The South East Region AGM 2014
Minutes of the 18th Annual General Meeting of the South East Region
of The Caravan Club
The Holy Trinity School Crawley Surrey
15th November 2014
Mr. Brian Taylor Chairman
Mr. Paul Funnell Vice Chairman
Mr. Mark Sinclair-Watson Honorary Treasurer
Mr. Peter Newman Honorary Secretary
Mr. Rodney Lambert Caravan Club Vice-Chairman
Mr. John Page Executive Member of The Caravan Club
Together with 103 Members
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 2.34pm and asked the Hon. Secretary to read out the notice convening the meeting. The Hon. Secretary read the notice and introduced Mary Stockwell who was acting as Minute Secretary.
The Chairman welcomed and thanked everyone for their attendance especially The Club Vice-Chairman, Mr. Rodney Lambert and his wife Diane, Executive Member Mr. John Page and his wife Marjorie, Past Regional Chairmen, Centre Chairmen and those attending their first Regional AGM. He also introduced the tellers for the meeting, Mr Martin Cullimore, Chairman of the South West Region and his wife Lindsay, Mrs Di Kallus, Hon. Secretary of the South West Region and her husband Steve. Brian also thanked the South London Chairman and Committee for hosting the weekend and making the arrangements for the meeting. He then asked that all mobile devices be switched off for the duration of the meeting and pointed to the fire exits.
The Chairman asked if everyone present had a copy of the Minutes of the 17th AGM held on Saturday 9th November 2013 together with the Balance Sheet for 2013.
He asked that if Members wished to speak, they should raise their hand and wait for the microphone, and to assist the Minute Secretary, clearly state their name. Only Members residing in the South East Region who have not previously spoken or voted at any other Region’s AGM’s were permitted to speak.
Apologies for Absence:
Were received from:
Jim and Linda Brown, John and Pearl Forrest, David and Irene Jordan, Nick and Chris Childs, Laurie and Liz Manning, Sue Johnson and Janet Mankelow
Minutes of meeting held on 9th November 2013
The Chairman then ensured all present had a copy of the minutes for the 17th AGM held on 9th November 2013 and also a copy of the Balance Sheet for 2013 and detailed one amendment to those Minutes and asked if anyone had any further amendments. There were none so he asked for a proposer and seconder for the acceptance of these Minutes.
Proposer: Ken Sumpter
Seconder: Tony Beaney.
Acceptance was unanimous.
Matters arising from the Minutes
There were none.
Chairman’s Report for 2014
Good afternoon everybody.
May I extend a warm welcome to you all from myself and the officers of the South East Region.
We have held six Region meetings this year, all with a good attendance from Centre representatives, non Centre representatives, Rodney Lambert, who is a Vice Chairman of the Caravan Club and John Page who is on the Executive Committee.
Rodney is our representative from the Caravan Club and he keeps us informed with any news and information from Headquarters. With his vast knowledge of The Club and its workings he is a most welcome member to our meetings. He is also Chairman of The Events Committee.
John is on the Technical Committee at The Caravan Club and brings with him all the answers to any technical topics that may arise.
Thank you both for giving up your evenings and coming to support us.
This year we have had a new non Centre member and an observer join the Council. They are Mr John Hoy who is the non centre member and Mr Ken Chivers who is the Observer. Both use a lot of Club sites and have brought some interesting topics to the meetings.
Thank you both for joining the Council and for your input at the meetings.
Thanks to Darren Charnock for compiling the 2014 WHAT’S ON leaflet for us.
The weekend following our AGM we were invited to South West Region’s AGM at Poole in Dorset. Unfortunately due to a serious illness Paul and Jen Funnell were unable to join us. As none of the other officers were able to take his place due to previous commitments I invited Charles and Ann Patrick to join Sheila and me as tellers for their AGM which they duly accepted. We all had a most enjoyable time there and it is good to see how other regions run their AGM’s. Thank you both for your time, support and company.
