Committee Meeting 23.3.15 | Stalham Farmers' Club | Leading speakers from the agricultural industry.

Stalham Farmers’ Club committee meeting

The meeting started at 7.30pm.Monday,                         March 23, 2015, Dilham Hall.

Present – Luke Paterson, chairman; Michael Pollitt, secretary/ treasurer; Ken Leggett, Neil Jordan, Jason Cantrill, membership secretary; Jonathan Deane, John Purling, Christopher Deane.

1 Apologies – The president, William Donald; Alison Ritchie, Sally Lomax, Helen Gibb, Nigel Wright, Robert Norman, Alastair Ross, Peter Gardiner, Frank Read.

2 The secretary/ treasurer Michael Pollitt gave his report.

Annual dinner: The club’s dinner at the Sutton Staithe Hotel, Sutton, on Wednesday, March 11 had raised a total of £1,512 for the charity, Walking With the Wounded. The guest speaker, Edward Parker, who was a co-founder of the North Norfolk-based charity, thanked the club for a fantastic meal and excellent company. (His letter also appears on the club’s website).

Website: The number of visits to the club’s website since the launch in February 2014, had exceeded 14,750. The webmaster Tim Papworth was thanked for his efforts and also for the latest tweaks to the design.

Trophies: Repairs on the barley trophy were being carried out and the Norwich silversmiths, Zelley’s, were also adding a new plinth to two of the trophies including the EH Wenn President’s Cup, which had been presented to Denis Walsh, of Greenvale AP – the judge of the potato competition for the past quarter of a century.

An offer by Norwich silversmith Leona Levine to have the trophies, photographed and re-valued, had been accepted. She had agreed to carry out the valuation at no cost to the club, which was much appreciated by the committee.

It was also noted that the trophies were insured by the NFU Mutual – at no charge to the club, thanks to the generosity of members, Christopher Deane and David Faulkner, of the East Norfolk NFU branch.

The secretary had also noted the details of the trophy winners, as engraved on the silverware – these details would also be published on the website.

BASIS: Details of members claiming CPD points from BASIS had been submitted after the February meeting.

Clay pigeon shoot: There was some interest expressed in reviving the clay pigeon shoot, which has been prompted by comments at the recent inter-club bowls/ 10-pin match. The secretary had contacted Holt’s Charles Skinner and had suggested possible dates for a clay shoot to be staged in north Norfolk – on either Tuesday, June 16 or Thursday, June 18. Teams of 20 would be required.

In general discussion, Jonathan Deane asked whether there would be support to stage the event in September – avoiding the heavily-congested mid-summer. Christopher Deane also suggested a team shoot, possible with three or four guns in each.

The chairman also spoke in favour of a September date, partly because it would be a good run-up to the start of the shooting season.

Robert Stimpson, who has organised the event for several years, would be briefed on the thrust of the discussions.

Holt would be asked to consider an alternative later date. (Post-meeting note, the pressure on the land and shorter day length was mentioned as a draw-back by Mr Skinner).

Bowls/ 10-pin: The club’s success at 10-pin was noted and also the presentation of a trophy at the annual dinner by Holt’s president, Richard Harrison.

As Holt would stage the event at Rossi’s, North Walsham, in 2016, several members asked if the February half-term holiday would be avoided. Many members would have taken part if the match had been held a week earlier or later than February 20.

Inter-club quiz: The organiser, David Morton, would be asked if a date was yet known for the quiz, which involved clubs across Norfolk, and usually took place in the first week of November. Again, there was support to enter.

Silk ties: The club’s new design has proved popular. A total of 19 have now been sold for a total of £352.50, with modest early-bird discount. Ties cost £20 each and can be obtained from the secretary. There is a stock of 147 remaining and one was presented to the guest speaker at the dinner.

Summer programme

RABI quiz: Stalham would enter a team for the inter-club competition taking place at East Tuddenham village hall on Wednesday, April 22, 7.15pm prompt start. Tickets will cost £10 each, including light supper. It was agreed to sponsor a team with a £100 contribution to RABI.

Chairman’s away-day expedition, June 2/3: Former chairman Neil Jordan would have further discussions with Neal Sands to consider visits to south and mid-Lincolnshire, and probably on either Tuesday/ Wednesday, June 2 and 3. It would include an early departure and then a night away – on similar lines to last year’s successful foray into Essex and south Suffolk, organised by Christopher Deane.

Garden visit and drinks, June 17: A visit to Roger Last’s Mill House garden at Corpusty would take place on Wednesday, June 17, starting about 6pm. This would cost at least £10 per head for the garden tour and would include drinks, provided by the club. A proposal to include a meal at possibly the Walpole Arms, Itteringham, was strongly favoured. The secretary would look at costings and would inform members of the options.

Chairman’s farm walk, Tuesday, July 7: A joint tour with East Norfolk NFU branch was agreed after Christopher Deane said that the branch chairman, Joe Mitchell, would be happy to take part. The invitation, arranged by Jonathan Deane, to tour Hall Farm, Wickmere, was accepted. The host farmer Jonathan Seaman would be delighted to welcome members, starting at 6pm, with a tractor and trailer tour. Supper would follow – probably a hog roast, and the NFU would stand a barrel of beer.

Details to be agreed.

Donations: A £300 donation to the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association towards the cost of staging the Spring Fling was agreed. The event, designed to appeal to children, aged up to 14 years’ old, would be taking place on Tuesday, March 31 at the Norfolk showground. The club has supported the event since the first event was held in 2000.

175th anniversary celebrations

A special meeting of club officers, committee and any members interested in helping to celebrate this milestone will be held in early July.

A lengthy discussion was held, which considered a range of ideas from a celebration ball to a drinks party at an exclusive location.

Jonathan Deane, vice-chairman, proposed that an evening with drinks and canapés in a prime location within the club’s catchment area would be popular.

A proposal by Rob Norman for a dinner/dance at Rossi’s, North Walsham, was also discussed. There were some reservations about the amount of effort which would be required. While sponsorship from many of the club’s suppliers could help offset some of these costs of staging such an event, it was decided to keep this option alive.

A range of other activities were considered – a barn dance in a large venue was also suggested. Jonathan Deane would make further inquiries with regard to availability, costs and suitability.

Christopher Deane said that it might be possible to raise a significant amount for suitable charitable objectives, which would command support from the membership.

He added that at a previous committee meeting in November, the idea of raising a total of £17,500 – to mark the 175th had been supported.

A number of other ideas were suggested – a coast to coast fund-raising walk, and a charitable raffle.

It was agreed that the year should be marked by a series of events and as the club was founded in December 1841, there was plenty of scope to hold events over the following months.

However at the chairman’s suggestions, it was agreed to consider inviting all the committee and any other members interested to an open meeting on Wednesday, July 8 at the White Horse, Neatishead, 7pm.

New meeting venue:

A lengthy discussion following and it was agreed that the chairman and secretary/ treasurer would arrange to meet as soon as reasonably practicable at the Norfolk Mead Hotel, Coltishall, to consider detailed proposals to host the series of autumn meetings and the 2016 dinner. There was broad agreement around the table that a new location should be considered and certainly for the coming year.

Any other business

Improving member communication:

The newly-appointed membership secretary, Jason Cantrill, and chairman, Luke Paterson, suggested that setting up a text message/ reminder to members would further improve involvement. This practice had been adopted more than eight years ago while Emma Ralph was chairman in 2007/8 and it made good sense to re-vitalise it.

Such an approach could be used to inform members alongside the club’s existing website and email communications, it was agreed, and could be used to advantage to invite members to the summer programme of events and meetings.

As there was no further business, the meeting was closed at 9.50pm.