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Emergency Issue

This B.B. is not only smaller than usual, but has many of the regular features missing.  It mostly contains news about the Dinner and A.G.M. together with the minutes of the 1975 A.G.M.  The editor would like to apologise to all those who have sent in contributions and to assure them that that their material will be included in the B.B. as soon as possible.


Members must be concerned by the lack of B.B’s reaching them.  Several people who have asked me what is happening must be under the impression that the B.B. was still

Just as it looked like getting back to normal in June, after a period in which the B.B. could not be published monthly because of insufficient contributions, the B.B., printing machine broke down.

The committee acted promptly and agreed to finance a service for the machine.  This proved to be impractical owing to its age, so Tony Corrigan helped me to dismantle some of the suspect parts, and volunteered to print the June B.B. on his own machine before he got married and disappeared on his honeymoon.

Unfortunately, Tony's machine works well enough with the metal plates he uses but not with the paper plates used by the B.B. for cheapness.  We finished up with a half printed B.B. and a. wrecked master.  The fault on the B.B. machine was still there.

So the machine had to come even further apart, and some special tools had to be designed and made to do this.  Dave Irwin offered the Gestetner for the July B.B., but there were no skins available and it was anybody’s guess as to whether it would be quicker to do this and clean up the typewriter afterwards, or to press on with getting the B.B. machine back in working order.  The last course was chosen, and at the time of writing this, the machine looks as if it will work.  It has been decided to get this B.B. out first - because it is vital to let members know about the dinner etc. and to put the June B.B. out when possible.

After that, we shall have to see what happens next.  If there is not time to print the B.B. report before the A.G.M., please come along and be prepared to take part in a hard-hitting discussion about the future of the B.B.


Minutes of 1975 A.G.M.

The meeting opened at 10.55 a.m. with 36 members present.  ‘Sett’ called for the election of a chairman.  He was proposed and seconded from the floor of the meeting, and there being no other nominations, he was declared to have been elected. The chairman then called for member’s resolutions, and then asked whether the meeting wanted to take the minutes, which had been previously published, as read.  This was agreed.  The chairman then asked for any matters arising from the minutes.  Barrie said that as far as he was concerned, his action from last year had been carried out.

The Hon. Sec's report then followed.  Dave Irwin read the first part of this, covering the time from the last A.G.M. until his resignation, and Mike Wheadon continued the report from then on.  Colin Dooley asked if there had been many new applications for membership.  Mike said that there were not, but he would keep the club informed of all new members and would instigate a drive aimed at lapsed members.  Dave Turner asked how the membership compared with last ¬year. Mike said that it stood at 165 paid up members, which was down on last year.  Nigel Taylor then proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Annie Wilton-Jones and carried without dissent.

The Hon. Treasurer’s Report was then taken.  This had been published and Barrie added that it was more detailed this year.  Bob Cross asked for details of the donation and Barrie replied that it was made up of a number of small sums.  Bob Cross asked whether we had contributed to the M.R.O. and Barrie said that we had indirectly contributed about £10.  Dave Irwin said that the club’s position was very healthy because we had absorbed the cost of the Belfry alterations and still made an effective profit.  Barrie agreed with this and said the deficit of £56 was really a credit of about £100. Sett asked if the report would be in this form in future and Barrie assured him that it would.  Dave Irwin asked if B.B. sales were included as there were at least three subscribers to the B.B.  Barrie said that they would have been included, but all three had not renewed their subs.  Bob Cross asked what the £13.78 had bought for the library and Dave Irwin said that most of this sum had been spent on completing sets of journals.  The remainder had been spent on a few guidebooks. Mike Palmer asked whether the repay¬ment of the I.D.M.F. grant meant.  Barrie said that £90 had been taken out of club funds because there had not been enough time to withdraw it direct.  Annie Wilton-Jones asked why we had had a tax refund when it appeared that we had paid no tax.  Barrie said that this was because of the way that the tax authorities worked.  Nigel Taylor asked why we had been charged for two years rates.  Barrie said that the rate demands always had to be sent back for deduction and because of this we sometimes found ourselves paying rates so much in arrears that two years rates were often settled in the same year.  Mike Palmer asked about dustbins.  Barrie said that we would pay for these if we had to.  A discuss¬ion on the payment of subs then followed.  The meeting felt generally that members should not wait until the club was forced to send out reminders.  Dave Turner asked if we should consider a rebate for prompt payment.  This was received with mixed feelings and the meeting felt unable to commit itself. Joan Bennett said that it was a very good sign to see that the club had spent £108 on tackle.  Martin Bishop the proposed that the report be adopted. This was seconded by Mike Palmer and carried without dissent.

