Association AGM (the proceedings as observed by the Monmouth Branch Master)

The Association AGM was held on Saturday 12 April. In my (other) role as Association Master I kicked off the day with running the ringing at Chepstow. We had about 16 ringers turn up here and managed to ring rounds and call changes through to Grandsire Caters.

Ringing at the next tower, Shirenewton, overlapped with that at Chepstow, so my thanks to Pip and Mike Penney for running things there. We then had the service which was presided over by Jenny Mole with a well chosen reading and hymns. A fine tea followed at Shirenewton Church Hall and then we were able to commence the meeting. By my estimate we had around 40 ringers at the meeting and therefore had more than the requisite 6% of members needed for the meeting to be quorate.

The meeting was certainly not the easiest I had attended as we had two difficult topics to cover. The first related to the election of the Association Officers. Some of the Officers had expressed a desire to stand down, meaning that we had the Association Master, Public Relations Officer and three Central Council Posts to be filled as well as the Association Treasurer role needing to be filled as Fred Jackson had come to the end of his seven years in the post. However it had proved difficult to find new candidates for these role.

Thanks were expressed to Fred for his all efforts in managing the Association Finances so effectively and keeping the balance sheets very healthy. Marion Bennett then called for the meeting to express their appreciation to Peter Bennett who was standing down after 33 years as Central Council Rep – which is a remarkable achievement and once again highlights Peter’s stature in the wider world of ringing and his dedication and commitment to ringing.

Following various pre-meeting efforts, the following Officers were elected:

Master – Jonathan Lewis (re-elected)
Chairman – Dave Bounds (re-elected)
Secretary – Mike Penney (re-elected)
Treasurer – Phil Hopkins (newly elected)
PRO – Nick Jones (re-elected)
Central Council Reps: Pip Penney (re-elected), Jonathan Lewis (newly elected)

Thanks are due to Phil Hopkins for stepping in at very short notice to take on the Treasurer role.

As you may have spotted, this leaves us with an imbalance with the great majority of Officers being from the Monmouth Branch, whereas the idea is to try and have equal numbers from each Branch. We also only have two Central Council reps whereas we are entitled to four. There is some effort needed by the Association Management Committee over the next year to look at this situation and to work on how we can encourage Branch Members to come forward and willingly take on Association posts. Certainly from my own point of view I had seen the Association Master as an honorary role and was keen to pass this on to another (more) deserving ringer after having served two years.

Later in the meeting the topic of discussion was a request from the Ringing Foundation for financial support from the Association for its activities, with a suggested funding of £1 per member. This sparked off a lengthy debate which at times got very emotive with views for and against supporting the request being expressed. It became clear that the role of the Ringing Foundation and how it would use any funding was not well understood by the members present and that before any commitment could be given, more information was needed. The Swansea and Brecon Guild had already arranged for the Ringing Foundation to provide its members a presentation on their activities and were happy for Llandaff and Monmouth Association members to join this.

Following closure of the meeting, there was additional ringing at Shirenewton.

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