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Minutes of the 2005 Bristol Exploration Club Annual General Meeting

Annual General Meeting, held on Saturday 1st October at The Belfry, Priddy.

The meeting was opened at 10:35 am.

Item 1: Vince Simmonds (VS) as Hon. Secretary addressed the meeting. Nominations for election to the committee for the club year 2005 – 2006 had been posted earlier in the year and no nominations in the prescribed manner had been received.  There was then handed to the Secretary a nomination from the floor for Nigel Taylor (NT) proposed by Mike Wilson (MW) and seconded Dave Irwin (DI). From the 2004 - 2005 committee – Mike Wilson, Fiona Sandford (FS), Tyrone Bevan (TB), Roger Haskett (RH) and Rob Lavington (RL) – were willing to stand again.

Item 2: Nominations for Chairman were asked for and Trevor Hughes was proposed but refused to stand.  A second proposal by Barrie Wilton (BW) for Bob Cork (BC) and seconded byTB was accepted by BC, the vote was carried unanimously.

The AGM at this time was not quorate and a vote was made to carry on with the meeting.

Item 3: Apologies for absence: Emma Porter, Fiona Sandford, Rob Harper, Tony Jarratt, Mike Baker, Dave Irwin, Ruth Baxter and Tony Audsley.

The following members signed the BEC AGM attendance sheet: Vince Simmonds (VS), Sean Howe (SH), Mike Wilson, Tyrone Bevan, Greg Brock (GB), Crispin Lloyd (CL), Nick Gymer (NG), Nigel Taylor, Dave Glover (DG), Dave Ball (DB), Bob Cork (BC), Vern Freeman (VF), Rich Long (RL), Graham Johnson (GJ), Pete Hellier (PH), Trevor Hughes (TH), Ron Wyncoll (RW), Kevin Gurner (KG), Martin Grass (MG), Rob Lavington, Ian Gregory (IG), Dany Bradshaw (DBr), Roger Haskett (RH), Carole White (CW), Bill Cooper (BCo), Gwillym Evans (GE), Stuart Sale (SS), Helen Scarratt (HS), Chris Smart (CS), Helen Slatter (HSr), Roz Bateman (RB), Barrie Wilton, Colin Dooley (CD) and one illegible signature.

Item 4: Minutes of the 2004 AGM: These had been posted to all paid-up members of the BEC and taken as read.

Acceptance of the minutes was proposed by NT and seconded GJ and carried unam.

Item 5: Matters arising from the 2004 minutes: No matters arising.

Item 6: The Hon. Secretary’s report had been posted with the minutes prior to the AGM.

The report was taken as read and acceptance was proposed by GJ and seconded by TH and carried unam.

Item 7: The Hon. Treasurer’s report was read from the floor and account sheets were circulated at the meeting.  RW asked a question about interest on the Ian Dear Fund and MW replied that he had been unable to follow this up yet but the issue was in hand.  TH asked about sales, MW replied that TB had a separate record for sales.  A remark was made by the Chairman regarding the club assets being unreported to AGM; this should be addressed by the trustee’s.  Expenditure on the BB was questioned by CS i.e. they were high but there had been a lack of bulletins.  This was being dealt with in a separate report by DI/MW.

(The Treasurer’s report was not made available for these records and will need to be published separately)

Acceptance of the report was proposed by RW and seconded by DBr. 

2 abstentions – carried.

Note: Late arrivals made the meeting quorate.

Some discussion followed regarding new KAST proposal (Sports Council initiative?) – to volunteer to council for reduced rates but this may allow other groups open access to the Belfry facilities – which, in turn would mean conforming to certain rules concerning for instance, disabled access.

Proposal: (DBr) directing the new committee to look into this issue and report their findings to the 2006 AGM, this was seconded NT and carried unam.

Item 8: Hon. Auditors Report: The accounts for 2003 – 2004 are fine and have been professionally audited. 

Acceptance of report proposed by GJ seconded by GE.  2 abstentions – carried.

