PRESENT: Mr.Tony Lewis (Chairman), Mrs.D.Hopkins (Treasurer), Mr.Richard Pryce (Secretary) and nineteen voting members.
APOLOGIES were received from Mr.John Taylor, Mr.Doug.Williams and Ms.Jan Moseley.
The MINUTES of the 2004 Annual General Meeting (reproduced in Newsletter no 71) were adopted and signed without amendment.
MATTERS ARISING: Dr.P.A.Jones (PAJ) reported that the Charity Commission advise that the society’s constitution rules are out of date and will require amendment. It was agreed to defer this until the next AGM when he would table a proposed change of rules for discussion.
CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT: The Chairman welcomed all those present to this, the 31st AGM of the Llanelli Naturalists. He informed those present that at the end of this evening’s meeting he would be handing over the chairmanship to Andrew Stevens and was sure that Andrew would receive the support of the membership that he had enjoyed. He thanked the Officers, Committee Members and all Members for their contribution to the Society’s success and urged members to consider helping in practical ways, which need not be too onerous, to take on some of the jobs that have, for a long time, been carried out by few officers, much of it behind the scenes. He thanked those who had led field meetings and given talks over the last year, and to the contributors to the Newsletter and Bulletin which go from strength to strength. He concluded by calling on the Secretary to present his report of the year’s proceedings.
SECRETARY'S REPORT: The Secretary opened by thanking the Chairman for his statement. He continued by outlining the Society’s activities over the past year which had consisted of six indoor meetings and nine field meetings including some joint meetings with the Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales, plus two fungus forays. He understood that the slide show after this AGM would feature some of the outdoor meetings, and commented that the attendance at this AGM was very good. Newsletter no 71 had been produced recently and he believed that it was good that it included reports of field meetings. The secretary thought that he may have more time after May 2005, when his three year term as President of the Botanical Society of the British Isles comes to an end, and reported that Bulletin no 7 was almost completed but a few updates would be required. He reported that Llanelli Naturalists had made written submissions to the UDP but that he had declined to give evidence in person to the Inquiry. About one third of the policy amendments that the Society had suggested have been adopted and the remaining two thirds will now be considered by the Inspector. The Society also has had input to other planning issues, sometimes requested by Isabel Macho, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Biodiversity Officer. The Local Biodiversity Action Plan Partnership also facilitates this, Kath Pryce being the Society’s representative on this. PAJ represents the Society on the RAF Pembrey Sands Conservation group. The link to the Wildlife Trust had weakened as staff had moved on but it is hoped that the management of Ffrwd Fen will improve in future. The future programme had been published to March 2006. The Secretary concluded by echoing the Chairman in thanking all officers, especially the Treasurer, Mrs Diana Hopkins, Tony Lewis the outgoing Chairman and Committee Members including PAJ for his work relating to the Charity Commission, Edith Jones (EJ) for provision of refreshments and the general membership for their continuing help and support, without whom the Society could not function.
TREASURER'S REPORT: The accounts, which were received and adopted by those present, having been proposed by Barry Stewart (BS) and seconded by EJ, are presented below. The Treasurer explained that there was a gain of £151.44 in 2004, which was due to backdated wayleave payments, donations for talks and sale of calendars and goods. The insurance was obtained through BTCV again, and cost about £30.00 more than the previous year. The Treasurer said that subscription rates had been increased from Jan 2005 and the meeting ratified this, proposed by Viv Lewis and seconded by EJ. The new rates are Family: £6.00, Ordinary £5.00, Student/Pensioner/Unwaged: £3.50 and Under 14yrs: £2.00. It was thought that a further increase would not be necessary for a few years but this will depend upon the cost of insurance, which is by far the greatest item of expenditure that the Society has to meet. The paid up membership now stands at 64 with 8 complimentary. 6 new members had joined during the year. Gift Aid forms had been sent to members which could be backdated to April 2000. However this does create more work for the Treasurer. Geoffrey Williams (GDVW) offered liaison with the Wildlife Trust staff and will send a list of contacts to RDP. The collection for refreshments at indoor meetings had been resumed but only carried out once. The accounts had been examined and found correct by Mrs Sandra Stewart.
Ffrwd Fen: PAJ reported that grazing on the Llanelli Naturalists holding began very early in 2004, so the Marsh Pea and associated species were trampled and grazed and did not give a very good show. The Marsh Honey Fungus (Armellaria ectypa) was visible for only two weeks but a mycologist from Kew had visited and made observations. The Wildlife Trust have cut brambles on the fen near the western boundary so that it is now possible to walk into the fen from the old railway. IKM stated that a meeting at Ffrwd was planned for 25th Feb 2005, between CCW, the Trust and Llanelli Naturalists, to discuss management.
Lliedi Reservoirs: No formal report was received but Barney and Pat Gill (B&PG) had seen Small Teasel (Dipsacus pilosus) at the western end of the Lower Liedi Reservoir dam and GDVW said that the council have plans for water sports there but members were unsure whether this would involve both the Upper and Lower reservoirs. Ian Morgan (IKM) said that he would be attending a meeting in March representing CCW with Elwyn Hughes of Carms C.C. and would report back. TL and VL said that there have been improvements to paths. It was reported that Roscoe Howells had asked for increased water flow from the reservoir into the stream.
Factory Road, Pembrey: TL said that the Bloody Crane’s-bill continues to do well. At the meeting RDP asked Simeon Jones about maintenance and there is some uncertainty whether it falls within the MCP.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Patron: remains vacant. The following Officers were elected unopposed: Mr Andrew Stevens (Chairman) (Mr Tony Lewis stood down), Mr Barney Gill (Vice-chairman), Mr Richard Pryce (Secretary), (Treasurer). Mrs Diana Hopkins said that she definitely wished to stand down in a year’s time. The Committee Members proposed were Mrs Kath Pryce, Mrs Pat Gill, Mrs Edith Jones, Mrs Viv Lewis, Dr Philip Jones, Messrs Tony Lewis, Ian Morgan, Mike Smith and Barry Stewart. All were elected unopposed. Mrs Sandra Stewart was again elected to the post of Financial Examiner. There is currently no Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales observer on the Llanelli Naturalists Committee. Mrs Lorraine Corscadden has stood down from the committee as she has moved away.
1. The venue for indoor meetings was discussed as there is an insurance problem at YWCA. EJ had investigated the YMCA which costs less (£3 +£1.50 per hour) and is about the same in terms of convenience. Parking would be on the road or in the Vauxhall car park which is free after 6pm. The key would need to be collected before 5pm (DH offered to do this). The adjoining room is the kitchen. Also PAJ had enquired about Thomas Street Bowling Club which is a smaller room with small kitchen and parking is adjacent. However he does not yet know if they are willing to hire it out and will make further enquiries. The Committee will inspect both and decide. It was emphasised that a ground floor room is desirable and that noise from other groups using the venue at the same time needs to be considered. It was thought that the area around the Bowling Club would be less rowdy after 9:00pm.
2. B&PG requested that members consider boycotting Swedish products as their welfare of imported tortoises is not acceptable (they are poorly kept then culled when they become ill). Barney had leaflets available and directed people to an internet site.
3. RDP asked that people wishing to be reminded about meetings should email him to be included on the list.
The meeting closed at 8.20pm and was followed by slides of highlights of the Society’s 2004 meetings shown by RDP.
Richard Pryce (Hon. Secretary)