Summary of the 17th Annual General Meeting of the South East Region
of The Caravan Club
The Tillingbourne School, Chilworth, Surrey
9th November 2013
Chairman’s AGM Report for 2013:
Brian extended a warm welcome to everyone from himself and the Officers of the South East
We have held 6 Region meetings this year with a good attendance from Centre Reps, non
Centre Reps and Rodney Lambert who is Vice-Chairman of the Club, and Executive
Member Mr John Page.
Rodney has been our representative from the Club for several years and is a valued member of
our Council, with his knowledge of The Caravan Club. He also keeps us informed of news,
developments and changes at the Club. Thank you Rodney for your continued support.
John Page, a member of the Executive Committee, has also recently joined us following his
move from Rugby. Welcome John.
Thanks also go to the Centre and non-Centre reps who give up their time to attend the Council
meetings and for the input that they generate.
I must now apologise to some Centres.
In my first year as Regional Chairman, Sheila and I managed to visit every Centre in the
Region and at last year’s AGM I said that I would try and repeat this. Unfortunately I failed,
try as I may there did not seem to be enough weekends in the year to achieve this. As a school
report would say: I really must try harder! My life is like a loo roll at the present, the nearer to
the end it gets, the faster it goes.
The weekend after last year’s AGM Paul Funnell, who sadly is not with us to-day, Jen,
Sheila and I travelled up to Worksop to act as tellers at the Central Region’s AGM where
we were made most welcome and following a tour of duty at the meeting, we were treated
to a home cooked roast meal and entertained by a professional singer that one of their
Centres has managed to befriend.
The down side of the weekend was the £60 parking fine for overstaying our welcome in a car
park by 20 minutes! The lesson learnt: not to sit in car waiting for a parking attendant to arrive
and drive off before he gets to you, but look out for the hidden camera that is watching you!
We attended the Scottish National, where again we were made most welcome by the Scottish
Division who really appreciate visitors joining them.
On Friday evening Sheila and I, along with Diane and Rodney Lambert, were invited in by Ian
and Christine Maclean, the Scottish President, for an evening meal which turned out to be a
very pleasant evening.
We find the Scottish National a very relaxed affair with plenty of time to visit the local area as
well as the evening entertainment that they organise.
We also spent time with other members from our Region who had travelled up to the rally.
Following on from Scotland next was the English National at Belvoir Castle.
This started a little on the damp side.
Martin and Lindsay Cullimore, Sheila and I were invited to judge the Traders stalls allocating
prizes for the best in show in various categories on the Friday. The four of us carried out this
gallant task in the pouring rain and up to our ankles in mud. For next year I have volunteered
to judge the alcoholic establishments on site!
On the Saturday we joined up with the Central, Northern Home Counties and Anglia Regions to
organize a reception to thank all at the National who have helped the Regions in any way and
over two hundred joined us at the reception.
I must congratulate the Events Committee who organise the National. The sun came out and
stayed out drying up the mud, this along with the excellent entertainment, in particular the
October Fest, added up to a memorable National.
The South East Region has this year organised three events. The first was our Question Time
at the Gatwick Manor Hotel on Saturday 13th April. Over one hundred Club members
attended this event along with various members of the Club staff who answered all of the
questions put forward. I think everybody left a little bit wiser and also learnt what the Club
has to offer to its members.
We will be arranging another Question Time next year on Saturday 12th April at the Village
Hotel which is just off junction 6 of the M20 at Maidstone, Kent and the Bearsted Club Site
is only a short drive away.
We held our Meet the Members at the Battle Club site on 26th-27th July, with the usual format of
cheese and wine on Friday evening, and Burgers and hot dogs on Saturday afternoon. Friday
evening was very well attended with officers of the Club and the Region kept occupied with
talking to our guests. Unfortunately, Saturday afternoon was spoiled by heavy rain which kept
most members in their caravans. Those that did brave it were well fed and watered and the
children kept entertained at the popular craft table.
One question that kept coming up was members trying to book two weeks or more on Club Sites
but being unable to because the weekends in the middle were fully booked. I don’t know the
answer to that and I don’t think the Club do either.
We will be arranging another Meet the Members next year but we still have to decide a date and
place. This will be done at our January meeting.
By popular request in July we organised a return trip to the Kent and East Sussex Railway for an
evening meal aboard their Pullman Train on what turned out to be the hottest evening of the year.
Following canapés and Pimm’s on the platform, 69 of us boarded the train at Tenterden for the
trip to Bodiam and back whilst enjoying a four course meal, wonderfully served by their
volunteer staff in a very relaxed atmosphere.
I must mention the chef, Megan, who was working in temperatures of 87 degrees whilst cooking
our meal and also the poor guard who, having been accosted by certain ladies belonging to the
South London Centre, refused to enter their carriage again! I must thank the East Kent Centre for
hosting a rally for this event and also the land owners, Tony and Jennie Beaney, for providing the
rally field. I have been asked to organise a return trip, which will be on Saturday 4th July 2015.
Sheila and I also joined over 200 families at Apps Court for the Southern Centres Rally over the
August Bank Holiday. Darren Charnock and his team have got this event just about right and I
don’t think that they can improve on what they organised this year, but who knows? Well done to
Brian thanked all who have been involved with The South East Region in 2013, and for their input and assistance with the Regional events.
The Hon. Treasurer’s Report (Mr. Mark Sinclair-Watson)
Mark asked if everyone had seen a copy of the Financial Statement, he then undertook brief explanation of the statement and then asked if anyone had any questions. There were none.
