More About Me

Committees

I don't know what first led me to join a committee. Maybe it was my drive to make things happen. Maybe I just like poking my nose into where the decisions are made. It could have been that I didn't like how things were being run and wanted to make some changes. Or perhaps I just get drunk on power. Either that, or there was a position that no other mug – sorry, willing volunteer – could be persuaded to take on.

I've divided this page chronologically (as I seem to have done with so many of my pages) into two parts. The first part gives some details of the work of the committees on which I currently serve, and the second part lists the many other committees I've found myself on in the past, all ordered by the date on which I joined them. It's pretty straightforward really, but don't worry if I've just completely confused you – I'm sure you'll pick it up as you go along.

The Present...

Gloucester & Bristol DA of Church Bell Ringers – Bristol Rural Branch (25th November 2006 to present)
Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association logoI became a member of the Bristol Rural Branch of the Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers at the Branch Half Yearly Meeting on 25th April 1998. After about six years' membership I started looking for a way onto the Branch Management Committee, and shortly before their AGM on 25th November 2006 I finally found one. The Bristol Rural Branch Management Committee Representative (who acts as correspondant between the Branch and the Association) was standing down at the AGM, and as there were no other nominations I was elected as his replacement. It's been great fun so far, and with any luck I'll be in this post for a long time.
WC&P Railway Group (30th November 2006 to present)
WC&P Railway Group logo The latest addition to the list of groups of which I'm a founding member, this one being constituted at its inaugural meeting on 30th November 2006. Our main aims are to raise awareness of the fascinating Weston, Clevedon & Portishead Railway that once ran along the north Somerset coast, preserve what's left of it (there really isn't much), and mark the route so everyone can see where it used to go. We also hope to install some replica features in the future. At present we're undertaking a detailed survey of the route and are working towards erecting interpretation boards at various key locations, and throughout the year we hold Members' Meetings with guest speakers. Find out all about the Group, including how to join us (new members are always welcome!), and browse our online shop on our very own WC&P Railway Group website.
Keynsham Bell Ringers (8th October 2009 to present)
I started regularly visiting Keynsham's weekly practices in the summer of 2005, and by early 2006 I had become a fully paid-up member. Back then we would generally see eight or more people at practices, however over the next year our numbers steadily declined, culminating in the departure of the Tower Captain at the AGM on 19th April 2007. Things initially picked up a little under the new Tower Captain but soon dropped off again, and when I took over as Tower Captain at the AGM on 8th October 2009 there was just me and two others (plus a regular visitor whom we effectively considered to be an "honorary member") and our practices had out of necessity been reduced to once a fortnight. We four muddled on as best we could for the next year, welcoming more visitors to help out at our practices and bringing in ringers from many neighbouring towers for weddings, until October 2010 when – by sheer luck – we were joined by the new Rector's eldest son who had learned to ring at their previous church, and we gained two new learners from the Bath & Wells Diocesan Association's Recruitment Week. Things were looking up! Quickly returning to weekly practices, in early 2011 we gained three returning ringers and another new learner, and our numbers have continued to increase ever since.

