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PRESENT: Mr Tony Lewis (Chairman), Mrs.D.Hopkins (Treasurer), Mrs.S.Stewart (Hon. Auditor) and thirteen voting members.

APOLOGIES received from Mr.R.D.Pryce (Secretary), Mr.Doug Williams and Mr John Taylor.

The MINUTES of the 2003 Annual General Meeting (reproduced in Newsletter no 69) were adopted and signed without amendment.

MATTERS ARISING: Dr.P.A.Jones (PAJ) reported that during the 2002 AGM he had said that the Charity Commission may propose to change the rules relating to charities and that the Llanelli Naturalists may be too small to remain as a registered charity in future, but that this was incorrect. The Charity Commission just require everything to be up to date and PAJ proposed that he study the rules and bring things up to date in a year’s time. A proforma is available and PAJ is prepared to carry out what is necessary, which does not require a solicitor.

CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT: The Chairman welcomed all those present to this, the 30th AGM of the Llanelli Naturalists. He thanked the Officers and Committee Members particularly mentioning the Secretary and Treasurer who have both served for many years, and Kath Cottingham (KAC) for taking minutes; also DH and KAC for hosting Committee meetings. He also thanked those who gave up their time to speak at indoor meetings and to lead field excursions. He informed the meeting that the Patron, Prof. Charles Stirton has formally resigned after moving out of Wales. Prof. Stirton’s letter of resignation sent to RDP was read out. The Chairman continued by reporting that the Committee felt that no obvious Patron was in view so no further action would be taken yet. He continued by saying that he believed that the group is thriving as attendance has increased and the standard of the Newsletter and Bulletin continues to be excellent with thanks being due to I.K.Morgan (IKM), RDP and all contributors. He concluded by calling on KAC (in the Secretary’s absence) to present his report of the year’s proceedings.

SECRETARY'S REPORT: KAC read out the notes supplied by the Secretary which opened by thanking the Chairman for his statement and continued by outlining the Society’s activities over the past year which had consisted of six indoor meetings and ten field meetings. Most of the outdoor meetings had been well attended and all were well enjoyed. Newsletters 69 and 70 had been produced during the year and RDP wished to appeal for short notes. Bulletin no 7 was in progress. The Secretary concluded by echoing the Chairman in thanking the Society’s Patron, the Officers, especially the Treasurer, Committee Members including PAJ for his work relating to the Charity Commission, EJ and helpers for provision of refreshments and the Hon.Auditor and the general membership for their continuing help and support, without whom the Society could not function.

TREASURER'S REPORT: The audited accounts were presented by the Hon.Treasurer, having been proposed by IKM and seconded by Barry Stewart (BS) and adopted by those present and are printed below. The Treasurer explained that there was a net loss of £9.34 in 2003, which would have been more had Pat and Barney Gill not raised funds at the Llanedi Show. Public Liability insurance has been now secured again through BTCV and although the cost is the same as in the previous year the cover is more comprehensive. The Treasurer said that she would be investigating other bank accounts which may pay a higher rate of interest. The paid up membership now stands at 58 with 8 complimentary and 7 new members had joined during the year. After discussion it was agreed by those present that the Treasurer be given permission to raise subscriptions from January 2005 if required, which would then be ratified at the 2005 AGM. Proposed rates were family: £6.00, ordinary £5.00, concessions/student: £3.50 and under-14yrs: £2.00. This was proposed by Dr P A Jones and seconded by Mrs Edith Jones.

RESERVE REPORTS:

Ffrwd Fen: PAJ reflected on the problems over the years with much fly-tipped rubbish from the lay-by thrown down the steep bank onto the reserve. The lay-by had now been earthed over by the Council. Management is organised by the Wildlife Trust: traditionally aftermath grazing follows on from the hay cut on the most plant rich-area but in 2003 the hay was not baled or removed. Also the farmer had topped the rushy Waun-cae-Phillip fields and grazed cattle there. The Marsh Pea flowered profusely on the Llanelli Naturalists holding in 2003 but after a reed cut in August it became parched. The rare Marsh Honey Fungus (Armellaria ectypa), discovered by PAJ, fruited in July after which rain and flooding, followed by a dry period and reed cutting meant that it was not seen again. PAJ thought that this part of the reserve (Compartment 8) should not be cut too frequently.

Lliedi Reservoirs: BS had seen Mike Williams who reported nothing of particular note during the year. This is at least partly due to the increased number of major water bodies created recently in the Llanelli area attracting waterfowl and other fauna away from the Lliedi Reservoirs.

Factory Road, Pembrey: No report received.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS: It was decided to leave the post of Patron vacant until a suitable candidate emerged. The following Officers were elected unopposed: Mr Tony Lewis (Chairman), Mr Andrew Stevens (Vice-chairman), Mr Richard Pryce (Secretary), Mrs Diana Hopkins (Treasurer). The Committee Members proposed were Mrs Kath Cottingham, Mrs Pat Gill, Mrs Edith Jones, Mrs Viv Lewis, Mrs Lorraine Corscadden, Dr Philip Jones, Messrs Barney Gill, Ian Morgan, Mike Smith and Barry Stewart. All were elected unopposed. Mrs Sandra Stewart was again elected to the post of Honorary Auditor. There is currently no Wildlife Trust observer on the Llanelli Naturalists Committee.

OTHER BUSINESS

   1. PAJ reported that RDP had produced a programme poster which had been distributed.

   2. PAJ also reported that a new ranger, Simeon Jones, had been appointed to look after the newly designated Local Nature Reserves within the Millennium Coastal Park.

   3. The Forestry Commission had staged a public exhibition at Pembrey and proposals, agreed with CCW, were to introduce broad leaved trees on the inland side.

   4. PAJ suggested the revival of the past practice of making a collection for refreshments during meetings. This was agreed.

The business of the Annual General Meeting closed at 8.30pm and was followed by slides shown by Barry Stewart.