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AGM 2011 Minutes

Minutes of The Annual General Meeting held at the Glenaden Hotel, Ballater On Friday 12th August, 2011 at 11.00am



Present - Clan Chief , Captain A.C. Farquharson, M.C. Clan President, Dr Alistair Farquharson, Honorary Vice President Alison, Lady, Farquharson , Committee members:- Vice President Mr Alan Caig, Mrs Valerie Farquharson, Mr Gordon Farquharson, Mr Andrew Farquharson, Mrs Margaret Finlay. Another 22 Clan Members signed the attendance register.

1: Apologies

Apologies for Absence:   Sir Angus Farquharson (Honorary Vice President),   Mr & Mrs Geoffrey Farquharson,  Mr Sydney Waite,  Mrs Hannah Jones, Mr John Grigg, Mrs Sharon Farley (Clan President USA), Mr & Mrs Ward-Leitch (Australia)

The Clan President opened the meeting at  11am & invited our Clan Chief, Captain A.C. Farquharson  M.C. to speak.

Welcome from The Chief
Captain Farquharson welcomed everybody present & commented that although the weather had been somewhat disappointing, this had not dampened the enjoyment of a busy & interesting week of clan events.  The Chief stressed that it was important to keep the momentum going within the clan. There was no news at present of Tom Farquharson but it was hoped that we shall hear how his tennis matches have been going this year.

There has been a move involving a petition to Her Majesty the Queen, by The Council of Scottish Chiefs, to remove the ancient attainder which still applies to some clans and is a form of a stigma.  It is hoped that the Scottish Parliament will be able to act on this matter. Captain Farquharson is in full support of this move & has added his signature to the petition.  This announcement was fully supported by the meeting.  He went on to say that after this, our tenth year since the clan was re-started, next year will be very significant, with the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty’s reign, as well as the  London Olympics, hence having to keep the momentum going.

2: Minutes of  the AGM held on Saturday, 14th August, 2010.

After the amendment of 1 item, ie. Under attendance, it should read
Honorary Vice Presidents, Sir Angus & Alison, Lady Farquharson.

It was proposed by Desmond Quaite & seconded by Roxana Vuskalns that the minutes should be accepted.  This was agreed.

Matters Arising, not covered on this agenda

No matters arising.

4: President’s Annual Report.  

The President remarked that the last year had been a good one & since then, the main activity had been the purchase & restoration of The Pipe Banner. On Monday, during the visit to Braemar Castle, the Clan Chief had presented the banner to The Trustees of Braemar Castle on whose behalf Simon Blackett accepted it, for it to be on permanent loan & it will be displayed in The Farquharson Room at the top of the castle.  Simon expressed most grateful thanks to Clan Farquharson.  The Pipe banner had been purchased at auction, on behalf of the clan by Andrew Farquharson-Findon, for which he is thanked.   The cost was £210 & after that, it was restored by a very reputable company in Edinburgh.
Prior to the meeting, Joan Farquharson had purchased several copies of the local paper “The Piper” which contained a photo & write up of the presentation.  The final cost after restoration was £2,711.70.  Joan has detailed instructions for the preservation & upkeep of the banner which will be passed to the castle trustees. A number of donations have already been received & it is hoped that as the fund is still open, more contributions will be offered.  A member of the clan had most kindly underwritten the cost of the banner so that the necessary work could progress.  A vote of thanks was recorded to Alistair & Joan & to all who were involved in the whole process. It was felt that this significant presentation lifted the profile of the clan.
Dr Farquharson went on to ask if anyone would organise a module of the arrangements for a clan gathering.  He & Joan had taken on the organisation & catering for both the Aboyne & Ballater Games which also involved hiring tables & chairs & a great deal of logistical planning & having things in the right place at the right time. That we accept this report was proposed by Gordon Farquharson of Guildford & seconded by Maureen Farquharson.

