Monday, 27 September 2021

Middle Thames branch, River Thames Society

THE branch held its annual meeting at Leander Club in Henley on Saturday.

John Skuse, the chairman, welcomed 60 members to what proved to be a very good-natured and constructive meeting.

The minutes of the 2016 annual meeting were approved and matters arising dealt with.

The chairman reported on a generally good year, marred by the loss of several well respected members.

He reported on awards by the branch to Gary Acres, the Rivertime Trust and Maidenhead Rowing Club.

He made the point that these were annual awards and ideas for future recipients would be welcome.

The events committee had a very successful year with a report to follow.

Membership was holding up but more members were needed. A discussion then took place on how to attract new members.

The members present gave approval to onward transmission of navigation notices etc in the monthly newsletter.

Planning has been quiet with the only major item at present being the floating homes proposed at The Willows in Windsor.

We objected to Phyllis Court Club’s proposed sign on the Cromwell wall.

The Skindles development at Taplow is progressing and we are seeing the input of the combined group, which includes the society, coming to fruition.

The cutter is well established at Richmond but branch members are encouraged to use it.

The final topic was pollution. Thames Water has been found guilty of appalling untreated discharges on several occasions and is facing a large fine.

On the morning of the meeting a report came in of a diesel spillage on the River Kennet, which had closed the river at Day’s Lock.

The chairman’s report was accepted.

Sandra Brown, the events chairman, reported next on the year’s social and educational programme.

The well-established Christmas dinner and Henley Festival cruise were well supported, as were the lunches and talks at Leander and Maidenhead.

Linda Humphrys Jones’s scenic walks attracted a small but devoted gathering.

The one failure was the January quiz and it was felt that events on winter evenings were becoming unattractive and we should re-run the quiz at a lunchtime.

The events report was accepted.

Colin Howard, the treasurer, reported a financial situation which was totally satisfactory. His report was accepted with acclaim.

The meeting noted. with regret, the resignation of Ann Acres from events after many successful years.

Janet Middleton Stuart was welcomed on to the committee and all the other branch officers and committee members were re-elected unanimously.

In any other business, Janet and Linda gave their views on marketing and recruitment. Many ideas were offered.

It was suggested we needed to get on social media and the chairman asked if we had a member present who was expert in Facebook — everyone present sat on their hands! It was agreed to pursue the suggestions.

Tom Berman gave a brief presentation on the worrying trend for the establishment of unapproved moorings on riparian agricultural land and his intention to approach the Environment Agency with the chairman for a policy decision.

The Roger Brown Trophy was awarded to John Grapes.

After the meeting members settled down to an excellent lunch.

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