The 2017 AGM and 33rd meeting of our Association took place in Carmarthen on the weekend of 29th September as guests of the local association who planned and delivered an excellent event. The Sheriffs of Berwick, Canterbury, Carmarthen, Chester, York, Gloucester Haverfordwest, Lichfield, Lincoln, Nottingham, Norwich, Oxford, Poole, Southampton and York attended along with members and their consorts. The Ivy Bush Hotel, in the centre of Carmarthen, was chosen as the ‘Conference Hotel’ and many members stayed there; others took accommodation in the wide range of excellent hotels and B&B in the town.
On Friday members assembled in the town and, in the evening, a reception was held in the Guildhall hosted by the Sheriff of Carmarthen. Members and their guests were treated to drinks and canapes and welcome speeches from the Sheriff who also gave details of the plans for the weekend ahead.
The AGM was held on Saturday morning in the Guildhall and was formally opened by our President, Andrew Gravels. The out-going Chairman, Peter Barratt, gave his final report as he was ending his three-year Term of Office and return thanks were offered. The Treasurer’s Report was, as ever, detailed but lightened by his presentations to those who helped his efforts by, for instance, by paying fees by BACS as well as early and prompt bookings. There was one motion for debate but, as it was not included as an agenda item, the Officers agreed to discuss it at the February Officers’ meeting and bring forward their conclusions and an appropriate motion to the AGM in September 2018.
As there was more than one nomination for Chairman a paper ballot was held between John Hartshorne of Nottingham and John Ebo of Chester. John Ebo, gaining the majority of votes, was elected and took the chair. A further ballot took place for the role of vice-Chairman; John Hartshorne of Nottingham and Jonathan Tyler of York; John Hartshorne on receiving the majority of votes was duly elected. Andrew Swinburne and Jan Lugg were unanimously re-elected as Treasurer and Secretary respectively. After an excellent buffet lunch, members were off on the arranged tours including to the Welsh Botanical Gardens.
The Annual Dinner was held in the Ivy Bush and excellent fayre was had with, appropriately, a distinctive Welsh flavour. Our speaker this year was the broadcaster Huw Edwards, a wonderful coup for Team Carmarthen. Huw, accompanied by his Mother who still lives locally, spoke eloquently of his experiences as a tv journalist and of the significant role Carmarthen played in the Welsh referendum. A presentation was made to Peter Barratt as thanks for his services to the Association as vice-Chairman and Chairman over a period of six years. In all a truly excellent occasion to be remembered by all: DAI YAWN!!
On Sunday morning, the Annual Service took place in St Peter’s Church and was preceded by a parade through the town centre led by a band. The Revd. Canon Leigh Richardson gave the homily and we returned, in parade, to the Guildhall for Coffee and farewells.
I am a very much aware that our weekends take a lot of organising and I would like to record thanks to Andrew Swinburne and Jan Lugg for their administrative skills and to Phil Grice and Emlyn Schiavone for providing such a memorable weekend.
Looking forward to the 34th AGM in September 2018, we meet in Southampton on 28th-30th September. I and my fellow Officers look forward to meeting you all at that time. We would be grateful for any items or motions for the agenda to be received as early as possible and advise that we hold a committee meeting in February to discuss the arrangements for September.
John Ebo, Chairman, December 2017