The Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at 4:30pm on Saturday 1st October 2016 in the School Library
1. Apologies were received from Andrew Fleck (HM), David Calvert (Treasurer), Jon Lidiard, Andrew Harle, Duncan Berry, Angus Strachan, Michael Crawford, Ed Parker, Hayley Christy, Emily Hirst, Geoff Watson, Michael Raw and Oliver Thompson.
2. Minutes Silence: Observed for those OSs who have left us in the last 12 months.
3. Minutes: Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 19th September 2015 in the School Library were approved and duly signed by the President, John Walford.
4. Matters Arising: The Chairman suggested that as many issues were included on the Agenda most matters arising would be covered thought-out the meeting and it was agreed to move on.
5. Chairman’s Review: The Chairman spoke of the recent transition of the Club from the Old Guard to the next generation and his vision for the OS Club to be the best alumni association in the country. He stated that we must have vision to change while keeping what is important. The Club now employs a full time Alumni Director and must be dynamic to offer what is wanted by all stakeholders of all ages and sexes, including the School and parents. The OS Club serves a global community and so we must offer career opportunities around the world. The new online Platform has attracted 600 members in the short time it has been open, the previous Platform had 200 members in total. The Club has saved funds for several years, now we must invest that to enable the Club to grow. John Morris questioned whether the Club will employ Ben plus another member of staff, Jan clarified that there will be just one role, but that the title is changing from OS Club Secretary to Alumni Director. Nigel questioned whether the Club will set up more groups abroad and Jan responded that yes we must engage the overseas Members, and that Ben will promote this. Hugh stated that young OSs come sporadically, and that venues such as London might attract young OSs. He commented that more events in more venues is a good thing. John Walford commented that an innovative approach was needed and that the recent girls’ event in London had been very successful.
6. OS Club Pilgrimage: Three Pilgrimages have taken place since the last AGM to Gallipoli, Flanders and the Somme. All have been successful in visiting graves and honouring the memories of the casualties. At each grave the biography was read, soil from Winder sprinkled and a cross placed in the ground. There is no single prominent battle to commemorate next year so the proposal is to have a double centred expedition, visiting two areas with high concentrations of OS graves. John Morris questioned whether there will be an official unveiling of the plaque at St George’s chapel in Ypres. Jan commented that the centre of the Pilgrimage should be the Cloisters in Sedbergh, and although a small party may visit St George’s Chapel, the focus for the final commemoration will be to bring the Pilgrimage back to Sedbergh. The Club will create its own legacy to recognise the fallen by commissioning a statue funded by subscription.
7. OS Weekend Future: Jan conveyed the Committee’s discussion of whether OS weekend should alternate between London and Sedbergh and the conclusion that OS weekend should remain in Sedbergh, but that the Club would work with the Foundation and School to organise an impressive London event. Richard Witt suggested the 5th anniversary of the Lupton Scholarship, but commented that the Mansion House supper tickets were £100, which would not help in attracting younger OSs. John Walford stated that the Club would be pleased to receive any ideas of how to attract more OSs to events.
8. The Foundation and its Constitution: When the Foundation was set up the OS Trust Fund transferred its funds with the proviso that the OS club would have an interest in how the money was spent. That money has now all been spent on projects within the School. The Foundation wishes to change to a Charitable Incorporated Foundation, which would mean individual Trustees do not have personal liability, in the hope of attracting high quality Trustees and at the same time to change the Constitution so that there is no longer a requirement for such a high quota of OS Trustees. As the OS Trust Fund money has now gone the suggestion is that the OS Club would relinquish their right of veto to how the Foundation spends money (through the power of approving OS Trustees). In the time it has been involved the OS Club has never used its power of veto. Several recent meetings of the Foundation Trustees have resulted in too few trustees present to pass a vote. It is hoped that the change to the Constitution would enable the Foundation to engage other trustees who have close ties to School and would be able to attend meetings and vote on issues as required. Hugh Blair stated that this is still in the planning stages and as such there is no urgency, as the matter needs to be presented to the Governors and considered before changes are made. John Morris stated that it is important for OSs to be involved to convey the OS view on future projects. Peter Marshall commented that he and the Headmaster feel very well supported by the OS Club and Foundation, and that clarity around the purpose of the Club is useful, particularly with regards to fundraising. The Foundation must be a professional fundraising body which is a different skill set to the OS Club. Neil McKerrow agreed that the OS Club must support the School, but that there must be clarity for the OS community that the Foundation and OS club are separate, and it must be clear that fundraising events are different to OS club events. Jan commented on the recent successes of the Foundation with grant funding, and stated that the fundraising is moving to grants rather than only individual giving. He stated that the Foundation must be able to come to OS events to network. He also commented that as the roles of the Foundation and OS Club change, the OS Club will take over some of the groups currently run by the Foundation. It was agreed that the Foundation and Governors can continue investigating this change. Proposed by Robin Wild and seconded by Mike Adams.
9. OS Club Membership: At present there is a delay in approving new Honorary Members as this can only happen at AGM’s. It was proposed that officers of the club be able to approve new Members without bringing the matter to the Committee. This was proposed by Neil McKerrow and seconded by Mike Adams. John Walford suggested that the criteria could be that individuals should demonstrate ‘exceptional service to Sedbergh School’. Jan suggested a change to rules for Common Room Staff, that they be invited to join the Club after 2 years rather than 5, and are not required to pay a joining fee. Robin Wild commented that paying a fee demonstrates commitment, and some commitment to the Club must be required from Common Room Members. It was suggested that Common Room staff be invited after 2 years’ service and that attending an event would be evidence of their commitment. Staff members of the Club will be called OSS (Old Sedberghian Staff). Proposed by Marcus Baker, seconded by Bob Umbers.
