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The 2010 AGM of the Ouse Valley Branch of The English-Speaking Union will be held on Thursday 30 September 2010 at The Bedfordshire Golf Club, Stagsden, Bedford commencing at approximately 2.15pm AGENDA     

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To confirm the minutes of the last AGM held on 23 September 2009 (copies will be available at the meeting)

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To elect the officers and members of the committee for 20010-2011 (for nominations, the form below should be returned to the chairman by 16 September 2010)

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To consider any motions submitted in writing to the chairman (by 16 September 2010)

To receive and note the Chairman’s Report (included below) To receive the Honorary Treasurer’s Financial Report and the independently examined accounts for the 12 months to April 2010 (copies will be available at the meeting)

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CHAIRMAN’S REPORT FOR 2009-2010 As on previous occasions, my report combines a review of the past 12 months, together with information about the new season *The speakers for the 2009-2010 season were:

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JOHN HARDY, Furniture Consultant (59 attended) DR SUSAN KAY-WILLIAMS, CEO The Royal School of Needlework (54) TERESA WILD, Director, The Natural History Museum at Tring (62) PROFESSOR CHRISTOPHER ANDREW, President, Corpus Christie College, Cambridge (112) BEVERLEY ASPINALL, MD Fortnum and Mason (77) PETER KYLE, CEO Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (70) PROFESSOR SIR JOHN TOOKE (fourth joint seminar with the University of Bedfordshire) (120)

The average number of members/guests per talk in 2009-10 increased again to 79 (2008-09: 73, 2007-08: 71, 2006-07: 64, 2005-06: 57). We continued to use a variety of venues, and whilst all were not perfect, overall the facilities and the catering were generally satisfactory and the arrangement helpful for negotiating competitive rates. This policy will continue in 20102011. Luncheon meetings will also continue to be held mid week because of the difficulties in attracting speakers and obtaining venues on Saturdays. *Membership consistently remains above 150, which is a very good number making us one of the largest ESU branches and ensuring a good audience for our speakers – an important factor in attracting those of high quality. We are, however, always on the lookout for new members to replace those who leave, so please consider whether you have friends or acquaintances who would be interested in joining the ESU. *Schools’ Public Speaking. This year the branch heats were held at Stowe School, who also won the competition and proceeded to the regional final. Our thanks go to committee member Barbara Farn who organised the event – her first - most efficiently, to panel members Jill Edwards (Chair), Jack Edwards and the late Joan Reeves (see later), and to timekeeper Ian Horsler. In May, we launched a new public speaking pilot scheme with 8/9 year old children in Queens Park Lower School, Bedford which proved highly successful and was written up in the June issue of ‘Dialogue’. This outstanding school was recommended by member Joan Reeves, also a governor of the school, and her untimely death soon after was a cause of great sadness to us all.

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*University sponsorship. Once again we have been fortunate to benefit in many ways from our main sponsor, the University of Bedfordshire. This has included supporting an annual joint seminar given by a distinguished speaker at the university’s idyllic Putteridge Bury campus. The speaker in May 2010 was Professor Sir John Tooke, currently Vice Provost and Head of the Medical School at University College, London, and author of a recent government report into the reform of medical training. In a sparkling presentation he described how the role of the doctor was likely to change in the 21 st century, its interest to the large audience being well demonstrated by the stream of questions which followed. The speaker for the 2010-2011 seminar will be announced later in the season. *The Ludlow Awards. Through the generous sponsorship of Derek Ludlow CBE DL, Chairman of The Ludlow Group of Luton, we were able to continue our pioneering scheme for students in Year 11 of local schools for whom English is a second or additional language. The awards recognise outstanding achievement in the writing of clear and accurate English, or exceptional progress in a short time, and in this second year 26 young students from 7 Luton schools were selected to receive a certificate and a cash prize of £30. These were presented in front of proud parents and friends at an awards ceremony hosted by the university at Putteridge Bury. *2010-2011 programme. The new programme was published on the branch website in July, but whether or not you have internet facilities you should now possess a copy of the full programme card for the year. After a gap of four years, during which it has fallen to me to obtain the speakers, Roger CornwelI has resumed responsibility for this important task, and I am sure you will agree with me that he has arranged a most interesting and varied programme with excellent contributors. Speakers give their time and services free, including those who are significant national figures and/or who travel substantial distances to talk to us. I hope, therefore that you will continue to make every effort to support our luncheon meetings as you have done in the past, as all our visitors appreciate addressing a good sized audience. *To reduce administrative time and costs, we have continued the system of circulating booking forms for more than one event at a time. Additionally, we send reminders and advance notices to all members with an e-mail address. This is a zero cost service to us, and if you have an e-mail address which you have not notified (to tony.wood@redrobin.me.uk) , or have changed your address, please let me know. For example subscribers received e-mail notification of the full annual programme on 8 July last, several weeks before it was possible to despatch a postal copy to every member. For economic reasons, only a single hard copy of correspondence is normally sent to an individual household, regardless of the number of members who reside there. *Enclosed with this paper you should find booking forms for the first two events. These forms may be returned together or separately, as you wish, by the dates indicated, but please provide separate cheques if returning them together. If you have registered an e-mail address with us, you will automatically receive a reminder of the second meeting nearer the time. No such reminders will be sent by post. *Thanksgiving Lunch. A new event this year is our Thanksgiving Lunch to be held on Thursday 25 November, complete with a traditional American Thanksgiving menu, an expert speaker from the Rothmere American Institute at Oxford (in the form of the institute’s director), and of course the appropriate flags and trimmings to help create the right atmosphere. Come and join in the spirit of the event – and if you can bring any suitable American guests, flags or artefacts as well so much the better. *Christmas function 2010. No doubt due to their own personal popularity, many members experience a rush of Christmas lunches and dinners as the festive break approaches, so this year we are trying something different, and at an earlier date than usual. Our President, Charles Whitbread, and his wife Jane, have agreed to host a lunchtime drinks and canapés gathering on Thursday 9 December at their delightful home of Southill near Biggleswade. A group of members last visited Southill some years ago, and as well as admiring the house and grounds, we all greatly enjoyed hearing from our president about the property’s distinguished history, and some of its previous rather colourful occupants! Mark the date as an event not to be missed. *The Branch website http://www.esu.org/ousevalley is widely acknowledged as being very good. It contains details of the current programme, photographs taken at branch events, and other information. Regular reports of meetings are also submitted to the quarterly ESU ‘Dialogue’ magazine circulated nationally to all ESU members. *Committee members. As your chairman, I have been very well supported during the year by Roger Cornwell (vice chairman), Stephen Hibberd (treasurer), Brenda Alexander, Jack Edwards, Barbara Farn, Peter Janssen, and Thelma Winson, all of whom have agreed to offer themselves for re-election Tony Wood Chairman …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Nomination form for committee member or officer I wish to nominate………………………………………………………………….as………………………………………………………………… Proposer………………………………………………………………………. Seconder…………………………………………………………………………. NOMINEE must sign here, and agree to serve if elected

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To be returned Dr Tony Wood, Five Farthings, 34 Church End, Biddenham, Bedford MK40 4AR by 16 September 2010.

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2010 Chairman's report  

Report for 2010 of the Chairman

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