Visit from Notre Dame de Gravenchon
6th April - 10th April 2019
44 friends from Gravenchon travelled to Street and there were some new visitors, including children which is fantastic for the continuation of twinning. There were a few hiccups along the way in organising this visit but with great team work by the subcommittee and communication with Sharon in France everything ran smoothly during their stay.
They travelled by Ferry from Calais to Dover and arrived slightly earlier than expected. Each member of the subcommittee had been given a group of hosts and those hosts were made aware of their contact in case of emergencies. This system worked well and enabled hosts to be informed quickly of the new arrival time.
During the day on Sunday and Monday there was time to relax, catch up and time for new hosts and guests to get to know each other. The Dinner and Dance was held at Meadway Hall in Compton Dundon on the Sunday evening. A team of volunteers, including a few French guests, decorated the hall with the theme of a train trip to the beach. There were props of a train, photo frame and accessories that many people enjoyed taking photos with. Everyone was greeted with a glass of Bucks Fizz on arrival. We enjoyed excellent catering by Claire and team and danced to the lovely singing of Sally Vinyl.
Monday evening the Street Parish Council hosted a reception in Crispin Hall. Tasty non-alcoholic beverages and a wonderful ploughman’s supper went down well with both English and French. We enjoyed music by Dylan Thomas and John and Ann Diment. Gifts were exchanged and a plaque celebrating 50 years of twinning was presented by Marie-Francoise Loison, deputy Mayoress of Gravenchon to the Street Parish Council and received by the Chair, Nina Swift. Stars displayed on the plaque were decorated during last year’s visit to Gravenchon and also by local school children during their visit to France. One plaque will be displayed in Street and the other in Gravenchon.
Tuesday was the trip day and a large group of 96 people travelled by coach to Bishops Lydeard and then onto Watchet by Steam train. The Subcommittee were informed with not much time to spare that maintence to the line from Watchet to Minehead had overrun and so would be closed. With quick adjustments made the trip still ran smoothly. West Somerset Railway provided a great service with two train carriages reserved for the twinning and we had a chance to take photos up front with the train driver.
Once in Minehead we walked to the Hairy Dog where we were all seated together and promptly served fish, chips and peas. Some then enjoyed deserts, drinks or a walk along the sea front before catching the coach to Dunster Castle. The drizzly rain didn’t spoil our enjoyment. Many went into the castle, some wandered around the gardens and tried their hand at archery or shooting whilst others ventured into Dunster village. We had a good journey home with a friendly coach driver and a great service provided by Taylors coaches.
Wednesday morning was an early start and time to say goodbye. With long lasting friendships reinforced and new friendships made, twinning is still going strong. We look forward to visiting our friends over in Gravenchon in 2020.
Twinning visit to Isny October 28th to November 1st 2019
We have just made our biennial trip to Isny which was a great success. Thirty people were due to travel which is the largest group for sometime. This included 5 new Twinners. At the last minute two people were unable to come due to health/family issues.
We were very lucky this year to once again travel from Bristol to Basel with Easyjet at a very keen ticket price. (£76.27 return + £31 for hold luggage) which was made possible through the generosity of our hosts who were prepared to send a coach to meet us at Basel for the 3 and a half hour trip to Isny. The flight times were excellent with no early starts or late arrivals.
On arrival we were offered snacks on the coach before making a stop at Birnau on Lake Constance, the site of a famous church and monastery, and where we were fed wonderful cakes and coffee in the attached restaurant. We then continued on to Isny and a short reception in the Town Hall before going home with our host families.
The first full day was spent locally with a trip to Dethleffs caravan factory in the morning (starting with coffee and pretzels in the staff canteen). Dethleffs is the largest local industry and we were shown around the impressive production line. Several of us had our eyes on different motor homes by the time we left. We then all had a delicious Thai lunch together in a local school facility cooked by Bo Loose who is one of the German Twinners. In the afternoon there was a guided tour of the town for new Twinners and others had a guided walk on the nearby Rotmoos nature reserve.