Sheila and I again went up to the Scottish National where we were greeted in the usual friendly manner. We were invited into Ian and Marion Bennett’s caravan for a meal on Friday evening. Ian is The Vice President of the Scottish Division of The Caravan Club and we had a lovely time with them catching up with all their news.
On the Saturday evening they held their annual Dinner Dance where we were served an excellent meal which was followed by dancing to a superb band.
This was followed on Sunday evening by a Scottish Dance where we joined up with others from down south. Both of these events were held at Aboyne Castle in their Coo Cathedral which turned out to be a posh name for a cow shed. Still it had been turned into a rather attractive events venue.
My next outing was to the English National at Arley Hall, in Northwich. Those of you who were at last year’s AGM may recall that at the 2013 National Sheila and I joined Martin and Lindsay Cullimore in judging the trade stands where we all got soaked and covered in mud. Following this I suggested that at this year’s National we judged the food stalls and bars, this fell on deaf ears as yet again we were out in the mud with our wellies on. Apparently somebody thinks we are the fittest couples to do this job. Doesn’t say a lot for the other Region Chairmen does it.
Again we joined up with the Anglia, Northern Home Counties and Central Regions for a reception to say thank you to all those at the National who have helped the regions over the past year.
I must say a big well done to The Events Committee for all the hard work they had put into organising this event, I know it rained an awful lot which resulted in loads of problems with vehicle movement etc. but the work put in by the volunteers who helped to get members onto and off their pitches as best they could. This reduced the problems as much as humanly possible. That said the entertainment laid on was excellent and even the bar prices have come down to a reasonable price. I am sure that Rodney will have something to say about next year’s National at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire later on.
The South East Region has organised three events this year. The first was our question time at The Village Hotel at Maidstone, a new venue for us which worked out very well with a different catchment area bringing in different club members who joined in with the discussions brought on by the questions raised. Next year’s question time will be at a venue yet to be decided.
Next we went to The Abbey Wood Club site for our Meet the Members event, this was a little disappointing in the number of visitors who came into our marquee to see us. Although the site was full most of the guests did not return from London until late in the evening and were too tired to join us. Still those who did come proved good company. We had people from France, Germany, Holland and Italy as well as England and even managed to get several families from different areas of France together who left us having decided to holiday together in the future. We also managed to advertise the services that The Club offers apart from their sites.
The wardens on site could not have been more helpful if they tried, one couple even spent one evening helping us to talk to the members there.
We will be holding another Meet the Members next year at Rowan Park over the weekend of 17th – 19th July, a much smaller site where we hope to organise a much more intimate event.
Finally a group of us, along with some of our partners, had a tour of the Caravan Club offices. We were greeted in the board room by Brian Savage who gave us an insight into the organisation and workings of the Club followed by a tour of some of the departments.
The plan was then to go onto the Grasshopper Inn at Westerham, hold a region Council meeting and then sit down to a meal along with our visitors. Well the meeting went OK but the meal came out cold and inedible so we walked out and all had to find some food on the way home. Needless to say we will not be returning there again and will in the future be holding our meetings at The Park Wood Golf Club which is just north of Westerham.
Next year we have booked the Kent and East Sussex Pullman Train for what has become our bi-annual event which is, again, fully booked with a waiting list.
Sadly this year the East Surrey Centre ceased to exist. This was caused mainly by the lack of members supporting their rallies and not being willing to come forward to occupy Committee positions. Hopefully in the future enough people will come forward to reinstate the Centre. All the money that the Centre had in its bank accounts has been ring fenced by the Caravan Club and will be held by them for the foreseeable future. Should the Centre be resurrected this money will be made available.
Although they are the first Centre to close, if members will not support the rallies and be willing to work on committees others are sure to follow, so please support your Centres.
There have been some changes made to the Constitution regarding Regions and Divisions. There will be one representative from each Division or Region (total of 10 members, reduced from 20).
The January Club Council meeting has now been cancelled and will be replaced with a Division and Region Forum to be held at East Grinstead in January. Each Division or Region is allowed to take up to two more representatives to the meeting and this may include independent representatives making a total not exceeding 30.
