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AGM ‘76

A different (and, in the editor's humble opinion, much more readable) account of that annual ritual - the A.G.M. - than is to be found in the official minutes!

by Maureen Wheadon

For many years now, M.F.W. has disappeared over the horizon each first Saturday in October, claiming that he was going to the B.E.C. A.G.M., and not returning until darkness had fallen.

I had naturally thought this a very unlikely and suspicious ritual.  After all, what A.G.M. could possibly take that much time?  I have attended some extremely turgid A.G.M.'s and, at the most, they only took about an hour and a half.  After all, they only elect officers and receive reports - and our election is carried out before the A.G.M!  Anyway, this year I decided to go and see for myself if the B.E.C. really did indulge in such lengthy meetings.

We (my joint member and I) set out at an ungodly hour - or so it seemed to me, who never sees the dawn before 9.30 a.m. - and, as I was driven through the fog, I found it hard to recall whether I was going to a cat show, a conference, or why I was even awake. At intervals through the A.G.M., this feeling was to recur as the debate waxed and waned.  To my amazement (even yet!) we were not the first to arrive at the Belfry and the number of B.E.C. bods, some not seen for several years, who were rattling round the shed was equally amazing.  Preparation of bread and cheese for lunch were well under way, and Roger soon appeared with the brunch barrel which was left to settle (which is more that can be said for the members!)

Amazingly, the meeting opened at 10.30. - on time - and in the absence of any other nomination, Sett was once again (I’m told) elected as Chairman for the day.  This absence of nominations likewise applied to the committee for, although there were two resignations last year, only Paul Christie was nominated for this year and was elected unopposed.  Without maligning Paul, who is very brave to apply for the committee, I think that this is a sad state of affairs which has, now, existed for the last two years so pull your fingers out, fellas and be sure to send in your nominations next year - for if you don't know someone worth nominating we’ll try a dose of petticoat government!

The first Officer's Report was the Hon. Sec's and M.F.W. gave a credible impersonation of a political leader by declaring a year of doom and gloom if we don't pull together and miss our chance of greatness etc., but if we believe in our club, we can make it if we try.

The Hon. Treasurer then shattered this portent by revealing that, unlike the country, the club is in the embarrassing position of having quite a lot of available cash.  However, the A.G.M. were able to meet this event head-on and instantly directed that we should install central heating not, it should be noted, to keep us warm and snug but to 'preserve our assets'.  Orang then gave a brilliant though baffling "display of heating and ventilating engineering knowledge (and jargon) by minutely discussing with the chairman such magic items as dew point and the like all of which I found quite forgettable.

Next to report was the Hut Warden, who gave by far the funniest report of the day but which revealed to us that all was not well in 'Belfryland'.  The report of the Tacklemaster was baffling to the uninitiated, and there was a bit of a fracas to do with 'C' links and Englefield Clips. Voices were raised and 'order' occasionally lost.  All was made right in the end when the chairman pointed out that the 'chain should be pulled to a hundredweight.'

The Hut Engineer gave his report, in a a rather cavalier and unwritten form, rather in the fashion of TW Benn fairyland. The report was received with what I gather to be the usual complaints (because we have heard them year after year after year) and, as a non Belfry resident, it certainly does seem that there are an awful lot of small jobs needing to be done at the Belfry.  Bob Cross's fear of sleeping in the Men’s Dorm because of his suspicion of the mattresses emphasised some of the difficulties (is there a Latin name for this fear?)

After quite an efficient lunch, we were treated to a very full account of the insurance offered to us, with visual aids from the Bennetts, Wig giving the treatise, and Bob White filling in any gaps.  This was probably the most important feature of the A.G.M. and had been much discussed by the committee beforehand.  Unfortunately, during the presentation of this item there was much to-ing and fro-ing in the Belfry and the added distraction of a rogue barrel of beer didn't help.  This did not affect my understanding of the situation because I had already heard most of the reasons during many hours on the side lines of the committee's debates on the matter.  However, I have since been made aware that many members were left in the 'not fully understanding' position that we had no real options open to us unless the club was prepared to pay a 'fantastic' membership fee.  Perhaps at a more formal meeting, some of the red herrings would have been out of order, but it is to be hoped that we known we now have to pay a sum based on our membership, at a rate fixed by the insurance companies.

After this debate, our revered editor outlined the terrible tales of ills that beset the B.B. last year, and suggested a team to produce a regular monthly B.B. in future, which was finally agreed to.  Some have since said that this will only mean there are more places things can go wrong, but I think we should give it a chance at least.

By now, you will know that the B.E.C. A.G.M. really DOES take hours and hours.  Eventually the meeting closed at ten to four (Just enough time to go home and change for the dinner).  Would you believe it?  If not, come along yourself next year and take part in this unique entertainment!