FOBs Annual General Meeting Tuesday 17th October 2006

Chairman's Report

Another busy year for Blundell’s and the Friends of Blundell’s Committee and I would like to extend a very warm welcome to everyone here.

Before I move on to an account of our activities for the past year, I would like to record with great sadness the recent death of Jenny Amey.  In her role as Estates Bursar, Jenny was a great help and support to Friends of Blundell’s.  Most notable, was all the organising help she gave us, sorting things out for the Ball, but she also sourced the best buys and organised the purchase and installation of most of the items we have given to school over the past few years.  Always helpful and unfailingly energetic and nothing was ever too much trouble to get things right, she was a great friend and colleague and we are really going to miss her smiling face and presence. She will be a hard act to follow.

Our Committee comprises parents from across the school and those of past pupils, also our Head Master Mr. Ian Davenport and the Second Master, Mr. Randall Thane.  We are fortunate to have tremendous administrative support from the Foundation Office with Mrs. Patricia Thompson.

Committee members have increased in number, although some members, who through commitments may not always be able to attend meetings, are nevertheless willing helpers at events – when person power is needed.  It is good to have support from parents all across the school.

Malcolm Lock continues to keep our finances under control and recorded and sends his apologies, as he is unable to be with us this evening.  The Second-hand Uniform Shop continues to thrive and is now being run by Diana McDowell and her group of helpers.

Fiona Kingdom, who has worked very hard for us for several years, has left her post as Matron and is no longer a school parent and is making a career change. I would like to record a huge vote of thanks for all her hard work over the years – many of the changes of location and running of the Shop have been under her banner – and send our good wishes for the future.

The Second-hand Uniform Shop is a great fund raiser for us and funds make their way to the houses from the uniform sales too – so many thanks to those who run it for us. Diana McDowell would like to appeal for more stock – perhaps there are parents who have piles of things no longer needed, just waiting to be brought in! If you cannot make to shop opening hours, you can always drop things off at the school office. The shop is open in the holidays at specific times and on leave weekends.

We are still fortunate to be able to call on Mrs. Anne Stone and Mrs. Sue Atkins, who very kindly arrange flowers for us for special occasions.  Knowing you can all on someone is invaluable – they are very generous to give us their time as they do.

We have tried again to include parents from across the school, and with the help of Moira Clark and Sue Woodruff and helpers -  a Barn Dance was put on at Uplowman Village Hall, in March, mainly aimed at School House Parents.  The evening was greatly enjoyed by those who attended and a donation was made to our twinned school in Saraputhra.

This year we have purchased:- a new telescope and eye pieces for the school Astronomy Group, a new Dishwasher for the Sixth Form Club, continue to pay for the Aquaid water dispenser for the Drama Department, paid for repairs to one of the Shelters on the all-weather pitch, made a donation to Westlake to improve their social space.

We are supporting the newly formed Blundell’s Young Co-operatives, in their venture to raise money for a Microloan Scheme to assist disadvantaged women in Malawi, with  loans. We also funded the use of a Marquee in the Dining Hall quad for the Christmas Dinner in December last year. We  provided wine and mince pies after the Advent Carol Service.

Our Summer Ball was again held on the last day of the Summer Term and was hugely enjoyed by those who attended it and by those who ran it.  It is a wonderful end to their time at Blundell’s and the end of the evening is always very emotional. The extra entrance marquee was used again for the bar and this year for the first time, we had a chocolate fountain, greatly enjoyed by all age groups.  The caricaturist joined us again as did the table magicians. It was a beautiful evening. This year we thought we would advertise ourselves a little more and purchased a banner for FOBs, also all our own name badges, which I think makes it easier for those attending to pick us out.  As new licensing laws, came in this year, we had to consider how we would regulate, whom amongst the pupils were allowed to buy alcohol, so decided on wrist bands, which were only issued to 18s and over to show at the bar. The check in went really well, thanks to two OBs help and the system went like clockwork.  We have enough wrist bands for a few years to come. Many thanks as always to Chrissie Copperfield and her amzing organisational skills and to everyone in the team, at whatever stage of the event they helped. We couldn’t do it without you. Also again, many thanks to Peter Chapman and Year 9, who cleared and re-arranged the Marquee for us again in record time, to enable us to get everything ready for the evening start.  Even allowing for the great help, we still need to have quite a quick change from ducklings into swans for our hostess roles for the evening.

We welcome new members to our committee, but we recognise that many parents are very busy and early evening weekday meetings are not always easy to get to, so helpers not on the committee are also welcome. Ideas for events too are welcome – and the folk to organise them! and to attend them. With a full and busy school calendar, we have to organise a long way ahead.

Friends of Blundell’s exists to support the ethos and strengths of the Blundell’s family and its endeavours and I would like to thanks everyone for coming this evening and for the continued support in all the varied ways that the Friends of Blundell’s offer to our school.

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