Agenda and Minutes of the Last Meeting

Notice of Thomas Hardy Society AGM

Saturday 24th June at 3.45pm

Location: Wey Valley Academy, 436 Dorchester Road, Weymouth DT3 5AN

We, The Thomas Hardy Society, hereby give notice of the fifty-sixth Annual General Meeting, open to all members of the Society.

Herewith the Agenda:

1. Apologies for Absence

2. To approve the Minutes of the 55th Annual General Meeting

3. Matters arising

4. Chairman’s Report

5. Treasurer’s Report and Accounts for 2022

6. Appointment of Independent Examiner of Accounts

7. a) Election of Managers b) Election of Chairman c) Election of Treasurer

(The Articles of Association of the Society state “that at the Annual General Meeting in every year subsequent to the Third Annual General Meeting one third of the Managers for the time being or, if their number is not three or a multiple of three, then the nearest one third shall retire from office. Provided that an ex-officio Manager shall not be liable to retire by rotation…” For the Purposes of this Article, Local Authority representatives are treated as ex-officio Managers in addition to the Treasurer. “The Managers to retire in each year subsequent to the third Annual General Meeting shall be those who have been longest in office since their last election….” “A retiring Manager shall be eligible for re-election.”)

Pursuant to these Articles the following Managers are due to retire:

Dee Tolfree, Tracy Hayes, Pat Withers

NB: Any persons mentioned above, whose names are marked with an asterisk, do not wish to stand for re-election.

(Other nominations for the Council of Management. The Articles of Association of the Society state that ‘No person not being a Manager retiring at the Meeting or a Member of a Local Authority nominated under Article 28 hereof shall, unless recommended by the Council for election, be eligible to membership of the Council at any general meeting, unless within the prescribed time before the day appointed for the meeting there shall be given to the Secretary in writing, by some member qualified to be present and vote at the meeting for which such notice is given, of his intentions to propose such person for election, and also notice in writing signed by the person proposed, of his willingness to be elected. The prescribed time above mentioned shall be such that, between the date when the notice is served or deemed to be served and the day appointed for the meeting there shall not be less than four nor more than twenty-eight intervening days.

8. The Society’s President and Vice-Presidents.

9. Any Other Business

Any proposals for this meeting should be handed to the Secretary three weeks in advance. Likewise, any other correspondence in connection with this meeting should be sent to the Secretary, c/o Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8PY.


Herewith the minutes from the 2022 THS AGM:

Minutes of the 55th Annual General Meeting of the Thomas Hardy Society held in the United Church, South Street, Dorchester, Dorset

9.30am Saturday 30th July 2022

Council of Management present:

Richard Franklin (Chairman), Tracy Hayes (Secretary), Mark Chutter, Susan Clarke, Tony Fincham, Helen Gibson, Sarah Glanville, Helen Lange, Mark North, Dee Tolfree, Andy Worth.

Members in attendance:

In addition to the Council of Management there were nineteen members in attendance, plus one guest Heidi Lancaster, a list is available on request.

Apologies for Absence:
Ruth Huish, Councillor Stella Jones, Andrew Leah, Marilyn Leah, Anne & Sarah Pettifor, Peter Jelley, Miriam Scott, Rebecca Shipp, Peter & Janet Slootweg, Pat Withers.

To Approve the Minutes of the 54th AGM: The Minutes were approved with no amendments and signed as a true record.

Matters Arising There were no matters arising.

Chairman’s Report:

Following last year’s AGM at which I was elected as the chairman, we soon began consolidating our plans for the remainder of 2021 and 2022. After some reflection we decided to go ahead with a very slightly shortened conference this year which I hope you have all enjoyed. Dr Tracy Hayes started work on its preparation straight away together with Dr Tony Fincham and other members of the Council of Management. Soon after last year’s conference we were shocked to learn of the sudden death of our former Academic Director Faysal Mikdadi and a number of other members have passed away in the year just gone. My first meeting as chairman of the CoM took place in September and we had our normal series of meetings over the past year. Every member of the CoM has made an important contribution to the life of the society and I have worked very closely and harmoniously with them all. They are a great team!

Just prior to last year’s conference we moved our office to Kingston Maurward House and we have been ‘settling in’ there throughout this year. We are by no means fully set up, though with the help of colleagues we are in a lot better shape than we were at the beginning. The three rooms there have been designated the office, the archive and the library. The core of the library has been created by the donation by the Canadian Fraser Pakes of his entire Hardy collection and we are working on cataloguing this and making it available to members. Another piece of work that has been underway this year is the sorting out of our financial arrangements. This has taken an inordinate amount of time and trouble, a burden largely borne by Dr Tracy Hayes.

During the autumn of last year we had a study day on Tess of the d’Urbervilles (postponed from earlier in the year) which took place here. There were a range of speakers most of whom gave their papers by the means of modern technology. This was followed by the London Lecture in November given by Professor Mark Ford and in December a quite magical ‘Going the Rounds’ in Stinsford on a beautiful evening lit by a sparkling full moon. In January a small number gathered in Westminster Abbey to mark the anniversary of the death and internment of Hardy.

