Hawridge and Cholesbury Commons’ Preservation Society

Annual General Meeting 2017

Held on Tuesday 21st November at Cholesbury Village Hall



PRESENT: David Dennis (Chairman), Lindsay Griffin (Vice Chair), Ben Lewis (Treasurer), Committee Members – David Barnard, John Caple, Isobel Clark, Mark Hobbs, Veronica Mash and Janet Hopkinson (Minute Secretary). 

Nick Brown, John and Doreen Cooper, Sophie Harris, Rupert and Helen Salmon, Windsor and Paddy Thomas, Sarah Tricks, Richard Vasey and Mike Wallis.

1.0    Welcome and Apologies

David Dennis welcomed all present to the 50th Anniversary AGM and invited everyone to view the 2018 calendar, cards and 50th anniversary mugs during the interval.

Apologies were received from Christine Stott, Joan Barnard, Richard Bysouth, Peter Hall, Sue & Ian Phillips, Clare Strong, Margaret and Joan Walton and Tim Watts.  


2.0    Minutes of the Previous AGM

The minutes of the 2016 AGM held on 22nd November had been posted on the HCCPS website, emailed to all those who had attended and hard copies were available at tonight’s meeting.  It was agreed that these were a true and accurate record of the meeting and were duly signed by David Dennis.


3.0    Matters Arising

These would be discussed as the meeting progressed.



4.0    Chair’s Report

A copy of David Dennis’s report is attached, the salient points being:

·  Thanks were extended to all those who had, during the past 50 years, worked to maintain and improve the Commons, meeting the needs of both humans, animals and the natural world.

·  The 50th Anniversary Party held in September was a huge success and the opportunity to thank in person many of those who had contributed to meeting the Society’s aims over the years.  Special thanks for the evening’s success were extended to Richard Vasey and Brian Ralph, Mark Hobbs and his family and John and Ann Caple.

·  Past Chairs, committee members and supporters who attended included Ron How, Ann Knowles-Brown, widow of Peter, our first Chair, and Joan Walton.  The 50th anniversary of the HCCPS coincided with the 30th Anniversary of Christine Stott’s ownership of the Commons. She was thanked for her outstanding contribution.

·  A raffle, sale of merchandise and some very generous donations meant the event turned a small profit.

·  Good wishes were sent to the Mitchell family and the hope of Wesley’s continued recovery, and Isobel Clark was thanked for her tireless work, now ably assisted by Richard Bysouth.

·  James Jolliffe has used his machinery to great effect with grass and bracken cutting, which has been widely appreciated by users of the Commons.

·  Whilst Christine’s forestry work has continued and views and vistas have been revealed, so too has the need for stump grinding and scrub clearing as a result of the extra light encouraging growth.

·  David Dennis expressed his sorrow at stepping down as Chair after one year, due to personal circumstances, but is willing to serve on the Committee for at least another year.

·  Lindsay Griffin and David Barnard are willing to stand as Chair and Vice Chair respectively.

·  David concluded his report by thanking his fellow committee members, tractor drivers, litter pickers, photographers, designers, sponsors and of course members, whose subscriptions keep the Society going.


5.0    Treasurer’s Report

A copy of the Society's end-of-year accounts is attached, the salient points being:

·      Income to year ended 31st October 2017 was £3,078 – in line with previous years.

·      Expenditure for the same period was £4,184 – this was £1,235 higher than the previous year but purposely spent on stump grinding to ensure efficient grass cutting, as well as tractor maintenance, cutting, signage and reprint of leaflets.

·      A provisional cost of £300 relating to work carried out by James Jolliffe on the pond in 2016 had been waived.

·      Membership stands at 152, the highest level for 10 years and thought to be approximately half of the local residents.

·      It was unanimously decided to retain the cost of membership at £10 per person for the 7th year.

·      Card and calendar sales netted income of £1304

·      Future expenditure is expected to be more of the same – stump grinding and contractor costs in particular.

There were no questions to the Treasurer, Ben Lewis.

David Dennis reiterated that once the forestry work is concluded this will increase the need for contractor work to deal with the areas that have been opened up and require cutting.

Windsor Thomas commented that the Society is well served by having reserves (in excess of £13,000) and hopes the Society will continue in that vein.

Lindsay Griffin stated that the Society had benefitted from some very generous donations from Christine Stott and that much of the work being carried out was a ‘one off’ (particularly the stump grinding), which would prove to be a very prudent investment. The continued success of the calendar was largely due to the generous sponsorship from 11 local companies/businesses, and there had been very generous donations marking the 50th anniversary, totalling approximately £800.

The accounts were proposed for adoption by Ben Lewis, seconded by Mark Hobbs and all were in favour of their adoption.


6.0    Election of Committee Members

Chair: Lindsay Griffin was proposed by David Dennis and seconded by Janet Hopkinson.

There being no further nominations, Lindsay Griffin was duly elected.

Vice Chair: David Barnard was proposed by Mike Wallis and seconded by Paddy Thomas.

There being no further nominations, David Barnard was duly elected.

Treasurer: Ben Lewis was proposed by David Dennis and seconded by Veronica Mash.

There being no further nominations, Ben Lewis was duly elected.

Minute Secretary: Janet Hopkinson was proposed by Mike Wallis and seconded by David Barnard. There being no further nominations, Janet Hopkinson was duly elected.

Committee Members: John Caple, Isobel Clark, David Dennis, Mark Hobbs, Veronica Mash and Tim Watts were all prepared to stand for re-election en-bloc.  These six candidates were proposed by Mike Wallis and seconded by John Cooper.  All six were duly elected.

Additional Committee Member: Following Michelle Storm’s resignation earlier in the year due to pressure of work, there was one committee vacancy.  Nick Brown, who moved to Hawridge with his family three years ago, agreed to stand for election. He was proposed by David Dennis, seconded by Mike Wallis and duly elected.

Honorary Examiner: Mike Fletcher had agreed to stand again, was proposed by John Cooper, seconded by Windsor Thomas and duly elected.


Following the election of Committee Members Lindsay Griffin presented David Dennis with a gift to thank him for his term as Chairman and in particular for his work on fixing the leak at Pallett’s Pond and re-examining the details of the insurance documents. The long list of works to be done had all been completed! David Dennis thanked Lindsay and invited all present to enjoy the refreshments.

The official business of the evening was concluded at 8.05pm.

After the break there were various matters for presentation and discussion.

Isobel Clark talked about volunteers and equipment (complete with poem dedicated to the strimming work undertaken by Janet Hopkinson) and the trialling of the tree poppers which had met with approval from the working party volunteers.

Lindsay Griffin reported on ‘HCCPS at 50’ – a copy of which is attached.

David Dennis brought the Pallett’s Pond work up-to-date.

The evening concluded with an exceptional film made by Michelle Storm in celebration of the 50th Anniversary.