THE CAUGHLEY SOCIETY
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UNAPPROVED AGM MINUTES - 2021

UNAPPROVED MINUTES OF THE VIRTUAL ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD BETWEEN 6th MARCH AND 10th APRIL 2021


PREAMBLE

The governing document of The Caughley Society requires it to hold an Annual General Meeting every year at the time of its April meeting.  Under the coronavirus rules, it was not possible to hold this face-to-face, but the committee of trustees agreed to hold it by email (or post for those members not registered as having email).  This was to ensure that, as a charity, the Society continued to demonstrate its continuing good governance.

PRESENT

On 6th March 2021 papers were sent to the membership of 101 households by email, or by post where no email address was available, with a request for votes to be returned by 10th April 2021.  36 votes were so received, all in favour of items 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 below.

1.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES

The minutes of the AGM held between 23rd March 2020 and 4th April 2020 were APPROVED.

2.  REPORT FROM THE CHAIRMAN AND OFFICERS

The chairman’s report had been circulated to all members. It read as follows:

  • It goes without saying that the last year has been a difficult one for all ceramics societies, The Caughley Society being no exception.  Whilst we were unable to hold face-to-face meetings, we were pleased to be able to stage two online lectures in October and an extra session called ‘Zoom and Brag’ at the end of February.  Both of these were free, the costs being taken from reserves.  Our thanks go to Jonathan Gray and Mark Francis, of the ECC, for managing the technical side of the October session.
  • Working with other ceramics societies such as the Northern Ceramic Society and English Ceramic Circle, we have also been able to secure invitations for members to other online lectures free of charge.  Our thanks go to those societies for their help and hopefully you have enjoyed the opportunity to view some fascinating lectures, on wide-ranging topics, with speakers and participants from across the globe.
  • Our April meeting will similarly be online, but we are hoping that the coronavirus situation will allow us to meet in person in October.
  • I would like to thank Brian Allaker, our programme secretary, for the work he put in to allow us to continue to meet, albeit virtually.  Sadly Brian has decided to stand down from this role after 7 years.  During this time, he has arranged a very wide and fascinating range of speakers for us.  For me, perhaps the most memorable was Annie Gray although everyone will have their own favourites.  Thank you, Brian, for keeping us so well entertained and informed!
  • To keep us going during the last year, the Society has continued to publish its newsletter.  Our thanks go to Chris Brown for peer reviewing articles, to Roger Thornhill and his son David for producing such a professional magazine, and particularly to everyone who has contributed articles.  Without authors, there would be no newsletter, so if you haven’t yet written anything for it, please think about giving it a go.  The occasional series ‘Meet the Collector’ is a very easy way to do this.
  • Talking of the newsletter, you will have noticed that we are now posting this in a card rather than paper envelope.  For some time we had been plagued with reports of newsletters arriving damaged, so we eventually bit the bullet and went with much more robust packaging to ensure it arrived on your doormat in pristine condition.  Unfortunately, the card envelopes not only cost more but have also bumped up the cost of postage.  To cover these additional costs, your committee is recommending that annual subscriptions should increase by £5 a year with effect from next year.  This is the first time subscriptions have increased since the Society was founded back in 1999, but I hope you will agree that it still represents excellent value for money.
  • Meetings and newsletters are the visible aspects of the Society, but behind the scenes all of the other officers and committee members have worked tirelessly to keep the Society buoyant.  My sincere thanks go to all of them.
  • Richard Collier has sadly decided to stand down as archivist and librarian, and I would like to thank him for the way he has developed this role and, in particular, for his great achievement of digitising previous Society newsletters so that they are available to newer members who may not have seen them.
  • I’d also like to thank John Benbow for examining the accounts for 2020 and making sure that we are following best practice.
  • You will have seen in last May’s newsletter the photograph of the devastating floods that hit the Coalport China Museum.  Your committee decided to make a donation of £1,000 towards the appeal to help recover from this, but were saddened to hear that the Museum site was similarly flooded earlier this year.  Our hopes and best wishes go to the Museum and to Kate Cadman and her team that things will be soon be able to be restored back to normal.
  • Talking of money, the other large item of expenditure that the committee agreed in the last year was for the purchase of a dual disc, high capacity external hard-drive.  This was needed to enable the safe storage of the growing number of the large files associated with the pattern book and newsletter.  The equipment cost £543.
  • Current membership of the Society is 101 households, slightly higher than at the same time last year which is of course highly encouraging.
  • Sales of the pattern book have been maintained over the last year, with an average of two a month being sold. It is currently on sale at £40 per copy, with a special discount of £10 for members.  There are only 60 left, so if you want to take advantage of this offer it would be best to do so quickly.
  • Looking forward, we are approaching the 250th anniversary of the opening of the Caughley factory.  Although nobody is quite sure when this was – some time between 1772 and 1775 – your committee is actively involved in looking at possible events to celebrate it.  The effects of the pandemic and lead time to organise something suggest that this is most likely to happen largely in 2025.
  • Finally, the committee is always looking at how things can be further improved for the benefit of members, whether it be the format or content of meetings, the newsletter, or any other Society matter.  If you have any suggestions, please let me or any other committee member know.

3.  ACCOUNTS FOR 2020

The income and expenditure accounts for the year ending 31 December 2020 had been prepared by the treasurer, Thelma Smith, and circulated to all members.  In line with Rule 23, these had been examined by John Benbow.

It was AGREED that the accounts as presented be adopted.

4.  SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR 2022

In the light of the chairman’s comments regarding the increased cost of envelopes and postage for the newsletter, it was AGREED to increase subscriptions for 2022 by £5 i.e. UK: £25 per household; overseas in sterling: £30 per household.

5.  ARRANGEMENTS FOR EXAMINING THE ACCOUNTS FOR 2021

John Benbow had kindly offered to examine the accounts for the financial year 2021.  This was AGREED.

6.  ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS FOR 2021/22

The following elections were AGREED:

Chairman - Chris Riddle
Secretary - Roger Thornhill
Treasurer - Thelma Smith
Archivist & librarian - VACANCY
Meetings organiser - Chris Riddle
Membership secretary - Ivor Smith
Newsletter distribution - Chris Riddle
Newsletter editor - Roger Thornhill
Press & publicity - Olly Cartwright
Programme secretary - Ann Stubbs
Committee member - Simon Bailey
Committee member - David Byrne
Committee member - Tim Dawes
Committee member - Allan Smith
Committee member - Phil Thomas

Secretary’s note: Unfortunately Ann Stubbs has had to stand down, leaving the post of programme secretary vacant.


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