PART VII

 

EVENTS, FUNCTIONS, MEETINGS AND NEWS SHEETS

 

 

In the Appendices to this history a schedule of meeting places is listed. However, it is not considered essential to attempt any similar schedule of either events held, nor of functions which have taken place.  Suffice to record only those activities which have had a key bearing on the evolvement of the Society, particularly as to its financial and national standing.

 

REGULAR MEETINGS

These, as far as can be traced, have always been held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each calendar month, with the exception of December when only that of the second Tuesday takes place. The Annual General Meeting has traditionally been held on the fourth Tuesday in April each year. However, the end of the Society financial year, being 31st March this did not provide adequate time for properly audited accounts as provided by the Society's accountants in accordance with the current requirements of the Companies Act. Therefore it became necessary to move the A.G.M. to the 10th June in 1997. Should it become necessary, further adjustments may have to take place.

 

Regular Meetings now commence at 19.45 hrs and are timed to be completed by 22.00hrs.

 

Committee Meetings of the Board of Directors are held at the registered offices of the Company, Balleny Green, Little Hay. These take place on the first Tuesday of each calendar month, commencing at 19.30 hrs. Since the incorporation of the Society into a Private Limited Company in 1989, there have been ten Directors who form the Board of Management; and one of this group is appointed from within the Board, to act as Chairman for the ensuing year following the A.G.M.

 

The affairs of the Board of Directors are recorded by the Company Secretary, and at the end of each financial year a signed and approved set of Minutes are sent to the Society's Auditors (Arthur Haslam and Co.) together with the Treasurer's account books. From these documents the Society's Auditors prepare a fully audited set of accounts which, together with their report, is sent to Companies House, in accordance with company law. Returns are also rendered to the Inland Revenue. In addition, details of the Directors, together with any changes, have to be registered at Companies House by the Company Secretary. A report is also made to members.

 

Generally, although the Treasurer handles all cash transactions, all other administration, including insurance and other binding agreements are dealt with by the Company Secretary, who also deals with all matters of correspondence.

 

 

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All matters pertaining to membership are handled by the Membership Secretary, who also advises the Board in conjunction with the Treasurer, on membership fees.

 

The subject content of the talks, lectures and discussions is arranged by the Programme Secretary. This is quite a demanding task which is usually held by any one person for only a few years so that fresh ideas and impetus can be brought to the gathering of members at Wylde Green, Library. Auctions and displays are also mounted during Regular Meetings; some of which, during the summer months take place at Balleny Green, when locomotives are run along with stationary engines.  Refreshments are always provided free to members at these meetings. The additional fee, placed upon members and visitors to these meetings is currently £1.00. A register of attendance is signed by those in attendance. Numbers attending these meetings varies between 20 and 30 members and visitors, with upwards of between 60 and 70 members at the A.G.M.

 

Many of the lectures, talks and demonstrations are given by members. A number are given by outside speakers where a small fee is paid to cover expenses.

 

 

FUNCTIONS AND EVENTS.

As has already been recorded at the outset, in this concise history, many functions using portable tracks or borrowed track facilities were indulged in to provide either funds for the Society or enjoyment to its members. Though this practice remained for some thirty or more years from the start of the Society, the use of portable tracks declined as engines increased in size. For the past ten years, with the excellent facilities existing at Balleny Green almost all running now takes place there. Members of course still participate in other society functions by way of mutually co-operative exchange visits.

 

In 1983, with only basic facilities at Balleny Green, the first publicly attended November 5th Bonfire Party Event was held. Records show that of the group of members who put the show on the road, the following arrangements were successfully put into place for the 150 persons who attended - including many of the local residents; it was very much a public relations exercise.

 

CATERING.

A. Ashford and family plus Mrs. 0 Whitehead, Mrs. I. Strong, Mrs. M. Hall and Mrs. A.  McMillan.

 

PARKING OF CARS

P. J. Smith plus friends.

 

ENTRANCE GATE CONTROL

J. Bayliss.

 

INVITATIONS

J. S. Harrison, F. Whitehead.

                                        

 

 

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BONFIRE FIREWORKS SAFETY

P. J. Smith

 

TOILET & ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

J. S. Harrison

 

ACCOMMODATION

B. Kefford

 

ILLUMINATION OF SITE

J. S. Harrison

 

TRACK FACILITIES

W. M. McKie, P. F. McMillan and B. Kefford

 

SITE CLEAN UP

F. Whitehead.

 

 

At the end of the day, with the fire being lighted by the eldest lady resident of Little Hay village, the whole affair was adjudged a complete success. Some £50.00 profit accrued too much needed Society funds.

