Minutes of the 126th Annual General Meeting held at 3.30 pm
on Saturday 28th June 2014 in The Meeting House, Great Ayton

1. Linda Hewison, the new Chairperson, introduced herself to Old Scholars and welcomed everyone to the meeting.  She thanked John Fothergill, in his absence, for his dedication to AOSA and for his Chairmanship over the past three years, as well as as for all he had done in organising the blue plaque commemorating the school.  This was his idea and he had dealt with the project from start to finish.  John is now stepping down as Chairman and from the Committee.  The Committee also has a new Vice Chairperson, Sue Fox.

Linda referred to Old Scholars who have died during the past year: some have been mentioned in the Magazine, but news of others received after publication are: Sheila Wrightson (nee Manship, (1946 - 52); Christine Kirk (1936 - 40); Roger Carr (1940 - 43), son of Stanley Carr, a former headmaster of the school; Paul Ellington (1958 - 65); and Clifford Weschenfelder (1943 - 51) who had spent many years on the Executive Committee, many of them as Chairman, and eight as Treasurer, and had also been President of the Association.  Linda requested a minute’s silence to remember those Old Scholars.

She thanked Mary Kidd for undertaking the role of President 2013 - 2014 with “elegant perspicacity, wit and good humour”.  Mary welcomed the new President for 2014 - 2015, George Hetherington, and passed on the chain of office.  George delivered his Presidential Address which will be printed in full in the 2015 Magazine (126th Annual Report). 

Apologies had been received from: Adelaide Lavender (nee Johnson), David French, John Fothergill, Chris Vodden, Stewart Brammer; via George from: Dinah Handley, Christine Deakin (who also sent good wishes); Gill Jackson, Jill Naylor (nee Clegg), Richard Featherstone, Doc Watson whose wife, Jean, is in a care home in Paignton with severe dementia, and who wished to be remembered to all who were with him in Ayton.  Via Jill Wheeler came apologies from: Jan and Brian Sinclair who are helping Judy (nee Hall) celebrate her 80th birthday; Ann and Fred Baines; Margaret Shaw and Jean Hewitt.  Good wishes were also received from Carole Avison, a member of Ayton Meeting.  Beryl Queen (nee Goodfellow) wished to thank Old Scholars for all the kind letters she had received following the death of her brother, Alan Goodfellow, in December 2013.


2. The Minutes of the 125th Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 29th June 2013 and printed in full in this year’s AOSA Annual Report were taken as read, and approval was proposed by Geoff Miller, seconded by Dorothy Dawson and agreed by all.

3. Matters arising: none.

4. Secretary’s report: Suzanne Potter referred to changes in the Executive Committee: the death of Alan Goodfellow and the change of Chairperson from John Fothergill to Linda Hewison. Suzanne also appealed for new people to join the Committee.

Treasurer’s report: Geoff Miller circulated copies of the accounts for the year ended 31 December 2013 (also published in the Magazine) in their simplified form: two previously separate items had been removed: the ‘Life Fund’ as few Life Members were joining now, and ‘Reserves for the Handbook’ since the Handbook will no longer be published.  These items have been amalgamated into the General Fund.  Subscriptions amounting to £770 have been received, and together with other items produce an income of £944.  There are two main items of expenditure: the Magazine, where costs have increased, and the Reunion which is largely self-financing.  Despite the excess of expenditure over income of £1,852, there is still a substantial balance of £13.054.  There were no questions on the accounts.

Editor’s report: with Spigg’s (Mr. Coates) bell on Jane Boddy’s woven runner on the table in front of her, Linda Hewison thanked everyone who had sent contributions to the Magazine and who had worked on its production and distribution.  She asked people to keep their contributions, memories and ideas coming in to her.  She also thanked the proofreader, Suzi Scaife, and Wendy Smith and her team of volunteers for sending out the Magazine.  Postage costs have increased to £609.12, meaning a magazine costs £1.17 to post, though this is reduced to 83p by the use of a franking machine.  Unfortunately the franking machine cannot be used for sending magazines abroad; that cost is £3.65 per magazine.  Envelopes cost £11.99, making a total annual cost per magazine of £5.

Records’ Secretary’s report: Fiona Campbell’s report was read by Committee Member, Jill Wheeler: as at 31st March 2013 there were 531 AOSA members; eight magazines sent out in May 2014 had been returned, but three of the incorrect addresses had been found, making a total of 526 members.

Webmaster’s report: Dan Smith’s report was read out by Suzanne Potter: the website had disappeared because of a hosting error at Dick Dennis’ old company, but this has now been rectified.  Google have removed the site from their listings, but this, too, should soon be back to normal.  Dan has published the amended AOSA Constitution on the website; updated deaths; updated 1960s photo captions; and published the date (and now the details) of the Annual Reunion.  He has sent a cinefilm of the school sent to him by Bill Jones, a pupil in the late 60s, for digitisation and eventual publication on the website.

