1st Annual General Meeting 2020

1st Annual General Meeting held, Wednesday 19th February 2020 at 2.30pm at Fairlight Village Hall

Present:-          The retiring committee:

Haydon Luke – Chairman, Paul Draper – Secretary,

Pauline Collins – Treasurer, Julie Marshall – Membership Secretary,

Karen Draper, Steve Green and John Hill.

Plus about 35 other members.

Welcome:- Haydon acted as Chairman and welcomed all to the meeting.

Apologies for absence:- Paul acting as Secretary announced apologies for absence on behalf of Andrew Meir, Carole Ardley, Faye Hughes, Pam Chisnall, Helen Hoad and Shirley Hoad.

Chairman’s report:- Haydon presented the Chairman’s report, as follows:-

“Welcome to first FHG AGM. Need to begin with two expressions of thanks:

  • First to the inaugural committee: Paul, Karen, Pauline, Julie, Steve and John who have worked so thoughtfully and so hard and have done so much to ensure that our first year was underpinned by a firm foundation. My sincere thanks to you all. And
  • Secondly, to you the members who have responded so positively to the menu we have put in front of you. The fact that we amassed around 90 members in our first year is something we as the committee found hugely encouraging and energising.

I hope we can continue to meet the needs and interests you have expressed in our local history here in Fairlight and around. We’ll certainly try.

When the idea of a local history group was floated we were all keen that it should be a bit different and that it should, so far as possible, be an active group – not just another ‘meet every month and listen to a talk’ group.

We certainly envisaged some talks but we also wanted to provide a focus for people to contribute their own take on local history, their own bits of research or investigation. Above all we hoped to develop a strong sense that local history matters – both in itself and in creating and feeding our sense of place and our connections with those who have been here before us in the past.

I hope we will continue to nourish that aspiration and I hope you feel that our first year’s programme went some way to meeting that aspiration.

I hope, too, that we will continue to reach out to other local groups with an interest in local history, not only in the neighbouring parishes such as Pett and Guestling, but further afield, such as Hastings, Rye and Battle because, of course we are all part of that same shared narrative. In that connection, too, it is important we retain a link with the Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group (HAARG) because their fieldwork and finds provide much of the primary evidence of what actually did happen locally in the past.

Another factor in wanting to set up a local history group was a sense that bits of the past are slipping away from us and we need to make a determined effort to catch onto those before they are gone forever. Here I am thinking not only of family memories, personally remembered accounts of things from the past but also tangible remains – photos, letters, deeds, scrapbooks, farm papers – all sorts of ephemera which provide so much detail about the past.

Here I think we have come into being at a very timely moment. For the fact of the matter is that the ‘official’ channels for doing this capturing and recording are very constrained. Locally the library service and the local museum are cash-strapped and struggling. The position at Hastings Museum is a little better now that for a while but is still very restricted. Their local studies collections including local books and directories, maps, newspaper cuttings, photographs and local interest journals and magazines is open each Wednesday, volunteers permitting, from 10:30am-12noon / 1-3:30pm. So that’s a grand total of 16 hours a month. Not a lot.

Even more seriously, the County Records Office, a.k.a. The Keep at Falmer, is so constrained by funding cuts that it might not even be able to fulfil its statutory responsibilities and therefore its capacity to accept (and process) additional donations of local history material is, for the time being, totally absent.

For these reasons we have tried to come up with an arrangement which will operate locally and provide a way of safely keeping hold of those irreplaceable bits of the past. That is where the ARC comes in. This is the Archive and Resource Centre which is being developed locally with the support of the 3 local Parish Councils. The aim of the ARC is to provide a secure location for local historical material, to index it properly, to encourage research and to provide a measure of local access to this material for people who, for example, want to investigate family history or find out more about the very local bits of evidence of the past which exist.

If, in the fullness of time, the Keep and other places become properly resourced, then all well and good. Meanwhile, the ARC Committee is committed to keeping in close touch with the personnel there. This will be important for items needing specialist conservation.

As some of you may know, the ARC hopes to be up and running in premises at Pett Village Hall some time later this year. But that lies ahead.

What of our first year? We have held or contributed to 14 events – 6 talks (some in-house, some with visiting speakers), 2 mixed media presentations, one visit to a local site in 2 sessions, held a ‘show and tell’ members’ handling session, given hints about how to research family history, exhibited at two Village Hall fairs and put on a special exhibition to coincide with Fairlight Open gardens. We also held an outreach session at Pett Village Hall to show the John Goodman material. We have organised competitions and quizzes.

For 2020 we have an equally ambitious programme which we hope you will enjoy. But please, if you have an idea for a session you would like us to include in the programme, don’t hesitate to tell us.

FHG is your group and together we will keep Fairlight’s history on the map in the years to come.”

Treasurer’s report:- Pauline, acting Treasurer, distributed copies of the FHG final figures as at 31st December 2019. We have ended the year with a credit balance of £1,030.63. This net figure was achieved despite outgoings of £614.37, including Hall hire and the purchase of display boards, set against our various incomes from membership fees, events, miscellaneous sales and grants The grants included Fairlight Parish Council and Fairlight Residents’ Association. The figures were audited by Diana Hill.

Election of Committee members:- Haydon advised the members present that, in accordance with the FHG Constitution, all Committee members must resign and offer themselves for re-election, if they wish to continue. Accordingly, Steve Green and John Hills did not wish to stand again but the five others offered themselves for re-election. Additionally, Liz Green volunteered to stand.

Haydon asked if any other member present wished to stand for any position on the Committee, but no more hands were raised.

The members were asked to vote for or against the six names to form the committee for the next twelve months. The voting was unanimously in favour, so Haydon declared the new Committee as duly elected.

The members were reminded that the Constitution calls for a minimum of six Committee members, therefore our Committee may be considered complete. If required, additional members may be co-opted during the year.

Nomination of Auditor:- Diana Hill agreed to act again as our Auditor. This was agreed by the members.

Any Other Business:- Members were asked for questions under Any Other Business.

One member asked if Committee has considered opening a bank deposit account. It was agreed that the Committee would discuss this at the next Committee meeting.

Close of meeting:- There being no further business, Haydon declared the formalities of the AGM closed at 2.50pm.


Following the formalities, Paul Draper made a presentation on the Hastings Embroidery.

Prepared by Paul Draper, Secretary


Signed as a true record of the meeting, Haydon Luke, Chairman