The following day we were treated to a full day coach trip to the mountains. We had to imagine some of the peaks that were undoubtedly soaring above us, due to heavy rain and overcast skies. But we didn’t let this dampen our spirits as we packed into the small lift that took us up to the top of the ski jump in Oberstdorf. For some of us just standing at the top of the jump imagining launching ourselves into the air, was enough of a thrill, but others put on virtual reality headsets and made the jump themselves!. We then drove on to the Breitachklamm gorge and walked up the spectacular narrow gorge. At an afternoon coffee stop in Sulzberg, Austria, we were again served enormous slices of cake and it didn’t feel long after that, that we stopped at a traditional restaurant/brewery for another meal all together before a late return to Isny.
Our last day was spent with our host families and we enjoyed a wide range of activities before all meeting up for a final dinner. This was another very convivial evening where we were entertained by a local dance group in their national costumes and by a trio of Alpenhorn players. There were speeches from the local mayor and Twinners on both sides and we presented our gift of Xmas aprons and decorations for their December Xmas market stall which was very well received.
Our few days had passed very quickly and the next day we were off by 9am for our return trip to the airport. From talking to our group on the return journey it seemed that the trip had been a great success. The new Twinners had gelled with their host families, we had all been made very welcome and they had organised a full programme for us which made the time pass very quickly. People commented on how they had enjoyed spending more time with the whole group as we had a communal meal at some stage each day. The only thing that would have made the trip even better would have been less rain as it rained at some stage every day.
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held in the Crispin Community Centre
on Wednesday 23rd October 2019. The meeting started at 7.30 pm.
1. Present: David and Veronica Brunt, Tom Winn, Marina Richards, Paul Badman, Jacqui, Francis, Isobel and Emily Knight, Claire Axten, David and Catherine Atkins, Trevor Skinner, Barbara and Martin Cowell, Julia Welch, Kay Strain, Gabbie and Martyn Butler, Ann Diment, Peter and Barbara Fry, Reg Alford, Sally Wood, John and Maureen Parfitt, Gill Davey, Brian Read, Sheila Urwin, Viv Squire, Sue Genge, David and Hilary Mozley.
Apologies: Kay Winn, Pauline and John Saunders, Grace and Bernard Squire, Chris Puddy, Helen and Tim Phillips, Avril and William Berry, Mark and Jenny Lewis, Katrina Dumontrotty
David Brunt welcomed everyone to the meeting and checked that everyone had read the minutes from the AGM in Oct 2018.
No matters arising.
2. Chairman’s report: Please see report attached below.
3. Treasurers Report and presentation and acceptance of the annual accounts:
Marina presented the accounts for the financial year to 31st Aug 2019, as checked by the accountant. The accounts were accepted unanimously by all members.
Please see accounts attached below.
Current account balance £3,780.70
Deposit account balance £8,047.50
A reminder that membership payments are now due. £15 per adult and free for children under 18. As stated in the constitution these payments are due to be paid within 2 calendar months of the date of the AGM.
We then moved onto item 5 on the Agenda before coming back to item 4.
4. The proposed new constitution:
In addition to the revisions already circulated to members Catherine Atkins proposed that a paragraph was to be inserted under item 7 - Money and Assets – after d) Cheques must be signed by 2 authorised members. New e) The treasurer is authorised to undertake internet banking on behalf of the Association. All payments must be notified to the chairman and secretary by e-mail prior to the actual payment.
There were a few questions from members:
1. Would this hold up payments? No, Marina doesn’t need to wait for a reply it is just a notification of what payments are going out.
2. Is Marina happy to do this? Yes
3. As with cheque payments, should there be two people from the committee with access to the bank account in case Marina is not available? Marina stated that this is not possible. It is linked to her personal accounts and so cannot have more than one person access it. Marina stated that there is a contingency plan set up in case anything was to happen to her, Paul (her partner) would have access to the account and arrangements would then be made for access to be passed to the next treasurer.
David Atkins thanked the team who had reviewed the constitution – Tom, Marina and Catherine.
The new constitution was voted on by a show of hands and the vote was unanimous for it to be put in place. Please find attached the updated version.
5. Voting to elect the chairman:
The nominations for chairman were received by the deadline of 9th October.
David Atkins for Chairman
David Atkins left the room whilst the vote took place by a show of hands. The vote was unanimous for David to become the new chairman.
David Brunt then gave a speech as he stood down as chairman:
Veronica and I first joined the Twinning Association and went to Gravenchon in 1994. I was invited to join the committee the following year. For some years I was the assistant to the treasurer. This usually meant that I collected the ticket money at our fund raising events. After several years I stood down from the committee as I had other interests.
