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Present: Clive Bell, Chris Bell, Martin Dale,  Dave Earle,  Kevan Ebbrell, Darren Hartley, Andy Hird, Mike Howe, Rob Lewis, Mikala Tolley, John Wiseman, Dave Wood


Andy Dunhill, Caroline Webb



Main points of discussion


By Whom

By when

Minutes of the last meeting held on 3.9.2012 &matters arising

Minutes were agreed.














Secretary’s Report


Rob commented that the original contact with John Bubbins at Blackpool Council had led to a number of satisfactory developments with wall availability and reduced rates. Darren stated that the club is now meeting once a month at Blackpool wall with Steve Longworth as the meet coordinator.


Rob noted that there had been no response from the non-payer to the letter sent to him 0n 24.9.2012 requesting payment of the outstanding amount. Darren commented that we were hoping for a response but Mikala felt that he might be hoping that we would not pursue the matter further. John suggested contacting the BMC and ascertaining if the non-payer is affiliated. There was nobody at the meeting prepared to make the commitment to pursue the non-payer through the courts, however, on 20.11.2012, Dave Wood e-mailed members of the committee stating that he would pursue the matter on behalf of the club.


Subsequently, Dave has actively pursued the recovery of the debt on behalf of the club.


Key developments have been as follows:


On 22.11. 2012 Dave established that the address we had been using for the non-payer had the wrong house number, which should have been 42, not 41. On the same date Dave contacted an AW at Norwich College who said that he was the other AW but that he would obtain the telephone number for the one we want.


On 23.11.2012 Dave drafted another letter (sent out to the committee for approval) detailing, again, the nature of the debt, all the attempts to contact AW in the past, and the intention to commence court proceedings unless payment was forthcoming. The letter was sent on 27.11.2012.


On 11.12.2012 Dave wrote to the committee indicating that he had initiated legal action for £395, which includes interest and court fees.  As a precautionary measure he had drafted a letter to the principal of Norwich College in order to ascertain whether AW incurred the debt as a college employee.


Rob had been contacted By the Lancashire Mountaineering Club asking us to provide a letter in support of their grant application for a new hut at Cae Ysgubor. With the approval of the committee, a letter was sent on 4.12.2012.













































































Social Secretary’s Report


Socials will be as follows:



Dave Bibby



Gary Gibson



Chris Thistlethwaite


Photo Competition



What’s Onwill be going out before the New Year.

Dave Wood suggested That we have a members’ evening for slides to capture the many different club experiences throughout the year. He wondered if we wanted a competition. Clive emphasized that photo-shopping was not appropriate.

Pub. Meets for January, February and March will all be at the Thatched House.

John has the club screen – Clive will now take care of it.























Booking Secretary’s Report


Andy stated that all is well but that we need to get more keys cut. Currently there is one outstanding payment of £65. We are fully booked including New Year for 2013 and 2014. There have been quite a lot of mid-week bookings with more parties staying on beyond the weekend and mid week bookings from Sam Sykes, for example.

Yarm School has booked for the third year for D of E.


A discussion took place about ways to promote the huts. Darren suggested contacting Lancashire County Council, Dave suggested advertising at climbing walls, John thought we might contact the central D of E organization and Mikala thought that contacting LEAs and establishing a Facebook page could be useful. Dave Wood indicated that Dave Ball would be able to work on Google to make the club more prominent when a search term was entered for Lake District accommodation. John stated that we need to be precise about what we are offering.


The Vags. swap is provisionally in July, we still need to confirm a date for the Chester swap.
















Treasurer’s Report


Mike stated that the subs are in, and that the balance is currently a healthy £16424. BMC affiliation fees of about £2000 will be deducted from this. Darren commented that this was the best balance for some time; Mike stated that it was the best balance since before building work was carried out at Stair.


Hut insurance is due. Building insurance will be £382.59 this year for Stair with £351.68 for Langdale. We need to review costs on an annual basis related to the Building Costs Indices – the current annual increase is 3%. Stair is insured for £190000, Langdale £160000.


