Roving Canal Traders Association Annual General Meeting
28th September 2018 was a perfect early autumn day as I drove down to the Galleon at Old Wolverton for RCTA’s Annual General Meeting. This was a drive I used to take regularly to meet my boss when I worked in Milton Keynes so I made the journey with the same slight apprehension but this time mixed with a strong sense of deja vu. The steering committee had arranged for an informal ad hoc meeting prior to the AGM but I was not sure when this meeting began or ended as there was quite a lot of house keeping to do before we could start the day. At this stage that old joke starting, ‘how many people does it take to change a light bulb …?’, might have been an appropriate agenda item. A light bulb failure or more accurately a lighting ring failure meant that the meeting was mostly illuminated by the sun coming in through the fire doors rather than by the few remaining light bulbs but otherwise the venue was just right. I think the committee managed to make a few decisions on the hoof before the AGM started, almost on the dot, at noon.
There had been plenty of time for people to chat and get to know one another before we began so any apprehension I had at the start quickly evaporated and I chaired the meeting with a real sense that I was amongst friends. Each member of the steering committee presented their reports on what they had been up to during the year and they made interesting listening. It soon became apparent that we are gradually building on the foundations of the past and RCTA is steadily moving forward. Considering that the association is 100% volunteer run and every volunteer is already too busy with other aspects of their lives, it is a wonder to hear what has been achieved with so few resources. Speaking with Mick Warren after the meeting, he reminded me that it has been ever thus, and everybody who has been on the committee has tried their very best. In consequence, I think it is appropriate not only to thank the current team for their help and commitment this year but also those who came before and laid the foundations of the association.
At the AGM this year we allowed a little more time for debate and we were able to discuss each agenda item at least to the point where we had a strong sense of the path to take. Last year it was a bit rushed and I am sure some members felt a bit miffed when they were cut off so we could keep to schedule. If you did feel like this I am sorry but I believe this year we improved and things were paced a bit more successfully. Each intervention from the floor was helpful and I could recognise and appreciate the wide breadth of knowledge and experience that we have amongst the membership.
Reports given, votes taken, proposals carried or not carried, and draft minutes on their way to being finalised (thanks to Jackie Warren and Kit Acott) this year’s AGM is almost done and dusted. Just as my period as chair came to an end and following a helpful intervention by your new chair Ronni Payne, I at last secured a meeting with CRT which I hope will enable us to build a closer and more effective working relationship with the trust. This is encouraging and I really look forward to this coming year.
Thank you for supporting RCTA.