AGM – April 2018


We had a great night at the recent AGM at the RAF Club followed by, in true Old Friends tradition, the best steak and kidney pudding dinner in London.

Despite the best attempts of the Commonwealth Conference taking place nearby, to disrupt travel arrangements, Old Friends braved the sweltering 29 degree heat in Central London to attend the Society’s 109th Annual General Meeting.

The AGM started with a very poignant moment to remember those that have passed in the past year, including Old Friend, Catherine Nelsey, and the daughter of Old Friend, Kate Banks, Vicki.

Apologies were received from the Old Friends that were unable to attend.

The minutes of the previous AGM were reviewed. The only matters arising from those minutes was that Old Friend Stanley Vaughan had identified a discrepancy in the previous accounts. This discrepancy was investigated by Old Friend and Treasurer, John Logan. The cause of the problem was identified as a small double-counting issue in the spreadsheet used for the finances which suggested that expenditure was higher than was accurate. This has then been checked and approved by this years auditors, Old Friend Steve Dennis and Old Friend Liz Whyte.

The minutes were then proposed by Old Friend, Tim Crabtree and seconded by Old Friend, Chris Armstrong. All in attendance approved the minutes.

The AGM then went on to receive positive reports from both the President and the Treasurer.

The report from President, Old Friend, David Langdown is as follows;

2017/18 has been a successful year for the Old Friends on several fronts.

Membership, which was at 118 this time last year, is now returned to capacity with 150 active members.

The Clachans were all reasonably well attended and were certainly enjoyed by those present. We went from the Krays old stomping ground of the Blind Beggar in the East End to the Jekyll and Hyde in Birmingham. The Riverside at Vauxhall was another new venue for the London summer Clachan and we returned to The Cow at Westfield by the City of London Stadium at Xmas, for the first time since 2012. I can confirm this is home to the biggest sausage rolls you will find anywhere!

We introduced a special event this year, which was a Thames River Cruise with dinner and music. Whilst we don’t propose to repeat this each year, it was attended by about 80 people and was a great success.

The Autumn Dinner with David Baddiel and the Eastcoast Boys at the Victory Services Club and the Spring Dinner with Theo Paphitis at the Stationers Hall were both notable for the quality of the guests and the food, which were excellent on both occasions. Each dinner was attended by over 100 people, and the feedback extremely good.

Sadly, the most disappointing aspect of the year is that there were only about a third of the Old Friends at these events. Private dinners in locations like these with speakers and entertainers of that calibre can be twice the price that the Old Friends charges, and whilst I appreciate it is a challenging time for many, I felt we were 50-60 light on the attendance that we might have got. Let’s hope for equally good evenings with some growth in numbers this year.

Beyond the events, we have come up with a new logo and many of you have the new lapel badges upon which it features. We’ve now also got the new ties, and this is something pretty unique, it’s a tie that I would actually wear! The fabric is good and the design is subtle and effective. My thanks to Old Friend Steve Hilleard for his help in getting these produced. We have also seen the Society promoted in the trade press including the latest Boss Today.

Old Friends Steve Robinson and Sammy Bartley have kept the website and social media feeds going, and as always, if you don’t follow the Old Friends, please do and share and retweet our good news to your followers.

From a financial perspective, we are extremely grateful to Vow and Banner for their generous sponsorship of the Spring Dinner, to Old Friend Mike James for kindly donating the use of the Stationers Hall and to our new Friend Theo Paphitis for giving his time and not charging a fee.

As a result of these three contributions, we are in a very strong position financially, well set for excellent events this year.

I’ve seen during this year, the support that Old Friends give to each other in times of trouble, and that is something that no one should under-estimate.

I have survived 12 months in the role of President – I’ve enjoyed it immensely and I look forward to the next 12 months with great anticipation – mainly because I haven’t got a clue what is going to happen either.

The last thing I would like to say is a big thank you to the committee for their support, and particularly to the Honorary Secretary, Tina Russell, who is an immense support to me and to all of us who value this Society.

Thank you.

As part of his report, the President advised the attending members that the Committee had decided to provide the Business Supplies Charity with a donation of £1,000. On behalf of the Charity, Nigel Mitchell offered thanks for the gratefully received donation.

The Treasurer informed the members that the finances remain healthy with income exceeding expenditure by almost 10%.

The President then proposed 3 changes to the Society’s rules, as follows;

  • Rule 3 – currently states; “The number of active members of the society (exclusive of Country Members) shall be limited to 150 and shall be confined to those engaged in the trades nominated in item 2.” It is the proposal of the President and the Committee that this rule be amended to an increased limit of 200 members. This rule change was unanimously agreed by all attendees.
  • Rule 14 – currently states: “The Officers consist of the President, President Elect, Immediate Past President, Honorary Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Secretary, who shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting.” After many years of sterling service, Membership Secretary, Old Friend Mike James, has decided not to start for re-election as Membership Secretary for this coming year. With this in mind, the President and Committee proposed that the role of the officer of Membership Secretary not be replaced, but that the administrative element of the role should defer to the Treasurer and that the ‘ownership’ of ensuring that there remains a focus on membership recruitment should sit with the President. In essence, this means that the number of Officers changes from 6 down to 5. This rule change was unanimously agreed by all attendees.
  • Rule 15 – currently states – “The Committee shall consist of the Officers and up to 10 other members who shall be elected at the Annual 
    General Meeting. One third of the committee to retire annually but to be eligible for re-election.” This would mean that with 6 Officers and 10 committee members, the committee could be up to 16 people which, it is felt by the President and the committee, is unwieldy and unnecessary for a Society of 150 members. So, the proposal is to reduce the committee from 10 to 7.  This rule change was unanimously agreed by all attendees.

The President, on behalf of the committee, then proposed the membership fees for 2018/19 as follows;

  • Full Membership to move from £60 to £75 per annum
  • Country Membership to change from £15 to £25 per annum

In addition, it was proposed that if members pay their annual membership fee on or before 31st May, that the Society will make a contribution of £5 per membership to the Business Supplies Charity.

The membership fees proposal was unanimously agreed by all attendees.

The President then updated members on the Officers and Committee members who were offering themselves for election and those that were standing down as follows;

All proposed Officers and Committee Members were unanimously supported by the attending members.

In addition, the attending members offered a huge vote of thanks for the fantastic service to the Society by those Officers and Committee Members that were standing down, including Past President Mike James, Past President Geoffrey Betts, Old Friend Peter Duncan and Old Friend Scott Mckechnie.

The President also informed the members that, in line with long-established tradition, Old Friend Jade Wilson and Old Friend Tim Percival are nominated as the auditors for the coming year.

With no questions from the floor, the President brought the AGM to a close after 27 minutes.

There then ensued the honoured tradition of feasting on the RAF Clubs wonderful Steak and Kidney pudding amid a great deal of fellowship and boisterousness.

This was only interrupted by the 9 o’clock toast to absent friends and the handshake ceremony.

After which, the President took wine with the Past Presidents, then offered a toast to the men and women of the RAF who are celebrating 100 years this year and then finally, gave a well-supported thanks to the staff of the RAF Club for the great food and excellent service.

With an encouragement to a safe journey home, the President brought a close to another great Old Friends evening.

Who is already looking forward to the next event on the 24th May?


Ahhhh, happy days!!!!

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