AGM April 2024

Reports presented at the 178th Annual General Meeting to be held on 3rd April 2024 will be linked from the Agenda items below.

1.   Attendance and Apologies

2. Minutes of the last AGM

3. Treasurer’s Report

4. President’s Report

5. Officers’ Reports:

(a) Membership
(c) Field Excursions (Day and Longer Excursions)
(d) The Proceedings

6.    Appointment of Independent Examiner for 2024

7.    Election of Officers and Council Members for 2024-2025

8.    Any other Business

9.    Date of next AGM: to be held on Wednesday 2nd April 2025.

Copies of the Minutes of the previous AGM, and the Minutes of the Special General Meeting held on 6th December, 2023 may be obtained from Sylvia May, Minutes Secretary to Council, email

Treasurer’s Report

It was anticipated that the additional costs of paid clerical assistance would result in an end of year deficit. In fact a small surplus was achieved. There were several contributary factors, perhaps the largest resulting from a lack of sufficient material to publish a planned 2023 volume of the Proceedings; this resulted in a saving of approximately £1000 in budgeted costs.  In addition, a long-planned increase in the member fee for attending lectures reduced the net cost of the lecture programme to £267 from over £900 in the previous year. It is worth noting that I first drew attention to this rising deficit in my 2019 report.
There was no award from the Ted Dyer fund reflecting an apparent lack of interest by the Agricultural University, this being the third year in which no award has been made.  The scheme is intended to encourage research in fields of interest to the Club to which end recent practice has been to make awards for completed work rather than providing financial assistance to enable research initiatives to proceed. The scheme will be reviewed in all aspects including the objectives and the means of publicising its availability.  
The increase in interest rates has enabled investment of some of the Club’s reserves in a Fixed Rate Bond which matures later in 2024.  The interest earned to December has been credited to the 2023 accounts, thus contributing to the surplus. A further bond was purchased last month.
The fall in excursion income reflects reduced activity resulting from the continued loss of Field Officers. More volunteers need to be recruited.  The two lunches held to celebrate New Year and Christmas, were well attended but overall lost money.  We should continue these events enjoyed by members but must take greater care in their financial planning.  
There is little of note in the balance sheet.  The first FRI Bond will mature in the coming months and some proportion, or all, of the money will be re-invested if the interest conditions remain favourable. The Book fund reserve was created to finance the publication of a book on the recent archaeological investigations of Minchinhampton Church.  It seems probable that this will occur during the coming year. 
Finally I wish to thank our independent examiner, Tony Pearson, for the time he has spent on these accounts and to acknowledge once more the help he has given me in their preparation.
J.S. Waddington

