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CUMBRIA BRIDLEWAYS SOCIETY Minutes of the Annual General Meeting at 7:30 pm on Friday 14th November 2008 at Brantwood Country House hotel, Stainton, near Penrith Committee Members Present: Hilary Fell Chair, Carole Barr, Pamela Bonnick, Susan Burns, Sue Gill, Moira Knoery, Mike Myers, Gay Parkin, Lisa Hartley Apologies: June Chapman, Keith Crocker, Brenda Dixon, Barbara Hartley NLBS, Lord Inglewood, Sheelagh Myers, Sylvia Putnam. Minutes of previous AGM: Minutes proposed by Moira Knoery, seconded by Lisa Hartley Matters Arising: 1. Lis Fell confirmed the photographs brought to the last AGM by Eve Hall were of Jean Rogers and these have been passed onto her. 2. Carole Barr is still working on pulling information together for the new web site and hopes to have it up and running soon. 3. Bridget Picthorne who has been working on getting the Hincaster disused railway route opened up is hopeful this will be achieved. Chairs Report: Hilary Fell My first year as Chairman of CBS has been an interesting one! Following on from Carole has been quite a challenge and I want to thank her, and all the Committee, for their patience with my inexperience. (I take full responsibility for all computer errors and blips in procedure!) I have decided that this Society really runs on having great PEOPLE in it and I should not worry so much. I have been helped by all the Committee and many friends, especially my friend Caro, who has helped me for years. We are all volunteers with busy lives and I am constantly amazed at and grateful for the amount of time people put in. This Report is going to be all ‘thank you’s for a very positive year. I’m worried about leaving someone out as so many people have had input, but here goes.. Thank you to everyone who has sent in articles for the Newsletter, it’s becoming an enjoyable task to put it all together. Thank you to Jane Pape for dealing with all the packs for new members. Jane has printed some of her lovely cards for sale tonight. She has also brought a large map and some dots so that if you are willing to put yourselves on the map, you can see where other members live and maybe make some good contacts. Thank you to anyone who has given us their email as this helps communication. Also thanks to all those who have supported events, even if they have not been able to help put them on. Thank you to people who’ve provided raffle prizes and those who have sold and bought tickets. We still need a proper Secretary – does anyone feel like offering? - but we are managing by multi-tasking at the moment. Carole has bought the CBS photocopier since its agreement expired and has done a great deal of photocopying for us herself for tonight, thank you Carole. I’d like to thank especially Sue Gill for being such a reliable Minutes Secretary and for doing a great deal more than that. She and Jane Armstrong have now offered to help Moira Knoery with trying to recruit Field Officers in the South of the county. I am extremely grateful to Moira, who, despite some difficulties at home, has persevered in trying to organise events for people who may be interested in becoming Field Officers: that is, people who will check up on their local bridleways regularly (and maybe network socially in their area as well). I have attended two excellent evenings that Moira arranged this year; the first one was a talk by Andrea Bonacker, the Volunteer Co-ordinator for Cumbria County Council’s Countryside Access Team, which was well attended and very helpful. Then recently one by an extremely knowledgeable husband and wife team, whom many of you know - Helen and David Kerry, who are British Horse Society Access and Safety Officers respectively. I think they are here tonight if any of you have any questions you would like to ask them. Thank you, Moira, for your continuing efforts behind the scenes, and please, any potential Field Officers or friendly networkers introduce yourselves to Moira tonight! (Or if you live in the south of the county, introduce yourselves to Sue or Jane). Our Vice President, Keith Crocker, continues to painstaking research – this year we have managed to upgrade his records from floppy discs to hard CDs: and we have lent him the CBS computer. He has been incredibly generous in giving us the ‘pink’ O.S. 1:50,000 series of maps for the whole of England and Wales and I’m keeping them as a set for anyone in the Society to borrow – just phone if you need any. We are extremely grateful for all his work and kindness over the years – and he has never ridden horses, his interest is in the routes and records and for us all to be able to use the ways. Susan Burns is not going to stand for re-election as Treasurer due to pressure of work, but she has done an immaculate job updating our accounts system, and I am grateful for the time she has spent. I was appalled when she said she could not continue in the job, but then my guardian angel reappeared in the form of Tracey Harris. I met Tracey through my local ‘barter’ exchange and trading scheme and asked her to help me with my computer. She then took on helping with the Newsletter and has now offered to stand for election as Treasurer – Miracle Woman! I realise how active the Committee has been on your behalf when I look back and see what a lot has happened this year. Lisa Hartley worked hard to