The following year I had a phone call from Grace asking me to re-join the committee and take on the job of treasurer. I continued in this position until Marina took over from me.
Bernard our previous chairman retired two years ago and I was elected to replace him. During those two years I have been supported by a dedicated team who have worked hard to promote the best interests of our association.
I now think that the time has come for me to stand down from the committee and allow them to continue the good work under new leadership.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like you join me in thanking your committee for all their hard work and dedication and to welcome David, your newly elected chairman.
David Brunt then presented David Atkins with the chain of office. David Atkins thanked David and Veronica for all their hard work over the years. Jacqui presented David Brunt with a gardening gift voucher from the committee and a thank you card signed by the committee and members of the association.
6. Voting to elect Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary:
The following nominations were received by the deadline of 9th October.
Tom Winn for Vice Chairman
Marina Richards for treasurer
Jacqui Knight for secretary
Candidates were asked to leave the room and the vote taken by a show of hands. The votes were unanimous for all three to be elected.
David Atkins then gave a speech as the new Chairman:
Thank you for entrusting me with the chair of the Street Twinning Association. Whilst a relative newcomer I have had the experience of twinning for 25years with another organisation of which I am a member.
Twinning is a great opportunity to learn a little about other cultures/countries and to share experiences. Perhaps its role is more important than ever as we live in an international environment and need more and more to be tolerant of others.
As chairman I will have a simple approach and in no way suggest this has not been the case in the past but is just the way I operate:
To be respectful
To be loyal
To inject energy
To enjoy myself
We have an obligation to grow the Association, especially after a number of long serving members have “retired”, and to make it fit for the next generation. So I will be looking for members to help us search out families who might like to experience twinning.
At the first committee meeting I will be sharing some thoughts and asking questions as to how we can work a bit “smarter”. I feel we need to spread the load a little more across members and to get more clarity and ownership of tasks to make life easier and less onerous.
7. Members invited to volunteer to serve on the management committee with a target of at least 10 members:
David Atkins gave a brief outline of what the role of a committee member entails including that they help to run the association and meet up ten times a year, not including the AGM.
Members volunteering to serve on the committee for the coming year are:
Kay Strain, Francis Knight, Catherine Atkins, Barbara Fry, Peter Fry, Gabbie Butler, Trevor Skinner, Paul Badman, Sally Wood and Claire Axten
Barbara Cowell and Katrina Dumontrotty are stepping down from the committee. The Chairman thanked them for all they have done for Street Twinning over the years.
£20 no. 15 Veronica Brunt
£10 no. 32 Helen Phillips
£5 no. 30 Claire Brunt
Tom Winn is happy to run the lottery for another year and David thanked Tom for taking on this role again.
Marina stated that if anyone would like to be paid by BACS for lottery winnings, please contact her for this to be arranged.
1. Isny visit: Please leave plenty of time for travel. There are road works/traffic lights in Coxley and Walton will be closed. Also closures in Wedmore.
2. Gravenchon visit: A recent email was sent out with further information about costs. There are still spaces available and there maybe the facility to add more once it is booked.
3. Bric-a-brac: Street Market Thurs 7thNov. Tom has kindly arranged this. Members were asked if anyone had any bric a brac for the stall and there was a good show of hands and so we will have plenty of items. Francis offered to help set up the stall at 8am ready for the stall to open at 9am. Usually the market goes on until 4pm. Peter offered to help at the end of the day to pack away. Barbara Fry said people are welcome to drop off items at their house but not until Monday 4th November. An email will follow shortly and a rota will be sent out. Members that volunteered: Claire Axten, Sally Wood (afternoon), Trevor Skinner (morning), Sue Genge (morning), Viv Squire (morning), Catherine Atkins, David Atkins, Sheila Urwin, Tom Winn.
4. Christmas Cracker: Francis is happy to organise this and an email will go out at the beginning of November. It is just going to be the water or wine stall this year. Donations of wine would be gratefully received. There are plenty of empties left over from Merriman park as long as the people who took them still have them in garages etc.
5. Christmas Dinner: David Atkins suggested a social non fund-raiser get together for Christmas. Open to all members. A show of hands proved that this was a popular idea and January was suggested as everyone less busy. More details to follow.