School Committee report: Sue Fox reported that the School Committee had met in November 2013 and had looked at the accounts up to 31st August 2013.
The following items were covered:

(i)  A review of the documents prepared by Edward Brown, the school solicitor, transferring the right to receive overage payments from the School Committee to the trustees of Britain Yearly Meeting and to appoint Robert Campbell and Jenny James as signatories on behalf of the trustees to these documents.

(ii) To instruct the accountants, Chipchase Manners to take the necessary steps to pay the Committee’s professional fees and other expenses.

(iii) To authorise the payment of any remaining balances in the trust accounts to the trustees of Britain Yearly Meeting of the religious society of Friends.

(iv) To instruct the accountants to prepare final accounts and the solicitors Ford and Warren to take necessary steps to inform the charity commission of the closure of the charity.

And item (v), one that will be of particular interest to Old Scholars was: to review and agree the agreed minute to transfer the ownership of the memorabilia and the piano to Tees Valley and Cleveland Area Meeting. This transfer has already been agreed by Meeting for Sufferings.  This item is quoted in full below:

“We now agree to transfer the ownership of Ayton School memorabilia presently stored in the upstairs room of Ayton meeting house to Teesdale and Cleveland Area Meeting on the understanding that this material remains in the upstairs room of Great Ayton Meeting House for the storage of which The School Committee made a payment to Great Ayton Meeting at the time of the closure of the school. In addition a substantial donation was made to the costs of the Meeting House refurbishment in 2001 from the residual funds from the school sale and further funds were contributed to this refurbishment by Old Scholars.

Teesdale and Cleveland Area Meeting and Ayton Local meeting have agreed to leave the care of the memorabilia in the hands of Jane Campbell and to appoint successors in consultation with Ayton Old Scholars Association should the need arise for as long as the Association exists.

In the event of the meeting needing, for any reason, to dispose of all or part of the memorabilia the meeting will consult with the Old Scholars Association for as long as it exists before doing so. A Northern Friends School and /or The County Records office will be considered.”
Approval of the above reports was proposed by Diz Dexter, seconded by Barbara Clarke and agreed by all.

5. Officers due to retire in 2014 but willing to stay on:

Executive Committee: Gill Cloughton, Jill Wheeler, Linda Hewison, Magazine Editor, and Suzanne Potter, Secretary (all yearly).

Nominations Committee: Sue Fox, Convener (2014 - 2018); Sonia Wade and Suzanne Potter (yearly).

School Committee: Sonia Wade and Gillian Cloughton (yearly).

Proposed by Roy George, seconded by Mary Kidd and agreed by all.

6. Officer retiring in 2014:

Executive Committee: John Fothergill  (See Item 1)

7. Election of members to Executive Committee: Sonia Wade (yearly) and to Nominations Committee: Geoff Miller (2014 - 2018)


Proposed by Linda Knott, seconded by Jane Scrimshaw and agreed by all.

8. Re-election of Officers and Ordinary Members willing and able to remain in office:

Treasurer Geoff Miller (2013 - 2017)
Records Secretary Fiona Campbell (2013 - 2017)
Reunion Co-ordinator Louise Seniscal (2013 - 2017)
Webmaster Dan Smith (2011 - 2015)
Ordinary Member Sue Fox (2011 - 2015)
School Committee Representative: Sue Fox (2013 - 2017)


Proposed by Lou Trotter, seconded by George Hetherington and agreed by all.

9. Nomination of President Elect:  Jill Wheeler proposed Diz Dexter (1960 - 65) who has always been an active member of the Association.  Jill first got to know Diz during their time on the AOSA Executive Committee where Diz served as Chairman and Jill as Secretary for eight years.  Geoff Miller seconded the proposal.

10. A.O.B.: 

(i) Sue Fox pointed out that this weekend was also Open Gardens in Great Ayton and that there would be a Duck Race at 2 pm on Sunday, both in aid of Herriot Hospice for Cancer.

(ii) Fiona Campbell had passed on a brochure about Paul Brown which had been sent to her along with a returned AOSA Magazine.

(iii) George Hetherington reminded members about his “At Home” with the President in the Meeting House on Sunday after the buffet lunch and before the cricket.  He had found some old school songs and Linda had printed some in the Magazine, and had prepared a quiz about the School and the Association.

(iv) Lou Trotter thanked the Committee and Old Scholars for all the work they do behind the scenes to make the Annual Reunion a success.  Linda Hewison thanked Lou and appealed for Old Scholars to join the Committee.

The meeting closed at 4.30 pm.