FOBs Annual General Meeting Tuesday 12th October 2010

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, 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. However, after many years of more than faithful service, Malcolm has said that he would like to step down, as our Honorary Treasurer. He has said that he would still like to be involved with the Ball (he must be mad!) but we want to say a huge thank you for everything he has done over the years to keep our accounts in order, especially the Ball and the Second-hand Uniform, which produces so many cheques. I would just like to offer a small token of our thanks, which doesn't go half way enough to thank him.

The Second-hand Uniform Shop continues to flourish and offers a valuable service and is a great fund raiser for us; 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 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 after the Advent Carol Service again last November and we plan to do so again this year.

We have also been the majority finance behind the Blundell's Bonfire and Fireworks evening, and have donated items to various activities in the school.

We still 'man' the freezer in the Theatre Box Office so that Ice Cream can be sold in the intervals; supply flowers for special occasions and continue to finance the Water Cooler for the Theatre. We have also given substantial cheques to each of the houses, for the Houseparents to spend on items that they feel appropriate to enhance the life of the pupils in the houses.

Our Annual Summer Ball was held again on the lost day of the Summer Term. It was hugely enjoyed by all those who attended and ran it. The weather was kind this year, and we were able to welcome pupils and guests on the lawn outside the Marquee.

We hired in a 'Photographic Studio' again, and families, groups of friends and couples were able choose and order their favourite photographs, on­line, at their leisure after the event. 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 Canapés were served in the welcome marquee. We added coloured fairy lights behind the Marquee this year.

We made several additions this year. We had banners over the welcome tables so that Pupils and Guests could check in separately, and used tokens for guests to claim their Buck's Fizz and also employed our great kitchen staff to serve it, which helped the evening start much more smoothly. Thank you to Caroline Reece, who organises the catering and entertainments side of the Ball. Again this year, the Canapés 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 Jan Yates and Year 9 CCF, who along with porters and committee 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, Moira Clark, Fiona Miles and Barrie Corden, who did an early shift with setting up the bar on Thursday evening and with Peter Steel helped all Saturday morning too. Thank you to Charlotte Edmanson for organising the tickets. 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, and although she has been unwell this summer, her pre-organisation is so efficient, it all runs amazingly even when she is not there! She is quietly efficient and another request is always received in her customary calm manner. Another vote of thanks must go to Julia Swan who has been on the Committee for several years and has been a great supporter.

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.

I have not yet mentioned our main outlay and expense this year and it is also the reason why we have moved this year's Annual General Meeting to Big School, rather than is our custom, in Ondaatje Foyer.

We gave a customary cheque donation to each house to spend as they wish, but we had accumulated a fairly substantial sum that we thought would be appropriate to use to finance a large project, which would benefit everyone in the school over their time here.

Ondaatje Hall is an amazing asset, with great AV and IT presentation facilities, but there are times when the 160 seating capacity is not adequate and when it is necessary to be able to use AV technology to much larger audiences.

So it was decided to install a completely new AV System in here, with a back projection cinema screen. Roger Winwood, our Theatre Manager and Ondaatje Hall Technician, along with Steve Bush, also formerly of Stage Electrics, used the Summer Holiday to install this state of the art facility for us. They have joined us this evening, to demonstrate our new asset. It will be used by Music, Visiting Speakers, House Music, Socials and many other events in the Calendar.

I would like to ask Mrs Caroline Steel, my right-hand person and long-time Committee Member to officially 'switch on', our new AV system.

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