Newport Village Hall was the venue for East Yorkshire and Derwent Area's 2016 - 2017 AGM, hosted by Howden & Goole Group.
Marian Thomas led a 6 mile pre meeting walk, attracting 13 members. An overcast morning, but fortunately a weather forecast of heavy rain did not materialise. Marian led the group along Market Weighton Canal, turning towards South Carr Farm and then heading for Glebe Farm before a final section back to Newport Village Hall.
Refreshments organised by H & G group followed before commencement of the AGM at 2pm.
Addressing an audience of 40 members, Chairman Roy Hunt, gave an account of the Area's work during the previous year and outlined challenges ahead. Commenting upon member achievements relating to Rights of Way footpath maintenance and Led walks, Roy highlighted areas of importance concerning membership retention, issues associated with the possible development of shared routes and also year 2026 cut off for claiming lost rights of way.
In thanking Area Officers and all members for their continued support, Roy used the occasion to single out and praise Tom Halstead, Area Secretary. Tom is stepping down from Area Ramblers as he and his wife Di are leaving the area for pastures new in another part of the country. A brief summary was given of Tom's wealth of invaluable contributions over many years, his support to Ramblers projects at Group and Area level and some very important achievements, such as Open Access and England's Coast Path. As a thank you and best wishes for the future, Tom was presented with a clock and book tokens.
President Peter Ayling took over the Chair for the Election of officers. He concluded by thanking those volunteering to continue in their roles and also those new to some roles. Vacancies still needing to be filled are - Vice Chair, Access Officer and Publicity Officer.
Formal business concluded and refreshments taken, guest speaker Rebecca Dawson, Ramblers Board of Trustee addressed the meeting. In a refreshing style, she provided an informative update on matters of relevance being progressed at Central Office. This developed into a useful Q & A forum, covering several issues including Membership retention, Shared footpath use, Communication, Effective use of PPL grants, 2026 - Claiming lost rights of way, impact of Data Protection Act legislation and Volunteering.
She encouraged members to contact CO for guidance and support if thought necessary. Also to make use of Ramblers Regional Workshops when on offer. Rebecca made a note of several questions to take back to Central Office for further enquiry.