FOAC Annual Meeting 2015

The 2015 FOAC Annual Meeting was held on Saturday 18th April in the Axbridge Church Rooms.

Chairman's Report - Priscilla Chard

Once again I am please to say we have had another successful year.  Shortly after last years annual meeting we had our Open Gardens weekend.  This is always a popular event and I never cease to be amazed how far our visitors come from - obviously our advertising is working!

Open Gardens was followed by the Church Fete with its theme of TV Past and Present.  We ran the Bathrom Stall with the theme of Last of the Summer Wine.  I can't remember which committee members dressed up as Nora Batty and Compo, but I am sure someone will remind me!

In the autumn Youthful Spirit Gospel Choir from Churchill Academy sang in Church and once again it was packed with supporters and family.  This was quickly followed by our Shopping Evening in the Town Hall.  We have had tables at several Coffee Mornings selling our bathroom and other items and we ran a successful bar when Axbridge Singers performed in Church recently.

A few thank-you's: firstly to Paul and Diana for donating their Golden Wedding service collection to us; to Francis Rabbitts for auditing our accounts; and last but not least to all members of our committee for their dedication and hard work throughout the year.  I am pleased to be able to present a cheque for £1,000 to Tim to support the work Martin will talk about shortly.

Financial Summary - Andy Goddard

Income and Expenditure Account for the Year Ending 31 March 2015
  Details of Income Details of Expenditure  
  Balance b/fwd  £1,366.36      
   Annual Membership   £270.00      
   Life Membership                    £0.00      
   Donations   £5.00      
   Gift Aid   £102.53      
   Sales   £17.00      
   Open Gardens   £1,580.16      
   Fete Stall   £111.40      
   Paul & Diana Anniversary   £442.50      
   Gospel Choir   £999.43      
   Shopping Evening   £379.37      
   Table Sale   £47.90      
   Axbridge Singers   £119.00      
       Donation to Church   £3,500.00  
       Expenses   £131.00  
  Income  £4,074.29 Expenditure  £3,631.00  
      Balance per statement #53  £1,678.89  
      Cash  £61.64  
      Uncleared Cheques / Deposits  £120.00  
      Balance c/fwd  £1,860.53  

Thank you for your generous support again this year.  With your help we raised £4,074, slightly less than last year’s £4,152 but that included a substantial legacy from Dorothy Newell’s estate. 

Our reason for existing is to support and enhance the fabric of our magnificent church and during the year we made 2 donations to the Church: £1,000 at the annual meeting and £2,500 at the Carol Service at Christmas.

FOAC income comes from membership subscriptions and events.  Annual subscription receipts were £270, £27 less than in 2013-14 which was due to the conversion of some annual members to life members that year.  There were no new life members this year.  We have lost touch with a few people over recent years and this year we will invest time and postage (or leg-work) to make contact again.  If you have friends or neighbours who are interested in joining please take a membership form for them.  Membership subscription remains a minimum of £7.50 for single membership, £10 for a couple, £75 for single life and £100 for joint life membership.  If you pay annually it helps us if you can pay by standing order and if you have a standing order please check that the amount is correct.  If you pay income tax on earnings or savings please sign a Gift Aid declaration so that we can reclaim the tax, it costs you nothing; last year I recovered £102 from HMRC.  If you are making or changing your will you can support FOAC by making a bequest.

Events raised £3,189 (£2,289 last year).  Despite the thunderstorm on the Sunday, Open Gardens income of £1,580 was a record, topping 2008 by £130, and we thank those who opened their gardens, provided refreshments and generously donated the proceeds from sales.  Churchill School Gospel Choir gave us a super evening in the autumn which provided a net income of a few pence under £1,000.  On a par with previous years, the Shopping Evening raised £379 and the stall at the fete £111; we also had tables in the Town Hall at some of the Farmers’ Markets which brought in almost £48.  Finally, although not a FOAC organised event, we provided the bar at the recent Axbridge Singers concert giving us a net income of £119.

Paul and Diana celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in the summer and guests at their party generously donated £380 to FOAC and we were able to reclaim £62 tax under Gift Aid and the GASD scheme, making a total of £442.  Thank you Paul and Diana and your guests!