Item 9: The Caving Secretary read his report from the floor.  Some discussion followed regarding the change of title from St. Cuthbert’s ‘leader’ to ‘conservation warden’ and it was suggested it is time for a meeting for those with an interest in St. Cuthbert’s.  TH remarked on the condition of the leat and that some work may be required.  MG stated that the OFD Top permits need to be renewed.

Acceptance of the report was proposed by Sean Howe (SH) and seconded by MW. 

1 abstention - carried.

Item 10: The Membership Secretary’s report and Hut Bookings report were read from the floor by the Secretary.

“It has been a very quiet year with regard to bookings which have come through The Hut Booking System.  The vast majority of people staying at The Belfry are either university clubs of which a good number are also already club members or are groups which just turn up on spec. I did receive one complaint from a group who said that we were difficult to get hold of, this seems a little far fetched when we are accessible by phone, with an answer machine if we are unavailable, fax, email and there is also ‘snail mail’.  We do get back to people as soon as we receive a booking request. We do seem to have a growing trend by “some” university groups in particular of sending emails to a selection of clubs in the area requesting a booking in case they cannot get their booking of choice!  On the whole though, as Roger Haskett will no doubt agree in his “Hut Wardens Report”, The Belfry continues to be relatively well used by a regular group of members and guest clubs.

For the statistically minded amongst you who are fascinated by charts and graphs sadly you are to be disappointed this year – I don’t do them! This being our 70th year has seen a number of old but very familiar faces rejoining the club.  We have also had the passing of Sybil Bowden-Lyle a Life Member for many years who in her younger days was well known for her motorbike antics as well as her caving exploits. Most recently we have lost Joan Bennett a Life Member and former Trustee who was known and admired by many of us as well as being a regular at club social events and also Steve Tuck. Mendip has also been “rocked” by the sudden deaths of Martin Bishop and Mike “Quackers” Duck, both former BEC members. 

The Club Membership as of 1st July 2005 stands at 150 of which we have 24 Life Members (4 Honorary) and 20 joint members (10 couples).  Of the remaining 106, we have 9 who are former members rejoined along with 4 probationary members. 

Overall this has been a quiet year for new members with no previous connections to the club. The membership base of the club remains strong and we have a very active nucleus of members both old and young who either stay at The Belfry and/or are actively caving or digging. 

Should the Club Membership desire then I am prepared to carry on as Membership Secretary for the next club year.  Unfortunately I/We will not be at the AGM normally this is due to work commitments, but this year we have to attend a wedding”

Some discussion followed concerning the term ‘non–caving’ member issued on insurance cards.  A suggestion came forward that a better term may be ‘club member’.

Proposal: (RB) that the committee ask Nick Williams whether the term ‘club member’ could be adopted, seconded by CW and carried unam.

Acceptance of the report was proposed by NT and seconded by TB and carried unam.

Item 11: The Hut Warden’s report was read from the floor.

“Takings are slightly up this year by some £400.  Visitor bed-nights are well up by 112 although member bed-nights are down somewhat by 56.

The main expense was gas at £45.  Some beer came and went as at the 70th BBQ and at last years AGM.  But in general the Belfry covered its expenses.

Thanks due to lots of people for doing work around especially Paul Brock, ‘Bobble’ Mad Phil, Bob Smith and Hannah.  A special thanks to Tyrone and his friend Mick, who have kick started the building of the extension again.”

Acceptance of the report was proposed by TB and seconded by CL. Voting was 28 for and 2 abstentions - carried.

Item 12: The Hut Engineer’s report was read from the floor by Tyrone Bevan.

“The year started by replacing the old water heater in the kitchen with a second hand heater supplied and fitted by Gwilym Evans.  Then due to numerous problems and failures of the main boiler the committee decided time for a new one.  Again Gwilym came to the rescue getting a new Combi Boiler at a good discount.