I must now thank the other officers of the Region who are The Vice Chairman, Paul Funnell. The Secretary, Peter Newman, and The Treasurer, Mark Sinclair-Watson for all their help and support over the last year. Thank you all.
A big thank you must also go to their respective wives. Jen, Glynis and Karen for all their help.
There are some other people who I must thank for their help and support over the past year.
They are Carol and Keith Nicholls who helped at Meet the Members by putting up the marquee, shopping and running the bar for us.
Alison Palmer, who designs and prints all our posters, invitations and Christmas cards for us.
Karen Shipper who has set up and runs our new web site for us after having so many problems with our previous provider.
As a small token of our thanks would you please all come forward and accept a small gift from the Region.
My final thanks must go to Sheila who continues to support me in being Chairman of The South East Region. She continues to be my secretary, my diary, entertainer of guests, navigator and most important, tea lady, where would I be without her?
Thank you Sheila.
This Ladies and Gentlemen concludes my report.
Matters arising from The Chairman’s Report.
Ken Sumpter asked if the new members of the Forum to be held in January would be allowed to speak at that meeting.
Brian replied that he was uncertain of the workings of the meeting but thought they would be allowed to speak both at that and future meetings.
Ken then congratulated the Club on their decision.
Bob Elkington asked how long the East Surrey monies lodged with the Caravan Club would be ring fenced for, and where it would go once no longer ring fenced.
Rodney Lambert informed him that no end date to the ring fencing had been decided upon and reassured the East Surrey membership that, in the Club’s eyes, their Centre still exists although there is no Committee at present. He then gave a brief outline of how to apply to restart the Centre.
Bob was of the opinion that the money would be divided amongst other Centres.
Rodney said he was unaware of this and added that general letters to Centres states that the money belongs to the Caravan Club. It is ring fenced in the hope that the East Surrey Centre is reformed. He urged everyone to encourage East Surrey Centre to reform.
Brian agreed with this statement.
Bob expressed his concerns about the financial aspects, adding that he would prefer the money to go to charity if East Surrey Centre did not reform.
Brian reiterated that the money is ring fenced meaning nothing can be done with it and offered to seek clarification at a forthcoming Regional Meeting.
Rodney offered to inform members of East Surrey if the ring fencing was ending.
Teresa Elkington expressed sadness at the situation regarding East Surrey adding that she felt the Caravan Club needs a strategy if centres fold, she then said she felt the Club had let their Centre down.
Rodney replied that the Club had held a meeting three years ago concerning this and refuted Teresa’s claims. He agreed it was a difficult situation, thanking members for keeping the Centre going and hoping it would be reinstated as soon as possible.
Dave Suckling expressed his feelings about the sad situation.
Brian replied by hoping that something good will result, adding his thanks to all concerned. He concluded by asking how many Centres had a full compliment of Committee Members, very few have.
George Hickman asked if the ring fenced money will receive interest.
Brian replied by saying he was unable to answer.
The Chairman then asked for a proposer and seconder for the acceptance of his report:
Proposer: Darren Charnock
Seconder: Janet Hill.
Acceptance was unanimous.
The Hon. Treasurer’s Report
Good afternoon everyone, I am pleased to announce that once again our accounts are in good order. Those eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that like certain newspapers our attention needs to be drawn to page 3. If you look at the top of page 3 in the “cash at Bank” heading you may have noticed that at the end of 2013 we had £3301 in our account whereas at the end of 2012 we had £8805. Those of you with eagle eyes and many fingers and toes will have worked out that there is a difference of £5504. This is because the Caravan Club now pay our Regional Grant in January instead of December and therefore this figure did not show up on our 2013 accounts. Rest assured it was paid in January this year.
Mark then asked if anyone had any questions. There were none.
He then asked for a proposer and seconder that his report be accepted.
Proposer: Charles Patrick
Seconder: Ken Chivers.
