Skip to content

A changing of the guard: report on the East Coast Area AGM, 2023

East Coast Gaffer, Sue Lewis, brings us a report of the recent Area AGM, held at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club on Saturday 4 November, 2023.

AGMs are funny things – most attendees are happy for the business, which is often largely a formality, to be dealt with as swiftly as possible, a bit of a round-up of the past year, a few trophies, and then let the social aspect begin. This year was different with massive changes to the executive of the Area Committee and a rather special Charity presentation to be made. There were some new faces in attendance and hopefully more will join in next year.

The longest serving officers to stand down from the committee at this year’s EC AGM were Clare and Pete Thomas after no fewer than 20 years on the committee. Treasurer Clare Thomas had held the post for no fewer than 16 years so was surely ready to hand over her books and her calculator. President Robert Hill and Secretary Lorna Hill have been in post for 9 years which, with the added responsibility the roles bring on the (National) Association Committee, is also a marathon and they too are taking a well-deserved break from the burdens of office. The meeting at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club was very quiet, almost as if no one could quite believe it would really happen. But happen it did – and new officers came forward and were voted in to replace them – and those outgoing could perhaps not quite hide their relief, or was it glee? With so many key figures moving on at once it is little surprise that this was not the time or the place to give them all a full vote of thanks (let’s face it – who would organise it?) but the new President hinted that those retiring should make sure that they book their places at our Annual Dinner at Burnham in March. Get it in your diary everyone: 9th March 2024. 

Robert and Lorna both, as you will read in their reports, thanked the many volunteers from the committee and the wider membership who helped make OGA60 on the East Coast such a huge success (despite weather conditions which were arguably more shocking than anything the so-called ‘Summer Cruise’ has ever thrown at us). Clare presented the accounts with her customary quiet efficiency, pointing out that with income and outgoings for OGA60 alone topping the £30,000 mark (and ending up in the black) this was the biggest year ever for the EC OGA bank account.

Those voted into the vacant posts, in elections which were uncontested in every case, were new Area President Paul Masters, new Area Secretary and Vice President Pete ‘the Knife’ Elliston and new Area Treasurer Yvonne Graham. Paul explained to the meeting that although he and his wife Jo will be sailing off into the sunset for a year next July, contingency plans will be made in conjunction with Pete the VP in order to maintain continuity in his absence. 

Richard Giles has been another stalwart of the committee, in particular of the East Coast Race, and has now retired after more years than anyone can count. Also standing down was Yvonne Mitchell after another long stint having originally represented our Kentish membership, whilst daring to put their heads above the parapet and be voted on were Sarah Adie, Nick Phillips and Elaine Rawlinson. 

National Secretary Colin Stroud asked for views from members at the meeting on the controversial topic of whether the Association (not the Area) should, in the absence of volunteers, now pay members for work updating the national website and maintaining a social media presence (work which has previously been carried out voluntarily by members). A heated discussion followed! If you have views on this hot topic Colin would like to hear from you:

Trophies were awarded to two very deserving East Coast members. The Bateman’s Tower Trophy went to Nick Phillips for his massive contribution to OGA60 – in addition to all his work on the East Coast celebrations for OGA60, Nick edited the 44 page Diamond Jubilee Events Guide that we all received, work which surely counts as ‘Sky-High above and beyond…’.  Beverley Daley Yates is this year’s winner of the Francis B Cooke Seamanship Trophy for Logs or Blogs for her excellent work reviving the ‘Sailing By’ website to cover events of OGA60 and offering a fascinating collection of stories and images of sailing from days gone by.

The finale of the meeting was the presentation to the East Anglian Sailing Trust of the proceeds of the auction held at Levington during the OGA60 celebrations. £2,834 was the final amount raised and gratefully accepted by Chairman of EAST Allistair Renton and Treasurer Geoff Dreher. The amount donated represents over 10% of their annual revenue requirement so those of you who generously bid and bought at the auction can know that you have really made a difference. Alistair and Geoff explained some of the history and the work of the Trust which is run entirely by volunteers to provide sailing sessions for disabled and disadvantaged adults and children. 

No report really needed of the rest of the evening – suffice to say there was beer and wine and food and lots of Gaffer chat. No change there!

Report: Sue Lewis
Photos: Sue Lewis & Ian Clarke

East Coast OGA Committee 2023-2024
Area President: Paul Masters
Area Secretary/Vice President: Pete ‘the knife’ Elliston
Treasurer: Yvonne Graham
Eastcoaster Editor: Beverley Yates
Other members:
Sarah Adie, Ed Roberts, Nick Phillips, Ken Crudgington, George Hutley, Trevor & Elaine Rawlinson, Carey Stephenson