5.  Treasurer’s Report. 

The Treasurer stated that the Pay Pal scheme of payment minuted last year, had not been progressed as it was unsuitable for the small number of events.  The accounts were presented & Gordon explained that when budgeting for the gathering, this had to be on estimated figures & last year, the numbers were down, possibly because so many members from here & overseas had made a big effort to attend in the “Homecoming” year.  Bookings still have to be made & catering organised where appropriate.  This situation had contributed to an overall loss of £612.04.  However, the clan holds £5,357.70 in the bank.  The Treasurer said, in response to a query, that in his view, the ideal amount to hold, to protect the clan interests, would be between £4.000-5000. This would cover contingencies, for example the cancellation of The Games due to extreme weather conditions could result in a loss for food & drinks purchased, hire of tent, tables, chairs etc all of which would still have to be paid for if ordered.

The membership subscriptions are declining so we do need to be proactive in aiming to recruit new members & this is on the agenda for the committee meeting following the AGM. All clan members are asked to try to raise interest in clan membership. At the same time, we need to consider what people actually get for their subscription.   Printing & postage are costly & a minimum of 100 paid up members would help.  Although many people pay by standing order, the Treasurer stated that cheques are quite acceptable.  Alan Caig queried the ideal total to aim to keeping in the bank & thought £4,000-£4.300 would be sufficient.  He also put forward the notion of a sub-committee with Dr Farquharson as a co-ordinator, to discuss budgeting for Ballater week.  Joan Farquharson queried the contingency amount & Jane Farquharson of Guildford thought a substantial reserve against liabilities was necessary.

Paul Farquharson proposed that the accounts should be accepted, seconded by Alison, Lady Farquharson.  This motion was carried unanimously.

Following the presentation of the main accounts, there was some information about the pipe banner as the financial status of the project comes under 2011 onwards in a separate account which will not publish names of individual donors.  A tender for the restoration was obtained & adhered to.  So far, a total of £790 has been donated.  Andrew Farquharson commented that in his opinion, the membership should have been approached regarding the restoration of the pipe banner.    Gordon was thanked for his presentation & detailed explanation of all the facts.


6.  Secretary’s Report  

 Valerie  was congratulated for the excellent work she did at both the Aboyne & Ballater Games in talking to potential members & signing up a few of them.  Acceptance of Val’s report was proposed by Desmond Quaite  & seconded by Norah Farquharson.  All present were in agreement.  Val also mentioned that the next Worthing gathering will be on October 9th  2011 at The Indigo in Worthing, due to closure of The Beach Hotel.

7.  Newsletter Editor’s Report  

In Hannah’s absence, her report was presented by her father, Gordon, the Treasurer.  She had produced 2 copies of “The Lion’s Face” –a winter edition & The Games edition.  These were issued as hard copies but also available on-line.  As ever, more contributions are needed & the deadlines are the end of June & the end of November for the winter edition.  She proposes to write an article on the pipe banner & especially the 4 x 4 tour both with illustrations.  Thanks were extended to Hannah for her interesting newsletters.  It was proposed by Alistair & seconded by Alan that the report be approved & this was carried unanimously.

8.   Web Site. 

Andrew Farquharson presented his report, stressing that contributions are requested & very welcome.  Articles available & able to be extended, include research into famous Farquharsons  & members of septs, history- such as the development of tartans & there are other areas as yet untapped. Copies of the “Lion’s Face” are available, as are copies of the Australian  “Carn-na-Cuimhne”   although current copies are put on the web at a later date as they are kept back for the membership to read first. Please tell Andrew if grammar, spelling or any other difficulties occur.  Andrew stated that there were 700 hits on the web site last month & 3,000 pages of clan news have been read.  There is also an online  facebook site to which many people have signed up.  He said a click on the ‘like’ button will alert you to something on the site & 900 had signed up on our website guest book since 2003.  Andrew stressed the power of the web & related his experiences in contacting Farquharsons overseas & Argentina in particular.   A number of the latter are on the web site already.  He also stressed the importance of the web site in advising people of the annual gatherings, giving them good notice in order to make bookings etc.  At this point, there were some very strong opinions expressed about the content & management of the clan web page as The President had requested Andrew to remove a couple of articles from the site but they had remained there as links. 

