Wednesday 27th September 2006 18:30 hours

The Cross Rifles, 1 Bath Road, Bridgwater, TA6 4PH


Present: Steve Gill (Chair), Dave Perrin (Treasurer), Mike Grabner (Secretary), Marion Maddison, (Membership Secretary), Joseph Abela, Pat Morgan (Vice Chair/Press Secretary), Ivana Hodgkinson, Leonard Biddiscombe

Apologies: Joan Gill, Di Grabner, Steve Morgan, Colin Brown, Tricia Brown.

Minutes from last meeting:  Received by all and agreed.


Matters arising: None.

Update from the Chair: SG regretted the length of time since the Association’s last meeting and lack of activities. The need to boost the initiative is paramount to regain the momentum of the group. All agreed. IH spoke of her recent trip to Malta and the interesting time she spent with children and their parents with whom Penrose School connected over the past year. The families hosted her in a very generous way and she spent time with the school’s teaching staff.  IH was overwhelmed by the friendliness, warmth and hospitality accorded to her and informed the members of a possible visit by one or more of the Maltese families to Bridgwater in the future. She reminded the group of these families’ financial status and their limited income. Discussions ensued as to funding accommodation, transport and organisation of events which would be of benefit and interest to the visitors. SG asked if monies could be raised for this from the EU. MG stated that funding could not be accessed until the twinning was formally approves by the EU. SG proposed that any future Association fund raising activity should have this objective in mind and all agreed. MG reminded SG that both had an outstanding arrangement to meet with Viv Streeter (BIBIC) to discuss and explore joint working plans and to agree common aims to further the access opportunities for Maltese children to benefit from BIBIC’s renowned expertise. SG/MG to arrange.                       SG/MG                                                

Update from Vice Chair/Press Secretary: PM and SM with SG attended the Town Mayor’s civic church service and reception earlier this year. PM was unsure whether Kay Granter was aware of Rose’s loss of Emanuel and had failed so far to inform her of this very sad news.

PM now has the Eden Foundation (Malta) website address, an organisation with similar aims of BIBIC. Monetary donations on the return Air Malta flight was in aid of the aforementioned and that is how she obtained this information.

PM informed the members of her and SM/MG/DG/DP’s attendance at the wedding and plans to submit an article on this to the Bridgwater Mercury once she received the photos from Francies.                         PM                                                                                                              

An account of this wonderful event can be found on the Association website. MM asked about the number of website hits and PM confirmed this to be 700+ to date. JA felt this to be a good sign of website user interest but the Association needs to raise its profile to make the public more aware of our existence, purpose and specific aims. The group must focus on highlighting its role in relation to the expectations of those who would be interested to join and make membership activities varied, inclusive and interesting. We should pursue the promotion of the town twinning through the council or regulatory bodies for a plaque or tree, anything which informs Bridgwater town people of the twinning with Marsa. MG suggested having Marsa included in a town street name and how to apply for this to be considered along with the inclusion of Marsa on the town boundary signs. MG to approach Alan Hurford (AH) for guidance and advice.                                                                                                                                             MG                                                                                                          

LB proposed the need to explore potential interest  in ex army personnel from the Somerset and Dorset regiment, which had a base in Malta. SG suggested a notification posted in the local papers to target those living in the locality. PM to action.                                                                                                         PM

DP reminded the group that the Royal Navy had very close links with Malta throughout the past years and ex or current service personnel could be a potential source of membership. Notification of our Association could also be posted in the Western Daily Press.                                                                             DP/PM




PM also reported that during their July trip, Francies took her and SM to meet the Marsa Scout Leadership group (photo circulated) and these links with the Bridgwater group continue to strengthen. MM asked if the local Scout group could be asked to become associate members. PM to make the necessary approaches.                                                                                                                                              PM

Pm asked members for any articles and photos which they wish to be posted on the Association website and JM will do so. The website renewal fee is due 22/11/06 and all agreed that this should be financed from our funds.

Update from the Secretary: MG needs to set a date for the 2006 AGM and this was set and agreed. MG and PM asked if the current Town Mayor and his councillors should receive a formal invitation to attend (he has an open invitation to attend at any time) and all agreed. MG to action.                                     MG                                                                                                            

PM to include AGM details in her article which she is submitting to the local press.                            PM

MG informed the members of the town council’s generous allocation of monies (£300) to support our activities and he has sent a letter of thanks.

Update from the Treasurer: DP gave details of the Association’s current financial standing as £ 1241.07p (current account) and £ 2.37p (cash). He holds 5 Association polo shirts (now 4 after sale of 1 to LB) and confirms that the new landlords of the Cross Rifles will permit the Association to hold their meetings on their premises at no cost.

Update from the Membership Secretary: MM regrets that there is no change in the membership number. She reiterated the point of the earlier discussion that a more pro-active approach is needed  and consideration should be given to an event calendar to include social activities. SG said the we should focus on the younger element and MM asked how this could be achieved. No firm conclusion on an action plan was reached but everyone recognised the importance of attracting members of an age who would perpetuate the movement and we must focus on  making it attractive for this sector of the public to show an interest.

Reciprocal Town Twinning signing in Marsa: PM/SM/IH will attend this significant event which will take place during the Bridgwater Council delegation trip to Malta w/c 24/10/2006. PM liased with AH and she understands that approximately 12 persons will travel. SG/MG/PD regret that they are unable to join the group and MG formally requested that PM would act as a signature witness if asked to do so.       PM                                                                                            

Initiatives to increase our membership: Discussed and debated earlier in the meeting.

Provisional plans to host the Marsa visitors for B/W Carnival 2006: We are still uncertain if a delegation from Marsa will visit Bridgwater this November for our town Carnival. SG advised the members that he received an informal invitation from our Town Mayor to the Association members in joining the Marsa civic party and watch the processions from the town hall. All agreed that a formal invitation would be appreciated. and hope that AH will contact MG in due course. MG to e-mail Adrian Attard  (Marsa Counsil ) for an update on their intentions.                                                                 MG                              

Any other business: None.

Date/time/venue of next meeting (AGM):





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