AGM – Secretary’s Report for 2019
2019 was another successful year for the club, despite some very variable weather throughout the driving season.
The membership total at the end of the year was 46, down slightly from 49 last year, although interestingly the reduction in member numbers was not reflected in lower participation in our events, which were generally rather better attended than in recent years. The website continues to attract interest, and is now prominent in web searches and attracts a lot of hits, which bodes well for the future of the club. One of the aims of the new committee this year must be to attract even more interest in our activities during the coming year and to turn more of the hits on the website into new members.
A new feature introduced towards the end of the year is a software package that will automate the membership records, allowing members to manage their own information and to automate much of the club’s administrative processes.
The annual subscription will remain at the rate set in 2018, £10 single membership and £15 for a couple, and we have introduced new membership categories of Social Member at £15 per couple for those who have an interest in the MG marque but do not currently own one, and Trade Membership for £25, and we hope this will broaden the appeal of the club,.
The Treasurer has already explained that the Club finances are in a healthy state, with both the Pride of Ownership and the Annual Quiz raffle both showing a small profit, and the outlook is also good with the Amazon portal revenue stream producing a bonus for the club finances during the year. The transfer of the club bank account to the Metro Bank last year has paid dividends in making the management of the account, and particularly the identification of payments and deposits much simpler. Most payments and deposits to the account by members are now done by bank transfer, which again has simplified the accounting processes for both members and the treasurer.
The Annual Dinner and prizegiving was again held in February, in the Chequers in Weston Turville, and was an enjoyable evening, despite having to share the space with other diners.
We ran a full schedule of events during 2019. The first of these was a classic car gathering at the Bartletts residential care home in Stone at the request of the manager, and to which a number of us were happy to oblige.
The first run of the year, from our home in The Lion to Nuffield Place, was supposed to be held in April, but the weather forecast for the day was for very wet and windy weather, so the committee decided to postpone the run until later in the month. Two hardy couples, the Rainbows and the Withers’, however, opted to brave the weather on the day and did the run, reporting that the weather was nowhere near as bad as had been forecast. The numbers for the rescheduled run were reduced through other commitments, but was anyway enjoyed by the participants, who sat down to a sociable communal picnic in Nuffield Place.
In early June we held our Pride of Ownership at The Lion because of the known absence of a number of members on holiday in our usual month of July, and perhaps because of being earlier in the year the attendance was down. The evening was chilly, but the barbecue helped to warm us up. A new feature this year was to judge the photo competiton for the pictures taken on the spring run to Nuffield, won by Kurt and Jackie Mueller’s son Jason with a superb shot of my MGA passing the windmill in Brill, a shot that now features in the Home page carousel on our website.
July was a busy month with several events taking place. One was a new event for us – a walking treasure hunt around Waddesdon on the July club night, organised by Clive and Helen Wayland. This was well attended and enjoyable, with little groups of members criss-crossing the town wondering why they were all going in opposite directions!! Later in the month Jill and Peter Mansfield again kindly hosted the traditional Grand Prix Barbecue, and we were lucky with the weather. This proved again to be a very sociable event, and I continue to be surprised that it is not better attended – it really is a great oppportunity for members to socialise and for newer members get to know us better.
The August club night is now traditionally the Drive and Dine event, and this year was from the Bottle and Glass in Gibraltar on the A418 between Stone and Haddenham. This was well attended and generally enjoyed, apart from a couple of issues with the meals served after the run. Later in the month Heather Barton had again organised a run to a craft fair, this time a return to Stonor Park. We first enjoyed a breakfast bap in the Bell at Stoke Mandeville, where we were introduced to Brian Deacon and Karen Hall’s splendid new MG, a beautiful VA saloon in the classic MG racing livery of brown and cream. We then proceeded in convoy to Stonor, where we all managed to park together. The craft fair was more extensive than our last visit two years ago, and the weather was really hot for a change, and we all picnicked at lunchtime in the shadow of a convenient tree.
Late September saw two dozen-odd of us heading to the Cotswolds for our traditional weekend away. We were staying in the Wyck Hill House Hotel in Stow-on-the -Wold, a superb base for our weekend. We dined in the Bell in Stow itself on the friday night, where we had the back room to ourselves for a very fine meal. Saturday morning we headed off to the Chedworth Roman Villa, which has been excavated further in the ten years since my last visit. A special highlight was meeting up with former members Pete and Lesley Thomas, and we had a very interested tour of the site with ‘Dr Quintus’, a very knowledgeable guide in Roman garb. After lunch we drove to Chavenage for an hilarious guided tour and high tea in this fascinating old house, the location for many a TV production. Following a fine gala dinner on the Saturday night, we checked out of the hotel on Sunday morning and made our way to Sudeley Castle for a classic car meet which sadly was somewhat down in numbers as a result of the weather, before taking lunch at the castle and making our way home. Another great weekend organised once again by Dave Barton, a superb job.
The Annual Quiz in December, and our last official event of the year, was hosted by newcomers David and Julie Lloyd who did a splendid job, with an interval buffet provided by The Lion, with the club finances again contributing to the cost. This was the best-attended quiz I can remember, and a really good night, spoiled only by Kurt and Jackie Mueller’s TF being rear-ended by an impatient Land Rover which meant they couldn’t make it to this event.
We plan to run a full schedule of events in 2020 along the lines of those in previous years, but we want the activities to be ones that all members have a chance to enjoy. So we would like to see more suggestions from the membership for things to do that we have perhaps not thought of, and perhaps more participation from those members who have both the inclination and the time to spare, in the organising of events – so if you have some bright ideas, let one of the committee know, and why not have a go at organising an event yourself?