For. 1 Abst'n.(27).

Item 13, Hut Engineers Report.  "Published in the B.B.  The meeting felt that it was unfortunate that Estelle was not present.  Comments from the floor centred on the need for the Belfry to be habitable.  MW asked if perhaps the Hut Engineer needed an assistant.  The report was then put to the vote, P:MW, S:RC, Voting: 23 For, 4 Abst'n. (27).

Item 14, Tackle Masters Report:  Published in the B.B. Chris Smart asked about SRT Rope, Mike Wilson {Tacklemaster) advised that it was now five years old and would soon need replacing, albeit it had only limited use.  AS suggested that we needed a thorough testing regime.  MW advised that restricted tackle introduced at last years AGM has not worked, and he wondered if we should revert to our open access arrangements of former years.  This was roundly supported by NT, who spoke fervently for the right of open access to tackle by each and every member as their entitlement, although the AGM did not in turn support his views, as then voted upon, P:NT, S:MW Voting: 4 For, 18 Against and either 2 or 3 Abst'n.  Mikes report was then voted upon, P:Ron Wyncoll {RW}, S:AS, Voting: 26 For, 1 Abst'n. (27).

Item 15, B.B Editors Report:  Published in the B.B. The Chairman stressed that the late publication! non-publication of the BB and Ballot forms had caused a major problem.  RC queried that perhaps this should be the Membership Secretaries job, NT stated that it was the job of the Hon. Secretary, and reiterated that he had called for nominations on time, produced the ballot forms on time, and passed these on for distribution to the B.B team, and he accepted their explanation that it could be the Royal Mail's industrial action that was to blame. In any event, the floor concurred that this should be the Secretaries job, and MG suggested that in future perhaps the Secretary himself would post out all ballot forms directly and separately from the B.B to paid--up members John Williams made clear his interest to continue the editorship if none else was willing, but was at pains to state that his personal circumstances might be liable to change at short notice and the meeting must make its choice later with this fact in mind.  The report was then taken: P:BABS, S:NT, Voting: Nem.Con. (27).

Item 16, Librarians Report: Presented by Ivan Sandford on behalf of Adrian Hole in absentia. The Chairman reminded the meeting that despite comments in the report about changing the structure in the Library, that it was in fact now a "Memorial Library,” and this was supported by many members from the floor.  The meeting also reiterated that Guide books are NOT to be loaned out, (Sic - Members are expected to provide their own for field use.)  The report was then put to the vote, P:Robin Grey {RG}, S: AG, Voting: Nem.Con. (27).

Item 17, Ian Deer Memorial Fund:  Already presented to the Meeting with Caving Secretary's report.  The Treasurer suggested no transfer of funds into the Fund this year to top up.  This proposal was voted on: P:CS, S:JW, Voting: Nem.Con. (28). Peter Franklyn was asked by NT to inform the meeting on some history regarding Ian Deer, and Peter kindly gave a humorous and well informed account of his personal knowledge relating to Ian prior to his untimely death.  Ron Wyncoll also added to this from his experiences.  The Report was then taken, P:Peter Franklyn {PF}, S:RW, For 27, 1 Abst'n. (28)

Item 18, Result of Ballot: (Ballot decreed by meeting as invalid.  No further discussion).

Item 19, Election of the 1996/7 Committee:  As is customary, this was done from the floor of the meeting, and was as follows:-

Hon. Secretary: Nigel Taylor. Hon. Treasurer: Chris Smart. Tacklemaster: Mike Wilson.  Hut Warden: Rebecca Campbell.  Hut Engineer: Ivan Sandford.  Membership Secretary: Richard Stephens.  Caving Secretary: Jeff Price.   B.B Editor: John Williams.  Librarian (Purists will comment not normally a Committee Post, but filled by one of the new 11 strong committee) Alex Gee. Hon. Auditor: Barrie Wilton.  Non-Post Holden: Hilary Wilson, Estelle Sandford. The position of the post of Club Archivist was then raised, and a vote between Alan Thomas and Peter Franklyn was made, Peter being appointed.  Nigel Taylor then proposed that the club gave Alan a sincere vote of thanks for his past work, this was seconded by the whole meeting, and obviously carried nem.con. (28).

Item 20, Destruction of Ballot Forms: (Those returned forms to be held by Hon. Secretary in case of any appeal. No further discussion.).

Item 21, Members Resolutions:

The earlier proposal re St. Cuthbert’s had been dealt with prior to this time, during the Hon. Secretary's report discussion.

A further proposal by NT and seconded by CS as follows:

"That prospective members joining at any time in the year, pay on a quarter basis of the full subscription, and not as present on the monthly basis".

Nigel explained the need for his proposal as the problem currently that we have had some new members join in the last month or so of the club year, these persons have paid approximately only £2 or so, paid for a key, and then had full and uncontrolled possible access to the Hut, and never continued to remain members in the following year.  He was worried about this, also that a quarter rate proposal was a probably a constitutional change, but was none the less an important point needing airing. The Treasurer fully supported the need for this proposal.  The Chairman ruled that it was in fact a Constitutional change, and therefore could not be enacted this year if the meeting approved the proposal.  Dany Bradshaw, Steve Ostler, Ron Wyncoll amongst others contributed to much discussion upon this, but the Chairman correctly halted further discussion upon it, however the prevailing guidance from the floor was that the Committee had the discretion to charge a "Joining Fee" if necessary.

The AGM was asked by NT to give him an indication of its view on the proposal purely for guidance, which is not binding, but was as follows: 21 For, 2 Against 3, Abst'n. (26).

Nigel then stated that he was formally submitting it for airing at the 1997 AGM as a Constitutional Change, at this time.