So with the boiler decided a number of members spent the weekend removing the old system and fitting the new combi system.  Ivan took this opportunity to inspect the wiring in the loft space and duly started cutting and removing old cables and rewiring.  This is the start of an ongoing programme with Ivan planning on inspecting and updating the electrics at the Belfry.  The new heating system has received a good response from members with positive feedback.  The intention is to convert the showers to instant hot water and reintroduce the old stand, alone shower back.

We have also succeeded in getting the footings laid and the slab down special thanks to Dany Bradshaw for time spent laying bricks and all the other members who gave up their time to shovel mud, mix cement and generally move blocks and bricks. In September we have proceeded with the building getting the inner and outer walls up to roof level. The next stage is to put the roof trusses in place so we can build on. I am endeavouring to have the roof on before the bad weather sets in. So we are looking for any members with timber and carpenter experience however small who can volunteer their time to assist in this. An experienced carpenter/ roofer willing to act as foreman and take control of this would also be helpful. We have a replacement door also to fit. We have met our planning regulations but the committee is keen not to loose the momentum.

Although a large amount of materials have been supplied by Trevor Hughes and other members, we still had to authorise the purchase of materials. With cost in mind any donations of timber for the roof or plasterboard would also be gratefully received.

The porch was repaired during the September working weekend this was a joint operation with Vince undertaking to replace the underside and Mike the top felt with Mrs. H on the paint roller. Nigel Taylor brought up his scaffold and with the assistance of Bob Smith and Mr. Haskett (without to much complaining will supply lads with ear protectors next time,” sorry Roger”) erected Scaffold around extension so the builder could carry on to roof level.

The committee also authorised the purchase of three new mattresses this year under the ongoing mattress replacement started two years ago. We have also been kindly donated thirty new mattresses so all the old bedding in the bunkroom has been replaced.

Although I only took on the role as a temporary measure after Paul had to drop out of the position hopefully the Belfry is in good order for the AGM, and end this report on a hopeful note.  I would like to say that with work and busy lives it is not always possible to offer help and assistance with repairs and upkeep of the Belfry but it would be nice to see a new face now and again.”

There was some discussion about the type of roof for the extension – ‘trusses’ or ‘cut’ DBr offered his experience and advice for free when the time comes.  TB will order a skip for a clear up of the Belfry grounds during October.  Regarding the new fire regulations RW seems to think that the club is probably ok.

Proposal: (RW) that the committee look into building a document/file on all aspects of hut safety administration, seconded by TH and carried unam. 

Acceptance of the report was proposed by TH and seconded by DBr. Voting was 28 for – carried.

Acceptance of the Hut Engineer’s report was proposed by GJ and seconded by NT.   

1 abstention – carried.

Item 13: The Tacklemasters report was also read from the floor by TB.

“This year in line with directions from the floor at the last AGM we have purchased two commercial ladders.  Both ladders had new spreaders and karabiners attached to them

The club has condemned a number of old ladders and they have currently been destroyed. The plan is to replace all the ladders removed from service with self made ladders when the extension is finished.  During the last two years we have replaced three ladders and three, life line ropes and the committee has had lengthy discussions in how we can make the equipment more assessable to members. The main consensus is that the equipment should be made easily available, but a need for control (one of the new krabs for the ladders has gone missing already). Any ideas would be appreciated.  With regard to equipment the two club survey kits are pass their sell by date. The club is known for exploration and survey work and this kit is well used both home and abroad. The approximate cost of replacement is £250 per kit and I ask for a proposal from the floor to replace both kits in this coming year.

With this year being the 70th anniversary of the club T shirts have been purchased and anybody still not purchased one I have a number left they can see me after the AGM cost a mere £8.

With regards to the equipment remember the kit is for to use of members and if they require the kit or think of any new kit we need just contact myself or any other committee member.”

Proposal: (TB) to purchase 2 new survey kits up to a cost of £500, seconded by CS and carried unam.

Acceptance of the Tacklemasters report was proposed by GJ and seconded by VF.

1 abstention – carried.

Item14: The Editors report was read from the floor.

