The Annual General meeting of Wiltshire Tree People was held at Devizes St John Parish Room on 23 February 2013
Committee: Thomas Morison (Chairman), John Neale (Treasurer), Stephen Trapnell,
Peter Mills, Mary Wynne and Julia Rowell
Members: Margaret & Ernest Hird, Muriel Underwood, Celia & Edward James,
Alan Shipgood and Camilla & Phillip Miles
1. Apologies for Absence
(all of whom voted in favour of the ensuing motion)
Frances Mills, Mary Lady Fuller, Sonia Rapson, Tim Matcham, Mr & Mrs Ronnie Price,
Mrs J Briggs, Mrs Sakeld, Mrs Lofthouse, John Mills and Robert Mills
2. Chairman’s Address
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and reported on a successful and productive year for WTP, mentioning particularly the various Jubilee plantings – at one school where a fruit tree was planted, he was impressed to learn that this would grow into an orchard! The Bishop’s plant sale had again provided considerable revenue and it was noted that this was the last such sale as the Bishop is moving house and leaving his garden. The Memorandum of Understanding for joining with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust had been circulated previously to all members. The Chairman expanded on the financial arrangement and said he felt WTP could fill a void in WWT’s portfolio by supplying our specialist tree knowledge.
3. Alliance with WWT
John Neal gave a run down on negotiations with WWT and expressed his gratitude to our Patron, Lord Lansdowne for his suggestion to open discussions with the Chair of the Trustees, Peregrine Chadwyck-Healey. It quickly became apparent that the synergy between our two organisations could be utilised to mutual advantage; we could take advantage of their charitable status and advertise in their quarterly magazine. Dr Gary Mantle, Director of WWT for 30 years pointed out that any donations we received (not subscriptions) would be subject to gift aid and therefore increased by 25 per cent.
It was unanimously agreed that WTP will proceed to come under the umbrella of WWT.
4. Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
We were then treated to an illustrated history of the 50 years of WWT by Dr Mantle. Dr Mantle said their work had been transformed by the introduction of the lottery, whereby they had been able to purchase and preserve many new sites with the help of heritage funding. Robert Floyd’s father was the founder of WWT and Robert is a past chairman.
Dr Mantle’s passion for the work of WWT was evident and he was happy to be welcoming WTP to join them.
5. Treasurer’s Report
John Neal presented his Income and Expenditure Account for the year ended 31 December 2012, showing a bank balance of £3,150,71 and an excess of Income over Expenditure of £2,970.44. The figure for the purchase of trees looked comparatively small because we had bought stock advantageously and the two expensive plantings we did at the Fire Service HQ and Salisbury Cathedral had been budgeted for, but were in fact unexpectedly gifted. It was proposed by Celia James and seconded by Margaret Hird that the account be approved.
6. Election of Officers
The Committee were re-elected en bloc and Stephen Trapnell was appointed Vice Chairman.
7. Any other business
Stephen Trapnell passed on gratitude for a recent donation of £500 from WTP to help establish and maintain tree nurseries in Rwanda.
Now that the future of WTP is assured, Stephen will press ahead with a social calendar. Outings are most popular when done on a tractor and trailer, but this is not always possible nowadays due to health and safety regulations.
Stephen is considering outings to Bowood Arboretum, Wilton House estate and Broadlands.
Bishop John announced that he is disposing of his surplus household and garden effects by auction sale at Gastard Village Hall on Easter Monday with viewing on the Saturday. Proceeds will be shared between Gastard Church and WTP.
The afternoon was finished off with an illustrated talk by Robert Floyd on his tree planting programme at Great Chalfield, to be known as Hunts Wood, a north-facing area of Oxford clay (previously set-aside, so that it is not taking arable land out of production) which will bring the total area of woodland on the estate to 10 per cent. WTP had met the bill for the supply of trees – oak, beech, field maple, hornbeam, holly and shrubs – from Perrie Hale Nurseries, the preferred National Trust supplier - £959.50.
A convivial get-together!