6. Quiz: Trevor has kindly arranged this for Fri 8th Nov at the Victoria club Start 7.30pm. Entrance fee £2.50 per person. Teams of up to 4 people. Booking is preferred so to book please contact Trevor 01749 689199 OR 07739 817136. Jacqui has offered to do the raffle for this event so any donations of prizes would be gratefully received.
David Thanked: Claire, helped by Julia, for the tea, coffee and biscuits
Tom for searching out the venue for the AGM
Jacqui and Peter for circulating all the information for tonight’s AGM
Thank you all for attending.
The meeting closed at 8.20pm and everyone was invited to stay for refreshments.
Date of next meeting: Wednesday 27th Nov at 7.30 pm
in The Mullions breakfast room.
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT October 2018 to October 2019
As the years have passed, we have lost members due to illness and age related complaints. Sadly, some of our friends have died. But they have all contributed to the foundation of our present day association. As they have left us we have been joined by new members and so, with minor fluctuations, our numbers have been more or less maintained.
This year however, we have more members than usual who are retiring from twinning and this has depleted our numbers. To ensure the future of twinning in Street we need to recruit more new members. So please, if you know of anybody, be it family friends or neighbours etc., who might be interested, please put them in touch or tell a committee member.
Last year I reported that we had been running at a deficit for several years. I am pleased to report that this no longer the case. This is due to the hard work and generosity of committee and other members.
Following last year’s AGM, our first activity was the “Get to Know Your Community” event, organised by Street Parish Council in the Crispin Hall.
All of our local organisations were invited to have a stall to publicise themselves and their activities. It was a success, in that quite a few people showed an interest and looked at information regarding both Gravenchon and Isny. In spite of our existence for over fifty years, quite a few Street residents had never heard of us.
We had arranged for a bric-a-brac stall for the 8th November. But this was cancelled due to a poor weather forecast
Street Christmas Cracker was held on 1st December. We had two gazeboes situated outside Crispin Hall. It was a very hectic day as we were running a Water or Wine stall, a children’s game and a bric-a-brac stall as well as a tombola.
Members put a lot of work into organising and bottle wrapping as well as preparing and manning the stall. We actually sold out of bottles, which made it a very successful day.
Our friends from Gravenchon arrived for their biennial visit on Saturday 6th April. We organised dinner /dance for the Sunday evening. The delicious evening meal was provided by Claire and friends and the music by Sally Vinyl and her disco.
Street Parish Council held a reception for our French visitors on the Monday evening. This was held in the Crispin Hall, where members of the council provided refreshments and non-alcoholic drinks.
Tuesday saw a journey by coach and train to Minehead where there was free time and a fish and chip lunch in the Hairy Dog. On the return journey, the coach stopped for a visit to Dunster Castle. A good time was had by all.
Our Gravenchon friends departed from Strode College early on the Wednesday morning.
On Friday 8th February, Trevor and Sheila organised a quiz at the Victoria Sports and Social Club. It was a successful evening and quite well attended. Although we would have liked to see a few more members.
On Friday 17th May, Tina and Tony hosted a Cheese & Wine Evening. It was a very enjoyable social evening with games, delicious food, wine and lots of chatter.
In June, Street Library building was closed for repairs and the library was relocated in the Parish Rooms. This meant that our committee had to find another venue for our monthly meetings. We were fortunate that the Mullions Hotel offered us the use of their Breakfast Room, where we now meet.
When a class of children from Gravenchon visited Elmhurst School, we donated £150 towards the costs of meals during their stay.
The Elmhurst school fete, called “Elmfest” was held on July 13th. We had a stall in order to publicise our association. We handed out flyers, talked to parents and families and ran a couple of games for the children.
Next Monday thirty of our members will depart from Bristol Airport en route to Isny. We wish them a very enjoyable visit.
Altogether it has been quite a busy year with events for fund raising and publicity as well as the visit from our Gravenchon friends.
This has meant a lot of hard work for your committee in organising, setting up and manning stalls as well as catering, clerical administration, various sub-committees, many emails, ‘phone calls, transport etc. Not forgetting all those other members who have helped us in many ways.
So a big thank you to
everyone who helped us and been so generous with their time as well as
donations of wine, raffle prizes etc. throughout the year.