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Held at Neuadd Pendre Social Centre, Brook Street, Tywyn, Gwynedd on September 30th, 2000

On the platform were Jeremy Wilkinson, President, in the Chair; Roger Whitehouse, Chairman TRPS; Keith Theobald, 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 210 members present. Jeremy Wilkinson opened the meeting at 3.30p.m.

1. Apologies

Apologies had been received from Vice-Presidents James Boyd and John Bate, attending his youngest daughter’s wedding and absent for only the third time, and nine other members.

2. Minutes of the 49th AGM

The Minutes of the 49th AGM of the Society, held at Tywyn on September 29th, 1999, having been circulated to members of the Society at that date, were proposed by Jeremy Wilkinson to be taken as read; this was agreed without dissent and he signed the minutes as being a true record.

3. Matters arising from the Minutes

Michael Howard asked for a progress report on the question he raised at the 1999 AGM concerning stocks held and write-offs by the TR Co. Colin Roobottom reported that nothing significant had been found apart from a small stock of postcards; the majority of stock written off in 1999 was Peter Sam branded merchandise.

4. Election of President

Roger Whitehouse took the chair and asked the meeting to endorse the Council’s recommendation that Jeremy Wilkinson be elected President. This was agreed without dissent. Jeremy Wilkinson resumed the chair commenting that the forthcoming year would prove to be a wonderful one in which to be the President of the TRPS, in juxtaposition to the fiftieth anniversary celebrations.

5. Election of Vice-Presidents

John Robinson read out the names of those proposed for election as Vice-President. Jeremy Wilkinson commented on the addition of Winston McCanna to the list and asked if the floor would elect the Vice-Presidents en bloc; this was agreed. The following were elected: Christopher Awdry, John Bate, James Boyd, Pat Garland, Dai Jones, Winston McCanna, Major P M Olver OBE, Sonia Rolt, John Slater, Roy Smith and Don Southgate.

6. Appointment of Auditors

The appointment of Silver & Co as the Society’s Auditors was proposed by Jeremy Wilkinson, seconded by Maurice Wilson 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 in accordance with the rules, this was seconded by Roger Whitehouse and agreed without dissent.

8. Election of ten members of Council

John Robinson read out the names of the fourteen candidates and those present stood to be recognised. The ballot papers were then collected. Later in the meeting Peter Silver announced the results of the election: 218 papers had been completed with one spoilt, 1785 votes being cast as follows: Dale Coton 155, Phil Guest 165, Bill Heynes 128, Richard Hope 137, Gareth Jones 146, Lis Mann 158, Chris Parrott 119, Ray Reid 69, Phil Sayers 135, John Smallwood 181, Adrian Tebby 85, Keith Theobald 180, Tony Thorpe 76, Tim Wilkinson 51. Mrs Mann and Messrs Coton, Guest, Heynes, Hope, Jones, Parrott, Sayers, Smallwood and Theobald were declared elected.

9. Reception, Approval and Adoption of Reports

Before asking Roger Whitehouse to present the report of Council, Jeremy Wilkinson opened the floor appeal for the Golden Jubilee Fund, which raised ?508.77.

Roger Whitehouse presented the report of Council for the year ending 31st January, 2000, opening with a few remarks about the year to date. Thus far it had not been a good year for tourism generally, although the Talyllyn was holding quite steady: journeys were down 1.5%, traffic revenue was up 4.1%, shop takings were up 0.1% (this was excluding a one-off purchase from Japan of ?4,364). Encouragingly, catering sales were up 4.7%, with an increase of 14.7% at Abergynolwyn due to a marked increase in patronage from coach parties using the improved facilities. Again all six steam engines were in working order for the peak season, a record of which we should be proud. Roger also stated that Council had decided that No.4 Edward Thomas would be withdrawn from service at the expiry of its boiler certificate and the replacement “Awdry” engine would be No. 6 Douglas, masquerading as Duncan. Much thought and time had gone into reconstructing the Council committee structure to make processes much more streamlined and workable. Roger also commented that much thought had gone into the role of Area Groups, at one time performing a pivotal role in the TRPS; he admonished those present to consider two questions: “What can an Area Group do for me?” and “What can I do for an Area Group?” He further reported that the redevelopment scheme at Wharf was progressing well; the work had been put out to tender by building contractors, now that planning permission had been granted. There was in excess of ?100,000 in the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum’s special fund.

John Smallwood stressed that there had already been a incredible amount of hard work put into the redevelopment, not only by him as Project Manager, and with the help of Philip Sayers’ impeccable beaurocracy and David Leech’s technical knowledge, the grant application had now been submitted.

Roger Whitehouse continued by reporting that an informal approach had been made to the Charity Commissioners with a view to gaining charitable status for Talyllyn Holdings; changes in the Society’s constitution would probably be necessary and these would be proposed at the next AGM. He also reported that the purchase of the Snowdonia National Park car park at Abergynolwyn was now complete.

