Members Virtual Gathering & AGM: 29th April 2021
The members gathering opened at 5:30pm with members all joining various breakout rooms and sharing news and laughter!
Then President Steve Robinson, adorned in the chains of office, opened the 112th Annual General Meeting of The Society of Old Friends by offering a warm welcome to nearly 50 members.
As is traditional within the Society, the AGM was opened by raising a respectful glass to those members who had passed since the last AGM. In January this year, we heard the very sad news that Ian Tollit had passed away. On 15th March, Desmond Ryman passed away at the age of 91. Though only a few members knew Desmond, he was a staunch member of Old Friends for many years, and his father and founder of Rymans, Henry Ryman, was actually President of the Society just after the 2nd World War. Then last week, an Old Friend from a few years ago, David Hackwell, passed away. Old Friends are never forgotten.
The membership unanimously approved the minutes of the previous AGM, then received the report from the President. The Presidents’ report focused on the new sense of optimism that, despite many lingering uncertainties, seems to pervade much of our lives now.
Reporting on the events of the months since the last AGM, the President commented that the first virtual AGM was attended by 43 members, the virtual Christmas Clachan with Jon Culshaw attracted 150 members, friends and family. Then the virtual Magical Spring Clachan with Magician of the Magic Circle, Lee Smith, was attended by 103 attendees.
One thing that is absolutely clear from the last 8 months, is that, in spite of the fact that many members may have been feeling a bit Zoomed out, the fantastic support of the Society events has shown that there is a huge desire amongst members to keep Old Friends getting together and to continue to share fellowship and laughter, even if it has to be online.
The President concluded by saying “I am extremely optimistic that this exciting and thriving Society of Old Friends remains in great health!”
The meeting then received the report from the Honorary Treasurer, John Logan.
The Treasurer summarised the Finances and Membership position:
- Income was slightly greater than expenditure despite reduced revenue streams including subscriptions, events, raffles and sponsorship. Our closing cash position was not below the previous year.
- We have membership running at 85% of previously despite the challenges including uncertainty, cost reductions, furlough, insolvency significant demand reductions and redundancy.
- Our thanks to the auditors for year 2020/2021 – Old Friend’s Victoria McKenna and Rob Harper.
The Honorary Treasurer announced the situation on Subscriptions for the coming year by saying that, with the progress being made to control the pandemic, the Society expects to be able to hold actual events this year. In anticipation of this, subscriptions for the coming year will return to the normal pre-pandemic levy of year 2019/20 and before, to ensure that we can continue to fund fantastic entertainment for the Society.
The Accounts were approved and the full Treasurers Report is available to members from the Honorary Treasurer.
Next, with the confirmation that there were no proposed rule changes, the AGM moved to the Elections.
It was announced and unanimously supported by the membership, that the person who the President and Committee would like to nominate to become the President Elect and to take over as President at the AGM in April 2022, is Old Friend John Logan! The President and the Immediate Past President were delighted to be Proposer and Seconder.
It was also announced that Old Friend Steve Hilleard has put himself forward to take on the role of Honorary Treasurer taking over from John at the AGM in 2022. This will, of course, be put to a formal vote at next year’s AGM.
In addition, it was advised that Old Friend, Tina Russell, has agreed to stay on as Honorary Secretary, as Old Friend, Sammy Bartley, has had to step back from the Committee due to other commitments.
And, of course, Old Friend and stalwart, David Langdown remains as Immediate Past President.
Turning to the Committee, Old Friends Steve Cafferty and Kiran Mistry have decided to retire from the committee and I am sure that we would all like to offer our thanks for what they have done to support the Society.
We are also delighted to announce that we have two new members who have offered themselves to support the Committee and they are Old Friend Suzanne Tiernan and Old Friend John Watson.
So, the following will form the committee for the coming year:
- President – Steve Robinson
- Immediate Past President – David Langdown
- Honorary Secretary – Tina Russell
- Honorary Treasurer & President Elect – John Logan
- Committee Member & Honorary Treasurer Elect – Steve Hilleard
- Committee Member – Ian Buckley
- Committee Member – Tim Bonnett
- Committee Member – Suzanne Tiernan
- Committee Member – John Watson
- Committee Member – subsequent to the AGM, Helen Wade has also agreed to join the Committee to support the work of the Society
By long established custom, the auditors for next year’s accounts will be the last two Members to have joined in the last Financial Year, and they are Kelly Hilleard and Alina Fisher.
On the basis that there were no items of competent business raised, the President brought the 112th Annual General Meeting, and another very enjoyable evening together, to a close at 7:06pm.