A very friendly group with a shared interest in plants and gardens

Monthly Archives: November 2019


AGM – Monday 25th November 2019

Chaired by its President Mr John Crout, the Society’s 49th AGM was held at Avonway on Monday 25th November 2019. After welcoming the 36 members present, John referred to his 7 years as our President and was confident that his nominated successor, Mr Keith Bennett, would continue to lead the Society well during his term of office.

Chairman Mrs Susan Hockin commented that she could not really believe that the AGM had come round again, beginning  her report with a reference to a very successful 2019 for which we can give ourselves a pat on the back.

During the year we have had some really interesting speakers, arranged for us by Debbie Merry. In thanking Debbie, Susan was sure she had another good selection for us in 2020.

Due to renovation works taking place in Fordingbridge car-park, our two annual plants sales were not quite so successful this year. Nevertheless we did make some money for the Society, and the sales will go ahead again in May next year.

The outing to Wisley was much enjoyed and in 2020 we shall be visiting Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, when members will have a choice of spending a day in the gardens or combining it with a visit to the Swannery. 

The monthly table shows have attracted a lot more interest this year, and it has been good to see new names on the winners list. Next year will see members having an opportunity to nominate the winner in one event.

A very, very big thank you was given to John Crout for his tremendous help as President, and Susan hoped that we would continue to see John and Vera at our meetings.

Wendy Johnson & Rosemary Nicholls were thanked for their sterling work as our Tea Ladies. Members were reminded that they always need help each month and urged us to put our name on the list when it is passed round in January. Susan also referred to the work of the whole committee for their efforts throughout the year, thus ensuring that the Society continues to be successful. The support given to her was considered to be invaluable.

Concluding her report, Susan thanked all members present for their support and attendance without which the Society would not exist. Mention was made of our Golden Anniversary soon to be upon us; something really special to celebrate.

The Treasurer, Mr Keith Bennett, presented members with a summary of the financial situation for the year ending 30th September 2018. The total excess of expenditure over income for the period was £260.95; this being due to lower income and higher costs. Members were given a breakdown of the income and expenditure figures for the year, indicating those areas where our biggest outlays were and those where income had reduced from that of previous years.

The Treasurer recommended that the subscription rate for 2020 should rise to £10; although assuming that our current membership level is maintained this will only give us an additional income of about £80. Members unanimously agreed that the subscription should increase as recommended by the Treasurer.

John Crout, having completed a seven year term as President, stood down this year. Keith Bennett had previously notified the committee that he would be standing down as Treasurer, and he was John’s nominee to take over the Presidency. Keith was unanimously elected forthwith as the new Society President.

With the exception of Robert Allen, who was sadly stepping down from the committee in his role as Publicity Officer, the other retiring Society Officers were standing again, some to continue in their present role, others taking up new positions.  Elected were Susan Hockin, Chairman; David Melbourne, Secretary, Graham Fry, Treasurer; Tracy Netherway, Show Secretary; and Debbie Merry, Speakers’ Secretary. General committee members Chrissie Owen and Marilyn Townsley were duly re-elected; two new committee members had agreed to stand and those places were taken by Mrs Judy Jeffrey and Mr Steve Curtis. Susan Hockin introduced the two members to those present. The Committee is not quite up to full strength as the Publicity Officer’s role has still to be filled.

In accordance with an established tradition, Honorary Life Membership of the Society was conferred on the newly elected President Keith Bennett and his wife, Christine by the membership

The results of the Table Show – a flower arrangement entitled “A Seasonal Arrangement”, kindly judged for us by Tracy Netherway, were as follows:

1st: Marilyn Giddens         2nd: Christine Bennett          3rd:  Susan Hockin

Keith Bennett is the worthy overall winner of the Table Show competitions held during the year; he was presented with a Trophy by the retiring President, John Crout.

Much discussion ensued regarding the recently launched Avonway Roof Appeal for funds to re-roof the Community Centre to deal with water ingress problems affecting the west and south rooms. It was highlighted how difficult life would be if the work was not carried out, causing the Avonway facility to become no longer available for the many clubs and societies that presently use its facilities. Having been asked by the Trustees of Avonway to support the Appeal, members were asked to consider sending a donation from the Society. Further comment was made that it might be considered by some that using Society money in this way could be seen as a misappropriation of funds for an organisation that on occasions have created difficulties for the Society endeavouring to meet its commitment to members. A proposition that the Society should make a contribution to the Appeal from its funds was defeated by a majority decision after a show of hands.  However, it was agreed that individual members would have an opportunity to contribute to the appeal at three forthcoming meetings, commencing with that on 27th January 2020.

At the conclusion of the meeting presentations were made to John and Vera Crout by Society officers in recognition of the contributions they have made to the Society and its members over a period of many years.

Following the business part of the meeting, members enjoyed a splendid cheese & wine buffet supper once again co-ordinated by Graham Fry and Keith Bennett, and ending with a raffle, comprising prizes brought along by the Committee and members alike. With grateful thanks to everyone in the Society for their contributions again this year.



In conjunction with Dobies, once again we can offer all members a very valuable 35% discount on the list price of packet Seeds, and 10% off all other products except Gift Vouchers and the post and packing charges. Note that other exclusions may apply.

Seed catalogues will continue to be available at our monthly meetings in November (AGM) and January.

Or upon request to the Secretary by sending an email to  david.awdford@btopenworld.com