The Chairman thanked Mark for compiling his report and asked if there were any objections to
Mark’s Report being accepted. There were none.
The Election of Officers:
The Chairman asked the current post holders to hand in their badge of Office and leave the
platform. He asked the floor to show their appreciation for the work they have done over the past
There was no need for an election, as all officers were returned unopposed.
Appointment of Auditors:
The Chairman proposed the continued services of Feist Hedgethorne of Preston Park, Brighton.
He asked if there were any objections.
Approval was asked for by a show of hands. The proposal was accepted.
The Chairman called upon George Davey, our retiring Co-Ordinator for Slinfold, to give his report.
George read out his Report: 2013 was the ninth year of voluntary warden operations at the
Slinfold site. Despite the great improvement in our summer weather, our total site night
numbers are down by some 8% this year, however we will not run at a loss and will make
a little profit.
Having tendered my “retirement” to be effective from the end of the 2013 season, the keys were
handed over to Brian Taylor at the close down weekend. Jenny and I wish him and Sheila all the very best for the coming season, and hope they have great success.
Brian said that ten years ago, the club decided it was no longer viable to keep Slinfold open with
paid wardens. Region offered this site to be run by volunteer wardens and needed someone to
oversee the general running of the site. George offered to do this for us and has held the post for
nine seasons. Together, with volunteer wardens, many of whom are here to-day, he pulled the
site up from the dismal site to the gem it is to-day. He gave his thanks to George and Jenny on
behalf of the South East Region.
They were then presented with a gift from the Region.
Any Other Business:
Ken Sumpter, a past Regional Chairman, raised points about communication with members and the involvement of the website, and after a lengthy and informative discussion The Chairman agreed to take his concerns to the next Club Council meeting, and would report back in due course.
Club Vice Chairman Mr Rodney Lambert:
Rodney said he usually like to bring fresh, great and inviting news to these meetings. To-day, he had
nothing like that!
He would like to thank Brian and his Officers for their work over the past twelve months. They were
hard-working, committed and do a good job. The message may not be getting out, but this was the same
across the country, not just in the South East Region.
He would also like to thank the Centre and non-Centre Reps. for what they are doing for the Club.
Rodney also added his thanks to George and Jenny. He remembered, nine years ago, after two days of
training, entering the Slinfold site which was a cave covered in a tunnel of trees. With George’s
efforts the site is now one of the nicest in the Club. Thanks George.
This year at a Council Meeting, Nick Lomas discussed how the Club could persuade Members they
were getting good value for money. He compared the cost of living, pay and rising costs against the
charges for Club services offered. These were going up gently. With information based on the average
wage and cost of fuel in 1980, the real cost of petrol is only half the cost of fuel then. We think we are
paying a fortune now but it is not as expensive as we think and we prefer to spend our money on
In the last four years, the cost of fuel has been more or less static which is good news for caravanners.
However, the cost of caravans has gone up a lot!
The Caravan Club does not have Red Letter Days, but Rodney does! He calls them this because he and
his Events Committee have some involvement and responsibility in them.
Motorcaravanners have gas guzzling units and pay £170 a year road tax. Mr. Osborne has caught up
with them and from 1st January, they will be paying against their emissions. This is for new vehicles
only. Payment could be £2-3,000 on road tax. That’s justice!
Not so in small van conversions. These will pay Range Rover road tax if bought new next year.
The club has noticed that lots of wives drive motor homes, rather than their husbands, and the Club has
a Motor Manoeuvring course for wives to buy husbands for Christmas!
This is one of my Red Letter Days.
It is not good news for caravanners either. Brussels is in favour of MOTs for caravans. This is not
thought to be necessary by the Club as accidents are usually caused by poor loading or bad driving,
rather than a mechanical fault. MOTs will not rectify this problem.
This will not be just a registration, but road tax as well. It will add to the cost of our hobby from
2018 if it does come in.
The Caravan Club, the “other” Club and the Government are lobbying this legislation.
Another Red Letter Day is the Practical Manoeuvring Course for caravanners. This is ideal for
husbands to buy for their wives for Christmas!
The next Red Letter Day, which is close to my heart, is the Club National. I have some booking forms
which are difficult to come by. Someone at the Club has said that everyone can book on-line and the
forms are not necessary!
Arley Hall is a fantastic venue and we have been to visit it in the summer to see what it is like when in
use. The house is fantastic and all will be within view of this; there is excellent entertainment and the
Events Manager has been persuaded to provide a Real Ale bar!
Rodney invited everyone to come to Arley Hall where 1938 pitches are available. There may be some
more land available, but they are working on quality rather than quantity for next year’s National.
Everyone should enjoy a fantastic weekend. He is hoping for sunny weather, but it is in the West
Country and not the East!
This is my third Red Letter Day. The forms are here and there is no charge until you book!
Another thank you goes to the Southern Centres. We were invited for the weekend and had a
fantastic time. The bar sold real ale, which unfortunately, ran out!
The Annual Members meeting was the last meeting as next year it will be an AGM. The
reasons for this will be in the Magazine at the end of the month. The reconstruction of Articles of
Association means changes in Company Law and the way we do things. This AGM will be held on
the 25th October 2014 at The National Motorcycle Museum on the M42 in Birmingham, starting
This is enough from me; keep up the caravanning, enjoy a great hobby and pastime and we will see
you down the road! Thank you very much.
Brian thanked Rodney for his input.