Acceptance was unanimous.
The Chairman then thanked Mark for his report.
7. The Election of Officers:
The Chairman asked the current post holders to hand in their badge of Office and leave the
stage. He asked the floor to show their appreciation for the work they have done over the past
All Officers left the stage.
Brian then asked Mrs. Maggie Scrase, past Regional Chairman, to officiate for the next part of the meeting.
Maggie Scrase introduced the nominees and asked them to retake their place on the platform:
Chairman from one nomination:
Brian Taylor – accepted by a round of applause.
Vice-Chairman from one nomination:
Paul Funnell – accepted by a round of applause.
Honorary Secretary from one nomination:
Peter Newman – accepted by a round of applause.
Honorary Treasurer from one nomination:
Mark Sinclair-Watson – accepted by a round of applause.
The Chairman then thanked Maggie Scrase for conducting this part of the AGM.
Maggie Scrase wished everyone a successful year and then left the stage.
8 Nominations for Club Council
The Hon. Secretary then said we are obliged by the Club to nominate, each year, delegates for
positions within the Club Council. At a meeting of the Region Officers on 5th October
Mr. Brian Taylor was nominated. The Secretary asked if it was the meeting’s wish for Brian to
continue as our representative on Club Council. This was met with a round of applause.
Next there was confirmation of member representation, other than Centres, on the South East Regional Council. There were three nominees: Mrs Carole Meek, Mrs Karen Shipper and Mr John Hoy and one position as an observer, Mr Ken Chivers. He then asked for approval that they act as independent representatives.
9 Address by Rodney Lambert
Rodney began by thanking everyone for a progressive year of commitment especially with regard to the Slinfold Site which Brian co-ordinates and Centres support.
He reported that the Club had enjoyed a steady 12 months and said that all members are now shareholders in the Caravan Club Ltd., this has a positive effect on the Club’s tax liabilities.
He gave brief details of the AGM held in Birmingham, and added that the venue for 2015 is at present unknown. He also said there were no agendas at present for the new Regional and Divisional Forum to be held in January next year.
He continued by stating that the Caravan Club wish to increase support and interest in Divisions and Centres and encourage more liaison between them.
He then gave a brief history of the formation of Club and added his wishes that Centres should continue to exist. Much work is going on to ensure the future successes continue.
Rodney then gave a brief outline of the expected events for next year’s National with reasons for some of the changes proposed.
He concluded by wishing everyone well.
Alf Harvey asked if it was possible for details of the following years venue for the National could be announced at the closing ceremony.
Rodney said if members wished this it would be done.
Maggie Scrase asked if there was any feedback from the questionnaires completed at this year’s National.
Rodney said he would ask the Club if details could be summarised in the Club Magazine.
10 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.
11 Slinfold Report:
The Chairman reported that this was his first year as co-ordinator for the Slinfold Site following the retirement of George Davey at the end of last year. He had been the co-ordinator since the site became a volunteer run site and he did an excellent job in organising the wardens and running the site.
Two couples have asked not to be included in next year’s programme due to ill health or for personal reasons, but six new couples will be joining the team. If there is anybody out there who might be interested in joining us please come and see me after the meeting.
The Club has agreed to my request to improve the office and kitchen. We now have an insulated ceiling to control temperature in the office and a new kitchen has been installed with just a few bits and pieces left to complete.
This season saw an increase of two percent in occupancy over last year, which I am happy with considering that generally site occupation across the network is down.
My thanks must go to Simon Hicks the Area Manager for his help and guidance, but most importantly to all the volunteer wardens who gave up their time to run the site and look after the guests for me. Special thanks must go to Clive Page for all his help in opening and closing the site and passing on his knowledge to me.
This year has been a steep learning curve for me but I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I am now looking forward to next year.
12 Any Other Business:
Nick Harris asked why tents were not allowed at rallies whereas camping pods are allowed on some Club Sites.
Rodney Lambert replied by stating it was the Club’s policy at present but it may change in the future as the matter is under review. He added that some sites have clauses in their leases and that camping pods can extend the camping seasons.
