Governance and AGM

In readiness for the 2023 AGM, to be held on Saturday 25th February 2023 at Llanymynech Village Hall, here are the Draft Minutes from the previous AGM held in 2022.

FRIENDS OF THE MONTGOMERY CANAL

MINUTES OF THE TWENTIETH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – DRAFT

[Held online via Zoom on 26th February 2022 at 15.00 hours]                                  

Committee Members Present

Mrs C Palin (Chairman)         Ms M Ellis (Treasurer and Membership Secretary   Mr C Bushnell Mr A Jenkinson  Mr M Limbrey  Mr R Mansell

Apologies for absence

Mr D & Mrs S Duggan, Mr I & Mrs A Lloyd, Ms F Pearson, Mr A & Mrs P Hill, (Mr A & Mrs G Roberts, Mr P Bettley)

Record of Attendance: 27 people

The meeting was chaired by Mrs C Palin

Minutes of the AGM held on 27th February 2021

The minutes were accepted. Proposed by Chris Bushnell and seconded by Ray Wood.

Chairman’s Report

Chris Palin welcomed the attendees with the news that the Montgomery Canal was included in the Government’s levelling up scheme and was awarded 15.4 million pounds which is intended to be used on the Welsh Section from Llanymynech to Maerdy including reinstating Walls Bridge and Williams Bridge and to create a nature reserve to provide an additional space for flora and fauna. The canal has recently received visits from Mr Craig Williams, the MP for Montgomeryshire who had urged the Prime Minister during Prime Minister’s question time to ‘put his weight’ behind the plans to re-open the Montgomery Canal.  The canal also received a visit from Simon Hart, the Secretary of State for Wales and he was given a presentation by Mr John Dodwell outlining the plans for the future of the restoration.  This visit was followed more recently by a visit from Rebecca Pow, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and she was welcomed by John Dodwell and Richard Parry, Chief Executive of Canal and River Trust and who made the Minister aware of the potential for a fully restored canal.  Powys County Council was also represented at both of these visits and it is encouraging that the Council is so supportive of the waterway.

Due to Covid, only two of our usual events took place during last year.  The Lock Wind took place in July with over 80 boats being wound through over the two days and over £600 being raised through donations and sales.  Our thanks must, as always, go to Linda and Roger Butler who live at the Lock Cottage at New Marton who always give their unstinting help at the event.

After much deliberation, it was decided not to hold the annual Triathlon in May due to the ongoing Covid situation but in view of the eventual, apparent, reduced transmission of the virus we eventually decided to re-schedule for September 4th.  However, due to the ongoing restoration at Crickheath, we had to shorten the route, thereby making it 26 ½ miles long and re-christening the ‘Marathon Triathlon’.  The running order was changed to bikes, boats and boots and was very well received by participants and had certain advantages from an organisational point of view. Hopefully next year circumstances will be even more settled so we have set a day for May 6th.

A particular concern to all involved in the committee that runs the Friends is highlighted.  We have lost committee members for various reasons since we last met and today two further committee members are not seeking re-election.  Maggie Ellis who is both our Treasurer and our Membership Secretary wishes to relinquish the post of Membership Secretary. As many of you know, she also manages all the Triathlon Bookings as well, which takes a great deal of her time.  We give our grateful thanks to Maggie for all she has done. 

Furthermore, Sean Bish is not seeking re-election as a committee member and he has been invaluable in dragging us into the world of technology and it is because of him that we now have an excellent website and an account on Facebook. 

All this means that we are a reducing committee and the reality is that we would benefit from younger members in order to help us move forward.   I would appeal to anyone who has the necessary IT skills to monitor Facebook and the Website to contact me in order to help out.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you would have to become a committee member and Sean has very kindly offered to give his assistance to anyone who thinks they can help in order to get them started.

Finally, could I give ‘The Brain of Monty Quiz’ a plug.  All proceeds from this quiz go the restoration appeal.  This has been more difficult to administer during the last twelve months due to Covid but if you contact Dawn Aylwin – her details are in the Winter newsletter she will be able to provide you with a copy.  

Treasurer’s Report

Maggie Ellis reported that finances had benefitted from the lifting of lockdown and developments linked to the new website.  A PayPal Charity account had been opened last summer, with reduced transaction fees and donations from the PayPal Giving Fund.  The account was linked to the Friends’ website so new members could join and pay subscriptions online and customers of the website’s new online ‘Shop’ could pay for goods.

Pages of the statutory accounts of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust had been circulated. 

Overall income increased by over a quarter.  Subscriptions rose by almost £500 – largely from the 40 new members who joined online, including three corporate members.  Donations included £274 from the PayPal Giving Fund but were lower and so Gift Aid refunds were also lower.  Income from the use of the Friends’ canoes based in Maesbury, bounced back to pre-pandemic levels and we were indebted to Iain and Fiona at Canal Central for hosting the canoes.  Income from the sale of goods increased significantly including sales at the Annual Lockwind and from the website shop.

Overall Costs decreased.  Newsletter production and distribution costs were broadly similar and we were again indebted to Andrew Jenkinson’s family for their help in reducing postage costs.  General expenses were down, largely owing to reduced website costs.

The £5,000 donation towards the Restoration, announced at last year’s AGM, was duly paid.  In April, the Committee agreed to donate a further £2,500 as match-funding for the Mid-Wales Growth Deal Economic Impacts Study and this was shown as restricted funds.  The Committee had now decided to donate a further £1,000 towards the Restoration.  This meant that the Friends had donated a total of £9,500 to the Restoration since 2019.

For the 2021 Triathlon, there was no point comparing previous figures as the 2020 Triathlon didn’t happen.  Entry fees totalled about £4,600, including funds brought forward from the postponed 2020 event.  This was lower than for previous Triathlons and so expenditure was also lower.  Entrants donated about £700 of their ‘unused’ fees toward the Restoration.  This means that the Triathlon had donated a total of about £6,700 to the restoration since 2019.

2020-21 Financial Statement

The Statement of accounts for the year ended 31st October 2021 was accepted.

 
Election of the Committee

The Chairman asked if there were any nominations. As none were received and as the named Members had agreed to continue with their posts, they were re-elected en bloc. The Committee would be as follows:

Christine Palin [Chairman] ● Maggie Ellis [Treasurer and Membership Secretary] ● Chris Bushnell [Newsletter Production] ● Gill Roberts [Social Secretary] ● Patricia Hill [Minutes Secretary]

and    ● Alan Hill ● Andrew Jenkinson ● Michael Limbrey ● Roy Mansell ● Alan Roberts

Any Other Business

Michael Limbrey updated the meeting with a visual presentation on the progress of the restoration at School House Bridge.

Chris Palin reminded everyone about the St. David’s Day Walk, which she would be leading on Sunday 6th March and the St. George’s Day Walk, which had been postponed to Saturday 30th April.

In the absence of the programmed speaker, Jason Leach, CRT’s Head of ExternaL Programme Delivery, John Dodwell gave an overview of the Levelling Up Fund award and and outlined plans for the restoration of Walls and Williams Bridges which would be part of the works covered by the award.

> The Annual General Meeting was closed at 16.17<

     
 

                                                                                        Minutes accepted                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                      Dated