We currently have 172 members with a few who have not paid the correct amount. Eight members have yet to pay, leaving a total paid up membership of 164. Andy noted that if they do not renew, then we need to get keys back from them.





























Membership Secretary’s Report



Martin proposed three introductory members.


Andy Cronshaw from Blackburn has been keen to join and has been to the climbing wall with the club.

Bernard Miller and Sheila Taylor from Lytham have been walking with the club.

All three were approved by the committee.


























Langdale Hut Custodian’s Report


  EON Smart Meter – This has been passed on to Mike who is trying to fix an appropriate time. We are waiting for the new version next year which has GPS.

Mikala informed the committee that the heater in the drying room was not working.

There are issues with the recycling bins; Liz has looked into the situation and Mike has talked to the council. From 12 December we will be paying a commercial firm to remove the rubbish at a cost of £5/week.  John suggested that we ask those using the huts to remove bottles and to crush cans in order to save space.

Kev reported that there was no response yet from No. 1 to the draft transfer deed but that there has been a constructive response from Number 3. They are happy to look after the septic tank as suggested in the covenant; the biggest hurdle is the upkeep of the forecourt. Kev is waiting for comments from Chris Campbell to complete comments from the sub -committee. (Detailed response received on19.11.2012, whilst committee meeting taking place). As Ben Dickey in No. 1 had not made a response Kev. has e-mailed him and also suggested that Stella and Christine let him have a copy of what they have sent to us.





































Stair Hut Custodian’s Report

Andy gave hisapologies as usual. In an e-mail he stated that John W and Mike H could report on the last working weekend. He hoped to have a spin dryer soon. Chris T was to meet someone at Stair on Friday 9 Nov to get a price for two new doors on the fire exits. Andy had had the electrics tested again including all appliances.

Mike commented that the fire escape door was rotten and Andy had obtained a quote of approx. £1500 for a replacement. The committee was asked if they agreed in principal to replace the rotten frame. The question also arose as to whether to select UPVC or hardwood. Rob asked if Tony Hulme had been asked for a quote and Darren replied that he had. Chris stated that the job needed doing and Martin saw no point in delaying it. Darren stated that Tony would be in the Lakes for the dinner the following weekend and that he would beat the original quote.  He suggested we defer a decision until after Tony had seen the job. Rob thought that replacement in white (cheaper) would be fine, and Mike commented that everything else was white. He agreed that we change the door, the details to be worked out after the dinner weekend.

Dave noted that some of the mattresses were grubby and Mike suggested he referred the matter to Andy for replacements to be obtained.

Last working weekend an unpleasant smell was investigated with the result that fatty material in the drain from the sink has been removed.

















What’s On Editor’s Report

What’s On is due out at the end of December.






















Newsletter Editor’s Report


Caroline would like articles, pictures etc. as soon as possible. The next edition of the Newsletter will go to the printers on 4 February.



















Dave Wood –after a conversation with Climbers’ Club members- suggested a three year maximum period of office for club officers. He noted that we have never discussed this.

There was a range of responses. Dave Earle thought that there was a great deal of apathy in the club and that there would be few members volunteering to replace those who had come to the end of their terms. John felt that exceptions needed to be made for key positions such as treasurer.  Andy thought that change might be positive but Rob’s view was that you risked losing some very able officers due to an inflexible rule. Mikala thought that if there was a change to the constitution that we needed a clear definition of each role and Mike felt we needed a clear copy of what it was we were being asked to work to. Dave agreed to map out some concepts which he would like to examine.


Dave’s response in appended as Appendix 1.


Additionally, a thorough response to Dave’s document came from John Wiseman, included as Appendix 2.


Appendix 3 is a comment from Caroline and a response from Dave.


It is minuted that £15 each would be allowed for committee members attending the club dinner, this allowance to be made in lieu of that usually allowed for the committee dinner.


Dave Wood will now organize photos for Stair.


Alan Bell has requested that films of the club climbing owned by former member Peter Blacoe should be put on DVD. Mike stated that we need more information.


John Wiseman would like a younger person to take over as What’s On editor at the next AGM.
