Michael Titheridge reported that the Gatwick Site lease expires soon and asked about the future of storage facilities there.
Rodney reported that he was not aware of this and reassured members that the Club will maintain the Site for as long as possible.
Carol Whiteman asked for an update on the Northbrook Farm Club Site.
Brian Taylor reported that the Site lease is reviewed annually but he does not know why rallies cannot be accepted there.
Rodney said he was not aware of when the lease is renewed and added that it may be the reason for no rallies being accepted. He also said some landowners wish to develop their land.
Carol added that her Centre still wish to rally at this site.
Brian offered to raise the issue at the next meeting at Headquarters.
Bob Elkington returned to the subject of tents on rallies stating that he had been informed by the Caravan Club that if he wished to use a tent he should join the Camping and Caravanning Club.
Rodney reported that some sites are more suitable venues for tents than others, adding that Centres are not allowed to have tents although this may change in the future.
Andy Palmer stated that all outfits should have their own facilities as outlined in the Caravan Club constitution.
Brian replied by stating that rules may change in the future.
Bob Elkington gave his opinion that the Caravan Club is doomed as young families cannot afford caravans.
Brian replied stating that any reactions from the Caravan Club would be passed on to members.
Rodney added that the Club’s exemption certificate excluded the use of tents.
Dave White asked if the Club would consider subsidising youngsters in obtaining their B plus E driving license entitlement thus enabling them to tow caravans.
Rodney replied he felt it was not correct or fair to subsidise other members and added that some driving instructors do teach members to tow caravans and enquiries should be made to the Club.
He concluded by stating that many people now prefer to use small motor homes to overcome this problem.
Ken Wellard asked the Caravan Club to review the future of storage as he felt more spaces were required.
Rodney agreed this was a problem and added that the Club was constantly providing storage at new sites where possible. He added that planning permission was required as well as agreement from local residents and was a huge issue.
Brian assured members that the Club does all it can to assist in this matter.
Ken Sumpter asked if the “What’s On” could continue. He also asked if the information contained in this could be put onto the website.
Brian replied by stating that information was required from Centres before it can be put onto the website.
Ken then replied by stating he wanted to encourage all members to attend rallies and the information needs to be advertised.
Brian replied that this was already available in the Club Magazine.
Ken felt that the “What’s On” should still continue. He also asked if the website could be made more user friendly.
Brian replied that a new website has been put into use but there were still issues with the old one and its operator.
Karen Shipper, the new website co-ordinator, asked members to use the site and provide information for inclusion.
Brian thanked Karen for her input into the website.
Dave Suckling thanked the Region for their support and asked them to liaise with the Caravan Club regarding the issues raised today. He also asked the Club to promote centres and rallying more in order to prevent other Centres failing. He then asked if thanks could be forwarded to Martin Stringer and Janet Pereiria for their help regarding the closure of the East Surrey Centre.
13 Dates and Venue of 2015 AGM
The Hon. Secretary announced that the East Kent Centre will be our hosts next year.
The venue is The Abbey School, London Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8RZ on Saturday 14th
November. Commencing at 2.30 pm.
14 Meeting Close:
The Chairman thanked the following:
Mary Stockwell for taking the minutes.
Tony Crawford for the P.A. System.
The Chairman, Committee and Members of the South London Centre for hosting our weekend
and supplying refreshments for the meeting.
Thank you to anyone who has helped with the running of the meeting in any way.
Everyone attending for their time and support.
All of our guests for giving up their time to be with us today.
There followed a presentation of gifts from the Chairman to the Tellers, and also to Diane
Lambert, Marjorie Page and Sheila Taylor.
Brian Taylor said the Committee and Officers of the South East Region would like to wish
everyone a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year.
He hoped everyone will enjoy their caravanning in the coming year and to have a safe onward
All Centre Members of the Regional Council were asked to stay behind for a short meeting.
The meeting was declared closed at 4.17 pm.