“I’m very grateful to everyone who has sent me articles/photos for inclusion within the past BB’s.  Please remember it is a club journal and we need everyone’s input to give a wide range of views and opinions of the BEC.

Due to other commitments and especially my part-time degree course I am very grateful to Dave Irwin who published the last BB.  Due to these commitments I will be unable to stand for BB editor next year.  Although I would still like to encourage everyone to send your articles to the forthcoming BB editor”

A report by DI showed that printing costs were high at Expedite circa £520 while 220 copies printed at St. Andrews Press would cost £180 an annual saving of £1500.

Slug asked the question whether selling advertising space had been considered. The meeting felt that the income raised might be limited.

Acceptance of the Editors report was proposed by GJ and seconded by TB and carried unam.

Item 15: The Librarians report was read from the floor by GJ.

“Not a lot to report, purchased a couple of books.  Received donations from members past and present (see the list circulating) nothing missing/lost this year.  Grande Travesias the Spanish guide book thought to be lost was found by R. Dors on the top shelf in the bar.  Thanks to Dave Irwin for his help throughout the year.  If no one else wants the job I don’t mind doing it for another year”

Acceptance of the Librarians report was proposed by PH and seconded by SH and carried unam.

Item 16: Ian Dear Memorial Fund Report: There was no report and no applications for funding.

Proposal: (CS) that no money be put into the fund, seconded by MW and carried unam.

Acceptance of the report was proposed by NT and seconded by RW and carried unam.

Item 17: Election of Officers for the 2005 – 2006 Committee:

Nominees: Nigel Taylor (proposed MW, seconded DI – 3 abstentions; carried), Mike Wilson, Roger Haskett, Fiona Sandford,Tyrone Bevan, Rob Lavington.

This fell short of the minimum requirement of eight officers.

Voting for committee posts then followed:

Hon. Sec: Nigel Taylor; proposed CS, seconded MG – 2 abstentions; carried.

Treasurer: Mike Wilson.

Caving Sec: Rob Lavington.

Tacklemaster: Unfilled.

Hut Warden: Roger Haskett.

Hut Engineer: Tyrone Bevan; proposed RH, seconded GE – 1 abstention; carried.

Editor: Unfilled.

Membership Secretary: Fiona Sandford

Two posts are unfilled and the remaining committee were elected en bloc proposed DB, seconded DBr and carried unam.

The 2005 – 2006 Committee is as follows:

Hon Secretary………….. Nigel Taylor

Treasurer…………………Mike Wilson

Caving Secretary………. Rob Lavington

Tacklemaster…………… None

Hut Warden………………Roger Haskett

Hut Engineer…………….Tyrone Bevan

Editor…………………….. None

Membership Secretary…Fiona Sandford

If possible the new committee will co-opt members to fill empty posts.

Item 18: There were no Members Resolutions.

Item 19: Nigel Taylor gave details of the Dinner and transport to and from the venue.

Item 20: There was no ballot so no destruction of papers was necessary.

Item 21: Any other business:

Proposal: (DI) that Bobby Bagshaw be made Honorary Life Member for his years of service to the Club, seconded by the 2004 - 2005 committee and carried unam.

NT proposed a vote of thanks for the outgoing secretary seconded by MG and carried unam.

MW announced there was no need to raise subscriptions for the coming year.

CS commented on a lack of communication; it was suggested that he try looking at the web site.

GJ pointed out that we had overlooked voting in the non-committee posts.  A vote then took place.

Non-committee posts:

Librarian: Graham Johnson; proposed GJ, seconded MG – unam.

Hon. Auditor: Chris Smart; proposed MG, seconded DBr – 2 abstentions.

Item 22: The date of the 2006 AGM will be Saturday 7th, 10:30 at the Belfry.

The meeting was then closed at 12:49.

The minutes were recorded and later typed by V J Simmonds

Outgoing Hon. Secretary 2004 – 2005.

(Reports have seen formatted and a spellchecker used consequently they may differ slightly from those presented to the AGM)