FOBs Annual General Meeting Thursday 10th October 2013

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 had another good year.

Our committee comprises parents from across the school and those of past pupils, also the Head, Mrs Nicola Huggett and Mr Bart Wielenga, Second Master. 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. Unfortunately, the summer saw the departure of three long serving stalwarts, Fiona Miles, Caroline Reece and Charlotte Edmanson. We will miss their hard work and unstinting energy very much indeed. We would welcome new members from parents across the school year groups.

Steve Nash continues in his valued role as our Honorary Treasurer and Malcolm Lock our former Treasurer audits our accounts. Thank you to both of them. Steve also helps to man the bar at the Ball.

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. Located 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 the high days and holidays pedestals and Elizabeth Slade will do the table arrangements 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 female soloists and champagne for the male soloists.

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 houseparents feel appropriate.

However, this year we had feedback and insight from pupils that indicated they had particular preferences.

Quite a few years ago FOBs bought portable barbecues for use as when houses wanted to borrow them. These were worn out, so FOBs have bought every house a top of the range gas barbecue, last Autumn. They were used for Bonfire Night last year for the first time, a really good evening, that we donate £300 towards the fireworks each year. The houses get a lot of use out of their barbecues.

We have also given all the houses £500 each. This year it is being spent on giving the houses a more homely feel - with lamps, cushions, bean bags, coffee tables etc.

We were involved in the design, build and funding of new display towers for the Art Department for use in Popham and Ondaatje Foyer. These have taken 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.

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. They will be installed as soon as new roadways are installed over there.

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 again 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 stock in time for the evening of the Ball.

The change over from Speech Day to the Ball is pretty seamless now. This year, the year nine pupils were really good, helping to get all the Chairs collapsed and stacked in record time.

The weather this year was wonderful and so appreciated. The larger entrance marquee helped again 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 and Elderflower 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. 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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