General Meetings

MINUTES OF THE 40TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD AT THE FLEET AIR ARM MUSEUM ON THURSDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2019

The meeting started at 18.00 with 28 members in attendance. Present:

Graham Mottram, Chairman
Malcolm Smith, Secretary
Attendees as listed at Annex A.

1. APOLOGIES

Apologies had been received from Tim Smith, Robert Heath, David Smith and Christopher Shores.

2. APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE 39TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD ON 28 SEPTEMBER 2018

The minutes were approved by the meeting and later signed by the Chairman.

3. MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

4. GENERAL MANAGER’S REPORT

The General Manager, Marc Farrance, reported as follows:
The FAAM has had a satisfactory year and attendance has been good. The television advertisement has improved interest from the public.
The capital project to repair the roof in Hall 2 and embody other improvements has been successfully completed and will achieve its aim of safeguarding the collection and protecting the public.
The revised WRNS exhibition was re-opened in a well-attended and positive event. My thanks again to SOFFAAM for its financial support to this project

5. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

The Society’s Chairman, Graham Mottram, reported as follows:
I’m going to begin with the sad news before I move on. In the last couple of months we have lost two long term members and past officers of the Society, David Kinloch and Gerry Sheppard. In addition, our past Chairman and President, Derek Moxley, lost his wife Anne. I have attended the funerals of Dave and Anne, and will be at Gerry’s next week.
Also, many members will have known Bob Turner, and perhaps also Jerry Shore, long term stalwarts of my museum staff who have also passed away in recent months. And finally, whilst most of you may only have known him by reputation, I had the great pleasure of knowing Sir Donald Gosling for many years. His generosity to the museum was enormous and it would not be what it is today without his massive financial contributions. He passed away last week at the age of 90. Sadly, time marches on.
What does not march on relentlessly is house purchase, and our immediate past President Gordon Johnson was still lurking around Yeovil when he should long have been in Hampshire. He was still in moderately good humour when last I saw him but he may not have escaped just yet. (At this point, the Secretary reported that he had recently spoken to Gordon, who has now completed his move.) His resignation for perfectly good reasons left us with a vacancy for a President and I’m pleased to report that I have recruited Rear Admiral Tom Cunningham CBE, a one-time Lynx man and last Chairman of FAAM trustees to take over that role. We will elect him formally later in the meeting.
I am also pleased to report that we have had another good year in my view. We have maintained the two high quality key outputs of the Society, namely Jabberwock and our Talks evenings, and our thanks should go to Malcolm Smith and Rosanne Crowther for their sterling efforts. Rosanne has passed one baton to a new Talks subcommittee and next year’s programme is already looking good. Rosanne intends to continue as the Visits Organiser and they continue to be well received and successful. We are already planning a special edition for Jabberwock 100 which is Number 2 of 2019. Gil Johnston has taken on the role of Talks Evening Manager and is still looking for another couple of helpers. I am going to be boring here and reiterate that this Society only works as well as it does because of people volunteering to do some of the work, and we could do with a few more volunteers. We don’t operate by magic because we never managed to recruit Paul Daniels.
We are in good financial health and Martin will report on the detail later. We have donated £6,000 towards the rework of the WRNS Exhibition, only 33 years after I built the first one, and a late call from Dave Morris, Curator of Aircraft, brought the response of another £3400 towards a new shot blast machine for the Restoration Hangar, which will be of great value to the Barracuda rebuild. We have also committed another £6,000 in 2020 to help in developing a new virtual reality experience which the museum team hope will keep the museum vibrant and exciting, and continuing to embrace new technology to please the visitors.

6. PUBLICITY AND RECRUITMENT

Richard Macauley described the activities he has undertaken to produce a more “corporate” feel to the Society’s printed material, including letterheads, with-compliments slips, banners and so on. He planned to implement a training session for those interested in managing the Society’s Facebook page. All these activities are in the interests of getting the Society’s name and purpose better publicised.
Richard Hufton asked why the Society’s publicity and leaflet stand had been moved to a less visible position. The General Manager said that this had been a temporary move during the refurbishment of Hall 2. The Chairman agreed to review the optimum position of the stand.
7. TREASURER’S REPORT
The Treasurer, Martin Turner, reported as follows:
As can be seen from the annual accounts, your Society remains in a healthy financial position, although there is a slight decline in the value of assets compared with the same date in 2018. There were several reasons for this:-
• A decline in membership has resulted in a small reduction in annual subscriptions.
• A larger sum was donated to museum projects than in the previous year.
• No significant donations were received by us this year.
• Our Gift Aid claim was lower than last year, reflecting the reduction in member numbers.

