Meetings 2015

AGM minutes

Present Committee: Martin Shaw, David Allard, Alan Ellis, Lesley Abbiss, Mike
Flexmore, Eric Addicott, + 17 others (see register)
1. Martin welcomed everyone and asked that they sign the attendance list.


2. Apologies for Absence None
3. Minutes of the Last Meeting These were agreed; proposed by David Allard,
seconded by Mike Flexmore.
4. Matters Arising None
5. Chairman’s Report on 2014 – 2015 (Martin Shaw)
Martin keen to effect a smooth transition as Chairman. All midweek and Sunday
walks start at 10am (meeting times at Royston car parks adjusted accordingly). He
emphasised the need to look out for other people on walks so as not to leave anyone
behind. It has been a good walking year. Thanks to all leaders. Special thanks to
Tricia and George for coordinating the morning walks, David for the Sunday and
evening walks and Alan Cooper for producing the programme and publishing it on the
website. Weekday walks have attracted 35 walkers on average. Sundays 7 – 11, but
it does vary. Good numbers for evening walks. We enjoyed an interesting coach trip
to Leamington Spa, thanks to Vince and Steve for organising and also David Marsh
for the recce. Martin encouraged others to volunteer for coach trips. Let Committee
know. The Area walk on 26th September was a good day out. Please consider joining
the next one (details in next Summer programme and on the website). Last year’s
Christmas walk and lunch were very successful, thanks to organisers and participants.
Membership reasonably stable around 184.
Martin attended Area AGM and as a guest at General Council in Cambridge. The two
key issues were 1) the move to ‘one member, one vote’ as opposed to the current
situation of General Council as the policy making body and 2) the launch of the Big
Pathwatch. At group level he proposed to increase committee meetings to 4 a year
and publish dates in the programme and encourage members to approach us with
ideas. Thanks to Committee and especially Alan Ellis for his work on the budget.
6. Treasurer’s Report (Alan Ellis)

Set out below is the Treasurer's Report which I intend to present to the 2015 AGM, for your comments:

Figures have been audited by the independent examiner, Ian Chamberlain. As far as general funds expenditure is concerned, the costs for printing and distributing the walk programmes were in line with 2013, but the costs of the 2014 AGM were slightly up because we decided to increase marginally the level of refreshments over the previous year.

General fund income, mainly the contribution from the Hertfordshire and North Middlesex area of the Ramblers, is up by £65 this year as the 10% reduction imposed by Area to our budget request for 2013 was not repeated this year. The net result is a surplus for the year of £171, giving a cumulative surplus to carry forward of £518.This puts us in dangerous territory as far as Area is concerned as this surplus is in excess of current year’s spending (but not the budget request for 2015/6). On our social fund, the Xmas party made a small surplus of £38, but this was offset by a loss incurred on the Leamington charabanc trip of £46. This was priced so that we could break even at 90% take up, which did not seem unreasonable in view of the near 100% take up rate in past years. In the event, the take up rate this year was only 80%. I will leave it up to others to explain this drop if they can. The net result was a small overall deficit on the social fund for the year of £7, leaving a cumulative surplus of £259 to carry forward.

I now want to raise a topic not directly related to the year under report. Ramblers Central Office see increase in overall membership numbers as essential to meeting the central aims and objectives of the Ramblers Association. Included in the Royston Ramblers budget request approved by Area for the current year (2015/6) are a couple of items related to advertising and publicity. We have approval for a couple of tombstone adverts to be placed in the Royston Listing, and also for a direct approach to local employers to include a Ramblers flyer in the package given by those employers to their new retirees. If anyone has any experience of drafting this type of document (advert and approach letter) and would like to be involved can they please let me know?

David Allard commented on the difficulty in getting people to sign up for coach outings – not as high as previously.

7. Footpath Secretaries’ Reports (David Allard)

There are still two long outstanding proposals for diversions, which I hope will be concluded during the coming year. These are:-

Barley 14

I was invited to attend a meeting of Barley Parish Council when the PC agreed to withdraw their objection and the solicitors are now endeavouring to satisfy other objectors so that the diversion can be confirmed. I have taken Royston group members on an evening walk along the new route which has been in use for some time but only as a permissive path. On the next programme I shall be leading a morning walk along the new path by which time I hope that the diversion will have been confirmed. It is no longer feasible for the path to go through the gardens of the converted barns and the route around the gardens provides a satisfactory alternative.

Barkway 10

This path, which goes from Gas Lane, close to the Tally Ho public house, and then through the garden of Rushingwells is proposed for diversion to avoid having to go through the garden. I have yet to meet a walker who wants to walk through the garden so it is to be hoped that a diversion will be agreed in due course. Barkway parish council are meeting on 20th October to discuss the matter. An Alan Tonge has written to RA Central Office saying he objects to the diversion. He did not give anaddress and only a mobile phone number. It may be some local disagreement but if Barkway PC are happy, we need not be too concerned. 

I report from time to time problems such as overgrown paths or damaged bridges but
these have not been too frequent or serious. On 11th September at 7.30am I was
treated to breakfast at the Old Bull Hotel after which I gave a short talk about the
Ramblers. There were 11 people there apart from me from many organisations in
Royston. I gave all the participants a copy of our current programme.
I continue to attend all the footpaths secretaries’ meetings, which are held four times a year and I do the Minutes. These take me about four hours. The meetings give an
opportunity to discuss problems.
The Big-Pathwatch concerns the walking of all rights of way within grid squares. This
can be undertaken either if you have a computer or a smart phone. Martin Shaw
completed some squares with his smart phone and I completed 20 squares using my
computer. I have brought some of the paperwork tonight to show you but the
information gathered then has to be input into one’s computer. I found it hard work and consider that I have done my share and it would be good if some other group
members could do a few squares as well. Photos can be added if a smart phone is
used but not if one uses a computer. One adds features such a good views or
impassable paths (I found 2). I reported any problems I found to HCC as usual.
8. Area News
Nothing significant to report. Royston group’s turn to do teas at Area AGM Saturday
23rd January 2016 at Woolmer Green Village Hall.
9. Election of Officers:
The following were proposed and seconded to continue in post:
Martin Shaw (Chairman)
Alan Ellis (Treasurer)
Lesley Abbiss (Secretary)
Mike Flexmore (Area Representative)
David Allard (Programme Secretary)
John Heap
Eric Addicott
It was also agreed formally to re-appoint Ian Chamberlain as independent examiner