Secretary Barry Pegram opened the meeting and said that, disappointingly, our retiring Chairman, Ambrose Barber, could not be present as he was still recovering from shingles. However, he had sent an address which was read out by Chris Farara, as follows:
“Mr. Vice-President, Mr. Former President, Ladies and Gentlemen, firstly, thank you for attending in support of our Annual General Meeting, and I'm only sorry that this year I'm not welcoming you in person. It is now 14 years since we first assembled here, convened by half a dozen 'movers and shakers' who had formed a steering committee and recruited two or three of us to their ranks.
Barry, our diligent honorary Secretary, will summarise the year's activities for us, and I hope you will agree that, in one way and another, we've been able to continue to pursue our Association's original Aims on all fronts. In this, all credit must go to the doughty members of my Committee, all of whom deserve our thanks and appreciation in their different ways.
Neither should we overlook the involvement we have enjoyed from our two successive Presidents, John Glasscock and Sir Colin (Chandler), both of whom left Kingston for 'greater things' but in their retirement have been prepared to return here to support our Hawker Association.
I would just like to end, if I may, by wishing your new Chairman well. In the absence of other candidates I'll be delighted to learn that I am to be succeeded by a fellow Dunsfold man ! If your Committee takes as much care of you (addressing Chris Roberts) as they have done of me, then you should be in for a treat - at least for MOST of the time !! Thank-you, all”.
The Secretary then expressed the Association’s thanks to Ambrose for the effort he had put into guiding the progress of the Association over such a long time. He had accepted the post as a three year job, only to serve for fourteen years! The response of the meeting was a very well deserved and hearty round of applause.
The Secretary reported that membership had declined a little in the past year, from 377 to 357 with, sadly, 14 deaths of Members and 9 non-renewals for two years. Peak Membership was in 2014 at 394. There are 50 lady members, 16 overseas and 21 non-employees.
The Christmas lunch attracted 44 Members, the Summer barbecue 28. Of
our speakers Peter Bedford attracted 46, Don Spiers 40, Mark Zanker 34,
Ian Townsend, Simon Hargreaves and David Hassard 30 and Jock Heron 28.
The principal items of expenditure were liability insurance, venue hire, stationery, postage and printing, raffle prizes and speaker and catering expenses.
The Association finances were, Martin said, in an acceptable state with no need foreseen to increase the annual subscription (£5). The bank balance as at December 13th 2016 was £3193.43.Finally, Chris Roberts was unanimously voted in and welcomed as Chairman. The other Committee Members remain in office.