FOBs Annual General Meeting Tuesday 16th October 2007

Chairman's Report

Every year when we meet for our Annual General Meeting, it seems more incredible that another year has gone by.  I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone here this evening.

Another year of great activity within the school, for the pupils and for the infrastructure with new buildings going up – an Academic Centre, between Ondaatje and the DT Block and an extension to the Music Department, which must have almost doubled it in size.  Anyone who attended the official opening 10 days ago will not fail to have been impressed by all the new facilities available to the pupils in these newly extended departments.

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 continue to be fortunate to have great administrative support from the Foundation Office with Mrs. Patricia Thompson.

Committee membership remains stable. Some members are not always able to join us at all meetings, which is fine, as many have work commitments at meeting times and we appreciate the time that is offered.  It is encouraging to have support from parents from across the school and would welcome new members, especially parents of new pupils.

Malcolm Lock continues to keep our finances in good order and he  is giving his report this evening.  Thank you to him for all he does.

The Second-hand Uniform Shop has undergone yet another incarnation!

As the sub-stage area of the Music School was being reconfigured (the S-H Shop’s home), it meant that all the stock had to be moved out, again! But Diana McDowell and Fiona Miles took the opportunity to prune the stock, so that only things with a sensible and regular turnover were moved back into the new domain.  Local Charity Shops and the recycling unit at Ashley received the excess, I believe. The Bursary decorated and carpeted the new premises and put the rails up again, so it is very smart there and the actual space is about 2/3 the size of the old room, with the entrance further along the corridor.

The Second Hand Shop is a great fund raiser for us and funds make their way to the houses from the uniform sales too – so great thanks to those who run it for us.  If you have Uniform, no longer needed, and you cannot make the shop opening times, things can always be dropped off at the School Office.  The shop is open in the holidays at specific times and on leave weekends too.

When flowers are needed for special occasions, we are still able to call on Mrs. Anne Stone and Mrs. Sue Atkins, who kindly do arrangements for us. We do appreciate the time they give us and their special skills.

We have run and supplied refreshments for the Allegri String Quartet Concert and after the Advent Carol Service, this year again.

We have purchased more items this year for various areas of the school. We have bought equipped First Aid bags to go out with all the teams; gazebos for use at the Fete; financed the launch of the Young Co-operatives group; mini-oven electric rings for Francis House, a double Piano Stool and dishwasher for School House; a freezer for the Theatre Box Office so that Ice Cream can be sold in the intervals; flowers for special occasions and continue to finance the Water Cooler for the Theatre.

Our Annual Summer Ball was held again on the last day of the Summer Term.  It was hugely enjoyed by all those who attended and ran it. We were very fortunate that the weather decided to behave itself on the day, after a very soggy few days, while things were being set up. We were joined by Freeway, the Caricaturist and the Table Magicians again and this year had an electric surf board.  Great to see girls trying to balance and remain elegant in their lovely dresses! The new licensing laws have settled down now and the wrist bands worked well again.  Mediwest took care of us once more. Our special treat this year, initiated by a Sixth Former’s father, was a display by the Red Devils Parachute team, who arrived to be greeted by delighted spectators, having already been served their Buck’s Fizz and Canapés. We shared the finance for this with CCF and the pupil’s parent.  It was a spectacular beginning to a lovely evening. Prompted by feedback and the suggestion of Caroline Reece, and thank you to her organising this, we changed Caterers this year and were really pleased – the Canapés and the meal were delicious. Instead of the Security Firm this year, we employed a member of the School Portering staff overnight, who cleared the Marquee for us while he was on duty. This made a huge difference, so that when we went to finish off in the morning, we just had to get the glasses over for washing etc. Thank you also to Sarah Vantreen who organised tickets sales this year, to relieve the School Office at a very busy time. Thank you again to Peter Chapman and Year 9 CCF, who very ably cleared the Marquee straight after Speech Day. We are chopping minutes off this turn around time every year!  We brought the start of the Ball forward this year, so time was of the essence.

We were also assisted by the guest speaker who seemed to know instinctively that a shorter speech would be very helpful!  I would also like to record a special thank you to Caroline and Alex Steel who carted and carried crates of glasses in rain and wind on the Thursday evening, did an early shift with setting up the bar all Friday morning and, with Peter, helped all Saturday morning too.

Many thanks to everyone who helped before, during and after the Ball. Your time and energy make it a very special evening for the pupils and guests, and even with the tighter timetable, Committee members all looked stunning as Hostesses for the evening.  I would also like to record my personal thanks to Frances Jenner, who has taken over the Bursary end of the Marquee and Ball Organisation, from putting sockets where we would like them to ensuring the ballroom floor is the right size. She is quietly efficient and another request is always received in her customary calm manner.

We welcome new members to our committee, but 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! We always have to plan a long way ahead, with our full school calendar.

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

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