This year’s Area AGM was hosted by Newark Group at the delightful village hall in the equally delightful Conservation Village of Norwell.
When the Group hosted the AGM previously they treated those attending to a wonderful range of homemade cakes and again this time they didn’t disappoint. Appreciation for their efforts was widely acknowledged by the 50 attendees. This year will be noted as a time of change: several serving Area Officers were stepping down from their posts including the Area Chair, the Area Countryside Officer – now re-titled Area Walk Environment Officer – and the Area Publicity Officer. A new Area Chair was voted in, Keith Wallace, Mansfield and Sherwood Group and also the Area Newsletter Editor. Unfortunately, the other two posts were unfilled but the Area Secretary would be more than pleased to hear from any member willing to ‘have a go’ – full job description details are available on the Ramblers national website under Volunteer Zone.
For the first time in a number of years we had a guest speaker attending the AGM. Area invited Des Garrahan, Chair of the Ramblers’ Board of Trustees who informed members on a diverse range of subjects Ramblers’ related. Also, we welcomed from the adjoining Areas of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and South Yorkshire who had been specially invited to attend. In his speech to the meeting Des updated the audience on current events including, briefly:
Membership – more women are members both at UK and Area level.
Financial Resources – besides membership fees further income is generated from Ramblers’ Worldwide Holidays and the Post Code Lottery.
Governance of the Ramblers – thought our current set-up is a little old fashioned. A debate on this followed after the close of official business – see below.
The Big Pathwatch – a full assessment of the recently concluded six month project will be released later this year.
A surprising fact: the Ramblers’ has 108,000 members and 25,000 volunteers; the RSPB has 1.5 million members and 33,000 volunteers. Speaks volumes about the dedication of our membership.
New Governance Proposals for the Ramblers At the conclusion of the AGM proper, a lively, and at times, passionate discussion on this prickly subject began; it is currently a major topic for both the Board of Trustees and RA Areas. A good number of AGM attendees stayed on to listen, ask questions and have their say on the direction the business of the Ramblers will be decided in future.
Compiled by Alex Staniforth, former Area Publicity Officer
“My Sheffield relatives were part of the Kinder access campaign and I’ve walked regularly since I was a boy. Halifax is a great base for walking in the Pennines and I still go there but I now normally walk in the Peak National Park. Given time pressures you can find me on local paths on a Sunday afternoon. I was at Ploughman’s Wood last weekend.
National Parks and the Right to Roam are unsung achievements of previous Labour Governments. I’m proud to have worked successfully with the Ramblers on both campaigns. I’m still active in walking campaigns – walking for health and making the countryside more welcoming to the black and Asian communities. As part of my work as Police and Crime Commissioner I walk the beat regularly with Police Officers. They all complain that I walk too quickly!”
Why did you join Ramblers?To enjoy access to the countryside
How long have you been a member? For more years than I can remember!
Where is your favourite walking destination? The Three Peaks in Yorkshire
If you could walk anywhere in the world, where would you choose? Alaska
What is your most memorable walk? Over the top of Pen-y-ghent with the clouds underneath me.
What is your most treasured piece of walking kit? My boots
Have you ever got lost on a walk? No
Who would be your ideal walking companion(s)? The long walk to freedom with Nelson Mandela
How do you relax? Walking or running
What is your favourite meal? Everything (I eat and enjoy everything)
What is your guiltiest pleasure? Too much red wine
What music would you like played at your funeral? Jerusalem
Sum up your personality in three words Works too hard
Photo: Paddy (left) with Louise Clarke & Kevin Greaves
The current Notts Guided Walks Programme (NGWP) was born out of the now defunct Nottinghamshire Guided Walks which operated under the auspices of Nottinghamshire County Council. When funding for the latter ceased in 2008 a small group of dedicated enthusiasts under the banner of the Nottinghamshire Guided Walks Partnership took up the mantle with the aim of continuing the popular walks programme. Commencing in 2010 and now entering its seventh year, the programme continues to expand catering for a wide variety of walking experiences including Health Walks.
The Partnership – it currently consists of four personnel – includes two Nottinghamshire Area Ramblers: Chris Thompson, Area Footpaths Secretary and Paul Wagstaff, Nottingham Group and also the Notts Footpath Preservation Society (NFPS). The other two members of the Partnership are Brian Cluff, also a NFPS member who designs the booklet and handles publicity, and Mary Mills, who is the Secretary handling enquiries, comments etc. Funding was always going to be a problem but great credit to them for managing to obtain Lottery Funding in recent years.
And the input the Ramblers make to the NGWP?
It is a known fact that Ramblers Groups in Nottinghamshire earmark some walks from their own walks programmes for inclusion in the NGWP. What is more staggering is the input made by of some of our leaders. In the coming programme for 2016 Chris Thompson will lead 40 walks while Keith Wallace, the new Area Chair, will lead no less than 60 walks! The latter has included Health Walks in conjunction with the scheme jointly set up by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support. We also contribute to the funding of the NGWP by taking advertising space promoting the Ramblers and walking; this has been ongoing over recent years. All in all, we can take pride and satisfaction for our involvement with the NGWP and long may this partnership continue.
Footnote: Access to the NGWP website can be made from the link on our own Area website. Just click on WALKS, Other Organised Walks followed by Notts Guided Walks.
Photographic information: The photograph attached with this article is from the Mansfield & Sherwood Group Walk, Newlands and Parliament Oak on Sunday 24th May 2015, which was part of the NGWP.