Committee members and others generously donate their time and resources to the charity but we had one expense that we pay but hope never to need – insurance.  At our renewal in June we were notified that in addition to Public Liability we needed to provide Employer’s Liability cover for volunteers; this would have doubled our insurance premium.  We changed insurance to CaSE Insurance for Charities provided by aQmen and underwritten by QBE Insurance which includes Public and Employer’s Liability for £25 more than we paid the previous year. 

As Treasurer and Trustee of the charity I have a duty to advise the charity committee and members of any loss.  Bridgwater police are investigating the failure of a funeral director to pass on donations to charities collected at funerals in 2012.  The police believe that a total of up to £50 from funerals may have been withheld from FOAC and it is unlikely that we can recover this.

Also as Trustee, I am pleased to confirm that our accounts are up to date with the Charity Commission and can be viewed on their website (charity number 1109351).  The accounts for this year will be added shortly.

Finally, I would like to thank Francis Rabbitts, who examines our accounts, for his diligent work again this year.

PCC Report - Martin Latham

At last year's meeting we talked about plans to replace the pink plaster in the sanctuary with lime plaster to permit the wall to breathe and reduce the damp in the wall.  Unfortunately something more pressing was revealed at the Quinquennial Inspection shortly after the meeting and FOAC came forward to support that critical work.

The Quinquennial is a detailed inspection of the building carried out every five years by our Church Architect, Andrew Faulkner of benjamin + beauchamp architects, Wedmore.  This brought to light the dangerous condition of the north east Tower Pinnacle. 

(Click on the pictures for larger versions.)

A crack was found in the base of the pinnacle. An vertical iron post that aligns the stone sections had rusted, expanded and split the stone.
The top of the tower is about 30m above the ground and the repair was a task that could not be done safely without scaffolding.
The pinnacle was disassembled; this shows the carved stone blocks.
The is the offending rusted iron post, probably installed during the Victorian restoration. Behind are a couple of cramps that are used to lock the blocks together. The iron post was drilled out and replaced with stainless steel. New stainless steel cramps were fitted.
The pinnacle was reassembled using lime mortar. This show the bottom three sections in the first picture.
Here is the pinnacle rebuilt with the lightning conductor reinstalled.
Filling weathered stonework above the stair turret on the tower was expected to be minor work.
However we found that the base of the central support for the weather-vane was badly corroded.
Andrew Faulkner designed a bracket to support the base.
The supporting metalwork was repainted and the cockerel returned to its former glory.
The stonemasons removed the turret roof garden while they were up there!
The work was carried out by Ryan Brunt (Director - left) and Andrew (centre) of Wells Cathedral Stonemasons, Cheddar and supervised by our architect Andrew Faulkner (right).
The total cost of this was £6,572 after VAT was recovered, of which a large proportion was for scaffolding. Money raised by FOAC made a substantial contribution to the cost.

Having cleared the major items in the Quinquenniel report, our focus for this year is to replace the rotting gypsum plaster.  Some of worst came away during the autumn clean and  damp in the wall has reduced.  The main area is in the east wall of the Sanctuary behind the altar up to about head height.  Once this is removed and replaced with lime plaster we will make a start on cleaning the walls and repainting. 

The PCC appreciates the support from FOAC in carrying out these major tasks; the money we raise enables work to be carried out in a timely manner and reduces further degradation.

Future Events

  • How much is it worth?  An evening with Toby Pill from Clevedon Sale Rooms. Toby had submitted a number of dates in September and October.   
  • Church Fete 27 June – the committee felt it would be nice to have a change from the bathroom stall and proposed to have a kitchen stall instead.  Donations of new kitchen items would be very welcome. 
  • Calendars - It was proposed to print a calendar for 2016 and photographs of Axbridge would be very welcome.  Paul Passey would act as co-ordinator.  Photographs should be portrait format and high resolution and should be sent to Paul before July 1.

Officers and Committee for 2015-16

  • Chairman: Priscilla Chard
  • Secretary: Penny Cooke
  • Treasurer: Andy Goddard
  • Full list of committee members: Priscilla Chard, Penny Cooke, Jim Day, Paul and Diana Passey, Wendy and Robin Mace, Andy Goddard, Elizabeth Zanker, Maggie Tur, Martin Latham (PCC rep) Dawn Brigham Curtis and Jan Rabbitts. 

Priscilla and Penny indicated that this is the last year they will stand for office.  We will need a new Chairman and Secretary next year!

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