Over one hundred turn out for successful AGM

On Friday 9 June the South West Coast Path Association held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Falcon Hotel in Bude, north Cornwall. Members, volunteers and supporters of the Association were all invited to attend for a whole day of talks, including the formal meeting, with staff and trustees available to talk to all those attending.

With over one hundred people in attendance proceedings began with a warm welcome to all from Chair, Ken Carter, who introduced Esther Pearson, Director, to speak about the highlights of the Association’s work over the last year. Esther spoke about the many aspects of the Association’s work that have been developed including the continued response to the 30% cuts in Natural England funding since 2010, focusing more on fundraising to support Path improvements and repairs and raising awareness amongst decision makers of the importance of the Coast Path. Mark Owen, National Trail Officer, also spoke about the range of path improvement projects that have taken place over the last year which have received funding from the Association.

A number of attendees had lunch at The Brendon Arms just next door, one of our business members, that is found on this lovely Bude Canal walk.

After lunch the AGM started at 2pm. Attendees heard that the charity has grown its staff numbers from two part-time staff and 15 volunteers in 2013 to six members of staff and more than 60 volunteers, and 12 Trustees in 2016, who work closely with three members of the National Trails Team. 

Members heard from the Chair about matters including the Annual Report and how the changes within the Association have resulted in current membership standing at 6500, a 20% increase from this time last year.

Also that the Association has seen an increase in support through donations and legacies, events, corporate supporters and business members. Another successful South West Coast Path Challenge event last October brought in more funding and publicity for the Path. The aim is to grow and develop an Individual Giving Program for Members and Supporters.

The Annual Accounts were outlined by Treasurer, George Coles, including the revenue from the Coastal Communities Fund that has helped to develop more efficient administration systems and funding through the Discover England Fund that has enabled new materials to be produced for overseas visitors.

The voting in of Trustees was opened by thanking two trustees who were not standing again this year; Margaret Bonner and Chris Hatton, who will remain as long-standing Area Representatives. Two new nominations were made for Jessica Slack and Nicola Holmwood to be appointed along with all other former Trustees. These two and all other re-appointments were agreed. Before the closing of the meeting a number of members came forward with questions for the Trustees which were considered and responded to.

Next saw completion certificates awarded to 22 of those attending, giving out by Trustee Peter Scupholme, who have completed all 630 miles of the Coast Path within the last year – including Milly the dog! Congratulations to them all!

Attendees then listened to this year's guest speaker Win Scutt who is an Archaeologist, Broadcaster, and Properties Curator with English Heritage. Win spoke about the earlier archaeology of the North Cornwall coast, including the Tintagel excavations, a project he is currently managing. 

Many members made a weekend of the event and stayed over in the area with many enjoying a walk led by Steve Church, the Path Committee Chair and local representative in this area, along the canal and Coast Path the next day.

The Chair, Trustees and Staff wishes to thank everyone that came to the AGM, as without their support they are not able to protect and promote the Coast Path now and for future generations.

See all the photos from the AGM HERE

Published on: June 22, 2017