Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at Crowle Village Hall on Saturday 8 March 2014, commencing at 2 pm.

Present were Judith Doughty, Secretary, John McGhee Treasurer, who chaired the meeting in the absence of the Chairman, Bev Drewitt, and 54 members and four visitors.

  1. Apologies for absence were received from Bev and David Drewitt, Mick Dunstan, Sue Chitty, John and Val Turner, Jackie Davies, Alan and Sylvia Hale.
  2. To receive and adopt the minutes of the AGM held on 9 March 2013.

    Proposer: Judy Pollitt

    Seconder: Jan Vaughan


  3. Matters arising: none.
  4. Chairman's Report

    This was Mrs Drewitt's final report as Chairman, which again looked back over a year of great activity.

    After earlier difficulties with bookings at Peopleton and to take advantage of a lower rate of hire, the Committee had decided to move indoor meetings to Crowle, which had been booked for 2014 and 2015. Meetings had been well-attended, where members had heard another varied programme of speakers with an excellent, member-provided buffet and free raffle at our pre-Christmas meeting.

    We had held three Coffee Mornings. These were always enjoyable and much appreciated by those who attended, so thank you to Christine Ealing, Wendy Martin and John and Hilda Watts whose gardens we visited. There had been no full-day trips this year, but Judith Doughty organised a morning at Croome Walled Gardens, which proved very interesting for those who joined her. David Pollitt resumed his role of Garden Tour Organiser with a wonderful short tour of Cumbrian gardens, travelling north via two gardens in Cheshire and south via one in Lancashire. We were made especially welcome at the smaller private gardens where the owners were at pains to explain their gardens, name the plants and answer questions. This had to be down to David and Judy's choice of gardens and how they approached the owners. And we had sunshine and warmth virtually all the time – after our forays to supposedly drier climes we had rather expected the worst. Mrs Drewitt thanked David too for his role, with other members of the committee, in organising our second successful Plant Sale, which produced a surplus of over £600. And she also thanked all who supported them by contributing time, plants and know-how, and by buying plants on the day.

    Our display at the Malvern Spring Show, ably orchestrated by John McGhee, was awarded a First in Show by the Three Counties Committee. Mrs Drewitt thanked Nicola Content for the design and display and Ed Brown of Cotswold Garden Plants, Hardy's Cottage Plants and Hutchings and Sons of Badsey for plants. The Malvern display was important in member recruitment, not just for us, but for the National Society, and appreciated as such by National, so thanks were due to all members who took their turn on the stand.

    Mrs Drewitt also thanked the Committee for all their help over the past year: John McGhee for his tireless work, not just as Treasurer to make sure we were in a strong financial position, but all the other activities he had led; Judith Doughty for keeping things co-ordinated and making sure we had a roof over our heads; Julia Dale for seeing to membership issues and ensuring we had refreshments; Marilyn Wrightson for another good crop of speakers, Celia Guest for organising the coffee mornings and the raffle, Lynda Niccolls who had worked hard to make us better known than we used to be, and Kathryn Elrick Smith for editing the newsletter.

    Then there were the members who do regular 'jobs' without being on the committee, but without whom we wouldn't be such a well-functioning group – Judy Pollitt and Margaret Lewis for the plant stall, Jenny Constant for being our Conservation Scheme Co-ordinator, Colin Doughty for the website, members who baked cakes and served the refreshments. Membership had grown recently, due to the publicity, but also due to members who encouraged their friends to come along and who welcomed those who visited first. Mrs Drewitt appealed to them all to keep up the good work.

  5. Past Chairman's Remarks

    On Mrs Drewitt's standing down, past Chairman Mrs Dale thanked her on behalf of the members for her excellent leadership of the group. She had taken over from Mrs Dale and had been a wonderful chairman. She had not been keen to take the post, but had proved a most resilient and resourceful leader of the group. Her time as Chairman had seen great changes, location, growth, variety and a well developed esprit de corps. Mrs Dale had looked forward to her welcome and introduction at each meeting, as she had a well developed control of the English language and with the use of tone could convey more than she actually said. Mrs Drewitt had had some very difficult personal times during her chairmanship but she had never let that interfere with the running of the group. Mrs Dale hoped she would be able to relax as a normal member at future meetings and leave the management in the next pair of capable hands.

  6. To receive and adopt the accounts for the financial year ended 31 December 2013.

    The Treasurer began his remarks by noting that the Group had been rebuilt over the past six or seven years, and that it was now a growing Group, which meant growth in finances. The surplus now stood at nearly £7,000, which some might consider excessive. The Committee had therefore decided that some of this should be returned to the members in the form of a celebration in September 2015 to mark the Group's 20th anniversary. The surplus also meant that the annual subscription of £12.50 would be adequate for the next few years. He referred members to the Five-Year Review, which showed that the Plant Sale had contributed £610; £70 of the Plant Support income had come from sales at the Plant Sale. Income from Donated Plant Sales had decreased and he appealed to members to consider bringing a plant to each meeting. Proceeds of the raffle were very good, as were those from Coffee Mornings.

    Speakers' costs had risen, something we had to expect.

    Proposer: Becky Dale

    Seconder: Jan Vaughan


  7. Election of Officers

    Bev Drewitt having served three years did not offer herself for re-election. Jan Vaughan offered herself for the office of Chairman.

    Proposer: Judith Doughty

    Seconder John McGhee

    Judith Doughty, having served for two years, offered herself for re-election as Secretary.

    Proposer: David Pollitt

    Seconder: Kathryn Elrick Smith

    John McGhee having served for more than three years, did not offer himself for re-election. Roger Smith offered himself for the office of Treasurer.

    Proposer: John McGhee

    Seconder: Marilyn Wrightson

    There being no other nominations, they will serve for twelve months.

  8. Election of Committee

    Marilyn Wrightson and Julia Dale, having served for three years or more, offered themselves for re-election.

    Kathryn Elrick-Smith, having served for two years, offered herself for re-election.

    Lynda Niccolls and Celia Guest, having served for three years, did not offer themselves for re-election. Judith Davis and Mick Dunstan offered themselves to serve on the Committee.

    Proposer: David Pollitt

    Seconder: Alwyn Stanley

    There being no other nominations, they will serve for twelve months.

  9. Election of an independent examiner of the accounts

    Mr Jonathan Davies was proposed by Vivienne McGhee and seconded by David Pollitt.


  10. To transact any other business of which 21 days' notice had been given: none.

The meeting closed at 14.15.

Judith Doughty, Secretary