Registered Charity No. 702429

DIRECTORS’ REPORT - A.G.M. 2009

We gained one new Director in 2008 when David Dixon who had taken over the land portfolio was co-opted in October. David has substantially taken over responsibility from Mike Smith, who however continues in the background providing much advice and help. The purchase of land between lock 26 and A51 was completed and negotiations are continuing with a growing number of landowners. Top Lock Cottage at Ogley Junction was leased to a new tenant and it has been established that legal procedures for division of land are not difficult if we wish to sell the cottage and retain the lock which is in the front garden.

Work on the Tamworth Road section at Lichfield progressed at a very fast rate in various locations with major works taking place, in particular with laying very large concrete interlocking blocks weighing 1 tonne each below lock 26 and then adding a brick facing. The work of forming the new bywash around lock 25 comprised of cutting very large stone blocks (some weighing as much as 3 tons) into smaller more manageable sizes for forming the side wall to the bywash channel. All this was done mainly by our own work parties with just a couple of visits from Waterway Recovery Group.

Bob Mullarkey, our Director with responsibility for Health & Safety, ensures that all risk and method statements are in place before work commences.

On the Hatherton Canal the work is mainly keeping the grass and hedges cut and foot paths in safe order for the public, all carried out by Denis Cooper and his trusty team.

During the last 12 months the mechanical plant has been regularly maintained by Peter Magee. He has replaced the steering system to our small yellow dumper and also arranged for training courses off site for those volunteers who wish to work with chainsaws.

The Environment Director Mike Battisson, ably assisted by Geoff Crook and the “Green Team” has continued to make environmental improvements at Darnford and Tamworth Road, and the Borrowcop Locks Canal Park is now a popular walk for local residents.

2008 was another successful year for the Trading Company and the Marketing Group. Marketing income was £14,228 and the Trading Company’s income was £4,885, making a total of £19,168. After expenses for attendance at shows, etc the combined profit was £12,186.22. This figure is slightly down on the previous year and reflects the tougher trading conditions towards the end of 2008. The expenses incurred were almost exclusively the cost of attending events and we are very grateful to members of the Marketing team who transport, erect and staff the stand at no cost to the Trust. In a few instances where travelling costs have been claimed, they have been donated back to us under Gift Aid, thus further benefiting the Trust.

During 2008 the Group attended 24 events, ranging from 2½ hours when we ran a drinks station for Lichfield Running Club’s 10K Race to 6 days at the National Exhibition Centre for the Boat, Caravan & Outdoor Show.

New and one-off events for us this year included the Lichfield History Fair in Lichfield Library, The Fuse – an arts event in Lichfield and the official opening of our new footbridge over Lock 25, performed jointly by the mayors of Lichfield and our twin towns of Limburg an der Lahn in Germany and Sainte Foy les Lyons in France. This event was part of Lichfield Twinning weekend and as well as the bridge opening at Tamworth Road we also staged an exhibition in the Guildhall.

In 2007 the Trust introduced a 500 Club. During the year 2008 there were 4 draws, each with an average of 200 entries. The Trust has benefited this year by £1200, and a similar sum has been paid out in prize money. Each entry costs £12 p.a. and entitles the payee to entry in 4 consecutive draws.

We attained much over the year but we could do much more if there were more people to help. In particular, the team needs a leader. Dave Moore is stepping down after four years at the helm. Although willing to continue as a ‘foot soldier’, after nearly 50 years involvement in waterways he feels the need to take a less active role.

Dave has asked me to stress that none of the above could have been achieved without the dedicated support of the Marketing team; to them must go the credit for this achievement. He would like to thank all who have given freely of their time over the past four years to add to the Group’s success.

Trevor Morris’s careful records show that we gained 79 new members throughout the year, but we lost 72, so the final total only increased by 7, ending the year at 1,667.

In the summer of 2008 we decided that the website needed a facelift, and a small group set about re-designing it. However ..... it may take some time!

Finally, and I hesitate to say this again – we are still in need of a Publicity Officer if you know of anyone who would like to join our team.

Sue Williams
Secretary

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