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Held at Neuadd Pendre Social Centre, Brook Street, Tywyn, Gwynedd on September 26th, 1998

On the platform were Jeremy Wilkinson, President, in the Chair; David Mitchell, Chairman, TRPS; Winston McCanna, Chairman, TR Co; Colin Roobottom, Hon Treasurer, TRPS and Accountant, TR Co; John Robinson, Hon Secretary, TRPS and Secretary, TR Co, and Mark Stevenson as minute-taker. There were 199 members present. Jeremy Wilkinson opened the meeting at 3.30 pm.

1. Apologies

Apologies had been received from Vice-Presidents James Boyd and Pat Garland, Vice-Presidential nominee Christopher Awdry and nine other members. Michael Howard added those of Martin Flach, who was attending the christening of his second son. Chris Price suggested that there should be a vote of thanks for him not turning up.

2. Minutes of the 47th AGM

The Minutes of the 47th AGM of the Society, held at Tywyn on September 27th, 1997, having been circulated to members of the Society at that date, Mr Wilkinson proposed that they be taken as read. There were no points of accuracy from the floor and he signed the minutes as being a true record.

3. Matters arising from the Minutes

George Gardiner expressed his great relief on the opening of Dolgoch toilets; commenting that his fire-bucket was now redundant, he suggested that perhaps some thought should be given to toilets elsewhere on the line, such as Brynglas. David Leech responded that if George were ever at Brynglas, he would be supplied with a box of elastic bands.
Michael Howard, as a trustee of the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Trust, responded to Chris Parrott?s questions at last year?s meeting about the number of visitors to the Museum. He had undertaken extensive research, and found that 25 to 30% of the visitors to the Railway also visited the Museum, approximately 14,000 people. This number had remained constant since 1978, even though visitors to the Railway had halved in that time.

4. Election of President

David Mitchell took the Chair and asked the meeting to endorse the Council?s recommendation that Jeremy Wilkinson be elected President. This was agreed. Mr Wilkinson resumed the Chair and thanked the meeting for their continued confidence in him.

5. Election of Vice-Presidents

John Robinson read out the names of those proposed for election as Vice-President. Jeremy Wilkinson drew the meeting?s attention to the death of Colonel J F Williams-Wynne. Richard Hope proposed that they be elected and this was seconded by Bob Cambridge. The following were elected: Christopher Awdry, John Bate, James Boyd, Pat Garland, Dai Jones, Major P M Olver OBE, Sonia Rolt, John Slater, Roy Smith, and Don Southgate.

6. Appointment of Auditors

The appointment of Silver and Co as the Society?s Auditors was proposed by Richard Hope, seconded by Alison Wilkinson and agreed by the meeting. Peter Silver thanked the meeting for re-appointing his firm.

7. Election of Honorary Secretary

John Robinson had been nominated and was willing to continue. His election was proposed by Jeremy Wilkinson, seconded by Phil Higginson and agreed by the meeting.

8. Election of ten members of Council

John Robinson read out the names of the fifteen candidates for Council and they stood to be recognised. Later in the meeting Peter Silver announced the result. 222 papers had been completed with 1894 votes cast as follows: John Smallwood 195, Keith Theobald 186, Phil Guest 167, Dale Coton 157, Lis Mann 151, Richard Hope 146, Tony Randall 137, Chris Parrott 132, Jeremy Wilkinson 129, Gareth Jones 114, Murray Dods 108, Tony Thorpe 89, Ray Reid 74, Simon Jenkins 62, Russell Prince 47. Mrs Mann and Messrs Coton, Guest, Hope, Jones, Parrott, Randall, Smallwood, Theobald and Wilkinson were declared elected.

10. Selection of a name for locomotive No. 10

Jeremy Wilkinson explained that he would take this item next to allow the tellers adequate time and drew the attention of those present to the yellow ballot papers, which carried the five short-listed names for No. 10. Roger Whitehouse gave a concise explanation of the Single Transferable Vote system, commenting that he was available for advice should the Returning Officer need it. Mike Davies wondered why Council had censured the most nominated name, that of Ffyglu; he asked if enough voters wrote Ffyglu on the ballot papers, would Council reconsider their decision? David Mitchell thought not, Jeremy Wilkinson concurred, saying that it was the Chairman of Council that called the shots. Mike Davies strongly disagreed saying that it was not Council that called the shots, it was the people on the floor of the meeting. David Mitchell responded that if the situation arose, then Council would reconsider and the naming by this Annual General Meeting would be invalid. Sue Whitehouse remarked that if any ballot paper was marked with anything other than a cross or a numerical preference, then the paper would be counted as spoilt and therefore invalid.
Both ballot papers were collected at this point. Afterwards, Jeremy Wilkinson asked Nick Briggs, his successor as Company and Society Solicitor, to stand for the benefit of the meeting.
Later in the meeting Peter Silver announced the results and congratulated those who understood the system: 227 papers were returned, 16 were spoilt. The results were: first round: Bill Trinder 35, Bryn Eglwys 42, Cader/Cadair Idris (one form on each side of the locomotive) 44, Volunteer 51, Wilbert Awdry 29; second round: Bill Trinder 41, Bryn Eglwys 50, Cader/Cadair Idris 52, Volunteer 56; third round: Bryn Eglwys 67, Cader/Cadair Idris 66, Volunteer 60; fourth round: Bryn Eglwys 96, Cader/Cadair Idris 87. Therefore the locomotive will bear the name ?Bryn Eglwys?.

