Thursday 24th May – the AGM

I am very pleased to report that last night’s AGM was well attended and very productive, with the rather special interval for refreshments provide by ‘Cook’, who enticed us with curry tasters and a delicious dessert. Our hearty thanks to Carmel Lynch who arranged this treat with ‘Cook’.

Last night was the third AGM I have chaired – and also the last, having served as Chair for two years and Vice Chair before that.  I summarised to the AGM those four years, outlining a range of positive changes that the Management Committee has overseen. Much of that has been behind the scenes, such as the production of role guidance for all Committee posts and many Post Holders, to make clear what it is we expect of those who take on these roles. Especially, that has clarified where responsibility for the Club lies, for while we have no formal existence in law, we do not exist outside of the law, as you can see in the separate post regarding the Privacy Policy required of us under the new General Data Protection Regulations.

Some changes are more visible, not least the way we run the AGM itself, now with greater input from the many who have worked so hard to make the Club successful.  That includes the budgeting system David Harris, our excellent Treasurer, has established and reported on last night so that we can better predict that our finances are secure – so important last year when costs were running ahead of income and we were able to take steps to manage that.  

Other changes have been about our public face, with an updated Club logo, renewed Annual Exhibition Banner and much improved labelling for the exhibition. We have upgraded our equipment – the laptops, screens, sound system and importantly the much needed new projector, greatly assisted in that by Mike Hancock’s funding bid. A replacement second projector is on order, plus equipment to help record our Special Interest Groups to improve our online self-help tutorials.

Our competition rules have been revised, and Vanessa Stern’s efficiency as Membership Secretary enabled us to reduce the overly long waiting list, with a successful mentoring scheme for new Members also set up.  The website has been revamped, thanks to Jeff Owen, and is no longer dependent on one webmaster but can be kept up by a number of us. The Spring Exhibition, established in 2015 for our new and aspiring members, is now a firm fixture in the calendar, and we also introduced Little Christmas – the ladies celebration on Twelfth Night, very happily stolen from the Irish tradition.

I must thank Vanessa for her diligence as Membership Secretary, Linda Bullimore and Kim Tattersall for their contributions as Committee Members, and Mike Harris as Print Secretary, all of whom are stepping down now, although Linda and Mike Harris return in new roles. I must make a special mention of Dave Abbott, the longest serving of our Committee Members, ending his term of office this year, whose contribution to the Committee has been valued and to whom I must also add my personal thanks for his support to me, both as Chair and as a developing photographer.

Thanks are also due to Sheila Tester for SCPF representation and to Glyn Edmunds, for yet another year of first class programming, both of whom return next year. Thanks also to David Harris for his sterling work as Treasurer, and to Tim Crabb, our Secretary, both elected last year for two years. And of course especially to Mike Hancock for his enthusiasm as Vice Chair, his ready support to me and for his hard work in looking into the issues around our Club Class Members.

Our thanks are also due to our Post Holders who are standing down this year, to Linda for her excellent work as Small Print Secretary, to Cath Walter who has been our Publicity Secretary for many years and to Richard Smith who valiantly took on Regnum Crouch and Sussex Photographic Federation representation. Our grateful thanks to Jeff Owen, who stays on as PDI Competition Secretary, for all his hard work, including the major work on GDPR.  Thanks are also due to Phil Shaw, stepping in as Exhibition Secretary and to John Field and Hilary Featherstone who took over the External Exhibitions, and to Iain McGowan and Sarah Nichol for their work with the North Mundham and Spring Exhibitions. The amount of sheer graft that goes on behind the scenes isn’t always evident, which is to the credit of this dedicated band of volunteers, and which of course includes our highly regarded Special Interest Group leaders.

In terms of hard graft we must also recognise the Selection Committee, tasked with ensuring we do the very best we can while including the widest possible representation of Members’ work in external competitions. Their skill in doing this has retained our position in the top league for prints in the SCPF and returned us to first division for PDIs.  The Management and Selection Committees have worked closely together to try to make its working clearer. To that end we have published role guidance, introduced an appeals procedure for promotions, revised (and continue to revise) the assessment of new Members’ work and now quickly publish selected images and authors and the results of external competitions.  

Many of our Members also work towards accreditations, and this year John Howes and Margret Preece achieved their EFIAPs, and Glyn reached his EFIAP/gold. These are achieved by entering salons, and while many of our Members have had success in these exhibitions, the total successful entries are too great to mention in full, but Glyn achieved a gold medal at the London Salon and Ann McDonald won gold at Southampton.  Ann, who was elected to the prestigious London Salon this season, also won the only southern region award with a PAGB Gold Cup. Sheila Tester, who had many salon successes this year, also received an SCPF Roll of Honour. Sheila, Ann and Peter Rocchiccioli were all successful in the PAGB Masters of Print, and Peter secured his DPAGB, while Jeff Owen was awarded CPAGB. Andrew Vance was awarded an LRPS. On that very positive note the formal part of our AGM concluded, with outcome of the discussion regarding promotions and classifications reported on a separate post.

While I don’t fully step down as Chair until the opening of the Annual Exhibition, this is the last weekly newsletter post of the season, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support while I’ve been Chair and wish the new Committee and Post Holders every success.

Lorna Brown, Chair

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