The chairman then read out the Hon. Auditor’s Report.  Its adoption was propped by Tony Meaden and seconded by Mike Palmer.  It was carried unanimously.

The Caving Secretary’s report had been published in the B.B.  Chris Howell proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Nigel Taylor and carried unanimously.

The Climbing Secretary’s Report was then read by Tony Sharpe. Graham Wilton-Jones suggested that the club did not know how much climbing tackle it possessed.  It was suggested that the Hon. Treasurer knew. It was agreed that climbing ropes must be kept separate from caving tackle and not stored in the Tackle Store.  Bob Cross said that there had been no mention of his trip to the Lakes.  Nigel Taylor then proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Mike Palmer and carried nem. con.

The Hut Warden's Report was then read by Colin Dooley who mentioned the alterations to the Belfry and said that the bed-night total was about the same as last year (1,200).  We had, he said, been lucky to have had the naval cavers the Belfry who contributed towards the bed-night figures and without whom the Belfry usage would have been much lower.  With the costs of fuel and other things rising, we will have to watch the expenditure.  In fact, the Belfry fees were put up halfway through the year and there was at present no need for further revision.  The Hut Warden then went on to thank Chris Batstone for his help and hoped that members would co-operate the new Hut Warden Ian.  Wilton-Jones opened the discussion by saying that the Craven provided no cutlery or crockery and suggested that these items should be withdrawn from the Belfry.  This was received with mixed feelings and was not put to the vote.  John Knapps said that there were no tea towels at the Belfry. Nigel Taylor showed him some. Colin raised the question of Belfry security.  A general discussion followed during which the new Hut Warden was informed that he was empowered to remove any non-member from staying at the Belfry without permission. It was agreed that any local members should look in whenever possible during the week.  The discussion continued for some time until it was finally left to the committee to deal with.  Martin Bishop asked whether the Belfry would have been worse off than last year without the £140 from the navy.  Barrie Wilton said that it would have been.  This led to a discussion about plans to house the navy elsewhere. It was agreed that if further competition was allowed to occur, then the Belfry would find itself in a very serious position.  It was agreed that the committee actively pursue this to all within its power to prevent such a situation occurring.  At this stage, the chairman called a halt to the discussion as he proposed to adjourn the meeting for lunch.  Chris Howell then proposed the adoption of the report and this was seconded Nigel Taylor and carried without dissent.

During the lunch break, in accordance with the proceedings started last year, the new committee met to decide on the named officers of the club as required by the constitution.

At 1.30, the chairman reconvened the meeting and announced the new officers as follows: - Chairman, Alfie: Hon. Sec, Mike Wheadon: Hon. Treas, Barrie Wilton: Caving Sec, Tim Large: Climbing Sec, Roy Marshall: Tacklemaster, Graham Wilton-Jones: Hut Warden, Chris Batstone: Hut Eng, John Dukes.

The Belfry Engineer’s Report followed.  Tony Tucker said that he did not approve of the changes made.  The chairman ruled this out of order and said that discussion must be confined to specific points and not generalised statements such as this. Tony then asked why the plans drawn up by Jock had not been followed.  John Dukes said these plans had been outside the price range and added that Tony had been given the opportunity to see the plans.  Nigel Taylor said that he would like to compliment the Hut Engineer.  Colin Dooley assured the meeting that all practical alternatives were examined before deciding on the present scheme.  Tony said that the toilets were very dark.  John Dukes said that they admitted sufficient light for their purpose. Mike Palmer felt that there were more important issues than toilets and that the plans represented the best compromise between the issues involved.  He said that the Hut Engineer was to be congratulated.  Annie Wilton said that the heating bill was less than before.  After more discussion, Colin Dooley proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Martin Bishop and carried without dissent.