9. Reception, Approval and Adoption of Reports

David Mitchell presented the report of Council, amplifying the published information, confirming the acquisition and subsequent sale of the Nant Gwernol woodlands to the Woodland Trust and commenting that the Railway had now achieved the Very Good category in the annual Health and Safety inspection. He stressed the need to keep continually improving our housekeeping in order to maintain the current mark. He commended the Passenger Survey that had been undertaken during the year by Ray Reid; it had elicited some enlightening facts: the Talyllyn always got high marks for the friendliness of the staff and cleanliness of the trains, although there was slight dissatisfaction with the standards of comfort in the trains; he understood that Dale Coton had plans to rectify this. Mr Mitchell reminded members that the annual timetable leaflet was our most important marketing tool and appealed for new distribution volunteers to come forward; as shown by Ray Reid?s survey, once the visitors had come to Tywyn, a large proportion would make a repeat visit. He thanked all the operating volunteers and those who worked in the background at exhibitions, the Talyllyn News stuffers and the shop staff. He also mentioned the possibility of acquiring new land in order to allow the redevelopment of Pendre and Wharf, a topic that had ebbed and flowed over the past few decades.
Maurice Wilson reported the status of the season?s operations thus far, it had not been the best season, the bad weather in the early part of the year, coupled with the strong pound and cheap foreign holidays had produced a drop in traffic, but the Talyllyn was not as badly affected as the rest of the Great Little Trains; bookings were 8.5% down and receipts were 1.3% down, this was an improvement on two or three years ago due to the decision to increase the fares. The Shop was 9.5% or ?9,000 down, the Catering Department was 6% down. However, the returns from Llechfan were encouraging, takings were up 4.1% and bed-nights were up 11.9%.
Colin Roobottom presented the Treasurer?s report, commenting also on 1998 so far. This year there had been a total of ?22,000 spent on non-routine items: ?4,300 on Dolgoch Toilets, ?2,400 on the flail-mower and ?5,200 on a replacement milling machine; however the largest single item was the new fire alarm system at Pendre. The income of the TRPS was similar to last year, with no subscription increase. The reduced cash balances were not a source of urgent concern, but must be borne in mind when any large expenditure came up for consideration.
Jeremy Wilkinson invited questions on the reports.
Michael Howard, after prompting, asked about progress on the flail-mower, commenting that he carried a pair of secateurs in order to carry out selective pruning between photographing trains, but this was really a drop in the ocean compared to what was needed. Dave Scotson responded, stressing that as the flail-mower was a completely new project with ensuing minor problems he could not give a definite completion date, but he hoped that with the steady rate of work it would be operational for testing in about six weeks from the meeting.
Philip Sayers asked about progress with the extension to Abergynolwyn station building and wondered what the argument for it was in view of the reduced traffic. David Mitchell responded that its justification was the ability better to serve coach parties, particularly at the beginning and end of the season when Abergynolwyn could be somewhat inclement. This would improve the quality of experience for our customers and increase our attraction for repeat visits.
Noel Williams commented that his job as a part-time hedge layer would be vastly improved by the work of the flail-mower, enabling him to speed up. At the present speed he would not reach Cynfal until 2000, but it would allow him to lay a longer length of hedge each winter by reducing the amount of debris that he had to clear.
Peter Kent-Mason commented on the large expenditure on the new fire alarm system at Pendre, saying that he knew his son could have provided an identical system for a reduced price. He suggested creating a ?register of interests? of members that could help the Railway in producing equipment at a reduced cost or offering specific skills. David Mitchell commended this idea and wondered if Peter would be willing to maintain the register.
Michael Howard, seconded by Ian Howitt, proposed the adoption and approval of the Report of the Council. Mr Wilkinson put the adoption of the Report of the Council and the Financial Statements of the Society for the year ended 31st January, 1998 to the meeting and it was agreed.

