The Friends of St Anne’s Church, Kew
Registered Charity No. 1085389
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held in the Church Hall on 2 July 2022
There was a quorum. Attending were Howard and Susan Bailes, Wendy and Paul Booth, Joan Brown, Bill Cottle, Giles Fraser, Robin Goodgame, Susan and Jane Hayman, Caroline Hill, Bruce Hodgkinson, Ben Jones, Eleanor Kinnear, Simon Mollett, Lorraine Neale, Tina Ruygrok, Telfer Saywell, Caroline Streatfeild, Uta Thompson, Josephine Warmington.
Apologies had been submitted by Carole Brougham, John and Margaret Blair-Gould, Rosemary Charles, George Chesman, Dickinson Cowan, David Durie, Marion Goodgame, Alethea Grint, Anthony and Patricia Holme, Elizabeth Hunter, Cate Lyon, Claudine McCreadie, Peter Ruygrok, Jill Saxton, Joan Stanton and Bridget Towers.
The meeting was chaired by Lady Lorraine Neale (LN) who welcomed those attending and especially the Rev. Canon Dr. Giles Fraser, St. Anne’s new vicar and The Friends’ new President. She noted that this was our first live AGM in several years.
1 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 3 July 2021
LN asked if anyone had questions on the minutes of last year’s meeting. As there were none, the minutes were approved, Uta Thompson proposing and Eleanor Kinnear seconding.
2 Election of Executive Committee
The Secretary (Ben Jones, BJ) read the list of the officers (Lady Lorraine Neale, Chair; Simon Mollett (SM), Treasurer; Ben Jones, Secretary) and the other elected representatives on the Executive Committee (Wendy Booth and Belinda Pethick) who are being presented for election this year. Ben indicated that he had received no other nominations, so LN asked for a vote and all were unanimously re-elected. SM noted that we would welcome new members of the committee who are prepared to give their time. LN indicated that, under current rules, the Executive Committee could have up to four new members. BJ noted that new committee members could be co-opted during the year.
3 Annual Report and Accounts
Copies of the annual report for the year 6 April 2021 to 5 April 2022, including a statement of accounts for that period, had been made available to all members. LN passed the floor over to the Treasurer, who asked for any questions on the accounts. There being none, he stated the committee’s financial principle, which was to hold as little reserves as possible (just enough to cover current expenses), the rest being spent on the church-related projects which are The Friends’ purpose. He noted this because there is currently quite a large surplus of cash in the accounts, which is not our intent, but which results from the delay in the pathway and floodlighting projects on which we are currently focusing and for which these amounts have been built up.
Giles expressed his pleasure that St. Anne’s has an organization like The Friends supporting the church. He described it as a secular organization looking after, mostly, the exterior of the church. He told those attending that he is preparing a new “master plan” incorporating the church’s environmental impact which he will present to the next PCC meeting. He mentioned the possibility of solar panels on the church’s roof or even bees on the roof. He will propose to engage an environmental consultant in Brentford to audit the church’s environmental impact as a building. He said The Friends might assist in maintenance of the graves in the churchyard, though LN pointed out that, even though we have restored a number of the monuments in the churchyard, we do not want to be seen as devoted to tombstone repair.
Questions (neither related to the annual report) – Eleanor Kinnear asked if we had a plan of the graves. She was told there is a ring binder in the office showing them which anyone can look at (and it may also be electronic). There is a map as well, and Simon Child (the Church Architect) hopes to have an electronic version made of that. Joan Brown asked about the dampness over by the altar rail facing the South Porch. Caroline Hill and Caroline Streatfeild indicated that this has been a long-term problem, though it is one for the PCC and not The Friends, and there seems to be no easy solution.
The annual report and accounts were approved, Telfer Saywell proposing and Robin Goodgame seconding.
4 Events Update
LN continued with reference to the events of the last year which had been listed in her Chairman’s letter which had been provided to members along with the AGM materials as well as in the Annual Report, asking if there were any questions or comments. She announced that the 2022/23 schedule of events will begin on 17 September with a presentation by Giles Fraser on his new book The Chosen. A list of further events through Spring 2023 will hopefully be published around the end of August.
She told members about the many hours of work that have gone into enabling streaming of the events such that they can be viewed live and online, and online viewers can see both the presenter and their slides. She expressed particular gratitude to Paul Booth, who was warmly applauded. During the pandemic events had been streamed online only, and Paul indicated to those attending how very hard it had been to convert that success to online and live, along with paid ticketing. We have been assisted by students from Richmond College’s 2-year IT course, a program which has been quite successful, and Paul said that even he had learned some things from them. LN noted that we are trying out Microsoft Teams as an alternative to the Zoom Webinar we now use, which is quite expensive, to see if we could achieve the same result more cheaply with Team.
LN asked Wendy Booth, Membership Secretary, to give an update on membership. Wendy said that membership is currently 151, noting that this is slightly different from the figure in the Annual Report as we have now a clear view who is renewing. She noted that her current mailing list includes not only the members but also a number of people who regularly access our online events (perhaps 100 people), some of whom she hopes may be persuaded to become members eventually.
6 Any Other Business
Turning to the Friends website, LN mentioned that the donations button on the website is not currently operational. She said this was due to a flood of attempted fraudulent (stolen) card validations at the beginning of May, who attempted to test their stolen data on our site with small “donations”. This was fortunately blocked by Stripe’s safeguarding mechanism, but we nonetheless incurred charges for this service. Paul Booth intervened and disabled the donations button quickly to stop the drain. Since then, we have been looking at ways to restart the function avoiding this risk. Giles wondered if requiring a minimum donation might help.
LN then opened the floor to questions. Robin Goodgame expressed the view of the audience in asking that we congratulate Lorraine for another year of fine lectures, for which she is largely responsible. All agreed.
There being no further business, LN thanked the members for their attendance and closed the meeting.