In addition, The President expressed great dissatisfaction that the appeal for funds for the pipe banner had not been posted on the web site until June, when the appeal had been launched in March.  Andrew replied that he was “shocked” and it was due to the failure of the backing-up of the website which had defaulted to an earlier date.

Stuart stated that he thought people needed to be asked to join the membership, that we shouldn’t just expect to find willing people, & Gordon the Treasurer wanted to know what members’ expectations were of the clan & why they might want to join & this should be reflected on the web site.
It was proposed by Gordon & seconded by Stuart that the web site report should be accepted.  There was 1 vote against this & the remainder voted for acceptance.

9.  Constitutional Matters  4a (i):

That the immediate past president be invited to join the committee for three years until his/her successor takes office.  Maureen commented that she thought it was a good idea for the expertise of the retiring president to be available to the committee. 
 Maureen proposed the amendment to the constitution & Jane Farquharson of Guildford seconded it. There was unanimous agreement.

4a.(ii): That the Vice President shall under normal circumstances succeed the presidency in due course. The current vice president, Alan Caig shall be appointed Honorary Vice President in view of his outstanding contribution to Clan Farquharson UK.  The succession was agreed & it was clarified that Alan’s vice presidency was honorary while his position as Vice President of Clan Farquharson was a separate entity.  This was also agreed unanimously & Alan expressed his sincere thanks to all those present.

4a(iii)  That a post of Honorary Secretary may be established which may include the  post of Membership Secretary & may be shared.  Valerie was welcomed back after her illness earlier this year & Margaret was thanked for carrying on with the secretarial tasks.  Gordon of Guildford proposed the motion seconded by Maureen & it was unanimously approved.

 These resolutions not to be enacted until a review of the constitution had been agreed.

4a.(ii): That the Vice President shall under normal circumstances succeed   the presidency in due course & that the current vice president, Alan Caig shall be appointed Honorary Vice President in view of his outstanding contribution to Clan Farquharson UK.

The succession was agreed by all & it was clarified that Alan’s honorary vice presidency was for life while his position as Vice President of Clan Farquharson was  a separate entity.  This was also agreed unanimously &  Alan expressed his sincere thanks to all those present.

4a(iiiThat a post of Honorary Secretary may be established which may include the  post of Membership Secretary & may be shared. 

Valerie was welcomed back after her illness earlier this year & Margaret was thanked for carrying on with the secretarial tasks.  Gordon of Guildford proposed the motion seconded by Maureen & it was unanimously approved., but this resolution was not to be enacted until a review of the constitution had been agreed.

10.  Election of Officers & Committee

The following committee posts were agreed.  All the following post holders agreed to stand for re-election.
President .          Alistair Farquharson will remain in office for the third & final year of the presidency.
Vice President                       Alan Caig
Honorary Secretary               Valerie Farquharson
Assistant Secretary              Margaret Finlay
Treasurer                             Gordon Farquharson of Guildford
Website manager                 Andrew Farquharson of Findon
History                                 Geoffrey Farquharson
Newsletter Editor                 Hannah Jones
These nominations were proposed by Stuart Farquharson & seconded by Lily Quaite

11. Review of 2011 Gathering & Future Plans    

It was agreed by all that this year’s gathering had been very enjoyable despite some inclement weather.   There was a suggestion from Jeanette that future visits might include other castles, perhaps Stirling.    At the committee meeting after the AGM, the agenda would cover this item.   It was also agreed that Alan Caig would carry out a review of the Clan’s constitution.

12.  AOB 

Jane Farquharson Hill said she wished grateful thanks to be extended to Ansgar for enabling Val & John to attend the gathering by driving them up to Scotland & for the kind & caring way in which he had looked after their welfare, as well as joining the local Ballater Pipe band for the week.  The membership applauded Ansgar’s much appreciated kindness.

The President closed the meeting after thanking Captain Farquharson & the membership for their presence.   Members adjourned for welcome soup & sandwiches before the committee meeting.

The meeting closed at 1.15pm.     Minutes prepared by Margaret Finlay.


AGM minutes