FOBs Annual General Meeting Tuesday 14th October 2008

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 to extend a warm welcome to everyone here this evening.

Another year of great activity within the school, for the pupils, staff and all the support staff.

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 continues to flourish and offers a valuable service and is a great fund raiser for us and funds make their way to the houses from the uniform sales too – so great thanks to the volunteers who give so willingly of their time to 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 need 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. Some really nice large picture frames, to enable pupils work to be displayed all around the school. These are changed over from time to time. We still ‘man’ the freezer in 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. We have just given £500 each to all of the houses, for the House parents to spend on items that they feel appropriate to enhance the life of the pupils in the houses. We are also hoping to make a substantial contribution towards one or two large projects coming up in the next year or two in school.

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. The weather really tested us again this year. It was not so bad for the setting up and Speech Day was not too wet, with a window of sun for the teas. However, the skies opened for the evening, and it seemed to bring out the best in everybody. Beautifully dressed ladies and girls and handsome gentlemen dashed from their cars under umbrellas. The fact that everyone could not go off for a wander and stayed in the marquee seemed to add to the companionship of the evening. We tried several things for the first time. We hired in a ‘Photographic Studio’, and families, groups of friends and couples were able choose and order their favourite photographs, on-line, at their leisure after the event. As there was a huge audio/visual rig installed for Speech Day for the speaker, we took advantage of this, and with the able assistance of Roger Winwood, our Theatre Manager/Technician, created a video show of the school lives of this year’s leavers on the screens. We also managed to include a set of ‘When we were very young’ pictures of one of the Lower Sixth girls, as it was her birthday that day. We were joined by Freeway, the Caricaturist and the Table Magicians again. Mediwest took care of us once more. Our guests’ Buck’s Fizz and Canapes were served on the dance floor this year, because of the weather. Thank you to Caroline Reece, who organises the catering and entertainments side of the Ball. Again this year, the Canapes and the meal were delicious. Again this year, we employed a member of the School Portering staff overnight, who cleared the Marquee for us while he was on duty. This makes a huge difference, so that when we finish off in the morning, we just have to get the glasses over for washing etc. 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 turnaround time every year!  We brought the start of the Ball forward this year, so time was of the essence.

I would also like to record a special thank you to Caroline and Alex Steel also, Malcolm Lock and Barrie Corden, who did an early shift with setting up the bar all Friday morning and with Peter Steel helped all Saturday morning too. The Ball would not happen without them all.

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 runs 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. Another vote of thanks must go to Sarah Vantreen who has been on the Committee for several years and has been a tireless supporter of all we do and, for the last two has organised the ticketing side of the Ball – a complicated task that often requires diplomatic skills. Sarah has seen the last of her children through Blundell’s now and has left the Committee, but many thanks again for her contribution over the years.

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 varied ways that the Friends of Blundell’s offer to our school.

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