AGM 15th March 2023 - Chairman’s Report
My last Wessex Section AGM report reflected that we were only just recovering from a period of great uncertainty at local, club and national level after the travails of COVID but that we were rising to the challenge with a number of changes aimed at making the Wessex Section even more relevant to its members.
Sadly the end of 2022 brought the devastating news that two of our most senior and respected committee members died within eight days of one another. Michael Dant had been our one-time Secretary until Steve replaced him but he remained on the committee despite failing health. While Stuart Bladon was our Editor and a former Chairman until he stood down from the editor’s desk in November. Both had honorary membership bestowed on them by the committee.
Such grievous losses are hard for any voluntary organisation such as ours to withstand but we were extremely fortunate that Christopher Sheldrake volunteered to assist us with an update of our website just before Stuart gave up the editor’s role. Christopher was then persuaded to focus on the magazine.
Christopher had to learn on the job pretty quickly, getting to grips with a new publishing package and also sourcing a new printer as our existing one had given up the unequal struggle with his declining business. Christopher pulled off a stunning and bumper inaugural Winter edition of our quarterly printed magazine Torque bringing-in a new and fresher style at a record-breaking 54 pages.
Then at the beginning of February I was delighted that an approach to a new member Scott Vincent resulted in him joining the committee to help out with organising some of our events. He had already pulled off something of a coup in early December by masterminding a fabulous lunch at the Royal Motor Yacht Club HQ overlooking historic Poole Harbour.
Each of these new committee volunteers was coopted using our powers to recruit during the term of the committee elected last year. And each now put themselves forward for ratification to full committee membership at this year’s AGM. My grateful thanks and best wishes go to them both.
Our Treasurer has provided his detailed report, duly examined, which shows that our finances are not only very healthy but unrecognisable from where they were four or five years ago.
We offer members a range of social gatherings over the year, the highlight for many last Summer being an exclusive invitation to picnic at an impressive privately-owned coastal country house and estate in Dorset.
We send out regular emailed All Torque Newsletters which have details of events and other Section news and keeps event promos out of the magazine enabling more pages to be devoted to interesting features about our cars and members.
Our website - the Wessex Section’s first - was launched late in 2019 to coincide with our 50th Anniversary and is a one-stop shop for information and guidance to our events and services. We hope to refresh this over the coming year.
On these firm foundations I sincerely hope that 2023 will be one of further progress for RREC Wessex Section.