Colin Roobottom presented the Financial Statements, commenting that there had been no unusual items of expenditure, but the Railway had benefited from two legacies; he respectfully asked if people would consider bearing the TRPS in mind when composing their testamentary dispositions.

Jeremy Wilkinson invited questions on the report and financial statements; there were none forthcoming.

Roger Whitehouse, seconded by Ian Howitt, proposed the adoption of the Report of the Council and the Financial Statements of the Society for the year ended 31st January, 2000. This was agreed without dissent.

10. Membership Subscriptions

Lawrence Garvey presented the proposal of the Council that the membership subscriptions should be increased as follows: Life Member ?400; Associate Life ?200; Ordinary Member ?17; Senior, Associate and Junior Members ?8; Associate Junior Member ?5. Lawrence explained the rationale behind the proposal: since the subscription rates were last raised in 1996 the cost of serving the membership had steadily risen, getting close to the “marker percentage” of the income. He felt that it was essential to consider the rise so that enough funding would be in place for the fiftieth anniversary celebrations and the redevelopment at Wharf.

Chris Price retorted that he was appalled, stating that he felt the ?2 increase in the Ordinary rate was not enough; ?25 for Ordinary Membership was in order. Simon Jenkins concurred, but felt that a jump to ?25 would prove to be too much. However, he felt the Senior Membership rate should be more than the cost of a round trip ticket, not less as was the case with the Council’s proposal. Simon put forward an alternative proposal of: Life Membership ?500; Associate Life ?250; Ordinary ?20; Senior, Junior and Associate Membership ?10, with Associate Junior Membership as in the Council proposal at ?5. George Gardiner felt that the opportunity to increase the Ordinary rate to ?20 should be grasped and seconded this proposal.

Mike Davies felt that the meeting should be considering members outwith the hall, stressing that he felt it would be better to keep to the lower proposal even if it only gained one extra member. Richard Plummer stated that ?20 per annum to the members attending the AGM was a mere fraction of the money that they would otherwise spend in Tywyn, however he felt that the non-visiting member should be considered. Justin Adams, seconded by Peter Kent-Mason, proposed that the rates be amended to: Life Member ?420; Associate Life ?210; Ordinary Member ?18; Senior, Associate and Junior Members ?9; Associate Junior Member ?4.

Michael Howard said that he could remember six or seven increases in the subscription rates since he started attending AGMs in 1972; this increase was different from those he had previously experienced: it was not an administrative increase, but an income generating increase. He wholeheartedly supported Simon’s amendment.

Jeremy Wilkinson asked the floor to vote. Simon Jenkins’ amendment was carried with only 2 votes against, that of Justin Adams was overwhelmingly defeated and the amended proposition was then carried with 4 votes against.

11. Miscellaneous announcements

Roger Whitehouse asked those present to sign papers to be sent to the Puffing Billy Railway inside a card of congratulation on its hundredth anniversary.

Bob Hey announced the result of the Traffic and Operating Committee election. 120 papers had been returned, one void, with the following result: Traffic Department: John Burton 93, Bob Cambridge 75, Richard Huss 65, Philip Sayers 101, Mark Stevenson 80; Locomotive Department: Bill Heynes 94, Simon Jenkins 79, Chris Price 87, Julian Stow 96, Andrew Young 65. He declared Messrs Burton, Cambridge, Sayers, Stevenson, Heynes, Jenkins, Price and Stow duly elected.

George Gardiner gave the results of the Bristol and Western Area Group Raffle (which raised ?135), with the prizes of a Bristol Blue Glass Tankard going to Derek Allen and a blue glass goblet going to Dave Best. He also reported that there were still a few items left for sale; the profits thus far had funded the purchase of a petrol-driven impact wrench for the railway.

Peter Kent-Mason presented the results of another raffle, this time for a painting by Doris Southgate, which raised ?100. The winning ticket was held by John Groom.

Winston McCanna mentioned that there were still a few places left at the anniversary dinner.

Jane Garvey plugged the Midland Area Group Christmas dinner which would be held on the 5th December in Sutton Coldfield; tickets would be available from her.

Roger Whitehouse mentioned the Computer Users’ Open Meeting to be held at Wharf on 12th. November. He asked that if any member had a view but could not attend then a communication should be sent to John Robinson as Secretary of the Computer Study Group.

Tony Randall advertised “Steampipes”, which would be held on 30th November at the Conway Hall.

Keith Theobald reminded members that Outdoor Weeks were scheduled for 4th. to 12th. November, 24th. February to 4th. March and 30th. June to 8th. July. As always additional volunteers would be warmly welcomed and work would be available to suit everyone.

12. Other Business

Eddie Castellan spoke about a proposed dramatisation of Railway Adventure to be enacted at Rhydyronen during 2001. The script would be written by Phil Higginson and performed by a small company of professional actors. To this end he was seeking sponsorship and asked for any member present to help.

There being no other items of business, Jeremy Wilkinson closed the meeting at 4.44p.m. to congratulations from Mollie Price, who felt that Jeremy should be awarded an Olympic Gold for his speedy performance.