The weather was very poor that morning, but Nick Withers had volunteered to lead the walk before the meeting, and six intrepid souls joined him for a 5 ½ mile walk around the Chart.
As usual, they were greeted on their return with a wonderful ploughman’s lunch, and they were soon joined by another 35 people who indulged in the meal. It was prepared by our Social Secretary Pamela Cunniffe together with her team of Anne Jagelman, Helen McDonnell, and various other members of our group. Much of the food was home made, and particular thanks go to those who made and brought things along.
After the meal was cleared away, the AGM began. We had 57 members in attendance which, bearing in mind the poor weather, was very impressive. As usual, the Committee’s reports were read and any questions answered. Copies of the minutes of the AGM itself including these reports are available on this website under the tab ‘Members’.
One issue that was raised was the lack of a quarterly newsletter as we have had in the past. The difficulty is finding someone with the time and interest in preparing this for circulation. Five members were particularly keen to have this restored, and if anyone is willing to take this on, they are asked to contact one of the Committee members so that this can be progressed.
ESW continues to grow, and Helen Whiteley as Membership Secretary confirmed that we now have 442 members whereas in 2013 the number was 300. This growth comes largely from word of mouth, but what really draws people in is how friendly everyone is to newcomers on walks, it’s absolutely great that all of us make this effort. Our walk leaders always ask new-comers for their email addresses, and Helen then contacts them and often converts their interest to full membership.
The most successful walk leaders for doing this during 2017 were Nigel Poulter with 8 new members, Fay & Ron Revell with 9 new members, and Tony Pearson with 14 new members – prizes for these achievements were given. ESW have won the Surrey Membership cup for the year.
At the last Committee meeting, it was decided that two of our members had made outstanding contributions both to East Surrey Walkers and the Ramblers Association, and that we would like to recognise their dedication.
John Nathan had been Chair of the group for 5 years and Area Chair for 3 years, he has organised holidays, been involved in leader training sessions and generally mentored others.
Tony Pearson was Chair for 3 years, he also is involved in leader training sessions, has helped initiate ambles and fast fitness walks, organised holidays, and continues as our Footpath Secretary.
Great thanks are owed to both of them, and gifts were given to them on behalf of ESW in recognition of their contributions. John couldn’t attend, and his gift was accepted by his wife Di.
We then moved on to the election of officers. As our constitution only permits officers to stay in office for three years, it was time to say goodbye to our Chair Arthur Darby, our walks co-ordinator Liz Whittaker and our Publicity Officer Keith Chesson. A gift was given to Arthur with great thanks for all the work he has done over these past three years, and as Liz and Keith weren’t able to attend, their gifts will be given to them at a later date.
Elections were then held for their replacements. Judy Brua was duly elected Chair and Mike Osborn was elected as Publicity Officer. Helen Whiteley stood down as Membership Secretary in order to put herself forward as Walks Co-ordinator and was duly elected. Pauline Guy was then elected to be Membership Secretary.
The meeting ended with Stuart Pickford giving a vote of thanks to the outgoing Committee for all their hard work, and wishing good luck to the new Committee. Afterwards tea was served, accompanied by a wide selection of cakes baked by some of our members. It was a great afternoon with a mix of work, socialising and tasty treats.
Article by Judy Brua Photos by Nigel Poulter