Extracts from the minutes of the 40th NHBS Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 5th March 2016

at the Walsall Leather Museum, 54 – 57 Wisemore, WS2 8EQ.

The full minutes will be circulated to the membership with the agenda for the 2017 AGM

Chairman’s Welcome & Report

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the 40th AGM of the NHBS.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Dave Fletcher. I am currently just acting as Chairman, following the untimely death of Pete Lacey this time last year. I have been a member of the Society for 29 years, and have served on the Committee during this last year to try to help out. I am an electronics engineer by background, and spent my working life in research and development. I have been the managing director and chairman of a number of hi-tec and aerospace companies, but never of a horse brass society! So I hope you will be kind to me as I attempt to chair the Annual Meeting of your Society today.

I regrettably have to start by advising you that Dick Bradshaw, our Journal Editor, is in hospital undergoing major heart surgery. I am sure you would wish to send him our best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. I understand that Dick underwent a successful operation last Tuesday and is now on the way to recovery. Please sign the get well card for him before you leave.

I am pleased to report that 2015 was a successful and vibrant year for your Society. This was in large part due to the sterling efforts of the Committee to whom I want to pay tribute.

First among equals is Brian O’Riordan, our Treasurer, who manages somehow each year to keep us solvent, and pay all the bills. He has generously dispensed his wisdom and experience to help us navigate round numerous crises, for which we are all most grateful. He has produced excellent and informative Newsletters which are much appreciated by members all around the world.

Another stalwart is Jim Speed who, as Secretary, has recorded and organised much of what goes on in the Society. A good example of his efforts is the AGM papers you have here today, prepared in a new and economical format. I hope you like them! Jim has displayed his shiny brasses at many events during the year, and in particular at the Dorset steam fair running the Society stand, where he successfully recruiting members and sold society brasses and books.

And so to our Membership Secretary, Mary Fletcher. What would we do without her? She is always on hand to help members with their infinite variety of queries, always with a patient and friendly smile. I estimate that during 2015 she sent out one thousand letters and packages!

Another centrepiece for the Society continues to be the Journal, edited so skilfully by Dick Bradshaw. We have been treated to really good articles and pictures over the last year. These have in turn stimulated many members to join in and share their own experiences and knowledge. Dick also cares for the Society website, which is of ever increasing importance to our future, as use of the internet permeates ever more into our daily lives.

And so to someone whose zest for travel does not appear to dim with age, Rolf Augustin, our Marketing and Overseas Director. Thank you for travelling from the USA to share your skills at the committee meetings and at the AGM. Special thanks are also due to you for the new marketing brochure, and for your generous support of Society publications.

During the year we were pleased to present George Willett with a plaque to commemorate his many years as Society Chairman, and also to welcome him back onto the committee to continue his management of the Society Award Brass Scheme. George will talk to us about the Scheme later on in this meeting.

A key part of the activities in the year are the meetings organised by committee members where brasses are displayed and exchanged. Stan Benton organised the gathering at Church Stretton, notable for some very fine displays of brasses. Mick Mullens organised the gathering at Ipsden, at which we were treated to a wonderful talk by Colin Doy on military harness and brasses. Dick Bradshaw organised the meeting at Over Haddon.

During the last year Peter Ferguson has produced a dozen beautiful drawings of potential Society brasses which were sent in by members. In fact, every one of the committee members has generously contributed their knowledge and expertise with real enthusiasm, so I do hope you will re-elect all of them for another year later in this meeting! I propose on your behalf that we give them a special vote of thanks for all their efforts on our behalf.

So what about the future for the Society? We face many real challenges. How do we raise sufficient money to fund our Award Brass scheme and also fund new Society Publications; how do we increase our appeal worldwide and recruit more members; how do we get younger fresh blood on to the Committee? As we address these and other issues, we should not be worried about making changes, for in life one of the few certainties is that things will change. We must hold on to the traditional ideals of our Society, while adding to these by exploiting what new ideas and technology have to offer. The unique resource of knowledge held by the Society about horses and their decoration must be preserved, and communicated with authenticity, thoughtfulness, and generosity.

