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Held at Neuadd Pendre Social Centre, Brook Street, Tywyn, Gwynedd on September 28th, 2002

Before the commencement of the meeting Keith Theobald gave a short speech explaining the charitable status of Talyllyn Holdings Limited and extolling the virtue of “Gift Aid”; he reported that Michael Howard had already reclaimed ?2,900 through this route. He urged all UK taxpayers present or considering donating money to the Golden Jubilee Appeal to fill in the requisite declaration.

On the platform were Christopher Awdry, 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 MRFS as Minute-taker. There were 200 members present. Christopher Awdry opened the meeting at 3.32p.m.

1. Apologies

Apologies had been received from Vice-Presidents Winston McCanna and Jeremy Wilkinson (celebrating his 40th. wedding anniversary) and sixteen other members. Chris Price thanked Martin Flach for not attending again.

2. Minutes of the 51st AGM

The Minutes of the 51st AGM of the Society, held at Tywyn on September 29th, 2001, having been circulated to members of the Society at that date, were proposed by Christopher Awdry 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

There were none.

4. Election of President

Roger Whitehouse took the chair and asked the meeting to endorse the Council’s recommendation that Christopher Awdry be elected President. This was agreed without dissent. Christopher Awdry resumed the chair.

5. Election of Vice-Presidents

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

6. Appointment of Auditors

The appointment of Silver & Co as the Society’s Auditors was proposed by Bob Cambridge, seconded by Maurice Wilson and agreed by the meeting. Peter Silver thanked the meeting for re-appointing his firm and the continued confidence in his work.

7. Election of Honorary Secretary

John Robinson had been nominated in accordance with the rules, this was seconded by Christopher Awdry and agreed without dissent.

8. Election of ten members of Council

John Robinson read out the names of the twelve candidates and they stood to be recognised (Mrs. Mann to wolf-whistles). The ballot papers were then collected. Later in the meeting Peter Silver announced the results of the election: 219 papers had been completed with one spoilt, 1793 votes being cast as follows: Peter Austin 119, Dale Coton 145, Phil Guest 180, William Heynes 148, Simon Jenkins 83, Gareth Jones 168, Lis Mann 194, Chris Parrott 96, Phil Sayers 164, John Smallwood 200, Keith Theobald 189, Tony Thorpe 107. Mrs Mann and Messrs Austin, Coton, Guest, Heynes, Jones, Sayers, Smallwood, Theobald and Thorpe were declared elected.

9. Reception, Approval and Adoption of Reports

Roger Whitehouse presented the report of Council for the year ending 31st. January, 2002 and gave further information on events since the year end. The relaying of Brynglas loop by the Royal Engineers in January and the rebuilding of the East end of Wharf station over the winter had both needed significant planning, preparation and liaison between all levels of the organization to see them through to completion. June had seen the opening of the new playground, “Abergynolwyn Low Level”, which was a commendable success and a great credit to those involved. Roger proudly displayed the Peter Manisty award for our 50 years of continued excellence, which he had received in February from Dame Margaret Weston, President of the Heritage Railway Association. He also reported the trading position for the year to date: Passenger Journeys 81,493 (-1.5%), Revenue ?236,555 (+8.8%), Catering ?94,064 (+9.8%), Shop Revenue ?103,794 (-11%).

Providing suitable formalities could be completed, Council had agreed to lend to the Corris Railway the Corris brake van, the Corris coach and locomotive No. 3 Sir Haydn for a month after Spring Bank Holiday.

Work on repairing the boiler of No. 4 Edward Thomas had just begun, and it was hoped that the engine would return to service during the next season. Two bogie flat wagons and a new (to us) engineering brake van had been acquired during the year and it was hoped that some of the long-suffering heritage wagons could be retired.

Roger also reported that on August Bank Holiday Saturday the full peak service had been run largely by the Young Members’ Group, who had achieved an exemplary standard of operation reflecting great credit on them.

Colin Roobottom presented the 2001 Financial Statements and apprised the meeting of the current financial state. The major expenditure in the current year so far was on Wharf redevelopment; the Army exercise at Brynglas had also demanded a certain amount of expenditure. Colin also explained that due to the new charitable status of Talyllyn Holdings, a further 28% could be reclaimed on donations provided that equivalent income tax had already been paid and the donor completed the relevant form.

Christopher Awdry invited questions on the report and financial statements.

George Gardiner opened by thanking all the permanent staff and volunteers for their work at Brynglas helping the Bristol and Western Area Group in restoring the area to its kempt state after the ravages of the Army. He then questioned the relationship between the Volunteer Catering subsidy and the catering profit: without the subsidy this would be an ?8,470 loss. He wanted an explanation of how the subsidy was calculated, saying that ?8,500 would equate to approximately 0.75 million teabags and whilst working on the Railway he would be quite happy to exist on tea alone.

Steve Powell replied that it must always be borne in mind that the catering facilities were open at all times, open at times of the season when a profit could not be made. He wondered if people would come without the catering service. George Gardiner accepted that response, but reiterated his request for clarification of the Catering Subsidy calculation. Colin Roobottom responded that the annual calculation came from consultation with the Catering Manager, and that it was based on the cumulative reduction on items sold to volunteers and employees; he commented that the cost of free tea and coffee was separately identified and in the region of ?3,100.