 

Since that date, a bonfire Party has been held each year and on each occasions the residents of the village have received free entry. However, as a result of proposals made in a paper to the committee during 1986 by G. Tyso, it has now become standard practise to charge for entry to all events where the general public are invited. This has resulted in a most useful source of revenue, which has enabled the estate at Balleny Green to be developed to its present state. Without this type of income, membership fees would inevitably be much higher than they are at the present time.

 

By 1991, to quote Peter Boosie: "The Society had become the victim of its own success" and by this time numbers attending had peaked at 1000 persons. It thus became necessary to limit numbers by printing entrance tickets and charging a fee for entry. Numbers are now controlled at approximately 600 maximum for all events and, generally, it has been a good source of revenue to fund development of the site. To this day, relations with the local residentsí remains excellent and also with Lichfield District Council to who rates are paid. In recent years, one of the organisers of major events has been Garry Tyso who has injected a strong sense of commercial acumen into the preparation, publicity, general organisation and innovation; with such further events as the 'Easter Egg Special' and the 'Santa Special'. These events provide a substantial source of income for the Society. For example, income from the Bonfire Party is currently of the order of between £ 1,200 and £1,500.

                                                    

 

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In summary, all outings and events sponsored and managed by the Society since 1982 and up to 1988 are listed below:-

 

           Traction Engine Rally                        June  1982

           Bonfire Party                                Nov.  1983

           Steam Day & Fete                             July  1984

           Visit IMLEC Bristol                          July  1984

           2 1/2 inch Gauge Rally                       Aug.  1984

           Railway Exhibition, Lichfield                Sept. 1984

           Bonfire Night                                Nov.  1984

           TEE Model Eng. Exhibition                    Nov.  1984

           2 1/2 inch Gauge Rally                       Aug.  1985

           W. M. Federation Rally                       Sept  1985

           TEE Model Eng. Exhibition                    Nov.  1985

           Jumble Sale                                  Mar.  1985

           Bonfire Night                                Nov.  1985

           Talyllyn Outing                              May   1986

           Narrow Gauge Rally                           June  1986

           Visit to IMLEC, Bournemouth                  July  1986

           Steam Night Balleny Green                    Sept. 1986

           Narrow Gauge Rally                           May   1987

           Don Young Rally                              June  1987

           Visit to Derby Society                       June  1987

           Visit to IMLEC, Birmingham                   July  1987

           2 1/2 inch Gauge Rally                       Aug.  1987

           Visit Town & Country Festival Stoneleigh     Aug.  1987

           Visit Midland Federation Rally, Kinver       Sept. 1987

           7 1/4 inch Gauge Rally                       Sept. 1987

           Visit Southern Federation Rally              Sept. 1987

           Visit to Derby Society                       May   1988

 

On the 19th November 1988 the Society celebrated the 40th anniversary of it's founding when the Chairman, David Palmer, presided over a most enjoyable gathering of members and invited guests.

 

The President, Stan Greenway, officiated by cutting a celebratory cake; W. M. McKie provided a marquee and controlled all passengers running on the ground level track and Pete McMillan handled running on the high level track. Colin Davis, in conjunction with John Bishop and Pete Smith organised the display of all models within the marquee, including the running of a raffle. Dick Pearce dealt with all presentational matters in conjunction with Barry Kefford and Colin Davis.

 

As part of the proceedings, the new signal box was formally handed over by  Frank Ashmore who had constructed and kindly donated it to the Society.

 

General back-up including parking of vehicles, refreshments and utility services were organised by Mrs. Betty Wincott, Mrs. Iris Strong, Joe Pearson, Garry Tyso, J. F. Bayliss, Roger Edmonds and Gordon Caddy.

 

                                      

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The extension to the 7 1/4 inch track was completed on 26th March 1989, Mick McKie having supervised this work and assisted greatly in its construction. Official events on site, having been held in abeyance during the alterations, were then able to be resumed.

 

It is to be noted that visits and social outings by private coach, on a contributory basis, having been very popular during the period of late 70's to the late 80's gradually declined. Similarly, a Society news letter which had been published intermittently down through the years also ceased. One such news letter series, running for upwards of at least 12 issues also ceased. This series was edited by Bill Statham.

