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Held at Tywyn School, Tywyn, Gwynedd on September 27th, 2014

On the platform were Richard Hope OBE, President TRPS; Jane Garvey, Chairman, TRPS; Gareth Jones, Chairman, TR Co; John Robinson, Hon. Secretary, TRPS and Secretary, TR Co; Garry Mumford, Hon Treasurer TRPS and Accountant, TR Co and Philip Sayers as Minute-taker. There were some 160 members present.

Richard Hope opened the meeting at 3.30 pm.

1. Apologies

Apologies had been received from Vice–President George Voller, Ian Evans, who wished to thank fellow members for the support they had given him and his family during his illness, and four other members.

Richard Hope then asked the meeting to stand in silence in memory of members who had died over the past year, including John Snell, Gordon Hatherill and Hilary Fortnam (Wilbert Awdry’s daughter). He then asked Garry Mumford to explain the white collection envelopes on the chairs for donations towards the purchase of a hand-held stone blower.

2. Minutes of the 63rd AGM

The Minutes of the 63rd AGM of the Society, held at Tywyn on September 28th, 2013, having been circulated to members of the Society at that date, were proposed by Richard Hope to be taken as read. The minutes were approved without dissent and Richard Hope duly signed them as being a true record.

3. Matters arising from the Minutes

There were no matters raised.

4. Election of President

Richard Hope announced that after seven years as President he was stepping down and asked the meeting to endorse the Council’s nomination of David Mitchell to succeed him. This was agreed without dissent. David Mitchell then took the Chair and thanked the meeting for electing him as President. Jane Garvey offered the Society’s thanks to Richard for his involvement since 1960 and presented a framed picture as a token of appreciation, at which point Richard left the platform.

5. Appointment of Independent Examiners

David Mitchell called for nominations for the Society’s Independent Examiners. The appointment of Silver & Co was proposed by Chris Price, seconded by Sue Whitehouse and agreed by the meeting.

6. Election of Honorary Secretary

John S. Robinson had been nominated in accordance with the rules; this was put to the meeting by David Mitchell and agreed without dissent.

7. Election of ten members of Council

David Mitchell asked John Robinson to read out the names of the candidates. John Robinson read out the names of the eleven candidates and asked them to stand. Ballot papers were then collected.

Later in the meeting Peter Silver announced the results. 174 valid papers had been returned with 1417 votes being cast as follows:

Mike Atkinson 122, Jane Garvey 127, Keith Hayes 126, Bill Heynes 133, Gareth Jones 132, Lis Mann 141, Philip Sayers 148, Gethin Taylor 69, Keith Theobald 157, David Ventry 155, Sue Whitehouse 107.

Mesdames Garvey, Mann and Whitehouse and Messrs Atkinson, Hayes, Heynes, Jones, Sayers, Theobald and Ventry were declared elected. Permission was given to dispose of the ballot papers in the usual way.

8. Amendments to the Constitution and Rules of the Society

John Robinson briefly explained the proposed amendments to the Constitution and Rules which had been set out in full on page 31 of the June 2014 edition of the Talyllyn News. The proposals were:

  • A: to introduce new classes of membership of senior (over 65) and associate senior life membership plus consequential and minor amendments to Rules 6 & 8;
  • B: to add to Rule 13 a provision on the certifying of Council resolutions by the Honorary Secretary and Chairman of the meeting concerned;
  • C: an amendment to Rule 15 to simplify the voting arrangements for members working on the Railway on the day of the AGM.

A two-thirds majority was required for the amendments to be carried. This was achieved, the motion being carried without dissent.

9. Subscription Rates for Senior Life and Associate Senior Life Members

In consequence of the adoption of amendment A to the Constitution and Rules, the Council’s proposal for rates of £400 for Senior Life and £200 for Associate Senior Life Members, the same multiple of the appropriate annual rates as the current Life and Associate Life membership subscriptions, was agreed.

10. Reception, Approval and Adoption of Reports

David Mitchell called on Jane Garvey to present the Report of Council. Mrs Garvey began by saying that the 150th anniversary had got off to an amazing start with the celebration of the birthday of locomotive No. 1 Talyllyn and the launch of Martin Fuller’s book Talyllyn & Corris Steam Locomotives, and thanked all those who had enabled No. 1 to be available for the event. It had been an interesting year with fantastic summer weather which had assisted many exciting and varied events on the Railway, all of which had been thoroughly enjoyed by members of the public. There had been an overall increase in the number of Driver Experiences and Weddings, and drive a steam engine for £10 on special event days had also been very popular.

We were blessed here on the Talyllyn with a large age range of volunteers all with their own groups. Mrs Garvey especially thanked those had nurtured the Tracksiders and Navvies and it was great to see those who had moved on from those groups to volunteer in their own right. Our Young Members’ Group was flourishing and you could not get a bed in our hostel Llechfan this summer because of young members. Mrs Garvey particularly mentioned the sponsored carriage push.

The Graham Guilford legacy had enabled two young volunteers spend the whole summer on the Railway, but it would eventually run out and Mrs Garvey appealed for anyone who might like to contribute so that it could be a continuing fund to get in touch.

The Council had been looking at how we communicated with the membership as a whole and had therefore started to use a new email system.

We were always looking for ways to make being a member more enjoyable; how we could encourage everyone to tell their friends about us was a constant challenge. A successful Facebook campaign had resulted in our General Manager, Chris Price, manning Cynfal, the smallest station in Britain (we think), for the day.

