BRIDGWATER/MARSA TWINNING ASSOCIATION
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
THURSDAY 16TH OCTOBER 2008
Penrose School, Albert Street, Bridgwater
(By kind permission of Head Teacher Mrs L Haywood)
Present-Mayor And Mayoress Graham and Kay Granter, Steve Gill, Steve and Pat Morgan, Joseph Abela, Colin and Tricia Brown, Liz Haywood, Ivana Hodgkinson, Graham Taylor and James Morgan.
Apologies-Len Biddiscombe, Barbara Taylor, Marion Maddison, Philip Smeed, Lorna Walker, Emma Hodgkinson, Alyson and Paul Blundell.
Welcome by Chairman-SG Welcomed all and thanked them for all their work through the year.2007 AGM minutes agreed by all. He was pleased to announce that Westover Green School are in contact with a different school in Marsa ?which one. There had been several visits to Malta by various members during the year. We have also a new Vice President- Mr Bernard Hamilton the Deputy High Commissioner for Malta based in London.
Address by President Graham Granter-he said how proud and privileged he felt holding the position as he had been involved from a very early stage when he and Kay visited Marsa with other council members about 4 years ago. He felt Marsa was a positive town and was pleased that the twinning was up and running well and hopes it continues well. He would dearly love to visit again and renew friendships. He also mentioned that the offer of a tree to be planted by Francis Debono Mayor of Marsa was accepted by Bridgwater Council.
Summery of Association activities/Vice Chair and Secretary report- PM thanked the Mayor for the enjoyable evenings that had been held at the Mayors Parlour with the last mayor and the present one. She reported that we are still having a good response from the Mercury for publishing photo’s and articles and the Times for advertising.BBC Somerset ( radio)has also been very helpful with advertising and discussion usually on Morning Jo as Emma Britton who also works on the show comes from Bridgwater.PM has a file of press releases which was available to see. We now have the Twinning recognised on town signs at approaches to Bridgwater one of which has been straightened by a member! We still need to arrange a photo session.PM and SG have tried through various means -Marsa council, Times of Malta to students and the University to find if there were journalist students from Marsa who may be interested in a work exchange but to no avail. Marsa Council are employing a solicitor to explore ways of accessing EU money .There is an October deadline to apply.PM contacted Somerset Youth Opportunity re funds for young people as had seen an article that the French exchange had used the fund. The young people had to be over 14yrs and apply for it themselves with an adult also. The fund runs out on 19th October .We now have a local contact at the Rollercoaster in Sydenham. PM reported that there had been a successful Wembdon Village Day with over a 100 bags (which had been prepared by Francesca Gill )given out with information from the Malta Tourist Board and the EU plus spreading the word about the Association. More people seemed to be aware of us but some thought we were promoting the island.SG suggested that a banner may be useful promoting the Association-will need to investigate. The Web site appears very popular with over 15,000 “hits”. GG praised the site and congratulated JM webmaster on his work. We have had contacts from Canada and Jamie who was working at the Cross Rifles in the early days of the Twinning. SG had found links for the site and JM had set them up. JA had found a piece in the Times of Malta about Marsa Cricket team playing a team from Slovenia.PM has contacted PS he has given contact for Bridgwater Cricket club, she will follow up. Emma Hodgkinson a teacher from St Georges School who is teaching Year 2 children has requested address for school in Marsa to send letters from her children, which has been done, PM has offered to take anything with her in a few weeks time. Francis Debono Marsa’s Mayor has asked PM if she would attend an open meeting of the townspeople of Marsa to talk about the twinning-she has agreed? when this will be in their holiday. TB and others feel that there is a need to be in contact with the people of the town.PM and SM have been invited to attend part of the centenary celebration of the Scout movement in Malta during their holiday.PM feels there are still problems with linking the Civic societies.PM reported she had heard from the council that they would be pleased to accept a tree from the Mayor of Marsa.
Update from Treasurer-SM has taken over the post and thanked Dave Perrin for all his work since the beginning of the Association, seconded by all present. He referred to the verified accounts in handout-we are in the black with a balance of £1,185.40. SM asked if it was possible to provide a trophy from the Association for the Scout Troop in Marsa- for them to decide what it could be presented for. As we will be going to the Scout celebration it would be a good time to present it with hopefully national newspapers and maybe TV coverage. All decided it was acceptable, JM would investigate Scout website, it was decided if possible to get it in Bridgwater but only very short time to arrange.
Update from Membership secretary- TB reported to date we have 16 members and 3 corporate members. We welcome Graham and Kay Granter as new members. Membership fees had been decided at a previous meeting to stay the same at £5 per member and £10 corporate members, most were collected during the meeting.
Election of Committee Members for 2008/2009- SG asked GG if he would take over the meeting.
A) Chair- Steve Gill proposed by TB seconded by SM
B) Vice Chair- Pat Morgan proposed by SG seconded by GG
C) Secretary/Press Secretary-Pat Morgan- proposed by SM seconded by TB
D) Treasurer- Steve Morgan- proposed by TB seconded by JA
E) Membership secretary-Tricia Brown- proposed by SG seconded by IH
Initiatives for coming year
SG welcomed committee members. He feels that he would like to have a youth liaison officer- it was felt it needed to be discussed at a later date. EU funding will be important. It was felt we need a group similar to us in Marsa. IH explained that she started a link with a school in Malta several years ago that had similar pupils to Penrose school. There were good links with the school with members visiting and the sharing of information and ideas. The children and parents had linked and there had been strong friendships formed. She will do some more work with the class she has this year. When discussed about people visiting England she felt there was a financial implication as it was expensive to leave Malta. PM will contact deputy head at Theresa Nuzzo School to take letters, also to contact FD to enquire about town meeting. There was a general discussion about the understanding of twinning in Malta and some thought that it may be called a “Sister Town” or “Friendship”
GG was surprised to find that the recent French twinning visit that there was no Bridgwater children involved.SG had contacted our town clerk re EU funding; he will investigate if he has time.
SM felt we needed a project to work towards.
Any other Business.
We need to work out where we are going.
What to do with our money.
GG explained that the council felt the best and safest place to plant a tree would be either Rope Walk or Blake Gardens which would be better as it is now closed at night and has some limited CCTV cameras. TB and CB explained the trees they had are very young saplings. CB thought that it would need a much bigger tree to be safely protected.GG found out that October/November are the best months to plant trees. We are unsure if FD wants to plant the tree himself and the cost of a bigger tree. To be discussed with Francis.
SG wondered if a Marsa Youth/social club for young people would be attainable IH would offer her help.
It was thought a social event would be good.GG and KG offered to find a suitable venue. A Skittle night at the West India House on 29th November has been organised to start at 19.30 hrs.
Steve Gill ended the meeting by thanking Liz Haywood for her hospitality at Penrose School