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Club Officer’s Reports 1974 - Hon. Secretary's Report

The past year has been a turbulent one in the B.E.C. not, unfortunately, characterised by the amount of caving that has been done or successful action on the part of the committee.  The doubling of the membership subscription to £2.50 resulted in a net fall in membership. A further year’s inflation indicates that £2.50 is very cheap for B.E.C. membership now, and perhaps some of the people who have let their membership lapse, may renew it at the time of the dinner.

Early in the year, I attended the Grampian Dinner held in the Blue School at Wells.  The catering was so excellent that we immediately negotiated with the caterer (Pat Palmer's brother) to do the B.E.C. dinner.  The Hunters agreed to do the bar and wine service.  I am sure that you will find the arrangements more than satisfactory this year.  The price of £2 is chicken feed nowadays.

The committee has had no difficulty in maintaining a quorum.  N. Jago and D. Stuckey resigned and were replaced by G. Oaten and A. Nichols respectively.

Early in its term of office, the committee had several difficult problems to deal with. Their task was not made easier by the stubborn refusal on the part of some members to answer letters. Disloyalty to the democratically elected committee by certain members who were not prepared to do the job themselves has unfortunately also occurred.  Essential business with Mr. Foxwell has not been aided by individual members carrying on their own feuds with him.  However, after four years I am glad to say that the deed of variation has now been signed by all parties and there is no longer fear that we might have to payout large sums in this respect.

Some of the difficulties of the committee were of their own making.  I would list irregular attendance; reluctance to continue when there is a danger of missing the Hunters; personality clashes between members; reluctance to discuss important but boring matters; not carrying out actions previously agreed; a tendency to make rash statements in ignorance and even to tell lies to the committee and, finally, refusal of small minorities to stand by the decision of large majorities as the more serious short-comings of the present committee.

I am not trying to slate the committee of which I have been a member, but hope these criticisms may serve as advice for the future.  I am sure the other officers of the club could list the shortcomings of the Secretary and it would be a good idea if they did so for the guidance of my successor.

Our positions in the Cambrian and Southern Councils and the National Caving Association have been strong and relations with M.R.O. have been excellent.  We have been forced by needs of access to affiliate to the Northern Council.  We supported the rejection of an application from B.A.C.I. for membership of the Cambrian Council.  The Council of Southern Caving Clubs has set up its company.  The trustees are 'Alfie', Oliver Lloyd, Frank Murphy (of Spelaeo Rhal) and myself.  Mention should be made here of the excellent work done by Nigel Taylor in extending the M.R.O. store.

Nigel Taylor is not offering himself for re-election.  He has worked extremely hard at the running of the Belfry, always difficult and this year particularly so.  He richly deserves the thanks of the club.  My own reasons for not standing this year are complicated.  Suffice to say that I wish my successor well and will afford him any assistance I can.

There are four new candidates this year, a healthy sign, and I will just remind the electorate that one copy of the ballot paper is sent to each member who has paid his subscription by the date on which they are sent out.  It may be returned to me by post or handed to the chairman at the A.G.M. Persons paying their subscription later are not entitled to vote, and no may be given a second paper according to the rules.

A. Thomas.
Hon. Sec.