The Tacklemaster was then invited to present his report.  Bob Cross opened the discussion by pointing out that a karabiner would not go through an Enfield clip and asked if the Tacklemaster intended to go over to these for all tackle.  Graham said that it was not his intention to do this.  The chairman asked if special rope was required for S.R.T. and was told that this was so.  He asked if the Tacklemaster could recommend suitable ropes to members if asked and Graham said he could do this.  It was stressed yet again that club lifelines are NOT provided for any S.R.T. use. Mike Cowlinshaw proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Nigel Taylor and carried unanimously.

The B.B. Editor's report followed.  Alan Thomas said that he wished to re-iterate the thanks of the club to the editor and others who had managed to keep the costs down.  Nigel Taylor proposed that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Chris Rowell and carried unanimously.

The Publications Report followed.  There was no discussion.  Its adoption was proposed by Maurice isles and seconded by John Dukes.  It was carried without dissent.

In the absence of the Librarian, his report his report was read by the Hon.Sec.  Alan Thomas asked for access to the library was obtained. He was told the Hut Warden and the Hut Engineer had leys in addition to the Hon. Librarian.  Alfie proposed that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Bob Cross and carried without dissent.

The I.D.M.F. report was read by Mike Palmer.  In reply to a question as to how the fund now stood with respect to its original capital, Barrie said that it was within pennies of its original capital.  It was then proposed that the report be adopted by Stephen Boyd and seconded by Maurice Isles.

The chairman then dealt with members resolutions.  The first of these was from the retiring committee who put it forward as a result of being auctioned by the 1974 A.G.M.  “It is proposed that this Annual General Meeting (1) instructs the 1975/6 Committee to carry out an urgent revision of the club rules to include a clause which waives the right of members to sue each other for damages should an accident arise in connection with any club activity.  An example of such a clause is the Wessex Rule 10 (which was quoted). (2) Instructs the 1975/6 committee to carry out a revision of the club application for membership form to include any waiver as given above and to issue it for retrospective signature by the present membership.  A separate form carrying such a waiver to be signed by parent or guardian should be designed for minors.  (3) Takes note of the possible untenable position of our trustees in respect of a possible claim on our insurance and instruct the future committee to act on its behalf so as to ensure that the trustees are suitably indemnified against being preferential defendants in any suit for damages.”

After a lively discussion, an amendment to delete the waiver so as to allow member to member actions but not member to club actions was carried by the meeting with 13 votes in favour to 11 against.  The amended resolution was then put to the vote and carried 29 - 0.

A proposal by Dave Irwin, “That the 1975/76 committee urgently investigate a mechanism to enable school clubs in Somerset to affiliate to the B.E.C. should they desire to do so” was then put to the meeting by the chairman.  This aroused strong feelings.  Some members were violently against such a move.  Alan Thomas, for example, said that such a resolution was counter to what had been the club’s policy on affiliation since he had been a member.  Nigel Taylor said that if the club were going to reverse their policy of so many years standing at a moments notice, we might have to reconsider his membership.  On the other hand, some members argued that the B.E.C. ought to recognise changes in the caving scene and if necessary act accordingly.  Ian Wilton-Jones argued that it was better to take part in and help to exert control over school caving rather than ignore it.  After further discussion along these lines, Nigel Taylor proposed an amendment, “that the committee be restrained form taking any action on this subject and be confined to making recommendations only.”  Alan Thomas said that this was implicit in the original resolution.  Don McFarlane said that he would second the amendment and a vote was taken.  The amendment was defeated by 11 votes to 19.

