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THE SECTION ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND CHRISTMAS LUNCH
at the Hilton Avisford Park Hotel, Walberton - Sunday 7 December 2003

Just over one hundred 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. Before the AGM started Tommy Welham, Philip Francis and Jean Francis were presented with engraved cut glass decanters and bouquets by Clifton Spencer and Ted Meachem representing all of the 'Five' Sections. This was in recognition of their services to the South of England Rallies since the late seventies. Unfortunately Dot Welham was unwell and so was not present.

At 11.45am the Chairman, Tony Leach formally opened the AGM by welcoming everybody, especially Club Chairman Eri Heilijgers and his wife Annie. The Secretary, Ted Meachem, gave out a long list of apologies for absence. The Chairman then asked the meeting if it was their wish that he should sign the minutes of the Annual General Meeting held 1 December 2002 (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 had been rather a special year because the new home of Rolls-Royce had opened on our patch. The Section had enjoyed a tour of the Plant in April and then in May, Tony, Daphne, Kate and Ted had been invited to the grand opening. Prior to those events there had been Section lunches at the Crossbush Hotel and the Rowland's Castle Golf Club. The British Engineerium was visited, with steam-up this time, and on 22 April David and Jackie Gray opened their house after the Memorial Service for Sir Henry Royce at Elms Lane. Two 'Gardens' events followed, Exbury and Leonardslee, and then the South of England Rally at Goodwood. Tony said that three new venues then followed, the Museum of Naval Fire Power, Picnic Hog Roast at his home and Firle Place near Lewes. Michelham Priory, Avington Park, Shoreham Airport and Hickstead, four old favourites, were visited in very good weather. The Arundel Castle event proved very popular with evening supper and fireworks. The annual Section Rally to the Ribble Valley was enjoyed by fifty-nine participants in twenty-six Club cars, with David Steel and Tony receiving several letters of thanks. Towards the end of the season there was the visit to Denbies Winery and the Quiz with no less the five Phantoms in the Grand Hall. We watched the London to Brighton Run in foul weather and finally a visit to Milestones Museum in Basingstoke.

Tony said that none of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the Committee and he thanked all the members of the Committee for their work in making the Section the success it was. He especially mentioned the extra responsibilities of the Treasurer, Michael Marriage and the Editor, Dennis Windows. He also thanked the Secretary for his work, and to the Secretary's complete surprise presented him with a Franklin Mint model of a New Phantom for services rendered. 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 started his annual report by saying that the AGM notification mailing was to over 400 addresses. There had been a marvellous 170 responses in less than four weeks with almost £2,000.00 in contributions, for which he thanked the members. He continued by mentioning the blown up photographs on display, taken and provided by Andrew Honour, of the recent visit (by the Similar Five Club Cars) to the now completed R-R Plant which was also recorded on the Section website with a 360 panorama view crafted by Ian Burt. He thanked Fred Fruth for making this possible.

Ted said that with regard to the 2004 Programme the Annual Section Rally would be to the Wye Valley, flyers/entry forms already distributed to the meeting. The South of England Rally would be on 16 May at Charterhouse School with Thames Valley as the main organising Section. The National Rally would be at Boughton Hall, Kettering on 19-20 June. 2004 was the Centenary year of R-R.

The Secretary gave his thanks to the Committee members (and to all the unsung heroes) saying that the organisation of Section events was very much a team effort led by the BWs 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 but the Magazine did need more advertisers. He also said he was happy to receive cheques covering more than one event provided they were listed on the reverse side. 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 examining the accounts. Adoption of the accounts was proposed by Dennis Windows and seconded by Paul Capper. Accepted unanimously. Reappointment of the Examiner was proposed by Simon Buck and seconded by Derrick Hurrell. Accepted unanimously.

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 Peter Cameron and seconded by John Bray. Accepted unanimously.

The Programme for 2004 had been distributed to the meeting and the Secretary asked if there were any questions. Eri Heilijgers said that he had now taken over the Paris Rally for UK bookings.

Under Any Other Business: Peter Parkinson asked about the disposal of Halogen fire extinguishers, the Fire Brigade were thought the best people to ask. Andrew Honour expanded on the idea of a 2004 Centenary colour photographic publication of the Section events of the year.

Eri Heilijgers addressed the meeting saying how pleased he was to return again, fourth visit, and what a friendly Section we were. He mentioned the 2003 Saltzburg Rally, the 2004 Euro Rally to Madrid and the 2005 Malaysian Rally. On seeing our visit to Essex in March he said a cup of tea might be possible at Baddow Park during the weekend. Eri explained that the National Rally venue was changed because Towcester Racecourse was undergoing major rebuilding works, Boughton House had been seen and seemed eminently suitable in all respects. Marquees would be needed, House tours would be available and the dinner/dance would be in Kettering. He said that Fred Fruth would be moving on in April next year and reiterated all our thanks for Fred's considerations to the Club. He announced that the National Rallies would have a new Class for 2003 onwards, Crewe built Bentleys. There was only one question from the floor, by Ted Meachem asking when the Club website would be worthy of our name. Eri replied by saying that the Club had a professional webmaster and the new site should be happening in December.

Tony thanked Eri for attending and speaking at our AGM.

Fred Fruth of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd gave a brief rundown of the Company's progress in 2003 saying that all targets had been achieved from delivering the first motor car on 1 January to reaching the sales target of 500 motor cars. He had brought along a Goodwood Phantom which members were invited to inspect outside. Fred said that he would be returning to Munich in May next year but that he would be keeping in close touch with our Club.

Tony thanked Fred and then gave details of the lunch arrangements.

Following a further opportunity to chat, one hundred and one members, partners and friends took their places at the dining tables. A Happy Birthday chorus was sung to Ralph Taylor and each of the Ladies were presented with an engraved glass to mark the occasion. An excellent traditional lunch was enjoyed by all, complemented by the rocket balloons, which created quite a stir once 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


Ted and Tony   New cars at AGM.
For his sterling work Secretary Ted Meachem was presented with a gift by Tony Leach.   Some members' modern motor cars outside the Hotel.
AGM presentation.   Fred Fruth
Clifton Spencer, Philip and Jean Francis, Tommy Welham and Ted Meachem.       Fred Fruth gave an update on the New Phantom sales.
Photos: Ian Burt