AGM 2012

The Friends’ Annual General Meeting, held on 11th August at Thorpe Prebend House, was in some ways “just another AGM” and in others quite unusual.

The activities and finances of the Friends continue pretty much as usual, with some inevitable response to the changing circumstances around us – though the degree of change has been moderated by the good stewardship of the various Council members involved. Dean Keith pointed out in his report that membership levels need some attention: although we are still a quite sizeable organisation, there is always room for more members and this will enhance our ability to support the Cathedral, thus fulfilling one of our key purposes.

There is still a number of chairs remaining to be “sold”, which also represents an undeveloped source of funds; although the response has been favourable and a satisfactory amount of donations received, the sale of the remaining chairs would deliver valuable additional resources to the Friends and complete the “funding circle” which was originally planned as a way of maximising the benefit of the project.

There was general appreciation for the various activities organised during the year, and thanks for the work done by Dorothy and Maurice Taylor with the lecture series, and Bronwen Brindley for her ever-popular theatre visits.

The unusual matters arose when the time came for the re-election of Council members. The Dean announced his wish to stand down as Chairman, owing to the quite extraordinary workload he anticipates over the coming few years adding work on the Diocesan “re-shuffle” to his already heavy level of commitments. We understand he currently sits on almost 50 committees! There must be precious little time for him to appreciate any leisure time or personal life, and we wish him well in the pivotal roles he executes with such skill.

Vice-Chairman John Sayer also steps down in order to devote his time to overseeing the organ restoration project, which will be a huge (though hopefully rewarding) job, and one for which he is singularly well-qualified.

All those present expressed their appreciation to these and other retiring members for their hard work in the past.

The posts of Chairman and Vice-Chairman were consequently vacant, and the meeting elected Toby Wallis as Chairman and Dorothy Taylor as Vice-Chairman. Both have experience of Friends’ Council and its workings, and Dorothy in particular is well-known to us all as a stalwart of the Cathedral.

With changes, continuity and all the various adjustments that took place, your Council now looks like this:

Chairman Toby Wallis
Vice-Chairman Dorothy Taylor
Honorary Secretary Emma Spick
Treasurer John Wimpress
Membership Secretary Lynne Ditchburn
Chapter Representative Nigel Rawlinson

John Beal
Bronwen Brindley
Ruth Grenfell
Gill Steer
Maurice Taylor
Louise Watson

This newly-formed Council will be meeting shortly to map out our plans for the future and to ensure that we continue, and develop, the essential work of supporting our Cathedral and its community.

Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank the Friends for their confidence in electing me to step into the Dean’s shoes as Chairman. It’s a daunting but exciting prospect: I pray that I can discharge my duties successfully and build a thriving, healthy organisation to support the Cathedral into the future.

Toby Wallis