Graham Wilton-Jones then proposed an amendment, “Notwithstanding the implications of the resolution now before the meeting in its original form, the committee be expressly empowered to act on any recommendation they might make.”  This was seconded by Mike Cowlinshaw and defeated by 10 votes to 23.  A further amendment to the effect that the committee could act but only after having conducted a postal ballot and obtained a majority in favour of the proposed action was also put to the meeting and defeated by 11 votes to 18. At this stage, the chairman put the original resolution to the vote, and it was carried by 24 votes to 10.

A second proposal by Dave Irwin was then taken.  This resolution stated, “That this club deplores the proliferation of certification in both national and local caving and climbing activities and will instruct the C.S.C.C. to continue to press its philosophy as detailed in 'Caving for Beginners'.  The recent circular letter by the C.C.P.R. proposing a national standard award certificate should in particular be deplored.  This resolution was seconded by Alan Thomas and put at once to the vote.  It was carried with 43 in favour and a single vote against.

The chairman then called for any other business.  Mike Wheadon proposed a vote of thanks to Colin Dooley and to Dave Irwin for their work as Hut Warden and Hon. Secretary.  This was carried with acclaim.

Mike Palmer questioned the need for a Climbing Secretary.  He said that he appreciated that the club constitution required the club to appoint one, and was not proposing at this stage to start the process in motion for removing this from the constitution, but merely thought that this might be the start for the committee to start thinking about the role of the Climbing secretary in view of the very small amount of climbing now carried out.  Perhaps a Miscellaneous Activities Sec. might be a good idea.  There was a short discussion and no formal proposal resulted. However, Bob Cross proposed that,” This A.G.M. take note Mike Palmer's remarks.” Bob's proposal was recommended to the meeting from the chair and carried with 22 in favour to 1 against.

There being no further business, the chairman declared the meeting closed at 3.15 p.m.


In view of the printing troubles, a separate communication has been sent to members requesting nominations for the 1976-1977 Committee.  Voting forms (if required) will also be sent out separately from the B. B.

Once again, the A.G.M. and Dinner will he held on Saturday, October 2nd.  The A.G.M. starts at 10.30 a.m. at the Belfry.  Please try to turn up - and turn on time - as there may well be a lot to get through.  Two very important issues are the club public liability insurance - a matter which affects every single member of the club; and the future of the B. B. which again affects everyone.  These, and other subjects need a properly conducted debate, and members like to have enough time to make their preparations for the dinner, so PLEASE TURN UP EARLY.

The Dinner is at 7 p.m. for 7.30 at the Town Hall at Glastonbury.  For those making their own way, it is by the Abbey ruins.  There will be COACHES starting from the Belfry and coming back to the Belfry afterwards.  Please indicate whether you want seats.  Nigel Taylor is running the coaches.

An attempt has been made to lay on a really good menu with a choice of main course (there is also a wide choice of the sweet course from the sweet trolley).  Please indicate if you want Steak Bordelaise OR Coc au Vin when you get in touch with Barrie for your tickets.

There will be an adequately stocked bar and a Wine Bar to ensure that you do not have to wait for wine during the dinner itself.  After dinner entertainment is being laid on by Alfie and is such that it can be tailored to suit the wishes of those present.  The aim is to have enough to satisfy those who wish to be entertained and not enough to bore those who prefer to spend the evening chatting to old friends.

The price of the ticket is £3 - which is not high when one considers inflation and the price of bought-out food generally.

Please book as early as possible WITH YOUR MONEY and give or send it to Barrie Wilton.  The closing date is likely to be adhered to this year, so don't rely on being able to 'get in on the day' - you could be disappointed!

The committee and organisers of the Dinner cannot, of course, guarantee that a amazing time will be had by all but the indications are good.  It is probably true to say that the B.E.C. Dinner is the only large scale caving dinner now being held on Mendip, so come along and help make it another of those dinners to remembered years afterwards as one of the highs to your caving career.

A further reminder to those attending the A.G.M. and the Dinner.  Are you still a member of the B.E.C.  You cannot vote or speak at the A.G.M. unless you are.  Make sure you are paid up at the time!