President’s Report

A very warm welcome to you all and thanks for your regular attendance at our meetings and lectures and for your ongoing support of our historic club. 
I think that it is worth reminding us all of the purposes of the Club taken from our governance document. “The purpose of the Club shall be to promote interest in the natural history, environment and antiquities of Gloucestershire, the Cotswold and elsewhere, and to provide the facilities for its members to study, appreciate and enjoy them.”
Many of you will recall that I spoke about this at our lunch at Chavenage Manor to mark the 175th Anniversary of the Club in September 2022, where I was able to note that “Our Club has a distinguished history, firstly for its contributions to scientific study in Gloucestershire and the publication, through its annual Proceedings, of its research, and also through its long and continuing programmes of lectures, visits and excursions, promoting and enjoying the range of interests set out in our Purposes”.
Now, in 2024 we can continue to celebrate the Club’s ongoing achievements in these areas of activity.
This year we have been doubly fortunate in that our two Lecture Secretaries, Paul Wyeth and Sue Bennett, have produced a fantastic programme of lectures at our two venues in Painswick and in Box. These have fulfilled in no uncertain terms the purpose that I noted earlier of providing the facilities for members to study, appreciate and enjoy the special areas of the Club’s core interests. We have been very fortunate to have had programmes of talks that have been of very great interest. If any of you have ideas for subjects for future talks do, please let Paul or Sue know. They have produced a report for this AGM’s Minutes.
EXCURSIONS 2023-2024
Once again, our Field Officers have produced an excellent programme of Excursions. We have had two longer excursions, to Sidmouth in the spring organised by Denise Magauran and Lynne O’Farrell, and an excursion to North Devon organised by Jane and Robert Mann in the autumn.  In addition, there has been a number of day excursions, including a visit to Kelmscott and Buscot House, the Royal Hospital and the Physic Gardens Chelsea, Tewkesbury, including the Abbey, the John Moore Museum and the historic town. Amongst other highlights, the evening with Wild Swans at Slimbridge, with dinner was a wonderful occasion. This was a repeat of an earlier, successful visit in winter 2022.
I noted last year the forthcoming retirement of Robert Mann from the Council and Field Officers’ Committee. However, Robert was persuaded to remain on these two committees for a further year, but sadly has finally decided to step down this year. The highly successful North Devon Trip, his last major excursion for the Club will be remembered as one of his great excursions. As well as being a long-standing Field Officer, Robert has been Club President, (2013-2015), a member of Council and Club Secretary since 2018. He has contributed with energy, enthusiasm and great wisdom. He is an Honorary Member of the CNFC.
Joe has been the Club’s Editor for almost twenty years and has produced a series of high-quality Annual Proceedings throughout. Joe is a retired university teacher, an academic, a palaeontologist and geologist and has given serious academic rigour to our Proceedings as well as providing numerous papers himself. The task of being editor, including finding and reviewing contributions, and designing and laying out the Proceedings so that the printers have print-ready copy is an enormous, if behind-the-scenes task and Joe has achieved this with real dedication. Council has recommended Honorary Membership of the CNFC for Joe and we will be asking you to support this later in the agenda for this meeting.
Joe will be producing his last edition of the Proceedings as a double volume for the last two years. Council is currently considering the future of the Proceedings and is recommending that we produce an electronic version of appropriate papers, and notes on Excursions on our website. We will still be looking for editorial support and also for new members of our Research and Publications Committee, so that we can continue to promote research and attract papers for our electronic Proceedings, to continue delivering the core purposes of the Club that I outlined at the beginning. 
Our Council member and Lecture Secretary, Paul Wyeth, has now done a lot of work on the CNFC Website (, and we are very grateful to him for transforming the website into a very useful tool for the Club.  This already contains much of the background information on the Constitution etc that we are used to finding in the Proceedings and is an ideal vehicle for ongoing research papers and reports.  If you have not yet discovered this, please do look it up and use it. If any of you have a yearning to contribute some of your own research, notes or just observations please do contribute to it.
It has been a real pleasure to have had the support of the three new Council Members who joined Council last year. I have mentioned the Joint Lecture Secretary role that Paul Wyeth and Sue Bennett have taken on and need to mention Clare Woodman’s careful work as Membership Secretary.  Clare has produced a summary statement about our Membership, which I will read at the end of my piece. Council, on behalf of the Club is very grateful for their work and the work of all our Council members. However, we do urgently need new Council members to join the Council to contribute ideas and experience to the ongoing management of the Club. Please get in touch with me if you would like to contribute as a Council member.  
I would like to thank all our Council members for the support for the wide range of jobs that need to be done, and for helping to steer the club carefully through the legislation and regulations that always accompany such work as ours. Thank you too to members for new ideas to keep the Club’s activities fresh and alive and, most important, enjoyable for all our members. I must also add our thanks to Stan Waddington, our Treasurer, for all the careful attention to detail that is necessary in order to manage our accounts and ensure that our work continues to be sustainable. Again, a lot of “behind -the-scenes” work for which we are most grateful.
You will note, however, that we are urgently looking for new members of Council; I am standing down as Club President this year, having served well over the term for this post, and we currently need a new President, Vice Presidents, a Club Secretary and other members of Council. We are meeting in the near future to consider this and to decide how we move forward, perhaps by streamlining the officer roles, but however we do it, the Club cannot succeed unless you, the Membership, supports it as strongly as possible. Please ensure that your CNFC has the strength and support to move on into the future.
Council has been very fortunate to have had the administrative support that Sylvia May has provided and I am very pleased that she is able to continue for (at least) another year. Sylvia’s help with agendas and minutes are important to the smooth running of the Club and she also produces the promotional notes that go into our parish newsletters and help to keep the Club’s profile high. This is an essential task and we are very grateful to Sylvia for all her work.
If I may repeat what I said last year, as well as having new ideas to help Council with its work it is absolutely essential that we recruit more Field Officers. At present, the very small and reducing number of Field Officers is working hard to deliver a programme of excursions and visits to complement the work of our Lecture Secretaries in delivering the Club’s Purposes. Without new Field Officers we are going to have to look at reducing the numbers of excursions and visits. This has been such a core part of the Club’s activities, and we would hate to see our programme significantly reduced, but without help this will be inevitable I am afraid. So, if you have any ideas about somewhere you think Members would like to visit, join the Committee and organise an excursion and discover what a pleasure this can be and what enjoyment you can contribute to other members. This isn’t as daunting as it may seem, and you will always find the support of present and past Field Officers who are able to help and support you.
Having said that, I would like to thank the present Field Officers, Robert Mann, who is retiring from the role and Denise Magauran, Lynne O’Farrell, Peter Cornish and Jane Rowe, Jane in particular for her programme of walks. I look forward to a live ongoing programme of excursions to take us into the future.
Last, but not least, may I offer enormous thanks to the volunteers who continue to help with manning the registration desk for our lectures and who provide us with refreshments at our lectures. Your help is, as always, very greatly appreciated. 
I finish where I started this report by recognising the importance of our members, who continue to support the Club’s activities. Thank you to you all.
David Thackray