During the spring another study day took place, this time on Under the Greenwood Tree. This time all of the contributors were physically present. The Birthday Weekend celebrations took place as usual at the beginning of June but owing to the coincidence of the Platinum Jubilee on the same weekend there was quite a poor attendance at the birthday lecture and the evening entertainment had to be cancelled. Those who did come were very fortunate to hear a most interesting and thought-provoking lecture by Professor Fred Reid on ‘Hardy and Patriotism’. It will soon be published in the journal. The Sunday service at Stinsford was well-attended, however, even if those who came had to make do with yours truly as preacher. As I write we are planning future events: a Gothic Wessex weekend in October, a Q&A session with our President, Lord Fellowes, the London Lecture …. We look forward to the presence of many of our members at these and other occasions.

One sadness to report is that the journal editor, Steph Alder, has had to resign. She has done an excellent job, even if for only a relatively short time, and we thank her most warmly. The process of looking for her replacement is well under way.

The society continues to work with many other organisations to promote Thomas Hardy including the Exeter University, Dorset Museum, the Wessex Museums and the Dorset History Centre. We also have connections with other literary societies including the D.H. Lawrence Society and the Dylan Thomas Society. As a society we have given financial and other support over the last year to a number of such good causes including The New Hardy Players, STAND, The Wessex Historic Omnibus Trust and the Henges and Hill Forts Project. Under the guidance of our Academic Director, Mark Chutter, we have continued our work with schools, notably a recent visit by our President, Lord Fellowes, to Wey Valley School in Weymouth. I can also report that with over 1,100 people we still have a sizeable membership.

It only remains for me to thank you all for coming, for supporting the life and work of the society as we endeavour to promote the work of our great author. Thanks above all to the Council of Management for their assiduous hard work as we collapse after this week’s conference and gird our loins to prepare for the year to come.

Treasurer’s Report and Accounts for the year ending 31st December 2021
The Statement of Financial Activities for the year ending 31 December 2021 (Including Income and Expenditure Account and Statement of Total Recognised Gains and Losses) was presented by Tracy Hayes, Secretary, who has undertaken the responsibility for the accounts as we lost our Treasurer and had to gain a new one. The Secretary reported it has taken six months to up-date the accounts with all transactions together with revised signatories for both the Barclays and Lloyds accounts and now there are just one or two more meetings with our Accountants and then Sarah Glanville will be taking over as Treasurer.

Cash at Bank and in hand amounted to £37,909 (2020:£43,643 )

Total Income for the year amounted to £38,164 (2020: £39,482)

Total Expenditure £55,515 (2020: £41,185) Thus recording an annual

deficit of £ 17,351 (2020: £1,703)

Comments from the floor included:

Would like to see the Total income and Total expenditure broken down rather than the minimum amount of detail.
Is there a possibility that all the membership fees could be taken at a particular time and date of year such as April 1st which could help with budgeting?
With the rise in Membership fees for 2022, members had found it was necessary to close one’s present Paypal subscription and open again with a new one with the new fee amount.
The meeting was referred to Item 9 of the AGM Minutes taking place on 17th July 2021 where the revision of the Memorandum of Articles and Association were adopted. This action needs reflecting in the 2021 Accounts on Page 4.

Approval of the accounts for the year was proposed by Andy Worth, seconded by Mark Chutter and all were in favour.

Appointment of Independent Examiner of Accounts
Kennedy Legg, 10 Prince of Wales Road, Dorchester, Dorset. DT1 1PW proposed by Tracy Hayes seconded by Helen Lange and unanimously approved at the meeting.

a) Election of Managers:
Pursuant to the Society’s Articles of Association the following Managers were due to retire: Anthony Fincham, Richard Franklin, Helen Lange, Pat Withers, Andy Worth. All were willing to stand again except Pat Withers. Proposed by Joanna Mink, seconded by Ursula Harvey and all in favour.

b) Election of Chairman: Richard Franklin. Proposed by Tony Fincham seconded

by Helen Gibson and all in favour.

c) Election of Treasurer: Sarah Glanville. Proposed by Andy Worth seconded by Mark North and all in favour.

Appointment of Presidents and Vice-Presidents:
The Council of Management ratified the appointment of Julian Fellowes as President together with the Vice Presidents. We lost Faysal Mikdadi, former Academic Director last year. One new Vice-President has been appointed, Joanna Mink, proposed by Richard Franklin and seconded by Mary Rimmer and all in favour. It was noted that Helen Lange, appointed Vice- President in 2021, needs to be added to the published list in the Journal.

The Retirement of Helen Gibson:
The Chairman paid tribute to Helen who has served the cause for Thomas Hardy and the Society for a great deal of time in a variety of roles not least as Secretary. He said he was personally indebted as it was through Helen that he became involved in all things Hardyan and was drawn into the orbit working in the Dorset Museum on the Hardy collection. He regrets that after a difficult year the time has come for Helen to retire from the THS Council. He thanked Helen for all she has given and done for the Society and presented a gift on behalf of the Council of Management.

Any other Business:

Joint Society events: Mark Chutter spoke in respect of joint weekends planned with other literary societies. The Hardy and Dylan Thomas Weekend will take place in 2023 in and around Laugharne, Wales.

James Lancaster: The Chairman welcomed Heidi Lancaster, daughter of James, to the AGM as a special guest. James a long term member of the Society and a regular attendee at Conferences, sadly passed away this year. Heidi said that his interest in Thomas Hardy was part of his life and thanked the Society for the chance for her to be here and attend as her father would have done. Many members enjoyed reminiscing about the kind and thoughtful conversations and times spent with James and delighted in the photographs and memorabilia Heidi brought along.

The meeting closed at 10 .20am

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