May 162017

On Thursday 11th May we held our Annual General Meeting before handing over to Brian Gallop for a talk on “Nature in Northumberland”.

As is our normal practise we try not to spend too much time on the AGM and instead got quickly down to business including presenting our accounts – in a nutshell we were able to give £1,200 to the RSPB this year, which was raised many through subscriptions, raffles and donations.  Thank you to all who have, and continued to, support the group through your memberships, supporting our events and your generous donations and gifts.

Next up was the election of the committee, who were unanimously quoted for. 🙂 See here for the latest committee listing.  I gave special thanks to Penny Leeves who has been involved with the group committee for almost as long as the group has been running, and has been doing the indoor programme for over 30 years.  Penny will be stepping down at the end of this year after compiling the 2018 programme, so I will be looking for a new indoor meeting organiser.  Please get in contact if you are interested in this role.

Thanks also to Sally Jennings for organising the coach trips for many years.   This year we are off to Minsmere (on Saturday 17 June) – contact Sally if you want to grab one of the last few tickets.  Sally has handed over this role to Hazel Cullum, who has started arranging our second coach trip this year, to Pulborough Brooks  on Saturday 21 October.  Welcome on board Hazel!

Also recently joining the committee is Pat Kagan, taking over from Sue Provins, as our committee secretary.  Thank you Pat.  And thanks also to Sue, who kept us in order during our committee meetings and has agreed to continue in her publicity role, even though she has moved to Hastings.  We hope to catch up with Sue and Cliff when they will be leading the Dungeness walk in October.

And thanks to the rest of the committee: Irene Robson (membership secretary), David Johnson (raffles, hosting the committee meetings and his general wisdom), Julie Peeling (our engagement/education officer) and Sue Healey (who seems to pick up most of the actions and generally ‘sorts things out for us’)- together we make a great team!

There being no other business we quickly wrapped up and handed over to Brian.

Which meant I did not have time to thank the many other people who, though not on the committee, help make the group work.  So let me correct that here.

To Malcolm and Sally Jennings who continue to host the Tuesday series of indoor meetings and the Tuesday programme of walks in the spring and summer.  If you never tried one of our outdoor trips, and you are free on Tuesdays, why not put the next one in your diary?  These are shorter walks than our weekend trips and designed to introduce you to the birds and places that are in our more immediate locality.  Malcolm and Sally also managed several ‘pin badge’ collection boxes in the area.  This is another great way to help raise funds for the RSPB.  We can always have more pin badge box ‘managers’, so if you know of a venue (pub, supermarket, garden centre, shop) that has a good ‘foot fall’ and is willing to host a collection box, please get in contact and we can set you up.  Thanks also to Malcolm for editing our newsletters.  Malcolm has stepped down from this role so we are looking for a new newsletter editor / communication officer – let me know if you know of a budding press officer who wants to get involved!

To Josie Brown for running our RSPB sales stall.  Her profits go directly to the RSPB so they are in addition to the figure given above.  Josie will be ‘setting up shop’ again when our indoor programme recommences in September.

To Alan Else, the man behind our website, who keeps it up to date with the latest news and announcements and sorts out our email issues.  If you have not yet subscribed to our ’email feed’ please do so, it’s free and simple to do.  Click here to find out how.  (Your email is only used for this purpose and not sold on to other parties etc).  This way you will receive our website updates in your mailbox.  Or, if you are more into ‘social media’,  go to our facebook page here and like us and your get our updates in your facebook newsfeed.

To the many people who help lead our group walks (and write up reports afterwards!) – including Sue and Ian Griffin – Sue and Ian have retired up to Norfolk however racked up 15 years helping with the group – many thanks and I have a badge to present them each with the next time we catch up!  To Pauline and John Beard, Claire and Jim Haslem, Karrie and Pete Hall,  Sandra and Norman Hogben, Louise and Neville Lunness-Barnes, Sue and Cliff Provins, Wendy and Jeff Kirk, Julie and Chris Peeling, Hazel and Steve Cullum,  Irene and Terry Robson, Sue Healey and Maria Yetman. Many thanks to you all.  I hope you enjoy leading our informal parties around the places we visit – by having a large pool of helpers we can continue to offer a full programme of outdoor walks throughout the year.  To those who have yet to try our walks, please come along and join us – you will be made very welcome, no experience is necessary and it is all very informal.

Thank you to the many others who lead a hand, whether on the door, baking cakes, doing a fete or pulling up ragwort to name but a few examples. It is all so much appreciated.

And finally, once again thank you for your support of the group and the RSPB.



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