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AGM – Officers Reports

As the A.G.M. draws near, the Club Officers are in the throws of preparing reports for the meeting. It occurred to your Editor that it would be a good idea if these reports were published in the B.B. and hope that members attending the A.G.M. would accept them as being read.  It’s well known that none of our Officers have ‘musical’ voices, most tend to drive one to sleep, and in an effort to shorten the meeting just a little the Officers were asked to submit their reports to the B.B. Editor for publication beforehand.  All Officers were asked, but unfortunately not all have been received – food for thought?


The club’s correspondence has shown no sign of diminishing.  Enquiries from prospective members and from members living away from the Mendip area, requests for ‘this and that’ to be passed on to other people and, of course, our dealings with other organisations, have kept me busy.

The purchase of the old barn has been completed and so has the lease of the additional land from the paper mill at Wookey.  The agreement with Mr Foxwell over the track has now been completed and it is hoped that he will be making use of it any day now.

If I itemise a few aspects of the work I would mention the C.R.G. Southern Meeting to which we acted as host.  The arrangements for the meeting, tea and dinner and the Exhibition in Wells Museum which we put on in that connection were considerable; but the whole effort was thoroughly worthwhile and did much to enhance our reputation both locally and nationally.  The C.R.G. were pleased with the meeting and the Museum with our exhibit.

The new Constitution has been discussed by the Committee, advice sought from ‘Digger’ Harris and a new draught prepared.

At the request of the Village Hall Committee, a slide show was given a Priddy Village Hall which was well attended and appreciated.

The not inconsiderable work in connection with the Ahnenschacht Expedition also involves me.

Finally, the secretarial work in connection with the Election of the 1969-70 Committee was very welcome as the large number of candidates indicates that perhaps, after all, there is some interest in the poor old B.E.C.

Alan Thomas


Starting with the home field, the St. Cuthbert’s Dining Room Dig is still progressing steadily with tons of gravel and sand being removed.  The total length is now about 150ft.  The dams for the sump assault are being built by a dedicated few.  It was hoped that they would be finished by the summer 1969 but it appears that they will not be completed before next year.

The St. Cuthbert’s Leaders, at their Annual Meeting last November, agreed that the leader system ought to be opened to members of other clubs throughout the country provided that they had adequate insurance cover.  It was agreed not to ask around but to let it be known by means if the B.B. and other publications.  If any caver was really interested they would contact the B.E.C.  This proposal was agreed by the Committee and it now has to be presented as a Committee proposal at this meeting.

There has been quite a number of trips to Yorkshire and South Wales this year and members are going further a field more frequently; Sutherland and Austria being the other major points of interest.

The Ian Dear memorial fund was used for the first time this year by one of our younger members.  Dave Yeandle received the grant and went with Alan Thomas to the Ahnenschacht.

On the whole it has been a quiet year in the caving activities except perhaps for the regular Tuesday and Wednesday digging evenings when the dining Room Dig and the Chepstow digs were worked.

I would like to offer my best wishes to the next Caving secretary.

Andy MacGregor


It has been assumed for some time that the new ‘Belfry’ will be quite some time before it materialises and we must therefore continue to maintain the present hut in a habitable and serviceable condition, and in fact to carry out any improvements worthwhile.

Progress towards opening up the new track has been slow.  Although the fencing off of the track on the Belfry site has been completed, we are still awaiting Walt Foxwell finishing concreting at his side of the wall before the wall can be breached.   Once the wall has been breached the cattle grid, which is complete, can be fixed.  More hard core was put down on the old track – thanks to Henry Oakley and ‘Jok’ Orr for this gift.

During the early part of the year much tidying up was carried out around the Belfry site and a considerable amount of scrap and rubbish dumped.  Scrap aluminium from the caravan was salvaged for possible use as working tops in the new Belfry.

Rotten timbers around the window frames in the hut have been cut out and replaced.  Also new wall panels have been fitted in the men’s room where necessary.  Both the living and men’s room were redecorated with emulsion and gloss paints.

A new stove was fitted, although generates less heat than the old one, is quite adequate and far more economic to run.

The external timbers of the hut were treated with creosote and the roof with tar and sand.