revamp the CBS display boards and before Christmas she and Sylvia put up an excellent publicity stand at a veterinary talk at Rheged and gave out many of our leaflets that night. In March, Pamela Bonnick organised an extremely interesting day at Inglewood Riding Centre near Penrith, where we learnt about T Team work from Margaret Murray. Pamela not only arranged the talk and provided a live pony, but also produced delicious soup! Thank you again, Pamela, and thank you also to Sylvia Putnam and Tina Galloway for providing horses for that day. Also in March, Jane Armstrong and Sue Gill organised a successful Spring Tack Sale at Endmoor, near Kendal. Once events become established they have a chance to flourish and the best thing is that Jane and Sue are willing to do it again in 2009! I am so grateful to them for their initiative (and to Jane’s partner, Ian, for helping). In April, sixty-five of us attended a lively Spring Social at the Greyhound at Shap - a meal followed by a slide talk by the amazing Vyv Wood- Gee. She spoke of her ride with her daughter on their Fell ponies from John O’Groats to Lands End in aid of Cancer Research. She has now raised well over £11,000 for this cause. Thank you to all those who helped and all those who came gave so generously and made it such a success. On the ill-fated midsummer weekend, CBS had a stand in the tent at the Bigland Gathering, thank you to Sheelagh and Mike. During the wet summer our indomitable Gay Parkin continued her thorough research by riding the Eden Valley Loops. We share Gay with the BHS Committee and I have enjoyed the ‘cross pollination’! - her experience is really invaluable. I was fortunate to be amongst at least 8 members of the CBS attending the BHS National Access Conference held at Penrith in September. It was an extremely well run, interesting and informative day. The time it takes to create new routes was emphasised in the talk by the Pennine Bridleway National Trail Co-ordinator. This project has been going on for 24 years so far! Also in September Sue Gill took the CBS display to Lisa’s charity event in aid of Redwings Horse Sanctuary and I know at least one new member joined as a result. So thank you again, Committee, for all your many efforts this year. (Remind me to make a date for our next meeting!) For 2009 we already have two events in the pipeline, the Spring Tack Sale at Endmoor and Packs & Tracks at Dalemain. The latter is really my pet project I suppose; I think of it as a living tribute to my mother. I am convinced that co-operation achieves more than confrontation and I hope this event expresses how ‘holistic’ it is dealing with access and rights of way - Packs & Tracks is going to celebrate our landscape and wildlife, have lots of horsey and historical features, represent maintenance organisations and rescue teams and have a wide variety of stalls. I would love all members to support this by coming to it and I particularly need lots of volunteers to take shifts as friendly hosts on the day itself, May 17th; it is our event and is a real chance to raise public awareness of what we do. I occasionally get depressed thinking how many people that use bridleways take them for granted and contribute nothing back, but I know it is often due to a lack of awareness that anything can be done. I am encouraged by everyone who is interested enough to join our society - even if they cannot be active members it helps to have moral support. I should hate anyone to think that because we are a small society we are useless, we are not! Things do take time and perseverance, but at each of our Committee meetings we have an update from Carole and it is inspiring to realise what is quietly being achieved. She continues to be consulted by all the authorities about every bridleway issue and is a fount of knowledge and experience. We are purely a Rights of Way Society, not a Horse Society; the routes themselves are our priority. We could be just a small group of people dealing with the legal aspects of keeping bridleways open; but whilst this is our main aim, I think the social side is also important in order to communicate our knowledge and enthusiasm. There is no point in keeping routes open if no-one is aware of them! There are difficulties in being a small and scattered group in a large county, but I think we are not doing too badly. Individuals are taking the initiative to organise fund raising and interesting events in their own areas and this means the message is getting around. Things are happening - and with even more input from you as members and even more people being encouraged to join the CBS, we will make more progress providing safe off-road ways for the future. Treasurer’s Report – Susan Burns From the CBS accounts sheet I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the 2007 figures have been entered twice: once as the original set as presented at last year’s AGM & once as a corrected set. This arose because when preparing the 2008 accounts I discovered that 1 month’s transactions-August ’07-had been left out of the 2007 accounts & unfortunately the independent examiner last year approved the accounts with this omission. I rectified them & they are now presented as the corrected version for 2007, which together with the 2008 accounts have been approved by our new independent examiner, Bill Dorman of Torver. I