Membership Secretary’s Report

The Club’s membership subscription year continues to run from 1 January to 31 December with annual subscriptions becoming due on 1 January. In December 2023, following a financial review, the Council proposed an increase of £5 in the annual membership subscription per member, the last rise having taken place in 2012.  At a Special General Meeting held on 6 December 2023 Members voted to accept the proposal and the annual subscription rates were increased from £20 to £25 per annum for Individual Membership and from £30 to £40 per annum for Joint Membership, with effect from 1 January 2024.
The Club has welcomed new members throughout the past 12 months. Membership currently stands at 203, comprising 199 Ordinary Members and 4 Honorary Members (Mrs Jane Rowe, Mr Robert Mann, Mr Gerry Revell and Professor Peter Wilson).  Despite there being 16 member resignations and 2 lapsed memberships during the past 12 months this is an increase on the membership numbers reported as 179 at the 2023 AGM and 161 at the 2022 AGM. 
We were sorry to report the deaths in 2023 of members Mrs Patricia Kenshole, Mrs Ann Dickinson, Mr Donald Cathcart and former members Mr Maurice Maggs, Mrs Judith Monro and Mr Brian Wilkie.
Officers have undertaken various activities to publicise CNFC and new members have been attracted to the Club via several routes including: volunteers manning a stand with gazebo and display boards at the local summer events Painswick Feast, Upton-St-Leonards Show and Bisley Show; publicity leaflets; articles published in local newsletters; visitors welcomed at lectures in Painswick and Box; the new CNFC website ( and Facebook social media page (Cotteswold Naturalists’ Field Club).  We also thank all those members who have recommended the Club to others – this is currently our most successful way of recruiting new members and we look forward to welcoming more in 2024/5.
Clare Woodman

Lecture Secretaries’ Report

Sue Bennett and Paul Wyeth took on the joint role of Lecture Secretary last summer. To facilitate organisation of the year’s programme we each accepted responsibility for one of our venues, and broadly allocated ourselves different themes. Sue has looked after the Box Village Hall talks (conservation, culture, landscape and wildlife), while Paul has overseen those at the Beacon Hall in the Painswick Centre (local history,  and archaeology, canals and rivers). The full list of lectures together with reviews of each can be found on the Club’s Website .

For the year October 2023 to May 2024 we will have had 15 presentations. We took the decision to start our New Year in mid-January at Box after the wind-down from Christmas/ New Year and propose to do the same next year. Attendance has generally been around 40-50 at Box and 50-60 at Painswick.

We are already planning our talks for next year and now expect to share all the topics and include suggestions from members. We would be really grateful if you could contact us if you have a yearning to hear about a particular subject or know of an entertaining speaker.

Sue Bennett and Paul Wyeth