10. Annual Accounts and Treasurers Report: A separate Pilgrimage Account had previously been set up to support the venture, this was no longer needed. Subscriptions have increased due to several factors. Governors have approved the pupil fee is increased from £15 to £20, and pupil numbers are up. Half of the current funds come from Member’s annual subscriptions, only 1,000 out of 5,500 pay subs. The Dinner had created a deficit, as it usually does. The Flanders trip was subsidised by the Club, this event galvanised interest from the Common Room and young OSs. Around 15 members of the Common Room will be at the OS Weekend Dinner as a result of greater engagement with the Club. The employment costs have increased as the Alumni Director now works full time, whereas Nigel and Bob were part time. The expenses for the role are greater as Ben is travelling to visit schools and more events. The new website has launched and there is still a healthy surplus. The accounts were approved, proposed by John Morris and seconded by Nigel Horsfall.
11. School Update – Peter Marshall (Bursar): Peter offered his congratulations to the Club for the new website, Ben’s level of engagement with his Post, the successful OS weekend and the new outreach events. He commented that the OS Club Pilgrimage is unique and that the School is eager to support the venture. Other heritage ventures include the Wilson Run History, being written by Norman Berry, and the new school history being researched by Michael Raw. He invited Members of the Cub to visit the Prep School at Casterton and to view the Continuous Flow Reactor which is one of only three in the UK. Pupil numbers at CSPS are up from 185 to 195, with 38 pupils expected to move from CSPS to the Senior School next year. The current role at the Senior School is 532 pupils, with 547 as the goal for next year. 1.25 million pounds are required each year to maintain the buildings, and technology and legislative changes require a £500,000 increase to operating costs on 6 years ago. Sports Hall fundraising is going well. It is hoped that the plans will be approved by the Governors and work will begin in Nov 2016, ready to open in Oct 2017. The new Sports Hall is hoped to be used to attract more pupils, host national sporting events, be used for new sports within the School and be used by community groups. It is hoped that the site will be self-funding. Peter stated that the School now has 410 staff. The School aims to modernise each of the 9 boarding houses at a cost of £1m per house. John Walford congratulated the Headmaster, Bursar and Staff for their hard work maintaining the school in the current market.
12. President-Elect: The Constitution of the Club requires a President-elect. The anticipated candidate was not able to accept due to other commitments. Recommendations for the next President elect would be welcome.
13. Election of Officers of the Club
‘ Under the Constitution the Officers of the Club shall consist of a President, President-Elect, Vice-Presidents, Chairman of the Committee, Trustees of the Club’s finances (other than cash), Treasurer and Secretary. The President and President-Elect shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting and shall hold office for a period of two years. The Chairman shall be elected at the AGM and shall hold office for three years, which may be extended by a further year to avoid the President and Chairman changing in the same year. All other Officers shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting and shall be eligible for re-election at that or any future Annual General Meeting, but so that no Officer shall be appointed unless first nominated by the Committee’.
i) The Committee’s recommendation that Jan van der Velde (L77-82) be re-elected as Chairman of the Committee was approved.
ii) The Committee’s recommendation that Ben Collins be elected as Secretary of the Club was approved.
iv) The Committee’s recommendation that David Calvert be re-elected as Treasurer of the Club was approved.
v) The recommendation that Ben Collins and David Calvert be elected as Trustees of the Club was approved.
14. Membership of the Committee:
i) The retirement of Claire McHaffie was noted.
ii) The retirement of Nigel Horsfall and John Morris as Trustees of the Club was noted.
iii) The appointment of David Strachan as a member of the Committee was approved.
iv) The re-appointment of Mike Raw, Dan Harrison and Jon Lidiard as members of the Committee were approved.
v) The re-appointment of Emily Hirst, Angus Strachan, Duncan Berry and Marcus Baker as members of the Committee was approved.
vi) The re co-opting of Katy de la Riviere as a member of the Committee was approved.
vii) The appointment of Neil McKerrow (S58-63) as a Vice-President was approved.
viii) The election of Nicola Fleck and Jonathan Campbell as Junior Members of the Committee to serve from the AGM 2017 was approved.
Proposed by Nigel Horsfall, seconded by Norman Berry.
15. Date of next Meeting: Provisional date of 2nd weekend of Michaelmas term 2017 to be confirmed. Notice will be given as soon as possible.
a. Nigel Horsfall requested that an OS plaque be put up outside the office next to the Foundation plaque. Ben advised that this is in hand.
b. Bob Graham drew Member’s attention to the Lancashire Dinner on November 18th.
c. Robin Wild apologised for his late arrival commenting that 4.30 pm is too early for an AGM. John Walford stated that a 5pm start causes difficulties with changing in time for Dinner.
d. Jan suggested a change to Ben’s title from OS Club Secretary to Alumni Director, commenting that the second title would be more recognisable to external parties. Proposed by Robin Wild, seconded by John Guthrie.
e. John Walford gave thanks to the Chairman and Alumni Director for all of their work.
Jan van der Velde – October 2016