Mark Tibbutt commented that this was the volunteers’ society. We all came to work here, but we all needed to be valued. He felt that the subsidy returned some sense of value, and that the Railway had not lost anything but gained from repeat visits by volunteers. He sat down to applause.

David Mitchell commented that approximately 1,000 free cups of tea and coffee were consumed per week during peak by staff and volunteers. In spite of this the significant losses of 8 or 9 years ago had been lessened. He appealed for anyone to help with ideas, they would be most welcome on the Shop and Catering Committee. George Gardiner retorted that he did indicate his willingness to be on the Committee last year, but had been overlooked. David Mitchell agreed to ensure that George would be co-opted at the forthcoming meeting of Council, provoking an irritated response from the current Secretary of the Shop and Catering Committee.

Roger Whitehouse, seconded by Richard Hope, proposed the adoption of the Report of the Council and the Financial Statements of the Society for the year ended 31st January, 2002. This was agreed without dissent.

Christopher Awdry then invited Keith Theobald to introduce the collection in aid of the Locomotive 4 Boiler Fund. Volunteers associated with Project Edward Thomas then circulated. Together with the raffle proceeds and another donation, the collection raised approximately ?655.

10. Wharf Redevelopment

John Smallwood apprised those present of the problems with the east end redevelopment that took place during the winter, stressing that the over-run was due to the combination of various types of foul weather with other factors. The ?62,000 grant from Gwynedd County Council had been received, the Welsh Development Agency Grant of ?40,000 was yet to be received, the current estimate from the architect for the final cost was in the region of ?120,000. John also gave a short overview of the forthcoming stage of the development, mentioning the long timescales required by the Heritage Lottery Fund (with or without their moveable goalposts). Hopefully, ?452,000 would come from the HLF, ?25,000 from the Wales Tourist Board, ?33,000 from the Welsh Development Agency and ?200,000 from Talyllyn funds. He urged that there was still a requirement to raise a further ?200,000. and he appealed for help as the next stage of the project would be better managed by a team than an individual.

Nigel Adams also spoke, as Fundraising Officer, outlining various ways that this next ?200,000 could be raised: these included a monthly lottery to commence in the Spring and encouragement for well-wishers to leave legacies, which would be exempt from Inheritance Tax, to Talyllyn Holdings. Nigel strenuously urged those present, if capable, to take up the Gift Aid scheme.

11. Miscellaneous announcements

Philip Sayers announced the result of the Young Members’ Group election; nine candidates had stood and 158 votes been cast as follows: Bryony Doe 18, Alex Eyres 11, Katie Eyres 15, Nick Fieldhouse 13, Liz Garvey 19, Pippa McCanna 18, Alastair Ribbands 16, Jo Shuttleworth 25, Kathy Whitehouse 23. He declared Mesdames Doe, Garvey, McCanna, Shuttleworth and Whitehouse elected, noting that this was probably the first time in the TRPS history that there had been an all-female committee. This was greeted with applause and much “bravoing”, particularly from Sue Whitehouse.

Dale Coton publicized the evening entertainment, due to start at 19.30.

Jane Garvey mentioned the Midland Area Group Dinner to be held on 3rd December at the Royal Hotel, Sutton Coldfield.

Lawrence Garvey appealed for help on the Midland Area Group stand at the Warley Model Railway Exhibition over the last weekend in November, asking any member visiting the exhibition to consider helping on the stall, even if only for 20 minutes.

Jane Garvey drew the attention of those present to the outline of the Shop Book Scheme to be found on page 32 of the September Talyllyn News.

Tony Randall plugged “Steampipes”, to be held on 4th December at the Conway Hall, tickets as usual from Gordon Brown.

Sue Whitehouse drew attention to the Railway Adventure video recording and other wares available at the back of the hall.

Anthony Coulls advised members of changes to the format of the Rolt Rally for 2003. It was hoped to have some traction engines present.

Phil Higginson encouraged members to purchase tickets for the raffle, to be drawn that evening.

Christopher Awdry read out a prepared announcement stating, “The well-known photographic model William Heynes will be at Wharf Shop signing Guide books between 11a.m. and 12p.m. on Sunday.”

12. Other Business

Christopher Awdry invited Iain Neighbour of Kamloops, British Columbia, to speak. He said that he had long held the ambition to attend a TRPS AGM and was gratified to have achieved it. He invited any members passing through Kamloops to contact him.

Christopher Awdry threw the meeting open to the floor.

Once again, Chris Price asked what time Dave Scotson wanted him in for work on Monday morning. Dave Scotson replied that, as last year he had suggested 7.30a.m. and Chris had turned up at 9.30a.m., he thought 6.30a.m. appropriate.

Brian Garland enquired if Membership Subscriptions could be Gift-Aided. David Mitchell replied that this was not possible at present as the Society was not a charity. Registering it would have to be very carefully researched; Keith Theobald was particularly chary of the idea, warning that free travel might be lost.

Gareth Jones lauded the Young Members’ Day, and the work of the young members throughout the year. He felt that 2002 was their best year yet and all of them deserved a round of applause from the meeting; this was duly given. Christopher Awdry commented that the “Talyllyn youth” were indeed second to none. David Leech added that without their input for this year’s peak service the Railway would have been stuck; he felt that they were owed much more than just a round of applause, they deserved all our thanks.

Mike Green wryly enquired about praise for the “Heritage Members”.

There being no further business, Christopher Awdry closed the meeting at 4.51p.m.