Thank you all for taking the time to come to our Annual General meeting.
We need to hold this meeting once a year to report on our activities and to satisfy the Charity Commission; but more importantly, it is an opportunity for the trustees to meet the members face to face and talk about the future for this charity. It is now over 7 years since Friends was formed and much work has been completed thanks to members donations, money raised from events and grants secured by the trustees.
Overall, net of expenses, we have raised nearly £70,000 to fund our projects.
In 2018 we raised further funds of over £9,530 from direct contributions, fund raising events and gift aid.
We work with the Parochial Church Council (the PCC) and endeavour to fulfil their requests for repairs and improvements based on their impressively named Quinquennial Report. This report is produced every five years and is funded by the PCC and Anglican Church and is prepared by their experts on church building renovation. It is currently thought that around £30,000 will be needed with the next 5 years, or so, to safeguard the fabric of the roof and to provide further heat conservation.
Money raised has enabled us to continue to support this lovely heritage building and in the last 12 months we have funded a second specialist radiator in the font area and have established a separate fund for roof repairs. We also funded several thousand pounds worth of stonework repairs. We also add our own ideas for fabric improvements and suggestions on how best to use this wonderful building.
Please be aware that our new website fosj.org.uk has a detailed history of work done and work that is still to be done. Lucy’s Treasurer’s report follows and she will offer further details. In addition there are regularly updated news & events pages.
Last year we heard from a few members who thought that most villagers had the feeling that the Friends had now completed their work (heating, ‘bothy’, paths etc.). So last year we delivered a questionnaire to each house in the village to further explain who we are and what we have achieved thus far, hoping for some feedback.
Sadly, only 7 of over 200 questionnaires were returned.
Moving on to our events.
The Curry and Quiz night seems to have a life of its own and, even while becoming a bi-annual event, remains a storming success selling out very quickly. Mark, our fiendish quiz master, has made the event into an evening’s entertainment worthy of the West End!
Our talks have also been well supported and the WW2 history of Defford airfield attracted a large audience and was very well received.
Our Christmas celebration was also well attended. Massive thanks must go to everyone who has helped us but particularly to Barry Griffin for organising the event. Thanks are due to village members of the world famous Pop Up village choir, and to Nigel Smith for playing the organ
We will be running a second Curry and Quiz this September, so reserve tickets early if you are interested, as we are limited in numbers and have had to turn quite a few people away.
We are also planning an Autumn 2019 talk which is still very much work in progress and may be moved to Spring 2020. Andrew Mottram has agreed to talk about church history. It was he who, back in 2011, inspired many to join Friends of St James. His words inspired me to become a trustee when I read the notes taken at that meeting. We hope too to add a second speaker to talk on the history of Bishampton and thirdly I hope to add some choral or chamber music to add to the evening
Pam and I are keen to promote more musical events in the church, so please watch out for further details later in the year and don’t forget, members get notification before general release.
Pam and Wendy also hope to encourage family based events too. Perhaps a treasure hunt?
Trustees & membership
Membership has increased during the 2018 from 84 to 88 (and now stands at 90).
Sadly, Geraldine has decided to stand down as a trustee after 7 years hard work. She was there, on her knees helping to remove the carpet, scrubbing & cleaning the church floor to reveal all sorts of horrors beneath. A fox was asked kindly to remove himself and his family to allow the revealed stone floor to be restored, cleaned and polished. She will still help out at our events and will continue to be a valuable resource when the history of the charity is written. So, thank you Geraldine.
We still need help from members who share our wish to see this great building preserved and who just might be able to spare a few hours to help us to do that. In particular we need someone with basic email & spreadsheet skills to keep our membership records up to date and send out mailshots. I am able and happy to fulfil that role for the time being but ideally would love to find a person to take over from me.
Finally a few heartfelt ‘Thanks.
The first is to my fellow trustees who bring great ideas and enthusiasm to the table and willingly help in whatever way they can to make our events and fundraising efforts a success.
Thank you Ian and Eric for your unfailing help and time helping us newbies into our new roles. I wish them both well with their respective retirement activities, but I know they will continue to help us with advice and help whenever they can.
Particular thanks this year must go to Wendy & Howard for the fantastic curries that always appear, seemingly effortlessly, at our Curry and Quiz nights and again to Wendy for organising most of the entertaining and food associated with our events.
Thanks to all of our members who quietly continue to donate, sign gift aid declarations, come to our events and, through talking with us, provide guidance on what they would wish to see happen here.
That’s all from me so I would now like to ask if there are any questions or suggestions from the floor.
Chair, Friends of St James Bishampton