...and the Past

Avon Light Opera Club (ALOC) (19th March 2001 to 13th August 2001)
I joined ALOC in October 2000 for their annual Winter Concert A Musical Extravaganza, which was held in February 2001. They must have thought I was good because I opened the show with a short solo! I was elected one of two Club Representatives at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 19th March 2001, in advance of the start of rehearsals for the annual Autumn Show in October 2001. We were due to put on Orpheus in the Underworld, a comic operetta in three acts, but due to falling numbers the Club was sadly dissolved just five months later at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held on 13th August 2001.
Mangotsfield ICT Centre (17th July 2001 to Summer 2002)
A questionnaire was sent out around the community by South Gloucestershire Council early in 2001, eliciting opinions on a proposed community ICT facility and Internet Café. I expressed an interest in helping to set up the project, and we held our first meeting on 17th July 2001. Progress over the next year was good with various open days and a successful series of courses being run, and feedback from the community was encouraging. However, the project unfortunately fell by the wayside over the summer of 2002, seemingly as a result of staff reorganisation within the Council.
St James Bell Ringers, Mangotsfield (26th September 2001 to 31st March 2004)
St James Bell Ringers logoIf you've read my Bell Ringing pages you'll already know that I was elected Tower Secretary of St James Bell Ringers, Mangotsfield, at their AGM on 26th September 2001. By that time I had been a regular member of the band for eight and a half years, and this membership continued for a further two and a half years until another AGM on 31st March 2004 when I resigned from the post.
Mangotsfield Youth Project (20th May 2004 to 16th October 2007)
Mangotsfield Youth Project logoIn April 2004 I responded to a South Gloucestershire Council advert asking for people interested in being part of a management committee to set up a youth facility in Mangotsfield. We held our first meeting on 20th May 2004 and began to make some real headway with the young people of the village, despite a lack of suitable premises for a Youth Club and a nationwide shortage of qualified Youth Workers. However, we eventually realised that we weren't going to achieve the results we wanted to on our own, so at our third AGM on 18th September 2007 we made the decision to amalgamate with Badminton Road Methodist Youth Centre, which is based at Badminton Road Methodist Church in nearby Downend. Mangotsfield Youth Project was later officially dissolved at a Special General Meeting held on 16th October 2007.
Friends of Ram Hill Colliery (26th July 2004 to 26th March 2008)
Another response to another Council advert saw me at the inaugural meeting of the Friends on 26th July 2004, and it was at that same meeting that I volunteered to join the Executive Committee. A series of monthly work days quickly saw the Ram Hill Colliery site cleared of twenty years' worth of unwanted vegetation, and it has now been listed with English Heritage as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. I was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee at the AGM on 5th December 2005, but swapped the role for that of Treasurer at the following AGM on 29th March 2007 when the Friends underwent an almost complete change of management!

I stepped down from the Executive Committee myself a year later at the AGM held on 26th March 2008, but this was by no means the end for the Friends. Having improved access to the site and made a good start on removing two modern spoil heaps that are each hiding even more fascinating artefacts, their plans for the future include the repair and preservation of the standing archaeology, and the installation of some interpretation boards so that visitors will know what everything is (or rather, was). Ongoing maintenance will then be the order of the day, but who knows what might be discovered in the future? Keep up to date on their progress via the Ram Hill archaeology project page on the South Gloucestershire Council website.
Mangotsfield Village Festival (21st September 2005 to 11th June 2011)
Mangotsfield Village Festival logoThis annual event was started by Mangotsfield C.E. Primary School, the first Festival being held on Mangotsfield Common in June 1992. However, when the school moved to a brand new site in neighbouring Emerson's Green in January 2000, a separate committee was set up to manage it instead. I joined them at their AGM on 21st September 2005, and nine months of hard work later saw the very successful 14th Annual Mangotsfield Village Festival on 10th June 2006, held for the first time at Cleve Rugby Football Club.

At the next AGM on 4th October 2006 I took over the role of Stalls Co-ordinator, which saw me liaising with local schools, organisations and fundraisers to ensure their stall bookings went without a hitch, and three years later at the AGM on 30th September 2009 I also took on the newly-created role of Quartermaster to keep track of where all our property was kept. After two more very successful Festivals in 2010 and 2011 I decided to step down from the committee, but their work continues as the event seems to get bigger every year. You can keep up to date on their progress by visiting the Mangotsfield Village Festival website.
Bath & Wells Diocesan Association of Change Ringers – Bath Branch (14th October 2006 to 18th October 2008)
Bath & Wells Diocesan Association crestIn early 2006 I became a member of the Bath Branch of the Bath & Wells Diocesan Association of Change Ringers, attached to Keynsham. Like any member who takes an active interest in the administration of their Branch I duly attended the Branch AGM on 14th October 2006, whereupon I was persuaded into the position of Bath Branch Education Officer. Against my better judgement (and protestations) this may have been, but I tried to fulfill the role as best I could. Not really a difficult task when all I had to do was distribute a couple of bits of paperwork each year...

Nevertheless, as I lived outside of Bath itself (the natural administrative centre of the Branch) I felt somewhat "out of the loop", so two years later at the Branch AGM on 18th October 2008 I handed over the task to the outgoing Branch Secretary. Following that meeting, the entire Committee comprised two married couples, all of whom lived and rang regularly in the centre of Bath. Indeed, three of them were on the Committee before the meeting as well, so it was really little wonder I'd felt excluded.