FOBs Annual General Meeting Thursday 11th October 2012

Chairman's Report

Again, as in previous years as I give this Annual Report, I find it hard to believe that another year has passed, since the last Annual General Meeting. It is the nature of being in the school environment, with timetables and future planning always on our minds, that time seems to fly by. However, having said that, we have achieved well this year.

Our committee comprises parents from across the school and those of past pupils, also our Headmaster, Mr Ian Davenport until July and Mr Randall Thane, Second Master, now Head Master for this term. We continue to be fortunate enough to have the Administrative support of Mrs Patricia Thompson, formerly in the Bursary, but now working from home. We have a faithful supportive committee, but we would welcome new members from parents across the school year groups.

Steve Nash has settled into his very valued role as our Honorary Treasurer and Malcolm Lock our former Treasurer now audits our accounts. Thank you to both of them. They also don their dinner suits and man the bar at the Ball, roles from which they seem to get great pleasure!

The Second-Hand Uniform Shop is running as efficiently as ever and is a great fund raiser for us and a good service to parents and pupils. Now located, I hope permanently, in the Music School and open on leave weekend Saturdays and on some dates in the holidays, it is organised by Nikki Hamilton. Nikki's husband Charlie, is Housemaster at FH, so Nikki is on site for queries and problems. She is very accommodating to parents and is on hand, so that the proceeds from sales can be processed as quickly as possible. We are very grateful to Nikki and her team for the time they volunteer to keep the second-hand shop going for us.

We still fund and organise the provision of Flower Arrangements for special occasions around school. We have just been asked to undertake the Chapel flowers, a regular table arrangement and occasional altar pedestals. Charlotte Edmanson has kindly agreed to do this for us, we are very grateful.

For the Choral Concert we offer buttonholes for Andrew Barlow, our Director of Music and for the first Violin. Also bouquets for the soloists. I also sing in the choir, but while sitting on the platform at this year's concert, watching and listening to the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto, I realised I had not organised enough. There were four singing soloists and the concert pianist and I had four bouquets. The soloist had to be given one at the end of her performance. So, in the interval, my husband dashed out and bought two bottles of champagne and wine bags, for the tenor and bass soloists and flowers were given to the soprano and alto at the end of the concert.

We supplied and served refreshments after the Advent Carol Service, last year and will do again this year, here in the FOBs room.

Each year we allocate funds to the houses, to spend on whatever the pupils and house parents feel appropriate. However, this year we had feedback and insight from pupils that indicated they had particular preferences. We were asked for very large toasters, to ease the strain and queues at break times for toast! After a couple of false starts, when the 12 slice toasters had to be exchanged for 2 x 6 slice toasters, owing to wiring problems, four houses have toasters, which the pupils are pleased with. OH wanted the money to buy more fitness equipment and Westlake recovered the pool table.

We donate £300 towards the fireworks for Bonfire Night each year.

We are currently involved in the design, build and funding of new display towers for the Art Department for use in Popham and Ondaatje Foyer. These will take the place of the large, white, cumbersome boards, that have been used up to now, to display GCSE, AS and A2 art work and for other display occasions. These have the potential to be used by the whole school population.

An instant water heater has been supplied by us, behind the Foyer Bar in Ondaatje. This means it is now able to be used by Senior Pupils to assist with hospitality at plays and functions. Our next project is to fit water fountains in two new locations on campus. One outside Art, near Popham and one close to the Science blocks, near Biology.

As a Committee, it is our brief to administer our funds as evenly as possible, to ensure that whatever we provide, has the potential to benefit all, or a majority of the pupils at some time or another in their school career.

The main event of the year that we undertake is the Annual Summer Ball. It is a great evening, which we feel runs well and know is greatly enjoyed and appreciated by parents and staff, but most importantly by the pupils who attend. It is a Ball and not a Prom and the girls have responded to our requests to dress accordingly and this year sported sensible footwear or brought something to change into if the killer heels proved too much! Our preparations have been eased as last year by being able to store all our glasses and table linen here in the FOBs room storage and accumulate our bargain wine buys in time for the evening.

The change over from Speech Day to the Ball is pretty seamless now. We still have to improve the chair collapsing, carrying out and stacking procedure. The weather on the evening was not kind and we had to battle torrential rain, which flooded into the marquee. We had to find matting part way through the evening to ease the way to the loos. The Ground staff had laid a wide coir matting across the grass, which made a huge difference, as did the larger entrance marquee, which helped at welcome time. This resulted also in a wider dance floor, which meant everyone could find a dancing spot. The photographic studio again went well. The paid help we receive from the kitchen staff, serving Buck's Fizz, clearing and washing up frees us up to concentrate on hostess duties. We are grateful to the Maintenance and Porter Staff too, who are always willing to help us sort problems at events. The time and energy commitment from everyone makes such a difference to the success of this event and other things we help to do throughout the year.

We would love to welcome new members to the Committee. Some of us have been here for quite a few years now. Some members are just with us for the time their children are in school. The Ball is our main event and the Advent Carol Service. Help is always appreciated. Sometimes, easier if your children are not at the event! We have two meetings a term and sometimes an extra one closer to the Ball. We also welcome ideas for other events that we could host, although we need to plan quite well ahead, as the school calendar gets very full, very quickly.

Friends of Blundell's exists 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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