 

An inescapable factor in the running of events and the editing of news letters is that it has usually been dependent upon the enthusiasm and zeal of a single member. However, though social visits to places of model engineering interest ceased, the issue of a news sheet in the form of a document entitled The Balleny Blast was initiated by Garry Tyso in September 1990, when issue number 1 appeared. It has now run to issue number 26 as of December 1997. The issue of the Balleny Blast continues under the auspices of the present Board of Directors.

 

Experience has shown that in a voluntary organisation, such as this Society, if a duty is left to the voluntary enthusiasm of a particular individual, for a variety of personal reasons this activity inevitably ceases in due course. Whereas, if the particular function is taken on board by a fully structured group or committee on a formal basis, the activity can be maintained indefinitely. The committee providing the joint input until such times as it can again be 'franchised out' to a particular individual or sub-group.

 

Since 1989, with the incorporation of the Society into a Private Limited Company, this indeed has been the case. Though it is Society policy to encourage the individual members to contribute in whatever way they wish, it is now the general practice to do so within a sub-group or sub-committee which enjoys the full resources of the main committee, who are able to provide the necessary back-up. Where the drive and enthusiasm has come from the individual member working within an authorised and organised harmonious group, there seems to be no limit to what can be achieved. The benefits of this situation are that the membership at large join in and work to the good of the Society.

 

During 1990 and the succeeding period the following events took place

 

            Invitation Rally                      July    1990

            2 1/2 inch Gauge Rally                July    1990

            Small Engine Rally                    Sept.   1990

            Bonfire Night                         Nov.    1990

            TEE Exhibition                        Nov.    1990

            Invitation Rally                      July    1991

            2 1/2 inch Gauge Rally                Aug.    1991

            7 1/4 inch Gauge Open Rally           Sept.   1991

            Curly Bowl/T.E. Rally                 Sept.   1991

 

 

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            Bonfire Night                         Nov.   1991

            Boxing Day Steam-up                   Dec.   1991

            New Year Steam Up                     Jan.   1992

            Easter Egg Special                    Apr.   1992

            7 1/4 in. LEC - Tich/Juiet Rally      June   1992

            Summer Fayre                          July   1992

            2 1/2 in. Gauge Rally                 Aug.   1992

            7 1/4 in. Small Engines Rally         Aug.   1992

            Bonfire Night                         Nov.   1992

            Boxing Day Steam-up                   Dec.   1992

            New Years Day Steam-Up                Jan.   1993

            Easter Egg Special                    Apr.   1993

            Model Engineer Shunting Comp.         May    1993

            Evening Run                           May    1993

            Don Young Rally                       Aug.   1993

            Visit to Derby Society                Aug.   1993

            Evening Run                           Aug.   1993

            Bonfire Night                         Nov.   1993

            Boxing Day Run                        Dec.   1993

            Easter Egg Special                    Apr.   1994

            Charity Event. Canal Trust            May    1994

            Charity Event. St. Michael's Church   July   1994

            Traction Engine Rally                 July   1994

            2 1/2 in. Gauge Rally                 Aug.   1994

            7 1/4 inc. Gauge Rally Small Engine   Sept.  1994

            Model and Experimental Engineers      Oct.   1994

            Bonfire Night                         Nov.   1994

            Santa Special                         Dec.   1994

 

 

Thus, the regular pattern of events which had evolved during the period from 1982 onwards continued on a steady basis, and will culminate in the Golden Jubilee Celebrations planned for 1998, when the Society will commemorate some 50 years of steady progress.

 

In concluding this section of the history it is well worth commenting that within the Society there are many disparate groups. Those, for instance who find their pleasure in operating locomotives and participating in all the activities at Balleny Green. Others obtain their enjoyment by constructing models and equipment in the privacy of their own workshops. Others may prefer simply to attend the meetings and lectures held at Wylde Green Library. Some, of course, do all three. No matter how the individual members obtain their enjoyment from the hobby of Model Engineering, in their own way they all contribute to the well being and success of the Society.

 

During the last few years a group, affectionately known as the 'Geriatrics' because it is composed of elderly retired members, meets on a regular basis at Balleny Green to perform routine maintenance tasks and to chat over a cup of tea about by-gone times in the Society.

                                       

 

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