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

you all!


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.


Slinfold Report:


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

        at 2pm.


       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.