Andy Sparrow then made the following proposals from the floor:

I].The Club publishes a Mendip Meets List. (p:AS,S:RG, 30 For, 3 Abst'n [33?]).

2]. The Club address a policy to encourage new members.

3].The Club appoints a Training Officer.

Andy spoke eloquently on these three proposals, and much discussion was then entered into.  DB spoke strongly against having a "Training Officer", he felt that" we should keep the Club as it is. The BEC has a lot to offer through its' individual members.  BABS questioned the need to formalise such a role, suggesting that such formalisation was alien to the club.  This met with much support from the floor.  AG stated that he was "Very against this, idea stinks!  Current system works".  Colin Dooley spoke firmly upon the subject and the need to be progressive, and cautioned the club against not moving with the times and harbouring too blinkered a viewpoint,  Andy interjected his agreement in this.  Colin then spoke passionately on the need to go out and find new members.  Colin proposed the amendment that the title "Training Officer" be dropped from Andy's proposal, seconded by unknown, voting: 22 For, 5 Against. 1 Abst'n. (28)  A further comment by NT was then changed into an amendment that "The Committee nominate a novice contact officer" This was seconded by Richard Blake, and put to the Vote 22 For, 5 Against (27)

Andy Sparrow then proposed" The BEC advertise itself for prospective members in Descent, etc"

No seconder recorded, however voting: 14 For, 11 Against (25)

Peter Franklyn commented that if the club's reputation is bad, we will not get new members, Colin Dooley, Alex Gee, Dany Bradshaw, and NT all expressed their views on this subject, Richard Blake commented that he had been chosen to join the BEC as a mark of his esteem and caving prowess, this caused some confusion amongst certain members and the Chairman had to restore order.  John Williams put forward the amendment that the "BEC advertise its' accommodation only" This was seconded by The Treasurer (CS) 18 For, 4 Against. (22).

Item 23, Any Other Business: Chris Smart as Treasurer, formally proposed "No change in current subscriptions."  This was heartily seconded by the Meeting and carried without objection.  Nigel Taylor as Hon. Secretary, announced the details and date of the 1997 AGM, as 10.30 am, Saturday 3rd.October 1997 at the Belfry.  Bob Cork as Chairman then declared the AGM closed at 4.13 pm. (Less than 17 members left in room).

Minutes recorded by, and later typed: Nigel Taylor Hon. Secretary, Saturday 6th. October 1996.



With regard to articles for this ‘ere rag… quite apart from the fact that they are always needed not to mention welcomed .... some of you seem in doubt as to how to present them. I don't mind at all and am happy to accept anything in any form.  For the record the easiest from my point of view is to receive them on 3.5 inch floppy discs in either Word/WordPerfect or ASCII text formats, although. it is always wise to provide a hard copy along with this.  “Camera Ready” i.e. pre printed sheets are next best as this obviously saves me time.  However those without the necessary technology but blessed with the ability to write are welcome to simply scribble on a bit of toilet paper (or copies of the Sun ...same thing really) and forward them to me and I will retype them, or in some cases translate them back into English.  So there you have it.  Knowing the BEC, not the blindest bit of attention will be paid to this ... but never mind.  Articles for the next ish would be much appreciated cos a cover and a contents page maketh not the Xmas BB.

Hut Renovations.

Becca Campbell informs me that in the New Year plans are afoot to re-floor the Belfry completely. This will involve the temporary closure of said premises for approximately one week.  If anyone has any particularly strong feelings about this Perhaps you would inform the committee of it.  The idea is to use some sort of hard wearing epoxy resin, as purchased from pig farm suppliers .... Highly appropriate some would say .... hopefully this would last a not inconsiderable length of time. Personally I think this is a good idea and long overdue .... any thoughts???

Saturday 23.11.96 saw a day of activity at Priddy Village Hall organised by the MRO.  This consisted of demonstrations and instruction in the use of various equipment items, including the new 'Little Dragon' hot air machine.  Some 30 people attended, a reasonable turnout and considerably better than the previous event.  It is suggested that newer members or others not having attended MRO lectures before may like to do so in the future as there is no substitute for practical demonstration of rescue equipment and in the long run is in every caver's interest.

The evening saw 'The Stomp' which started in a restrained manner and as usual livened up considerably after the 'Broomstick Game' accompanied by skiing practice and flying beer!!  Just for a change it ended in mayhem as opposed to tears.

If any of you are planning on heading North in the near future and need accommodation at reasonable rates .... give me a ring as I have made various contacts and can arrange fairly good deals.  Also anyone at a loose end at New Year might like to come up to the Hill Inn Bash which I am helping to organise.  A liking for loud rock music is a definite advantage in this case .... Jed Thomas Band plus Surprised Guests will be performing and a great night is guaranteed.

Guess that's all for now ... see you all soon.



Bristol Exploration Club

Annual Subscriptions are now due for the year 1996/97 .......

The current subscription rates set at the 1996 Annual General Meeting are .....

£24 for Single Membership

£36 for Joint Membership

A discount of £4 for Single Membership and £6 for Joint Membership is available for those memberships if renewed BEFORE December 31st 1996.

If you have not already been given an envelope to return your subs in or you are a Life Member, there should be one included with this copy of the Belfry Bulletin.

Please put your cheque, made payable to the Bristol Exploration Club, inside, put a stamp on it and send it back to me. I will not accept envelopes that have no stamp on the outside as it costs 40p to get them from the Post Office, and I'm not a millionaire.  Please do not give your cheques/cash to other Committee Members, leave them at the Hunters Lodge or Bat Products.

A receipt will then be sent out with your next copy of the Belfry Bulletin.