The recent downward trend in numbers attending the overall event and the formal AGM continued this year with some 126 visitors, of which some 100 were entitled to attend the AGM (and about 65 did so) as against some 150 last year. This shortfall was not so obvious at the time because there was less floor space at Derby’s Best Western Stuart Hotel. However, most traders appeared to be doing good business, including the Society’s own Sales Stand. The reduced attendance this time can be attributed at least in part to snow and ice in several parts of the country making travel conditions difficult. So, a big “thank you” to those who did attend whether as members, traders and/or exhibitors.

During the AGM there was warm applause when it was announced that Roger Ellis had been made an honorary life member in recognition of his immense contribution to the Society over the years, latterly as Exhibitions & Publicity Manager as well as organiser of the Bristol & Bath Group. Roger had stood down from the SRS Board of Management at the 2017 AGM, whilst at the 2018 meeting further changes took place. David Stevenson, Society, later Company, Secretary since 2008, stood down from that role but took on a new position as Archivist & Publications Director, to pursue the initiative announced in Issue 131 of Swiss Express.  Roger Kemp stood down as a ‘Board Member - Without Portfolio’ after 7-years. Unfortunately, like many, he was unable to be present due to the weather conditions. The Board welcome back Paul Russenberger, a former Chairman of the Society, as Roger’s successor. Malcolm Job has also stepped down. A former Treasurer of the Society, he had remained on the Board to help guide the transition into Company status. He is now designated as an adviser and will continue to attend Board meetings as appropriate. Our thanks to David, Roger and Malcolm for their expertise over the years. In no time at all I have already sought David’s advice as I take on his previous duties.

Another trend in recent years has been the decline in questions “from the floor”, both in the formal AGM and in the Open Forum directly afterwards. Hopefully, this is proof that the membership recognises the Society is in competent hands and is providing members with what they want. At the risk of opening the proverbial can of worms, however, I ought to say that if members do have practical ideas to improve the way the Society operates they should contact the relevant Board Member or, if they prefer, either John Jesson or myself and we will look into the matter(s) raised. Members could still raise the matter(s) at the next AGM (or do so then for the first time) if they feel wider consideration is appropriate.

One issue did generate debate this year and that was a proposal to defer the 2019 AGM to April because experience in recent years has been that meetings convened in March have become more likely to coincide with severe winter weather conditions, as was the case this year. Unfortunately, the debate highlighted the fact that some members may not be familiar with the statutes which govern the way the Society operates. Some still recall the “Old” Society’s constitution. Once the Society became a Company Limited by Guarantee (as voted upon by the vast majority of then members), this was replaced by our Memorandum and Articles of Association which includes the requirement that the first AGM had to be held within 15-months of the Company’s incorporation (it was) after which not more than 15-months must pass between one AGM and the next. Accordingly, the papers for the 2019 AGM will not include a motion to allow an interval of more than 12 months between AGMs (as the 2018 AGM had agreed) because the power exists already. Members are reminded they can access the Memorandum and Articles of Association here.

Next year’s  AGM will be held at the Hallmark Midland Hotel, Derby on Saturday 13th April.

Martin Fisher, Company Secretary

The AGM Brochure with reports and accounts can be downloaded here

The AGM Meet in Pictures

(All photos by Glyn Jones - click on photos to enlarge).