Date of Next Meeting:  Monday 14 January, 2013





Appendix 1



Many clubs and organisations have fixed periods of tenure for some or all of their serving officers and committee members.  Allied to this is the manner in which officers or committee members are elected. Therefore, this may be a good opportunity to consider the two together.


A                    PERIODS OF TENURE

1)                   Some advantages  of fixed tenure

 Some advantages of this approach, in no particular order of importance,  are:-

  1. The Club is seen to embody principles of  good governance
  2. Officers or committee members have a period of assured tenure in order to carry out pieces of work that extend beyond one year
  3. Members can see that a periodic opportunity exists to  represent their club
  4. Officers or members who have not been particularly competent can be replaced
  5. A more democratic principle is seen to be in operation, particularly  where  secret voting and/or voting  in advance of an AGM takes place


2)                    Some disadvantages of fixed tenure

  1. A potential loss of talent and expertise may occur where a member who is doing a good job feels obliged to vacate a post
  2. A lack of interest, for a variety of reasons,  leads to recruitment problems
  3. More planning ahead is needed to account for changes


3)                    Making changes to the period of tenure with safeguards

If people are in favour of the principles of fixed periods of office, then the issue is one of implementing new procedures which incorporate safeguards to avoid, or minimise, the disadvantages listed above.  Some options are:-

                        a)                    Exemption of fixed periods of tenure to some posts to preserve                                                                                          continuity, or making those periods of tenure of considerable length. 

                        d)                   Existing post holders may offer themselves for re-election for one                                                              further year in the event of no new nominations

                        c)                    A shadow /handover period  exists – some clubs use this to pass on                                                           expertise to                         incoming officers so that, for example, the vice  chairman                                                         become chairman then vice chairman

                        d)                    Change in posts are staggered so that the tenure of all officer or committee                                      posts does  not  expire  at the same time



Currently the FMC and other clubs use the AGM as the vehicle of nomination and election


1)                    Some advantages of nomination and election at AGM

                        a)                    It is easy and transparent since either a secret ballot or show of hands can                                          be done on the night

                        b)                    On occasions where the Club is struggling to fill posts members, who                                                       hitherto might not have volunteered, may step forward to fill the void

                        c)                    It is cheap and easy to administer


 2)                  Some disadvantages of nomination and election at AGM

                        a)                    Even if a quorum is reached those eligible to vote possibly represent                                                      only 20% of the total club membership

                        b)                    Members who are proposed at the last minute have little time in              advance                             to consider the implications of serving and can be recruited in desperation

                        c)                    A show of hands or non-secret voting process is capable of influencing                                                    others through the process itself


3)                    Making changes to the voting process with  safeguards

a)                     The Club could potentially allow postal or even on-line votes to be cast

b)                    Information about candidates and voting forms would need to be sent out                  in advance, perhaps with the AGM paperwork.  This might suit a situation                     where the Committee proposes a particular candidate

  1. In the event of no nominations being made in advance, candidates could be                                     proposed or declare themselves available at the AGM

d)                    Perhaps a case could be made for some votes to be cast at the AGM in cases             where members did not vote in advance (as in the current UK election   system)



David Wood Dec 2012

Appendix 2

I found the note from Dave interesting.

I agree that this needs a lot of thought, and not a rushed job so the 2014 AGM looks to be a feasible timeframe if we want to make changes.


I did find it strange that the unsubstantiated assertions by two climbing club members that their new system is “better”, seemed to be accepted by some almost as though they were tablets brought down from on high.

 There was no information as to why it was “better”,

Also the  acceptance by some of the imputed assumption that because the Climbing Club found it “better” we would as well.  I feel that we might or we might not.


Before any discussion starts I would like Dave to find out more:-


1. The Climbing Club .  How is it similar to the FMC, how is it different from the FMC.   (e.g.. no of members, where do they live, huts, socials, meets  etc.)


2. Was their original tenure of office system the same as ours. (Dave used the words ad hoc – I don’t know what that means)


3. What problems did they identify with their tenure of office system


4. What is the new system they have .   Dave has answered this in part.  but details ,  can a retiring office holder stand again for the same post?  


