Welcome to the AGM and, on behalf of the committee, thank you for attending.
Also welcome back to the Belfry. I will not pretend that last years venue was a run away success but at least our refusal to pay the exorbitant increase sprung on us at the last minute has resulted in us being able to return here this year at a sensible fee level.
I would like to start by thanking all the committee members who work so hard to keep the club running. Without them there would be no club. Yet again this year, in addition to the usual requirements of organising meetings, events, holidays and generally managing the club's affairs, the committee has had to face much paper coming down from the sport's governing bodies and adapt to their requirements. Of course, there are also many non-committee members who provide invaluable help in organising activities, providing newsletter articles and otherwise supporting the committee. Special thanks to all of them also.
There is one individual of whom I must make special mention, Paul Sharp, who will not be standing for re-election to the committee despite his name appearing on the AGM notice. Pressure of work has forced him to reconsider, although both he and we hope that he will continue to assist us in the organisation of the club holidays. It is no exaggeration to say that Paul's holidays have become a mainstay of the club. Paul's enthusiasm for this task has been undimmed over the years and he, huge amounts of hard work and his understanding of how these holidays tick, have been key to their great success. Most people in this room will, at some time, have been cornered by Paul, intent on not releasing them until he has extracted a holiday application and deposit. I hope you will all agree that our special thanks should go to him.
Another individual to whom I will draw your attention is the gentleman to my right, our Secretary, Alan Brown. He has been voted SCGB rep of the year. Our congratulations to him. Whilst talking of the Brown family, I should also mention that Caroline recently became, for the second year running, ladies world helicopter precision flying champion. Congratulations to her also.
Last year I commented on some changes we were making to the programme as a result of a survey of members. The survey followed a clear shift in members' participation in the club's activities, with a number of activities being ever more strongly supported and some previously popular activities being somewhat marginalised. Unfortunately I cannot report that our changes have resulted in members participating in a significantly wider range of activities, and I suspect that for the future, the tendency will be to concentrate on those events, which attract attendance rather than answers to questions in surveys.
Last year the holidays continued to be extremely well supported, together with many summer events, particularly the walks. Holiday capacity was increased. The number of walks will be increased next year. However, there will be no courses or clinics at Rossendale this autumn or winter, as the response last year was so poor. We will maintain the club evenings at Rossendale with free instruction, albeit at a slightly reduced level. Keep fit saw slightly increased attendance last year and hopefully that trend will continue. Certainly it is the committee's view that as a ski club we should maintain in our programme activities directly related to skiing in as far as reasonably possible.
Clearly the club's programme is changing, is having to change, but this should not be allowed to disguise the fact that the club continues to be active and vibrant, engaging, in one way or another, a large proportion of its members and providing an effective catalyst for bringing individuals together to share common interests and activities, whether within or outside the official club programme. So long as it does that it continues to achieve its purpose.
Thank you for listening to me tonight and thanks again to all those who have supported me through the last two years.
Barry Lewis, Chairman, 7th October 2005