Rowell Fair Society’s AGM 2024

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Paul Johnson, President of the RFS, officially welcomed everyone to Tresham Hall and set the scene for this year’s AGM.

L to R: Bill Kingston (RFS Auditor), Frank York (bailiff to the Lord of the Manor), Steve Dimmer (in background), Paul Johnson (RFS President) and Sue Johnson (RFS Secretary)

Rowell Fair’s 55th AGM began just after at 8pm where the small, but dedicated group of RFS members gathered to hear about the Society’s activities throughout the year and the Society’s plans for 2024. Also in our audience tonight were: Lord of the Manor, Louise Holborow, Mayor of Rothwell, Ray Davis and from Rothwell Methodist Church, Andrew Farrington.

Following Paul, Sue Johnson, Secretary to the RFS, announced Apologies for Absence and took everyone through the Minutes from 2023’sAGM. These were approved by those present as a true and accurate record.

Paul followed Sue and presented his President’s Report where he discussed the past 12 months and reminded us that this year’s Fair would be our 820th Anniversary.

Download a complimentary detailed copy of the
President’s Report HERE (pdf)

The Daffs are coming!

Other topics included the planting of the Rowell Fair Daffodils in their permanent home in the Memorial Bed at Squires Hill – more details HERE. RFS Member (and bulb-planting helper), Barbara Cox confirmed that growth could now be seen in the Remembrance Garden, where flowering was on target for March/April (but with this mild weather, maybe earlier!).

The Rowell Fair Halberdiers were seen escorting dignitaries at various venues and services in the past year.

Other areas of interest were our Bailiff, Frank York, who had the privilege of being a guest of the opening of King Lynn’s Fair this year and the RFS writing an article for the first Town Council Newsletter.

Paul and Sue Johnson were invited to a Lord Lieutenant’s Service at Kettering Church.

    Our President, on behalf of all those present, also reflected on those no longer with us including the sad passing of Zandra Powell (previously, Lord of the Manor). Sadly, we also lost:-

    • Richard Dexter
    • Norman Robinson (founder Society member)
    • Allan Marlow (long-serving Committee member)

    Paul commented on the disappointment of consistently poor attendances at events like these, in spite of a varied programme of events (see above). With an average attendance of just 19 (from a membership of 254) this equated to just 7.5% of members attending. Paul confirmed that after much deliberation, the Committee had sadly concluded that the best way forward was to reduce the number of events, as each ran at a loss. Going forward, there would be just TWO events in any one year – The AGM and Showmens’ Evening. This decision had been taken with a heavy heart.

    Paul also confirmed that from our total membership, some 90 Members had still not paid their subscription from 2023.

    Dean Sturgess accepting his Lifetime Membership Award from Paul Johnson and Frank York

    Happier news followed where Paul announced Honorary Life Memberships for the following:-

    • Allen and Jane Eaton
    • Clifford Clark
    • Dean Sturgess
    • Phil and Dee Bugden (from the Charter Inn Public House)

    Clifford was unable to be with us tonight and sent his apologies together with his appreciation for the award.

    The RFS’s website and social media activity was discussed at length. Website visits were up and although we had closed the Society’s Twitter account (due to lack of followers) this had been partly compensated for by an increase in our Instagram followers. Our Facebook page now had over 2000 ‘friends’ and the priority is to convert those to fully paid-up members.

    Paul commented that the Society had plans to add more content to our website including the new ‘Blessing of the Fair’ page (its construction helped by our social media community) and the digitisation of old audio tapes discussing previous Fairs to bring our proud heritage to a wider audience. The Blessing Page will be launched on the 25th February and announced via our social media channels. The digital audio content will be uploaded later in 2024.

    Paul also confirmed that the Committee was looking for new volunteers including a vacancy for a ‘Media Liaison and Marketing Co-Ordinator’ that had previously been advertised around town and via our social media channels.

    Paul announced the major attractions at this year’s Fair Week (May 25th until June 1st) including:

    Because of the impending retirement of the Publicans at the Rowell Charter Inn, the Classic Vehicle Show is yet to be confirmed.

    Paul expressed thanks to:- Rothwell Conservative Club, Rothwell Arts & Heritage Centre, Rothwell Town Council, RFS Committee and Dave Arthur for organising the Model Exhibition

    “Let’s make it a good one!”
    – Paul Johnson, President RFS

    Download a complimentary detailed copy of the
    President’s Report HERE (pdf)

    Next on the agenda was Bill Kingston (RFS’s Auditor) in his 6th year who explained our financial performance for our annual accounts for year ending 31st December 2023.

    The Committee and Officers were duly elected to serve for another year.

    The RFS Committee for 2023 is confirmed as follows:-

    • Frank York (Chair and Bailiff to the Lord of the Manor) un-opposed
    • Paul Johnson (President)
    • Paul Cottell (Treasurer)
    • Sue Johnson (Secretary)
    • Bill Kingston (Auditor)
    • Lloyd Mills (Deputy Bailiff), Peter Bell, Ian Dudley, Richard Ley and Steve Palmer

    At just before 9pm, ‘Any Other Business’ concluded the formal part of the evening. A short break followed for liquid refreshments!

    The AGM concluded just before 8.50.

    With the formalities of the evening completed, Sue Johnson introduced our special guest for the evening – Steve Dimmer… (more information about Steve is HERE)

    Steve Dimmer – “Ooh, Matron!”

    Steve’s presentation brought plenty of laughter to tonight’s event. His extensive knowledge about the Carry On films made for a very enjoyable evening all helped by plenty of clips from the 32 films across 34 years.

    Tonight’s subject was especially relevant as Rothwell’s local hero, and Oscar nominated, Jim Dale, is now the last surviving actor from those film outings.

    We learned, amongst many other facts, that the Carry On series is currently the longest of all film franchises (32 films), even outdoing everyone’s favourite secret agent – James Bond (26 films).

    Steve took us beyond the films themselves and explored the rise and fall (and subsequent rise) in popularity of the film series and how they had evolved over the years.

    A short question and answer session brought Steve’s presentation to a close just before 10pm.

    The hour presentation passed in a flash and based on the amount (and the volume) of the laughter emanating from the Conservative Club – it had been a very successful evening – thanks Steve!

    Paul Johnson with Steve Dimmer

    Just after 10pm, Frank York led the final event for the evening – the legendary Rowell Fair Society’s Raffle.

    Paul Johnson summarised the evening and thanked everyone for coming to this year AGM.

    “See you at the Fair!”
    “God Save the King and the Lord of the Manor”

    This Post Has 2 Comments

    1. Peter sismey

      Sorry to have missed AGM did find it better when we received a printed program of events which we could pin up Don t always think of looking on Facebook probably like many others

      1. The Rowell Fair Society

        Thanks for getting in touch Peter. I’ll pass on your comment to Frank York, our Chair and Bailiff to the Lord of the Manor. He’ll contact you directly via your email address. Regards, Steve RFS WebMaster

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