Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods AGM

May 12 th sees the AGM of the Friends of Hollingbury Woods
Venue: Hollingbury Park Old Tennis Pavilion, Ditchling Road
Time: 7.30pm
After the meeting David Larkin, B&H Countryside Ranger will give a talk on The 3rd British Expedition to Slovenia
Members, Visitors and Guests welcome.

Membership Queries to please

Here is the text of the Chairman's Report for the Year

The Friends of Hollingbury & Burstead Woods
Chairman’s Report 2005
Here we are once more, at the time of year when we hold our Annual General Meeting and take time out to assess how the Friends are doing.
If you are a long-standing FHBW supporter, may I first thank you for maintaining your enthusiasm for our local pieces of Urban Woodland. For New Members, I’d like to extend a warm welcome from the group and express the hope you will want to remain with us for some time and help us in keeping the park & woods an exciting and vibrant place to visit. I also want to welcome our new Secretary, Gill Taylor, who has kindly put herself up for the seat vacated by Sheila Haines, who served us so well over the last few years. We were able to make Sheila a parting gift in recognition of her sterling service – we commissioned Jonathan Chiswell-Jones to make her a commemorative plate, which was delivered not long before Jonathan and Sue left Brighton for their new home in East Dean, where we hope they’ll be very happy.
We have continued implementing our management plan in our usual way with our monthly work dates and I expect we will hear a full account of those events from Leslie, our Projects Officer, at the Annual General Meeting. There have been a few other significant developments which I feel it important to bring to your attention. I will endeavour to be brief but I trust you want to be kept up to date with our news.
Perhaps the most significant item to mention is the sad passing of Ted Agate, our long-standing and most loyal Publicity Officer. Ted was always keen to promote the woods and the work of the Friends. He tirelessly produced hand drawn and coloured posters that appeared in local shop windows and on the tool shed door month in, month out regardless of the poor health and other difficulties he struggled with for several years. He also tried his utmost, with varying success, to get our name spread far and wide by contacting people in the local press and broadcasting media.
He made a name for himself as he led regular walks around the Wildpark and Hollingbury Camp, and also for his organisational and culinary skills at numerous barbecues. I’m pleased to say that a sizeable contingent of his FHBW friends were present at his funeral and able to give him the send off he had so richly earned. We are really missing his service to the group. It is planned to plant a tree in his honour in the coming year.
On a happier note, this year we have taken the opportunity to recognise the invaluable contribution made to the Friends by another of our constant supporters, namely Geoff Meade. His famous Brighton walks are justly well renowned and he has regularly contributed his takings to our cause. For this we owe him our eternal thanks and were able to honour him in planting the Walnut Tree in his name. I hope you have all had the opportunity to take a look at this magnificent specimen along by the tennis courts.
We have run a couple recruiting drives over the year, which have been met with only a modicum of success. So we’d ask you to put on your thinking cap and come up with some fresh ideas on how to attract new members and volunteers to work.
The Access-for-All footpath is pretty well finished, and although there maybe a few wrinkles to iron out, I think it can be hailed a success. Nothing is ever perfect, but I think we have been pleasantly surprised to watch the hard-edged motorway that appeared a couple of years back mellow into the attractive meandering pathway it now presents with wildflowers creeping in from all sides. The project should be shortly completed with the publication of our new leaflet mapping the path and providing up-to-date information on our treasured woodland for locals and visitors alike. We thank all the people who have contributed to these developments – Tim Squire for managing the construction, Dave Larkin for his work on the brochure and many other nameless folk who have done their bit.
While I’m in grateful mode, I think I’d like to do my usual pleasant duty in thanking all the volunteers who have been along to work days through the year. Without them our group would be useless and pointless. They are our backbone. And we owe them our greatest thanks.
Perhaps we also need to recognise the work of the Committee, who get together every 2 or 3 months to transact the group’s business. Several of these folk have served since the group’s inception in 1991, and the time comes when people feel they’ve done their bit and make way for new blood. So we are now saying thank you and goodbye to…… as far as the Committee is concerned. We, of course hope that they will want to keep in touch with our activities and will still come along to various events. So let’s hear it for our work volunteers and our Committee.
Subject to the AGM’s approval, we would naturally be very happy to accept offers to serve and nominations for new members to the committee. Please don’t be afraid to step forward to nominate yourself or someone else. We need to ensure the continuity of the group for the future. This can only happen if we have a constant stream of volunteers coming forward.
I’d just like to draw your attention the Brighton & Hove Goes Wild events coming up later this month and particularly ask you support the FHBW input in 2 ways. Firstly it would be great to be able to organise a stall at the Family Day in Stanmer Park on Sunday 5th June, but we need people to volunteer to run it. Secondly, local birder, Peter Whitcomb, has kindly volunteered his services to lead a walk around parts of the Hollingbury Wildpark Local Nature Reserve on Saturday 4th June. This will start from Woodbourne Garage at 9am. It would be nice to see a god contingent of our members come along to welcome visitors and share in the activity. Perhaps walkers could even be encouraged to visit the day’s work party later in the morning where they might be encouraged to join FHBW in making t our woods an even better place for future events.
Well, I’m probably beginning to bore, so I’ll draw my remarks to a close now. May I wish you all a good year and I look forward to seeing you at one of the Group’s events in the near future.


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