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Minutes of the Fortieth Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Ferries Across the Mersey.

Held on Wednesday May 8th 2017 at the Y.M.C.A., Whetstone Lane, Birkenhead at 7.30 p.m.
The Chairman, Andrew Hodgson, opened the meeting at 7.32 p.m.

Members present: A. Hodgson Hon. Chairman, R. McRonald Hon. Vice Chair and Treasurer, Gordon Ditchfield Hon. Membership Secretary, G. Holmes Newsletter Editor, A. Blizzard, Committee Member, J.T. Edgar Committee Member, R. Peers Committee Member and ten members.

1. Apologies received: G Collinson, D Whiston

2. Minutes of the Thirty-Ninth Annual General Meeting were read and approved with three minor amendments. Adoption of minutes proposed by J.T. Edgar and seconded by P. Dowling. Carried Nem Con. The Chairman then signed the minutes.

3. Chairman’s Report: Attached. In giving his report Andrew Hodgson stated that the Friends’ Membership stands at slightly below 500 with steps taken to remind members of their renewals and the Chair asked that we encourage friends and colleagues to join. Increased numbers will influence Mersey Ferries and Mersey Travel. He further stated that relations with the two organisations remain cordial. In 2016 Mersey Ferries lost the use of the Royal Iris after it was grounded. Revenue and passenger confidence was lost. When Snowdrop was not available whilst the Royal Iris was undergoing its annual inspection during the planed rail closure, made commuting more difficult and proved that a third vessel, the Royal Daffodil, could have provide a valued service, if it hadn’t been laid up. A full account may be read in the Chairs Report. Mersey Ferries plan to build a new ferry. Monies sort from the new Mayor City Region.

Financially “Friends” have had another successful year, with the Dock and River Cruise and Christmas Draw being responsible for the major part of our profits. The Chair thanked Malcolm McRonald Hon Treasurer, Marketing and Publicity Officer, Joan Roberts helped by John Timms, Hon Membership Secretary, Gordon Ditchfield, News Letter Editor, Geoff Holmes and Our Hon Secretary, David Hocker for the duties they fulfil. Special thanks to Andrew Blizard, Terry Edgar and Bob Peers for their help and support.

Dock and River Cruise on the 25th June 2016, because of the amount of vessels in the docks it was felt that the arrangements of how we run the cruise will be review at the next meeting. The day was made more enjoyable by the informed commentary by Andy Ball and Stewart Woods and they have agreed to doing this again in 2017. Mersey Ferries continue to sell our tickets from their terminals.

Our website continues to be updated but the chair asked for help in running this.

On a sad note, the chair informed those present of the sad news of the passing of Alison Carter wife of our late News Letter Editor.

Closing, Andrew said that he hoped to see all the attendees on the Cruise on May 27th, sales for which were going well.

Geoff Holmes asked if Holton will be included in the City Region and would they contribute to this. Andrew Hodgson suggested that they would. Adrian Sweeney informed the members that the fee for the new toll bridge across the Mersey was going to be £2 and would be collected by the use of a camera operated, number plate recognition system.

4. Treasurer’s Report: Attached: Malcolm McRonald took the meeting through the Financial Report and pointed out the success of the Dock and River Cruise and the Christmas Draw.

Postage cost for this year are substantially up on last year because we have been running on previously bought stamps before the price increase. The cost of printing the News Letter has gone down and the cost of the AGM was also down. A major cost is the running of the website, redesign, training and instruction of its use. The sales account reflect the work Joan Roberts does. Our Hon Treasurer explained that we have to pay tax on the profit of tickets sold to non-members. Adrian Sweeney suggested that a way around this might be to make people buying personal tickets become members.    

5. Adoption of the Accounts for the year ending 31/03/2017: 
Proposed by John Timms and Seconded by Geoff Holmes. Approved “Nem Con”.

6. Election of Members to the Management Committee: Moved by the Chairman that these be elected en bloc.

A. Blizzard, Terry Edgar, Andrew Hodgson and Geoff Holmes. All willing to stand Proposed by Bob Peers and Seconded by Adrian Sweeney. Approved “Nem Con”.

7. Election of Officers to the Society: Proposed by Geoff Holmes and Seconded by A. Blizzard. Approved “Nem Con”.

8. Appointment of Reporting Accountants Messrs Stonebridge Stewart.

They also enter our tax return which can only be done by them online (without charge). Malcolm McRonald also pointed out that they only check what has been submitted.

Proposed by Joan Roberts and Seconded by Terry Edgar. Approved “Nem Con”.

9. Any other Business.

David Hocker Hon Secretary thanked Geoff Holmes for taking the minutes at last years AGM.

At the date of the meeting, 91 tickets had been sold by Mersey Ferries and 72 by the committee. Gordon Ditchfield said it was very difficult to communicate with Mersey Ferries and that we require the sale of 230 tickets to break even.

Andre Hodgson suggested that we may be charged for pilotage which could be in the region of £600.

The Chairman closed the meeting at 8.20 p.m.