We continue to accumulate funds at an acceptable level at about 97% of last year’s total and I believe that running costs remain well controlled, allowing for the purchase of needed capital items such as extra advertising banners displayed in the museum and a new lap-top computer for use in membership data recording.
Our talks programme was reduced to 9 during the period due to inclement winter weather earlier in the year, but overall the programme yielded a cumulative surplus of £1,331.74, some £600 less than in 2018. Average attendance was 65, which again was lower than last year.
I think it should be mentioned that due to the retirement of the Annual Grand Draw promoter last year and our being unsuccessful in finding a successor, a decision was made not to hold the draw in 2019. This clearly will have an impact in next year’s accounts, given that this activity produced a surplus of £1,378 last year.
On the matter of general running costs, these were generally either lower or broadly comparable with last year, with the exception of postage, (mainly resulting from the distribution of Jabberwock magazine), which of course is beyond our control.
The visit to Aerospace Bristol earlier this year was a success and ticket sales covered costs with a small surplus, in line with the Society’s policy of running such events as near as possible on a break-even basis.
In general terms the Society’s chief source of income is members’ annual subscriptions and associated Gift Aid tax refunds. Any significant further reduction in member numbers will have an increasing impact on financial viability, but for the present the Society’s finances are in a stable condition.

8. ELECTION OF INDEPENDENT EXAMINER

The Chairman proposed that Malvern Carvell should continue to act as the Independent Examiner. The proposal was carried without dissent.

9. MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY’S REPORT

Robert Heath reported as follows:
The current paying membership total is 986, which is a decrease of 51 in total over the past 12 months. This reflects a continuing decline in membership. It is a fact that the High Street retail sector is still feeling the pinch, along with industry as a whole, so we are following the pattern, sadly. A promotions group has been set up to develop opportunities for creating greater awareness of SOFFAAM.
As proposed last year, payment via BACS money transfer is now in place in addition to cheque and standing order. Sadly PayPal is still not in place, which is very remiss. Updated display banners have been introduced and the application form has also been revised in parallel.
Family membership, which was introduced two years ago, currently stands at 15 families. Junior membership has now been expanded the age to commence from 5 years to 15. Members receiving Jabberwock via the internet stands at 118.
My thanks to all members for their loyalty to SOFFAAM and the FAAM. It is good value.

10. TALKS AND VISITS REPORT

Rosanne Crowther reported as follows:
Despite my statement last year that I would be standing down from my position I am still here, although for not much longer. The past 12 months have once again proved to be (I hope) an interesting period with a variety of speakers. The majority have given their time, and travel free of charge, in order to support our fundraising for the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
I am pleased to say that the visit to Bristol Aerospace Museum was very well supported and enjoyed by all. Likewise, the recent visit to Navy Wings, with so much to see I am sure all would have welcomed another hour on the site. Both of these visits have made a small profit for the Society, hopefully this will continue in the future.
I would like to thank the Council, the museum staff and you the members for providing me with inspiration and support over the last twelve months.

11. EDITOR’S REPORT

Malcolm Smith reported as follows:
Jabberwock 97 is well in hand and due for issue in early November. My thanks as always to the many correspondents and other contributors, your input makes it varied and (I hope) always interesting.
As announced earlier by the Chairman, the second issue of Jabberwock in 2020 will be the one hundredth. I have proposed to the Council that this should be a celebratory issue, in a larger A4 format. This will have implications in printing and distribution costs, which will need to be considered by the Council.

12. ELECTION OF PRESIDENT

The General Manager took the Chair.
The Chairman stated that Admiral Tom Cunningham had agreed to take the role of President.

13. ELECTION OF COUNCIL

Council members Jim Humberstone and David Smith have tendered their resignation from the Council. All other Council members have volunteered to stand for re-election. Two proposed new members, Simon Websper and Chris Penney, gave the meeting brief details of their background and interests. Richard Hufton proposed that they should be elected, together with the remaining Council members and this was seconded by Philip Unwin. All were elected unanimously.
A list of the elected members of the Council is at Annex B.

14. ELECTION OF LIFE VICE PRESIDENT

The Chairman proposed that his predecessor in the chair, Richard Hufton, should be elected as Life Vice President. The proposal was seconded by the Secretary and was carried unanimously.

15. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Graham Mottram resumed as Chairman.
There being no other business, the meeting closed at 16.45.

Approval of the Minutes given above.

Position :

Signature :

Date :

ANNEX A
SOFFAAM AGM, 26 SEP 2019 – LIST OF ATTENDEES

General Manager:

Marc Farrance

Council Members:

Graham Mottram
Rosanne Crowther
Richard Macauley
Gil Johnston
Ivan Childs
Martin Turner
Malcolm Smith (Secretary)

Members:

Richard Hufton
Stuart Crowther
Bill Ellison
Chris Penney
Simon Websper
Taff Lewis
Philip Unwin
John Whitfield
Peter Cowlan

ANNEX B
ELECTED COUNCIL MEMBERS

President:

Admiral Tom Cunningham CBE

Chairman:

Graham Mottram

Vice Chairman:

Ivan Childs

Treasurer:

Martin Turner

Membership Secretary:

Robert Heath

Talks and Visits Organiser:

Rosanne Crowther

Secretary and Jabberwock Editor:

Malcolm Smith

Members:

Chris Adams
Tim Smith
Christopher Shores
Richard Macauley
Gil Johnston
Chris Penney
Simon Websper