One of the biggest challenges was to get people to come to Mid-Wales in the first place and we were looking at ways of encouraging them to do so by working in partnership with other bodies to raise the profile of the area. The TR was being proactive in reinvigorating the Great Little Trains of Wales joint marketing group.

We needed more bodies, and not just in Tywyn, to help in keeping this amazing place functioning. There would be lots of exciting events in 2015 and if you could bring just one extra person this would help in preserving this very special Railway for the next 150 years.

Garry Mumford then presented the Treasurer’s report. 2013 had been an eventful year for the financial side of our Railway. With Gift Aid on fares now having been in place for over a year a lot of experience had been gained in its operation. If anything the conversion rate (from basic to Gift Aided fares) had slipped back a little and various initiatives would be undertaken to help the position in 2015. This was now a key element of our income with the potential to bring £70,000 to £100,000 of additional funds each year. Whilst we continued to work hard to increase passenger numbers and revenue in other areas, it was initiatives such as this that were key to being able to pay our way going forward.

We had also benefited from a sizeable legacy in 2013 and a number of smaller ones. In total over £300,000 had been received from this source since early 2013. In the past, we had not been as fortunate as some other heritage railways in receiving legacies. There were now signs that this was turning a little, hopefully from making this excellent way of supporting the Railway more widely known, but also perhaps from the sad reality that many of our earlier volunteers and supporters were now leaving us. The consequence was that Holdings had now quite unexpectedly accumulated a sizeable reserve. Council was currently considering projects where this money could be used to further the main strategic objectives and benefit the long term future of the Railway. In addition, having such reserves meant we could match-fund grants should they become available and demonstrate financial sustainability and strength, placing us in a stronger, not weaker, position to attract grants. However, there was still much to be done to improve our financial health; to be truly sustainable we must move away from a situation where the day-to-day operation was a drain on our financial resources.

Finally Mr Mumford drew attention to the Direct Debit forms for membership renewals and the standing order forms for monthly donations to Talyllyn Holdings on the chairs in the meeting room.

Chris Price reported that traffic was just under 2% up on last year with a rise of 10.3% in total turnover including Gift Aid.

Lesley Johnson asked what the money from standing orders would be spent on. Garry Mumford replied that this would not be ‘tagged’ against particular expenditure but that Holdings had agreed to cover the cost of a fitter at Pendre. Sue Whitehouse drew attention to the recent All Party Parliamentary Group Report on the Value of Heritage Railways which estimated their benefit to the UK economy at £248 million a year and stressed their impact on the local economy.

David Mitchell then asked for a proposer and seconder for acceptance of the Report of Council and the Society financial statements. This was proposed by Don Newing, seconded by Chris White and agreed without dissent.

Keith Theobald then explained the object of the AGM collection. The Stone Blower appeal currently stood at around £5,600. Holdings had also funded expenditure on enough rail screws, clips and sleepers for two years which would result in significant improvements in the track. Subsequently the collection was taken and raised £1,441.59, including the anticipated Gift Aid.

10. Presentation on Events to Celebrate the Sesquicentenary of the Talyllyn Railway

Ian Drummond and Ellis Jacklin then previewed the events which were being planned for the 150th anniversary in 2015. These would include:

  • 2nd – 4th May The Quarryman Experience. A celebration of why the Railway was built, focussing on the early years of the Railway and including the launch of a book by Sara Eade and events in Abergynolwyn village.
  • 3rd – 5th July The 150th Party. The main 150th event, including a service at St Cadfan’s Church.
  • 7th – 9th August The 1865 – 2015 Gala. This would celebrate everything which had happened over the last 150 years including a 1920s dance and a beer festival.
  • August Bank Holiday (29th – 31st August) The Heart of Gold Weekend including Young Members’ Day and an all-night steam service.
  • 25th – 27th September The Heritage Weekend. This would be aimed more at the enthusiast.

12. Miscellaneous Announcements

Justin Adams announced the result of the Traffic & Operating Committee election. For the Traffic Department there had been four candidates for four places and for the Locomotive Department only three. Therefore Roger Brent, Lawrence Garvey, Brian Palmer and Juliet Tyndall were elected unopposed for the former and Bill Heynes, Katherine Thomas and Karen Willans for the latter.

Philip Sayers announced that there had been five nominations for five places on the Young Members’ Group committee and thus no ballot had been required. He therefore declared Lottie Atkinson, Jack Evans, Tom Free, Ruth Goode, and Matt James elected.

Lawrence Garvey appealed for help with working parties.

Tony Randall announced the Steampipes film and organ evening in London on 1st December and the London & Southern Counties Area Group dinner on 8th December.

David Mitchell and John Robinson made announcements concerning the evening’s entertainment which would be taking place at Wharf Station.

The auction of a small collection of railway rule books and standard gauge rail chairs raised £133.

13. Other Business

Ian Drummond put to the meeting the option of holding the 2015 AGM a little later in the day to fit in with the Heritage Weekend events and the possibility of holding it in Tywyn Cinema followed by film presentations – in general the meeting was agreeable to this. Attention was also drawn to the availability of Martin Fuller’s book Talyllyn & Corris Steam LocomotivesKeith Theobald passed on thanks from Jennie Evans, Chair of Abergynolwyn Show, for the Railway’s sponsorship of the Show, which was proving a very successful collaboration. David Mitchell expressed the thanks of the Society to all the employees who put in so much effort in keeping the Railway running throughout the year – also the members who worked to keep the Railway running, commenting we were very fortunate in there being so many young members.

There being no other business David Mitchell declared the meeting closed at 1700.