Minutes of the 47th Annual General Meeting

of the Bentley Drivers Club – South East Region

Sunday 14 February 2016

 Copthorne Hotel, Corthorne, Surrey

1             Bob Zannetti, Chairman opened the meeting at 11.30 and welcomed Members and three guests in the form of Jimmy Medcalf, President of the Club with his wife Pat, and Tony Judd, Chairman of the Eastern Region. He reported that Colin Lightman and Denis Potter had been co-opted to the Committee during the year of 2015 and they were invited to take their places at the head table. Bob hoped that they would receive the Members’ approval when the election of the Committee was to be put to the membership under item 8 of the Agenda. He reported that the Committee had changed a little during the past year as Paul Marsh and Roger Hood had stood down under the pressure of work. Paul had been involved in a number of issues as the Honorary Legal Advisor to the Club and Roger’s work had made a call on him. Steve Frieze resigned from this meeting after many years of valuable work on the Committee as Treasurer. Roy Baker was to take on these responsibilities.


2              Apologies for absence were received from Kevin Gibbin, Clive Bracey, Peter & Marcella Edbrooke, Peter & Lilly Lipscombe, Peter & Leila Wilson, Edd & Pam Galbraith, William Medcalf, Paul & Sheila Marsh, Steve & Gay Frieze, John & Fay Dorton, Tess & David Llewellyn, Reg & Noma Allen and David Humfrey.


3              Bob reported that the minutes of the 46th AGM had been put up on the www.bdcsoutheast.org.uk website and it was his intention to put the minutes of this meeting up in the next couple of weeks. Nevertheless the 2015 AGM Minutes had been distributed and there were no matters arising. The acceptance of these Minutes was proposed by Peter Waller and seconded by Chris Card. They were unanimously accepted.


4              The Treasurer’s report was presented by Roy Baker and he reported that we had a successful year in 2015 with a surplus of close to £2000. In accordance with the policy put forward last year to trim our balance, our charitable donations were in the same order such that our overall balance remained static. In the future it remains our goal that there will be further reductions by making charitable donations. Roy reported that it is not our intention to generate surplus funds beyond small amounts to counteract the odd unforeseen circumstances. It is difficult to always know what the outgoings will be when organising an event, and occasionally events can overrun generating a small loss. We need a small surplus to compensate for these incidents. Roy ran through a number of expenses that we had incurred amongst which there were Laurie Fox’s 100th birthday party and his wake a few months later. Laurie had given the Club many years of unstinting work and we all felt that he thoroughly deserved these events. Roy welcomed any participation in the organisation of events from the Members but inevitably the bulk of this work fell on the Committee. He praised Harry Waddingham who had been responsible for seven events last year. The accounts were proposed for adoption by Marlise Zannetti with David Rolfe seconding the proposal.  These accounts were unanimously accepted.


5              Resume of 2015 Events was presented by Guy Talbot. Guy was of the opinion that 2015 was a good year but not a great year. The year 2014 had been a very full year with some outstanding successes and would have been a tough year to follow. A number of factors had come into play amongst which were personnel changes on the Committee combined with ill health. Nevertheless it had been a good year. Bob had mentioned that a couple of people had left but Guy pointed out that we had also lost Clive Bracey early in the year. Clive was another victim of ill health but, we understand, that he is on the mend and we would welcome him back to the Committee if he thought that he could. Guy reported that we had 30 pub meetings that involved meals in 2015. We ran 17 of the originally planned 22 events, slightly down on the previously year. Guy urged all Members to respond early when they have decided to attend events as last minute notifications present the organiser with all manner of problems. Guy advised that 1250 members had attended our events during 2015. We also welcomed 47 new members to the South East Region during 2015, a figure that was higher than all years in the recent past. We have now 514 members which is the second highest figure for a single region in the world. Guy reported that Vintage cars  made up 7.5 % of the club with Derby cars at 6%, Crewe cars up to 2000 at 24% and post 2000 at 32%. A figure of 31% is the figure for Members without a Bentley but this figure is higher than one might have expected as a result of a drive to enrol the spouses of Members. Guy had been concerned that ‘Diary’ might have disappeared in ‘hard copy’ form but was delighted with the new format of combining ‘Diary with ‘Advertiser’ as a monthly publication. Guy was further delighted with the recent proclamation from Kevin Gibbin, the Club’s Chairman, that the driving force of the Club were the regions as represented by their Chairmen.

                Overall the club has 3786 members with, he understands, a target of 5000 members by 2020. Guy added his thanks to Harry Waddingham for his efforts at running events. Guy commented on the Committee Members who attended six weekly visits to ‘Combat Stress’ at Leatherhead. The beneficial effect on the patients is palpable and is time well spent. Most of these chaps are young to middle aged and are suffering from stress related illnesses resulting from all forms of combat related experiences. Whilst they appear to be in good health, they need constant treatment and the medical staff are delighted at our participation in giving them the chance to talk cars, or whatever. Each of their treatment programmes run over six weeks hence we meet a new group each time we go.


