A WivSoc Wednesday with a difference this week – it’s only the AGM of our lovely local town civic society.
Turns out that I wasn’t alone. For all yer Essex Man jibes, Wivenhoe Man is something of a salty sea dog. I wasn’t the only WivSoc Sir wearing a captain’s sea hat (although I take pride in the knowledge that mine was the biggest.)
But anyway – what of the business end of the WivSoc year? It was all routine stuff, with Mr Chair admirably sticking to the agenda, and sticking it (in a very, very polite way) to anything that might upset the balance of the old meets the new, that makes Wivenhoe such a charming place to live.
I say routine stuff, but when the annual log book for events organised by WivSoc takes in (deep breath…) Open Gardens, wine tasting, the Fun Day, two heritage walks (8th May imminent) two riverbank clean ups (10th April even more imminent) the Craft Fair, the Quayside crabbing, the Colne talk, the post-Christmas party, Hanging Basket competitions, helping out at the Regatta, then you can see how a routine year in Wivenhoe needs some sense of formal organising.
Which is precisely where the incredibly hard working WivSoc committee members come in. The meeting opened with the approval of the previous minutes, plus some fool wearing a silly sea hat walking in halfway through.
Mr Chair’s Report was deliberately brief – new members were made to fee most welcome.
The Secretary’s Report was the opportunity to outline in more detail some of the fine work of WivSoc over the past twelve months. Monitoring and responding to planning applications remains the main priority.
New procedures mean that objections now have to be channelled through Borough councillors, thus further complicating matters. WivSoc wishes to place on the record the support so far offered by Cllr Steve Ford of Wivenhoe Quay ward.
The WivSoc Newsletter was praised, providing members with quarterly updates not only on Society matters, but also locals items of a more general interest. I hear that the next issue has a half-decent front-page pic snapped by some hit and miss photographer.
For a Society that is all too conscience (often too Conscience in my opinion) of the ‘mature’ nature of the membership, it is rather ace to see the modern interweb being explored.
Members’ email updates are sent out when ever a matter of urgency arises. The Secretary highlighted recent issues such as the proposal to build on the land near to Millfields School, the sea wall clearance, Transition Town Wivenhoe updates and the impact of the Knowledge Gateway on the town as recent examples of online dialogue.
Outside of the internal mechanisms of WivSoc and it was also mentioned that the Society has a formal voice at the NAP meetings, the Wivenhoe Townscape Forum (local list) and still my fave ever group, the Wivenhoe Wood Working Party.
A big thank you went out to Cllr Bob Needham for giving up his Wednesday evenings once a month to offer feedback on WTC meetings. Nice hat m’Cllr friend – never mind the length, feel the thickness etc.
The Secretary wrapped up by saying that the WivSoc membership continues to grow, as well as observing developments within the town that reflect well for the future of Wivenhoe.
Speaking of all things fiscal – it’s only the WivSoc Treasurer’s Report…
The Society’s finances are “healthy.” Let’s leave it at that. Well, not quite… A *shhh* three figure surplus was made in the last financial year. No deficit deniers upstairs at the Nottage on Wednesday night.
£200 was donated towards Wivenhoe in Bloom. All social events made a profit. The increase in membership numbers covers the running cost of WivSoc.
Chair’s Q & A simply put out the request for any tree expert within Wivenhoe to step forward. Help is needed in identifying any trees in the town that might need a little TLC. Having accidentally managed to floor one in my own back garden after only three months of living here, I thought it best not to volunteer.
The election of officers followed, with the motion to keep subscription rates as the same level also passed.
Any Other Business?
Almost. Time first for a splendid talk by Anthony Roberts, the esteemed Artistic Director @ColchesterArts. With a #hyperlocal artistic history boasting Francis Bacon (sort of,) the Lakeside (not quite Wivenhoe) and the grand plans for the old Engine Shed (um…) Anthony was preaching to the converted.
We heard a wonderful social history of the old building, covering a barely plausible Humpty Dumpty reference, and leading up to the opening of the ace arts space in 1980.
Anthony then spelt out his vision for @ColchesterArts to champion new and emerging talent. The importance of online culture was emphasised, with a brilliant explanation of how the modern interweb has helped the centre to build new communities and change the artistic experience.
And then it was time for booze. Except @AnnaJCowen and I took something of a liking to the food first, and didn’t really move away from the buffet table. Some charming conversations followed, and then soon it was chucking out time at The Nottage.
No worries – we stopped off at the Rose and Crown and necked eight pints of Carlsberg each, and were back at base in time for the Ten O’clock News.
Only joking. It was the Eleven O’clock News. Fashionably late, and timing has never been my strong point. Nice nautical hat though.