The response to the recent working weekend (Sept 6/7 1969) was quite promising although there was a conspicuous absence of Belfry regulars!  A new window was fitted by the sink (both sinks have now been fitted with U traps) and much of the rotten timber work in the area removed, this included the adjacent lockers and draining boards.  At the time of writing the lockers have not yet been replaced but it intended that they should be constructed as a separate unit so that they may be moved into the new Belfry.  Modifications were made to the tackle store to prevent theft of tackle, the exterior of the Belfry was creosoted again and part the ceiling replaced.  This just shows what can be done when a few lend a hand.

Much more work needs to be put in to maintain the hut in good condition and members are asked to spare as much time as possible to help in repairs and improvements.

J.G. Riley
19 – 9 - 69


The Clubs Tackle is as follows:

18 standard 20’ ladders.
2 standard 10’ ladders.
4 light weight 50’ ladders.
6 light weight 20’ ladders.
12 ultra light weight 20’ ladders.

A total of 940’ ladder.

The lifelines total approx. 1,400ft. including 350ft. of new nylon purchased to replace old and lost rope.

We have 20 tethers, mostly in 5’, 10’ and 20’ lengths and a dwindling number of karabiners.

N.J. Petty
9 – 9 – 69


Two other reports were due to be published but at the time of printing had not been received.  Bob Bagshaw sends his apologies for not having his accounts completed.  Apparently he’s in the middle of chasing some mistakes in the final draft.


LONGWOOD/AUGUST SYSTEM KEY – obtainable from Dave Irwin, 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.


Here is a complete list of candidates for the 1969-1970 Committee

‘Fred’ Atwell

Joined club a couple of years ago; recently active climber: NEW CANDIDATE.  When actively caving found a new extension to Sidcot Swallet.

‘Alfie’ Collins

Needs little introduction to members.  Past long standing Committee member and editor of the B.B.  Currently following through the Long Term Planning Committee recommendations.  Although not actively caving is interested in various aspects of Cave Surveying.  Member of M.S.C. and is ‘inventor’ of Route Severity Diagram.

D. ‘Wig’ Irwin

1969 Committee Chairman; Editor B.B. & Caving Reports; currently surveying Cuthbert’s; resigning from post of Editor at end of year; writing his own potted notes ends here!  M.R.O. Warden; member M.S.C.

Mike Luckwill

Well known to older members; member of Ian Dear Memorial Committee; member of Ahnenschacht team 1967-69; particularly interested in geomorphology and cave surveying.  NEW CANDIDATE.

R. ‘Jok’ Orr

NEW CANDIDATE; Belfry regular; has devoted many hours to upkeep of the hut.  Interested in cave photography and development of the Belfry site.

Norman Petty

Needs no introduction.  Long standing member of B.E.C. Committee as Tacklemaster

John Riley

Joined B.E.C. two years ago; climber but now active caver; 1968-69 Hut Engineer when spent many hours keeping Belfry in good repair.  Active digger in Cuthbert’s.

Pete Franklin

Cuthbert’s leader; NEW CANDIDATE; interested in cave rescue methods has several times been ‘victim’.

Bob Bagshaw

Needs no introduction to members; long standing Club Hon. Treasurer since 1951(?); still interested in caving when family commitments allow.

Gordon Tilly

Needs no introduction; past Hut Warden; Minutes Sec. 1968-69.  Currently active engaged in preparation of plates and printing Caving reports.

Mike Palmer

NEW CANDIDATE; past Committee member; interested in various aspects of the Club.  St. Cuthbert’s leader.

Phil Townsend

Well known member of B.E.C.; Hut Warden 1968-69.  Interested in many aspects of the B.E.C.

Alan Thomas

Hon. Sec. 1968-69; leader of the Ahnenschacht expedition; past Hut Engineer; particularly interested in stimulating the image of the B.E.C. by organising exhibitions and giving lectures.  Last but not least!


Space Blankets

Some time ago I received a letter from Geoff Bull which I am sure will be of interest to members:

 “I think you will have come across the American ‘Space Blanket’, aluminium on polythene sheets now being imported into this country.  We (W.S.G.-Ed.) used one most successfully on our last practice rescue in Longwood and found it better than a ‘goon suit’. I have managed to get the offer of a discount for bulk purchase from the importers.  If you, or anyone else in Bristol is interested I can offer.

a)                  The ‘Rescue Blanket’ for 15/- (usual price £1).  This is the lightweight once-only version, fold to pocket handkerchief size. P&P 6d.

b)                  The ‘Sportsman Blanket’ for 55/- each + 9d P&P.  Orders for 6 or more 50/- each.

Yours sincerely, Geoff Bull.