Celebrating last season
And looking forward to what's ahead, at the AGM
Members gathered on the evening of Saturday 4 February for their annual general meeting, hosted by their sporting colleagues at Henley Golf Club. With the sailing club's premises shut up for the winter the golf club was to be a home away from home and members filed in throughout the late afternoon and early evening before the AGM to take advantage of the salubrious surroundings and enjoy a drink while watching the English beat the French in the 6 Nations. A very pleasing start to the evening.
Club Commodore Carol Stitson got the formal proceedings underway with the usual housekeeping before recounting the developments at the club over the previous season which included highlights such as the redecoration of the clubhouse lounge and re-upholstery of the furniture. It was then on to Sailing Secretary, Amelia Huby-Green who gave us chapter and verse on all matters on the water providing, as it was, a timely reminder of the fun to look forward to as the days get longer and the streams and currents calmer.
Alan Cadwallader as Honorary Treasurer provided his usual clarity on the financial health of the club. It was the tenth time Alan has stood up to deliver his financial sermon and it was to be his last after a loyal term of office. There was many thanks and kind words for Alan as he stepped down as well as encouragement and best wishes for his replacement Jon Wakefield who we welcome to the committee.
This year the committee also bids farewell to Lorraine Robson and Nigel and Helen Bonsor who have kept us sustained with fine food and drink throughout the season, and in Nigel and Helen's case, many seasons before that. Likewise, Fergal O'Connor kept the premises in full working order and oversaw numerous projects to keep the clubhouse and grounds in tip top condition. Let's hope his successor is given access to the hallowed spreadsheet of jobs that keeps us all gainfully employed at working parties in the season. Annette Gent, Judy Saunders, Tony Bottomley and Dermot Martin have each kindly agreed to take up the slack left by those members taking a break from the committee in 2017.
Then it was down to the serious business of presenting the trophies that had been so keenly raced for last summer. It was great to see a number of younger members and relative novices collect prizes amongst the usual suspects. Special mention goes to Joe Dougan who won the Drina Dudley-Smith Trophy for the most promising newcomer and the Huby-Green clan who cleaned up as per usual. This year it was decided to award the club's antique pocket barometer to Steve Gent who has been a stalwart of the club for decades both on and off the water.
With her closing remarks Carol looked forward to next season and touched on some of the changes to be introduced. There will be further encouragement of our sailing members through various race training sessions, coaching and buddying up of crews and helms where we can. In addition, the committee will be seeking to attract a broader demographic on to the water beyond the racers via a parallel programme of events focused on simply enjoying our stretch of the river through swallows and amazons style fun with sailaways, picnics and general messing about in boats.
With the formalities over it was time to enjoy each other's company around the dining table as we all enjoyed a delicious meal of roast rack of pork and apple crumble and custard and compared our own grand plans for the season ahead.