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THE SECTION ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND CHRISTMAS LUNCH
Sunday 1 December 2002 at the Hilton Avisford Park Hotel, Walberton

Just over one hundred and twenty members, wives and partners gathered from 10.30am in the Garden Suite off the Grand Hall to meet and greet each other over coffee and mince pies. As members entered the Grand Hall they were greeted with the sight of eleven large round tables laid for lunch, the chairs set out for the AGM and the imposing Phantom VI bedecked in Christmas decoration on the raised turntable. Our thanks to Paul Capper for bringing in and setting up the motor car in the very early hours of the morning (Bell, book and candle at about 4.30am!).

The Chairman, Tony Leach, opened the meeting at 11.30am by welcoming everybody, especially Club Chairman Eri Heilijgers and his wife Annie. Tony presented Ian Burt with a letter and token of the Section's thanks for his work on the Section website. The Secretary, Ted Meachem, gave some of the apologies for absence and confirmed that a full list would be contained in the minutes. The Secretary then asked the meeting if it was their wish that the Chairman should sign the minutes of the Annual General Meeting held 2 December 2001 (previously circulated) as being a true record. There was full agreement from the floor and the minutes were duly signed. There were no Matters Arising.

Chairman Tony began his annual report by saying that it was almost twelve months to the day since he last stood in the Grand Hall during which time we had had sixteen meetings not including the SoE Rally, The National or the Loire Rally. Two meetings had to be cancelled and one postponed to the coming season. The weekend visit to Bath by coach never got off the ground as it had only interested eight people, disappointing after the excellent London weekend two years earlier. He mentioned most of the meetings by name including the additional lunch meet at the Royal Norfolk Hotel. Tony thanked all the members of the Committee for their work in making the Section the success it was. Finally he thanked the members for their support during the past twelve months and looked forward to meeting everyone again in the next twelve months.

Secretary Ted gave his annual report (from one or two notes) observing that the AGM notification mailing was to 420 addresses reaching over 840 members and partners. There had been a marvellous 170 responses in less than four weeks (including 31 members who did not contribute last year) to this year's Contribution letter. Our return to the Loire valley, after eight years, with thirty Club cars and sixty-six members was very successful. Ted reiterated how grateful we all were to Ian Burt for creating and maintaining probably the best Section site on the main Club website. He recalled that following the photo shoot at the new Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Plant in November last year the same five Club cars had returned this year for a photograph to quite a different back drop. He thanked Fred Fruth for making this possible. Ted said that we were the main organising Section for the South of England Rally to be held at Goodwood Racecourse on Sunday 18 May next year. There would also be tours of the new manufacturing plant and a dinner on the preceding Saturday. The Secretary gave his thanks to the Committee members (and to all the un-sung heroes) saying that the organisation was very much a team effort led by the BW's of the day. Ted asked for members to let him know of any issues they would like raised at the Club Conference in March and also if there were any questions from the floor. There were none.

Treasurer Michael Marriage said that the Section finances were in very good order and indicated that with the judicious use of brown envelopes for part of the large cash flow on the Loire Rally we were still well clear of the VAT registration point. Michael ran through the previously circulated figures and asked if there were any questions on the Accounts. There were none. He gave thanks to John Tudor for auditing the accounts. Adoption of the accounts was proposed by Paul Capper and seconded by Andrew Honour. Accepted unanimously. Re-appointment of the Auditor was proposed by Jack Pennell and seconded by Dick Lees. Accepted unanimously. John Tudor had requested that he be known as the Examiner for the next set of Accounts.

The Chairman asked all the prospective candidates for the new Committee to stand (and be recognised!). Simon Buck, Paul Capper, Andrew Honour, Tony Leach, Dick Lees, Michael Marriage, Ted Meachem, Maurice Pitchford, David Steel and Dennis Windows. In the absence of any further nominations, it was proposed that the present members be elected en bloc. Proposed by John Bray and seconded by Peggy Sadler. Accepted unanimously.

David Steel spoke to the meeting with some of the details of the Ribble Valley Rally planned for September 2003. Copies of the year 2003 programme had been distributed before the meeting and the Secretary asked if there were any questions on this document. There were none other than the query that Leonardslee was on a Wednesday, confirmed.

Under Any Other Business: Peter Parkinson asked about the possibility of publishing a Members list. Jack Pennell said that this proposal had been turned down previously. Eri Heilijgers said that it might cause a security problem. Doug Groves enquired if there had been any news from our sister Section? Ted replied by displaying a recently received photograph of the Tierra de Fuego Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer in conference.

Eri Heilijgers addressed the meeting saying how pleased he was to return again and advised that although Club funds were strong, £100,000.00 had been spent on putting some of the archives on CD ROM and £100,00.00 had to be spent on the new fire protection system. He also said that it was prudent to have the equivalent of two years' expenditure on reserve. He said that the Goodwood/Crewe position was under review including the status of Bentleys manufactured after 1 January 2003. He said that he had seen the new Goodwood Manufacturing Plant and the new Rolls-Royce motor car which was in true R-R precision and tradition. Employees of Project Rolls-Royce had been to see our headquarters and now understand some of the mystique of Hunt House. Tony thanked Eri (and Annie) for attending and speaking at our AGM.

Fred Fruth of Project Rolls-Royce gave us an insight into the design thinking of the new motor car and likened several features to those of the Phantom on display. He then showed us a short 'teaser' video of some of the story behind the all-new Rolls-Royce motor car. He said the name of the new company would be Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. Our thanks to Fred for the presentation and also to Roy Huntley for providing the projection and sound equipment.

Ted then gave details of the lunch arrangements.

Following a further opportunity to chat, one hundred and nineteen members, partners and friends took their places at the dining tables. The Chairman's wife Daphne and guest Claudia Gross (from Project Rolls-Royce) then made their way to the Phantom VI to awake a sleeping Father Christmas in the back seat! Tony accompanied Father Christmas to each of the dining tables to give the Ladies their presents.

An excellent traditional lunch was enjoyed by all, complemented by the rocket balloons, which created quite a stir again.

At a short meeting after lunch, the new Committee elected Tony Leach as Chairman, Ted Meachem as Secretary and Michael Marriage as Treasurer.

Ted Meachem - Section Secretary


Paul Capper's Phantom VI   Father Christmas distributes gifts
Paul Capper's Phantom VI bedecked with festive decorations.   Father Christmas distributed gifts to the ladies. Photos: Ian Burt