The study and appreciation of the life, works and times of Arnold Bennett

Arnold Bennett Society AGM 19 October 2019

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Arnold Bennett Society
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at
Swan Bank, Methodist Rooms
Saturday 19 October 2019 at 2pm

Charity Registration Number 1140053 

Apologies for absence: Roger & Wendy Statham, Jenny Graveson, David & Judith Pugsley, Maire & John Davies, Jerry Park, Richard Gorton, Jean Monares, Margaret Barrett, Clive Osborne, Prof James Bryant, Keith & Janet Pointon, Alan & Marie-Claude Pedley, Munroe Blair, Kevin Burke, Fleur Coppock, Jenny Gray, Richard Grieve, Christopher Sandrawich, Hilary Robinson, Fiona Cole, Phil Walton, Penny Michelle, Lindon Roberts, Kenneth Ryder, Brian and Susan Worthington, Hector Emanuelli, Brenda Stanway, Bert Flitcroft and Lindon Roberts.

A total of 21 members attended the AGM

The chair welcomed everyone to the 2019 AGM.

The 2018 AGM Minutes were approved by Tim Gray and seconded by Fred Hughes.

Chair’s Report:– Catherine Burgass reported on events during the year: Literary Lunch at Middleport Pottery with Jonathan Taylor.  (The 2019 lunch will be held at the Potbank in Stoke.) – February talk with Deborah Wynne. – Annual dinner with John Bird – thanks to Carol Gorton for organising. – Savoy lunch – thanks to Jenny Graveson for organising. – Annual Conference in June – Non Fiction – thanks to Ray and Ginny for the entertainment at the end. Also thanks to Morag Jones and the Book Prize panel.  Jan Edwards, last year’s winner, presented the prize to Charlotte Higgins for her book “Red Thread”.  There were a total of 28 entrants.  Morag Jones has agreed to chair the panel again this year and already she has received 6 submissions. – There were various talks during the year – Catherine (Birmingham University) Carol and Elizabeth (Probus, Stone) Ray and Catherine (Heritage Open Day).  Carol G and Elizabeth have a further talk planned for 4 November 2019. – We were unsuccesful in our bid for funding to replace the Bursley Trail Plaques. – A Social Media sub committee has been set up. – John Shapcott’s publication “Parallel Lives – Arnold Bennett & Frederick Marriott was now available to buy at £15.00 a copy – AB’s family home, 205 Waterloo Road, has now been sold.  Christine Conlin suggested the society contact the new owners and let them know about us. – Barbara Hall-Petite is stepping down as Social Secretary, and Carole Cregan is taking that position.  Carol Gorton is also stepping down as the AB Society Secretary.  Catherine thanked them both.  A gift of flowers and wine was presented to both Barbara and Carol.  The Society is still looking for a new secretary.

Treasurer’s Report:- Carol thanked Kevin Burke for preparing the accounts and read the report on his behalf.  Morag Jones proposed cceptance of the accounts and was seconded by Erika Alcock.

Membership Secretary’s Report:- Carol Gorton thanked Fiona Cole for all her work during the year and reported on her behalf. So far this year a total of 162 members have paid their subscription, with a total of £2,526.00 banked.

Editor’s Report:- Rod Boroughs (Assistant Editor) reported on hehalf of Randi Saloman, Editor.

Three issues of the newsletter have been produced to schedule since the 2018 AGM: Winter 2019, Spring 2019 and Autumn 2019.
·      Each issue contained a range of articles, reports and reviews, with a variety of styles and approaches.
·      A number of items were reprinted from other magazines and newspapers, and we will continue to include this type of content in the 2020. However, the mainstay of the newsletter should be original pieces written by members of the Society.
·      Opportunities to improve the visual interest of the newsletter were taken through the inclusion of photographs and illustrations where appropriate.
In the coming year, as a result of changes to postage rates in the UK, the standard length of the newsletter will be 36 pages.
The Editor would like to encourage more members of the Society to contribute items. The newsletter should reflect the diverse interests of the members of the Society and this is best achieved when materials are produced by a broad cross-section of the membership. Any member who has an idea for an article which they think would be of interest to other members is invited to contact the Editor.
Similarly, the Editor welcomes feedback on the content of the newsletter: members are particularly encouraged to let the Editor know if there are things they would like to see more or less of in future issues, or if there are new types of content they feel the newsletter could usefully include.
Finally, the Editor would particularly like to thank those members who have contributed pieces to the newsletter over the past year, as well as those who have alerted to references to Bennett in the media. Thanks are also due to Carol for her support in organising the printing and despatch of the newsletter.
Rod Boroughs, Assistant Editor (on behalf of Randi Salomon, Editor)

Catherine thanked Rod and Randi for producing the newsletters.

Leslie Powner agreed to carry on with his Quiz Page for the newsletter.

The newsletter will continue to printed and distributed from Stoke on Trent and Carol Gorton will oversee this.

Social Secretary’s Report:- Barbara Hall-Petite: Barbara reflected on her time in office. She has overseen many of the events and was presented with roses (bouquet and potted) and wine as token of our thanks. Barbara also reminded us of the recent success of Hannah Scragg (Barbara’s niece) in her examination at Keele University. Hannah’s thesis is entitled ‘Beyond the Five Towns: A re-evaluation of Arnold Bennett’.

Retiring Secretary – Carol Gorton:- Carol recounted some events during her 24 years on the committee and over 15 as a secretary.  – Unveiling the plaque on the villa Le Neffier in Fontainebleau. – Our 2017 anniversary year. – Representing the society at various events including the Putney Historical Society and the ALS. – The many events at Ceramica. – Trips to the Savoy for Omelette Arnold Bennett, organised by Jenny Graveson. – Particularly proud of starting the Literary Lunch with Barbara Hall-Petite. – Organising the various dinners and meeting all the speakers. – The highlight being working with Ray Johnson on getting the AB statue in 2017. – Carol will continue in her role as Trustee and Treasurer. She is now working, again with Ray, on the replacing the Bursley Trail Plaques.

Les Powner – Chairman of Trustees:- Les outlined the changes that have to be made to come in line with the Charity Commission’s Constitution set up in 2010.  Tim Gray gave a report on his findings.  A number of members have been nominated as Trustees and been accepted by the AGM.

The following members were voted in as Trustees :- Rod Boroughs, Catherine Burgass, Fiona Cole, Carole Cregan, John Davies,  Carol Ann Gorton, Ray Johnson,  Morag Jones, Patricia Marshall, Penny Michell, Jerry Park,  Leslie Powner, Randi Saloman, Christopher Sandrawich and John Shapcott.

The first meeting of the new Trustees will take place on 5 November 2019.

The AGM retired for light refreshements.

The meeting continued with Any Other Business.

·      Norman Hutchinson has a number of books to donate to the Society – Carol Gorton will contact Norman.
·      Ray Johnson reported that the North Staffs Conference Centre has been refurbished.  Also the archive at Staffs University (Romy cheeseman) has been awarded £3000.
·      Ray advised that the Wolsley Hotel in London is now serving Omelette Arnold Bennett for breakfast.
·      Jenny Graveson would like information under events on the website, less jumbled.
·      Jenny Graveson would like details of the conference costings.  Jenny also asks for clarification that the speakers have to pay, and what expenses do they ask for.
·      Can members be informed that the loss on the Savoy lunch in 2018 was  sancitoned expense for Margaret Drabble to attend. The event did not make a loss.

The meeting closed at 4pm. Date and venue for next AGM to be advised.

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