The Annual General Meeting was held during the Portsmouth Gathering, chaired by Sir Robert Balchin. Much of the time was taken up by routine business, which is described in the minutes that will be presented for approval to the 2001 AGM. This note concentrates on the non-routine matters that were discussed.

The Treasurer, Colin Balchin, submitted the accounts covering 3 October 1999 to 8 October 2000. However, he pointed out that this showed a large cash balance, representing money collected in advance booking for the Gathering, which would shortly be used to pay the bills for the hotel and the Guildhall. There had been another slight decrease in membership numbers over the year, especially overseas, as follows (home/overseas): 1997 – 113/36, 1998 – 121/34, 1999 – 115/24, 2000 – 111/21. Michael Balchin, Ottawa, Canada, had submitted motions for consideration by the AGM. The first was to fix home and overseas subscriptions at the same rate. The meeting agreed to fix a uniform subscription of £11 for a trial period for one year (2001). It was pointed out that the requirement for payment by a sterling cheque presented difficulties and expense for overseas members, but no solution appeared to be in sight. A further motion called for a financial statement and forecast of expenditure to be published in the Newsletter; the meeting agreed that a financial statement should be sent out with the Newsletter. The expenses claimed by members of the Committee were queried; they are allowed to claim out-of-pocket expenses needed for any task authorised by the Committee on behalf of the Society. The meeting approved the present arrangements.

A further motion called for the accounts to be audited. As this requires a professional auditor charging typically £100 per hour plus VAT for several hours’ work, this would add substantially to the Society’s outgoings. The current checking system was explained, and it was pointed out that it complied with the legal requirements for the accounts of a UK charity. If turnover exceeded £10,000 per year, we would seek to find a member of the Society with accounting experience to act as an independent examiner. The meeting approved the present arrangements.

A venue for the 2001 Gathering was discussed; members will be notified of the chosen location etc. in a May mailing. The Officers and Committee were elected (as listed below). The Chairman once again appealed for new Committee Members. Michael Balchin had proposed two further motions regarding the appointment of Honorary Members. This matter was passed to the Committee for consideration.

Professor William G V Balchin, Ilkley, Yorkshire

Sir Robert Balchin, Lingfield, Surrey

Committee Members

Mrs Rene Bullas, Sheffield

Treasurer and Membership Secretary
Colin Balchin, Aldershot, Hants

Newsletter Editor
Professor William G V Balchin

Newsletter Production
Dr Nigel C Balchin, Cambridge

General members
Brian Balchin, Reading, Berkshire
Ian Balchin (co-opted), Wallingford, Oxfordshire
Michael Balchin, London
Roy Balchin, Slough, Berkshire
Mrs Jennifer Dixon, Chichester, West Sussex