(This is important in the light of Dave’s comments about people not been willing to stand against an incumbent. If that is true, and my suspicion is that it may be in some cases, then allowing people to stand again would not solve this problem. If they cannot stand again it may solve it. Though it does presuppose that there are a large body of frustrated members itching to serve on the committee and do the work who are at the moment being deprived of the chance to do so by us old farts clinging on to office.)


5. How long has the new system been in place?


6 Exactly what are the benefits that they have found.  We have had nothing specific.just the statement “they find it better”.  A description of the benefits and some quantifiable evidence.  e.g.    AGM attendance has risen is a description  more useful is to know what it was and by how many it has increased. After all an increase of one more is an increase as is 20 more the latter being more significant.


If we have this then we would be in a better position to see if it might be beneficial to consider some of these changes for our club. Which it might be, I am not committed to our present system nor am I committed to change.



In reality I think this is a minor issue facing the club and that the major one is how do we attract more members both Walkers and Climbers in the 18 to 30 age group and how do we keep them.

I am not clever enough to know the answer, I do know that we have not recently tried to find an answer or tried any experiments  e.g.   free trial membership for the under 30,s… get to know us and our activities. Advertising this.


The only person who has addressed this recently, suggesting causes, is Martin Dale who wrote a good piece in his Membership secretary’s report I think for the last AGM.



Appendix 3


 Realistically we are too close to the AGM in order to consider raising a formal motion to make this change.

Instead, I make the following requests:

1. The subject is raised for discussion at the AGM to get the view of the general membership 

2. That this discussion point is communicated to the whole membership well in advance of the AGM with an invitation for comments via letter/email which will be read out at the AGM. Thus people unable to attend the AGM are allowed to make any comments/observations on this significant issue.


The latter would not be against any club rules as no vote would be taking place but would ensure that everybody has the opportunity to make comment. Depending upon the outcome of the discussion a formal motion could then be raised at the 2014 AGM.

One thing to consider is that if these rules are brought in at which point would the ‘clock’ start for the existing committee, many of whom have already been in post for several years.



On Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 6:09 PM, David Wood > wrote:

Hello all.  A response to John’s comments:


Well I did offer to ask some questions of the Climbers Club members in what was after all a social meeting.    By ‘better’ it means it appears to work for them thus far, but after my third beer a Panorama Style interview just didn’t seem appropriate.   Anyway the principle of fixed tenure is not a new idea that somehow needs road testing.  It is applied across the entire democratic world in large and sometimes small organisations and clubs.


Whilst I would like to think that we are having a ‘Socratic Dialogue’ here, sometimes it seems that we want to drill down to levels of detail before discussing the basic principles. Under such circumstances I can’t see how democracy would have got off the ground let alone the women’s vote.   Whilst I am aware of the adage ’if it don’t itch don’t scratch it’, that can’t be a maxim for not considering alternative ways of doing things because there appear to be some disadvantages. Nothing is perfect and I expect this, like other things, will be an on-balance issue.


Thus far we have several people in support of considering change and some who want greater levels of detail.

Just to cut to the chase on this one, I do agree this this is something that will take time and maybe can’t be presented until the 2014 AGM.  Subject to Chair’s /Sec’s agenda setting, I would suggest that we firstly agree that the idea of fixed terms does or does not have merit. Then discuss if we are happy with the present voting system. Thirdly if we think a change would benefit us, can any change be managed to ensure that talent is not lost and people don’t feel they are being padlocked to a post for eternity?    In short we make the detail ourselves and not look for the devil in the detail from the start.


I take John’s point about new members but this is a separate and much larger issue. I suspect many clubs are  possibly dying on their feet. This is probably a socio-cultural thing with many issues beyond our control. it might have something to do with work/travel/family (role sharing), lack of money and people being less likely to make the transition from country walks to the high hills in groups,  preferring to just have small friendship groups.  Quite possibly an addiction to social media might play a part?  Also there are many climbers who just can’t manage the transition from indoor climbing walls to the outdoors.   Under the circumstances, I expect the best we can do is make sure our club is as open and welcoming as possible and makes a point of trying to bring on new members.




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