6              Forthcoming 2016 Events was presented by Bob Zannetti who looked forward to what we are offering. A draft copy of the list of events for 2016 was distributed (but a corrected version is now posted on our website). Each event is entered into ‘Diary’ with full details of how to get involved. Apart from the more formal events we run Pub Lunches throughout the year. These had been handled by Clive Bracey but are now organised by Colin Lightman. The first one of the year is at the Six Bells at Horley on 9 March 2016. We hope that these events are ideal for new Members to attend and in a light hearted and informal atmosphere, get to know some of us. Next up after this the Driving Tests on the 20 March at Brooklands. The accent here is again one where it is not to be taken too seriously and the tests should be equally suitable for all types of Bentley, a good ‘fun’ day. William Medcalf runs a ‘vintage’ workshop at his establishment at Hill Brow, near Liphook and is a ‘must’ for those of us who are interested in the older Bentleys. This year this event is on 9 April 2016. Bob ran through some of the events that we have planned including the RAC Luncheon on 17 April. Polesden Lacey is scheduled for 8 May 2016. This type of event, that is Stately Home/picnic, has been overlooked a little and we intend to revise and introduce more of them in the future as they appear to be quite popular. Bob also mentioned the Goodwood Sprint run by Benjafield Club on 21 May. Polo at Smith’s Lawn is on Sunday 5 June and Harry’s lunch at the Leander Club is on 12 June. Denis is organising a trip to the Bordeaux area to take in a recreation of a battle between the French and the British at Castillon. It all sounds quite brilliant. Also this year is the visit to Le Mans for the Classic weekend. Chris and Liz Card have their summer luncheon/picnic on 24 July and that day will be hot and sunny. We have an event on 14 August where we will replicate a possible Journey that Herbert Milner Bentley may have made to visit his younger brother, and business partner, Walter Owen. We will meet for coffee etc. at his former home, now the Mill Inn at Elstead and using roads that existed in the 1920s, drive the 11 miles to the former home of WO in Shamley Green. Some 100 yards from this home is a public house where we will take luncheon. Bob mentioned the Dunkirk Veterans run that is now organised by Denis Potter. Bob finished with a mention of the Christmas Party to be held at the Copthorne Hotel. Bob acknowledged that he had not attempted to mention every event as they are tabulated in a number of places and all get a full invitation in ‘Diary’.


7              Election of the Committee Bob pointed out that Steve Frieze had resigned, as of this meeting, but otherwise the committee as presented were all willing to stand for the forthcoming year. They are Bob Zannetti, Guy Talbot, Roy Baker, Richard Alexander, Harry Waddingham, Colin Lightman and Denis Potter. Bob advised that that would like to handle the matter ‘en bloc’ and that the entire Committee and Chairman resign and offer themselves for election. This proposal was made by Bob Balchin and seconded by Ken Needham. This proposal was carried unanimously.


8              Any Other Business David Rolfe asked for clarification of the date for the Polo and was assured that the date of Sunday 5 June was the only date for this year. It was also clarified that the Driving Test was to be on 20 March and the Technical Day 9 April.

                Bob mentioned the letter all Members had received recently from Kevin Gibbin with proposed changes to the structure of the governance of the Club and wondered if Jimmy Medcalf had any comments as he was now given the floor.

                Jimmy started by stating that this year is the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Club and that the modified ‘trademark’ of our Club had been designed by Tony Judd.

                Head Office is running a ‘Sprint ‘ meeting at MIRA, Classic Monaco, commemorative run to Blenheim Palace and Concours. Jimmy posed the question of whether Concours should be extended to include a Dinner/Dance but received little response. Jimmy mentioned the race weekend at Siverstone and the Dinner/Dance at the Dorchester - all the dates can be seen in ‘Advertiser and Diary’.

                He mentioned that Martin Greenslade had moved on from head office but was available for specific competition based assistance on a freelance basis.

                Modifications have been made to the Head Office and we have purchased a new van for the Club shop and other functions.

                Jimmy referred to recent death of Stanley Mann who had an accident at his Office.

Jimmy mentioned that the main AGM at Wroxton was now to include a modified election form for officers of the Club. It would now give every member a chance to vote ‘for’, ‘against’ or ‘abstain’ any of the people standing. The counting of the votes was also to be undertaken by an independent authority. These reforms had been a long standing quest by Roy Baker.


Adrian Mortimer questioned whether Vintage Cars owners had anything to fear from marginalisation. Jimmy assured him that all Bentley cars were to be treated equally and the Club is for the drivers.


Bob thanked Jimmy for his words and went on to mention the recent death of Barry Bowyer who had been the second chairman of the South East Region.


David Rolfe spoke of the work of the W O Bentley Memorial Foundation who initiate a stream of Bentley related books. David thanked all those who had made contributions to the Foundation.


Denis Potter referred to the visits to Combat Stress and asked for a couple more people who could join the ‘pool’ of people who could make themselves available. Alan Hills and Julian Seymour raised their hands and volunteered to bolster our numbers. Denis also confirmed that the St Emilion trip was now to be centred on a Chateau/Hotel where all rooms would have en-suite facilities.


Harry Waddingham confirmed that the ethos of the Club is, indeed, a ‘Drivers’ Club. He made a call to all those intending to attend events to book and pay early noting that cheques/payment should be made out to the BDC S-E Region not the organiser.


Ken Needham proposed a vote of thanks to the entire committee. Meeting ended 12.40.