Chairman’s Report 2018/19
My report format is as previous years and is structured around the club’s activities.
- Running locos
During this past year improvements to the Puffing Park have continued.
My last annual report mentioned the purchase of a second container. This is now in place and further work has been undertaken during the winter period to enclose the gap between the containers to form a weather-proof area. The total cost of the container and forming the weather-proof area did not exceed £2,500. Currently substantial future capital investment in the Puffing Park is not anticipated. Ongoing work will mainly involve routine maintenance at minimal expense. On your behalf I thank Neil Byrne and Jack Green for their efforts in seeing this work to completion.
Throughout last year there was more use of the facilities. Remember, Roger Stephen does maintain email contact with regular users so members can be made aware of when there will be mid-week running days. If you wish to attend please make Roger aware.
- Sailing boats
This year’s report repeats last years. Although many members have and build boats, attendance at the lake has again been low. We held a club sailing day in July which was very successful. A fair number of members turned out and visitors were queuing for our have-a-go boats. The club needs to rejuvenate this discipline. Literally an increase of 2 or 3 members attending will make a big difference. Please remember this is an activity which attracts and gives pleasure to parents and children using the park. We are fully exposed to the public and without doubt this is the best advert for the club and the boating activity.
This year I attended two council forums where proposed improvement to the boating lake are discussed and reported. Although there are preliminary proposals, work is not expected to start until 2012/22 at the earliest.
- The Gazette
This month saw the publication of the last hard copy gazette, nr 544. Tony Mason has been involved in its production for the last 16 years and I thank him again on your behalf for his excellent work. It is a great shame to see the demise of this very high quality journal.
I remind you the reason for its demise as a hard copy document was cost; the cost exceeded the revenue from the annual total of member’s subscriptions. I remind you we have not had a member come forward to edit an on-line gazette.
Moving forward our website becomes our communication tool for members.
During the last 6 months our website has been revamped. This has been the work Rob Briancourt. Rob has transformed the website and since its launch early in 2019 it has become the replacement for the gazette. It is constantly updated with additional content. There is a gazette section where one can look through copies going back many years. This is a very informative website.
In parallel with the revamping of the website, Simon Saunders and SJ have revamped our Facebook facility. This is of particular importance as its potential for spreading news is more effective than the website once an audience is established.
In this age it is essential that we promote ourselves as an IT savvy organisation.
- Club nights
Again attendance has been steady. I thank those members who gave talks this year; they were well received and enjoyed. This applies particularly to our Christmas evening and I thank Terry Summers for the magic lantern display which blended well with the social evening.
I am always looking for more members’ presentations.
Our club outing this year was a visit to the Bluebell Railway. On your behalf I thank Mike for organising the day. We struggle to fill a big bus and still rely on a large proportion of guests. This year we have booked a 30 seater which is nearly full.
We only had one mini outing last year to the Leighton Buzzard Railway. Thanks to David Ranger for arranging the trip round the workshop.
We returned to the London Model Engineering Exhibition with a stand which had a more diverse selection of model engineering than many other stands. Our stand displayed the varied selection of our members’ skills. Thanks to all those who came up with the models and helped steward our stand.
Again our exhibition broke previous records for attendance and revenue; the income makes a vast difference to our funds. Over 30 members were involved. Our club stand stood out and I thank Terry Wybrow and Bill Langton for their work.
- Other Events
Last year we took a stand at Oaklands, and took the portable track to Stockwood Park, Redbourn, Elstree and Verulamium. These are important events giving us opportunities to show our models and promote the club.
- Tamiya Trucks
This is an additional section. As you are aware, members of the Tamiya Trucks group have shown an interest in joining us and they recently visited and ran their off-roaders at the Puffing Park. It is likely some they will join shortly and this will add another discipline to the society.
- In conclusion
We have continued to make good progress this year with further improvements of our facilities at the Puffing Park and to accommodate Tamiya Trucks further work will be necessary. We need to concentrate on increasing our attendance at the lake. Although total membership is not increasing, it is pleasing to see new members joining and enjoying what we offer.