11. Miscellaneous announcements

Keith Theobald spoke about the new ?New Rail Fund?, saying that there was ten tons of B.S. 50 rail available at an advantageous price, and he sent his efficient team around the hall with plastic bags; the collection raised ?402.97 and $1.
Bob Hey announced the results of the Traffic & Operating committee election. 120 papers were returned with the following result: Traffic Dept: John Burton 90, Phil Sayers 84, Mark Stevenson 81, Lizi Whitehouse 72, Walter Crowe 67, Steve Saul 8; Miss Whitehouse and Messrs Burton, Sayers, and Stevenson were elected. Loco Dept: Julian Stow 96, Simon Jenkins and Chris Price 85, Andrew Young 61, Martin Fuller 51; Messrs Stow, Jenkins, Price and Young were declared elected.
Chris Price pointed out that he would have had 86 votes had he received a paper himself.
Philip Sayers announced the result of the Young Members? Group election. 27 papers were returned with the following result: Mark Stevenson 22, Lizi Whitehouse and Andrew Young 21, Helen Coulls and Gaz Hope 17, Russell Prince 9, Joe Edwards 8. Misses Coulls and Whitehouse and Messrs Hope, Stevenson and Young were declared elected. He also drew the attention of the meeting to the Y.M.G. display in the hall.
Chris Price plugged the evening entertainment, stressing the cost of the event and that the attendees would be asked to make donations.
Sue Whitehouse announced the result of the raffle for a framed watercolour of trains crossing at Pendre; it raised ?135 for the TRPS and the winning ticket, drawn by Jeremy Wilkinson, was held by Lis Mann. Sue also spoke on behalf of Jon Richmond, who was still embroiled in counting the two ballots; the raffle without a prize, in memory of the late Wil Williams, had raised over ?500.
Tony Randall spoke about ?Steampipes?, the annual film and organ show.
George Gardiner spoke at length about the sale of commemorative Bristol Blue Glass that the Bristol and West Area Group were undertaking as a commemoration of fifty years of the TRPS.
Mike Howard spoke on behalf of the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum about the recent acquisition, the petroleum locomotive Bg 774. The current level of donations to cover purchase and transport quite coincidentally was ?774; this was about half the total needed. The Trustees would be happy to see more money given to the fund.
Keith Theobald asked those present to sign the card of congratulations to our twin railway in Australia, on the opening of their extension to Gembrook; he also announced the two usual Outdoor Weeks and another, new, week to be held between 3rd and 11th July 1999.

12. Other Business

Sue Whitehouse spoke about the Graham and Gilly Vincent Memorial Bursary. She stressed that her father most definitely did not want a wooden seat with his name on; however one of her parents? soft spots was for the young and otherwise disadvantaged members of the TRPS. The Memorial Bursary would consist of a fund to enable a young, disabled or long-term unemployed member to go on the proposed trip to Australia over Christmas 2000; further details would be given in the forthcoming News. Application would be by way of 2000-word essays stating why the writers expected to benefit by the visit; these would be examined by three adjudicators including Sue.
David Leech asked members to co-operate with the Traffic Department on the following day by avoiding the 10.30 train, which already had 95 passengers from two coach parties.
Russell Prince spoke as newly co-opted member of the Millennium Committee and wondered about the situation regarding the proposed locomotive liveries for the millennium celebrations, he suggested repainting locomotive No. 4 into ?Great Western? livery. Chris Price commented that he was rather confused; Russell had just announced that he was a member of the Millennium Committee which had already stated its proposals in an article in the Talyllyn News.
John Smallwood publicized the organ recital that evening by the internationally renowned theatre organist David Lowe. Roger Whitehouse mentioned the outpost of ?Auntie Wainwright?s? that he was standing guard over, and that there were copies of David Lowe?s latest compact disc recording of the Neuadd Pendre Wurlitzer for sale.
Brian Holland spoke about Victorian Week; he had received favourable feedback from members of his family about the event and wished to convey their thanks to the organisers. Derek Norman said that he had some back numbers of the News to pass on to Mike Boardman.
Peter Coulls wondered what the figure of 80% in the Health and Safety Audit meant; what was it 80% of? Winston McCanna said that it was 80% of a rather nebulous figure and meant we did rather better than last year. David Mitchell said that it was a complicated, rather esoteric scoring system. Peter Coulls said that as a Health & Safety professional he could understand it. David Mitchell wondered if Peter could come to Tywyn to explain the system.
Mike Howard wished to record his gratitude to Chris Price for putting his whistle on to locomotive No. 1. Chris Price said that he was glad to see Michael had enjoyed a good blow. Mike Davies asked if next time Mike Howard brought a whistle down, he could make a vague attempt to clean it.

There being no further business, Jeremy Wilkinson closed the meeting at 5.06 p.m.