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Half a Minute

A brief account of the main features of the Annual General Meeting.

Opening bang on time with no question as to whether a quorum was present or not, the meeting got off to a good start.  "Sett" was elected chairman.

After a query on the validity of the ballot papers, the preliminaries were soon over, with tellers duly appointed; member’s resolutions collected, and last year's minutes taken as read.  After a short discussion, the meeting went on to the Hon. Sec’s report, and his verbal additions to the published text.  These, in fact, caused no comment and the meeting went on to discuss our boundary problems, which it finally referred to the new committee.

The Hon. Treasurer's report, together with the Hon. Auditor’s report followed.  This latter is to be part of the official agenda in future. It was agreed that the new committee look into club finances in detail and might have to put the sub. up if it cannot be kept at its present level by suitable economies.

The Caving Sec.'s report produced no comment, except for the public declaration by the Caving Sec. (when asked by, the Hon. Sec.) that he agreed that the B.E.C. was the best club on Mendip.  Is this the start of a series of oaths of loyalty which club officials will be required to swear?

The Climbing Sec's report went through even faster, with no comment at all by the meeting and even that guaranteed discussion raiser - the Tacklemaster's Report - produced little in the way of discussion.  A vote of thanks to Dave Turner was recorded for stepping into the breach at such short notice.

The Hut Warden's report produced a little discussion centred mainly around costs which, it was finally pointed out, were already subject to the findings of the new committee.  The Hon. Librarian's Report; Caving Publications Report; B.B. Editor's report and Hut Engineer's Report were all dealt with in what must surely be record tine.

With the main business safely over, the meeting went to the first of the resolutions - that by the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee to change its rules.  It was at this stage that the A.G.M. broke completely with tradition when Mike Palmer suggested an adjournment until the next day, owing to the very large amount of business still to be dealt with.  Encouraged by George Honey, the Chairman read out all the further business, which made the meeting realise that Mike P. certainly had a point.  In accordance with the general feeling, the Chairman adjourned the meeting.

At 2 pm. on the Sunday, the A.G.M. continued with a good starter.  A resolution to drop the word 'junior' from our description of younger members.  This was defeated, and the meeting went on to the I.D.M.F. rules.

A blow-by-blow account of the next two hours (all in rhyme!) will be found on the Belfry notice board. It is sufficient to say here that the meeting - with the best of intentions - found itself neatly trapped in a procedural difficulty of its own making.  The finally amended rules were eventually passed with three against.

A resolution that 'No provisional member shall be able to propose or second membership applications' was ruled by the chairman to be a constitutional change but that its acceptance by this A.G.M. should enable it to be put to next year's A.G.M. without any further discussion.

Various proposals affecting the voting methods were taken en bloc by the Chairman and eventually referred to the new committee.  The advice of the A.G.M. to this committee being that the ballot should be secret.

Another batch of resolutions affected the dates of the A.G.M. and dinner.  A discussion resulted in a proposal to hold the A.G.M. at 10.30 am at the Belfry to be followed by the Annual Dinner that evening.

A number of further resolutions followed.  It was agreed that, wherever possible, the committee should advertise any proposed co-opted positions.  The automatic retirement of all committee members after three years was defeated by a single vote.  A resolution tightening up the entrance qualifications was finally defeated after a discussion on the merits of the provisional scheme.  It was decided, by another resolution, to investigate forming a sub-aqua section.  The publication of Club Officer’s reports in the B.B. was referred to the committee and, finally, a proposal to phase out life memberships, was defeated with the proviso that if they do not keep in touch, they will be conveniently forgotten.

The dinner which followed was, although not the best by a long chalk, reasonably within the B.E.C. tradition. The actual meal was reasonable - and at least hot.  The later entertainment consisted of a punch and Judy show produced and directed by Oliver Lloyd, which was very well received followed later still by a typical piece of B.E.C. organisation - a film with a difference.  With the usual low cunning of the B.E.C., opportunity was taken to get the effect of two films from one.  On the first occasion, some new caving techniques were demonstrated in which cavers caved backwards while talking what appeared to be some central European dialect while all the time, a small group round the projector worked like beavers on their next project.  Eventually, by courtesy of people like 20th Century Palmer, Metro-Goldwyn, Prewer etc., we were able to see the same cavers moving forwards and speaking English - punctuated only by occasional growls, which seemed to occur when they found a prehistoric bone or two.

More seriously, our thanks, as usual to the organisers.  The B.E.C. dinner, after the debacle of 1971, seems to be getting back to form.  Let us hope that people will come forward in plenty of time who will be prepared to make next years dinner one of the really great club dinners.

Alfie.