would at this point like to express our appreciation to him & also to Carole for finding him at the last minute! For 2008 CBS had a surplus of £508.87 cw £353.47 in 2007, an increase of £155.40. Membership at the year end was 160. Net fundraising from events contributed £415.15 to CBS funds-the T-team day £174.75, tack sale at Endmoor £190.40 & the social £50, in addition to the raffle receipts of £68. On the expense side honoraria were not paid for 2008. I chose to take expenses instead & we do not at the moment have a general secretary to receive an honorarium. Committee expenses rose, partly due to my expenses but also due to travel expenses incurred checking bridleways & organising & instructing field officers in bridleway checking, which benefits us all. The balance sheet shows our closing bank balance amounted to £8934.03, 6366.10 C/A & 2567.93 D/A. However, £5647.12 of this came from the transfer of the Lostways funds into the main CBS account & this money is ring-fenced for Lostways use as needed. This money has now been transferred into the reserve account. Moving onto the Lostways accounts there were very few transactions during the year with a surplus of £7.50. Rights of way Report – Carole Barr The Cumbria Bridleways Society has been consulted on a number of definitive map proposals and changes throughout the year. There have been some gains and the occasional loss. I am grateful to members who assist me in supplying local knowledge about routes I am not familiar with. I am particularly pleased that the routes around Tarn Howes have been the focus of the National Trust and I am hopeful a bridleway may be created which would make a useful route from the Tarn across to the Mountain Road. Chris Clark was keen to see horse riders considered in this area where presently a no mans land for riders and cyclists exists. Following the winding up of the Trail Management Advisory Group I was asked to join the Motor Powered Vehicle Advisory Group who report back to the Maintenance Task Group. I was also appointed to the Lakes Access Forum earlier this year. I aim to lobby for all new routes to be nothing less than a bridleway and encourage an understanding of riders needs throughout the county. The Forum is keen the public use the meeting to voice their concerns and aspirations for the user network. The meetings move around the Park and full details can be found on the National Park website. Coastal Access has been a big issue this year with the proposal for a coastal trail as party of the Marine Bill. The BHS have launched a campaign to lobby parliament and we should all get involved by sending the BHS postcard to our MP. We also need to know where people access beaches at present and log this information, so I need to hear from all of you who ride on our beaches. A Stakeholders Working Group has been set up by the government to discuss how to improve the rights of way network in the future. This is in response to the demise of the national Discovering Lost Ways project. We must continue to investigate lost ways but it is likely the 2026 deadline will be removed. Please continue to report bridleway problems to Pamela and please use the bridleways so we have a working knowledge of their state and share your experiences with us via the newsletter. Field Officers Report – Moira Knoery Meetings have been held in Eden, Carlisle and Allerdale. South Lakes and Barrow have yet to be done and Jane Armstrong and Sue Gill will be helping me with these areas in the new year. I plan to hold each spring an area meeting and in the autumn a Field Officers and social meeting. Each Field Officer volunteer receives a pack of information and a list of the bridleways they are to look after. The bridleways need to be walked or ridden at least once, preferably twice a year to check on the state of them. The council repair/ renovate them as required every four years and we work with the council to check the bridleways are suitable for riders. Committee Hilary Fell, Gay Parkin are due to stand again and are happy to continue on the committee. Hilary is willing to continue as Chairperson - proposed by Carole Barr, seconded by Lis Fell. Susan Burns is standing down as treasurer and Sheelagh Myers is standing down from the committee. Tracey Harris proposed as treasurer by Hilary Fell and seconded by Susan Burns No other nominations AOB from the Floor 1. Lis Fell was pleased to report on the work being done by Jim Loxon of the National Trust in Coniston, Tarn Hows and High Yewdale. The vision is to have a bridleway right up to the main road, arranging to have walls moved and hedges replanted where necessary and resurfacing the path. A permissible bridleway will be on the south of the Tarn and wonderful work is being undertaken to enable this. 2. The meeting for Field officers in the South Lakes area will be held at Sue Gill’s house in Cartmel on 27th January 2009. Mike Myers will attend the meeting as he rides a lot of the bridleways. Any volunteers to be Field Officers in this area to contact Moira. The meeting closed at 8:15pm and was followed by tea and coffee. The members had the opportunity to pay their subscriptions and buy raffle tickets. An informative talk and presentation on BHS Trec and the World Championships was given by Mark and Anthea Kendrick.
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