In conclusion my special thanks go to you, the members of the Society. You, your interest and knowledge, are the lifeblood of our Society, and indeed the very reason for our existence! My best wishes to you as you pursue your passion for horse brasses in 2016.
Dave Fletcher. Acting Chairman. 5th March 2016

General Secretary’s Report

Since our traumatic experience twelve months ago we have reshaped the committee with the addition of David Fletcher as Society Chairman (acting) which no doubt will be confirmed later in the agenda of today’s meeting but of course we will miss all that Pete Lacey brought to the Society for many years to come.

Our two committee meetings this year recorded 100% attendance and produced a great deal of lively discussion on numerous subjects from rule changes to award brasses and we are so pleased to welcome George Willett back onto the committee who will maintain contact with the show organisers and we look forward to hearing from George later. The committee selected and approved two special brasses last year and have two more in the pipeline for 2016. The sale of these brasses will provide much needed income to fund the award brasses presented to the various shows throughout the country.

The Society archive material has been a subject of discussion in recent times and I am able to report that I have now gathered in the various bits and they have been filed again in some sort of order. Thought is now being put into preserving the archive by finding a permanent home for it perhaps a specialist museum in the Midlands. Before this can be done a considerable amount of work is required sorting what is appropriate to preserve.

The result of the 2017 membership brass competition will be announced later but the more observant amongst you might notice that brass no 1 appeared in 2015 and 2016 with slight variations brass no 6 also appeared last year. Both worthy contenders as we have nothing like them in the line up to date. From a membership of 362 the votes received at the time of writing this report amounted to a disappointing 29 but of course the votes from today’s meeting have yet to be added.

Our thanks however should go to Peter Ferguson who has the task first of all selecting a design which is different to the existing collection it has to be economic to produce in other words a brass that can be cast in one piece without expensive riveted add on’s or requiring excess hand finishing and of course a design which is structurally suitable.

Our show stand at the Great Dorset Steam Fair seems to go from strength to strength and is now providing a meeting point for an increasing number of our members who attend the show. We have an excellent working relationship with the organisers of the heavy horse section and I think we would be missed by many if we were not there. My collection of brasses which are used for the exhibition has grown and now provides a good talking point for the uninitiated. Peter Ferguson who assisted with the stand last year had an absolute hay day!! The stand is also a useful platform for promoting our books and special brasses.
Jim Speed
NHBS General Secretary 4.3.16

Membership Secretary’s Report

Membership for 2015

I am pleased to report that the last year has been a busy and enjoyable time for me, interacting with our diverse membership spread all round the world. We managed to maintain the number of members at a constant level of 362, the same number as last year. Although a significant number of members faded away or died, we managed to replace these with new members by the industrious use of shows, the internet, and by personal contacts. So thanks to everyone for their excellent efforts.

There were 308 UK members, and 54 from Overseas. These were divided between the following countries:- USA 29; AUS 14; CAN 3; FRA 2; and 1 in each of IRE; NZ; SA; SWE; SP; & BER.

Sales of Society Brasses

The Committee have made strenuous efforts over the last year to sell special and commemorative brasses, and they have proved very popular, making sales in excess of £2000. In particular, since their launch we have sold 71 Plough Share Brasses, and 57 Queen’s Record Reign Brasses. So thanks to all concerned, from the designers to the sellers, for their efforts in achieving this vital boost to the Society’s scarce funds. We still have just a few special brasses left (plus a few Annual Members Brasses), so be quick if you don’t want to miss out!
Mary Fletcher. Membership Secretary. 5th March 2016

Election of Officers

NHBS Chairman.Just one nomination had been received David Fletcher proposed by Mick Mullens seconded by Allan Brewer and unanimously elected by those present.

It was proposed by Rolf Augustin and seconded by Ian Jones that the following officers should continue in their present role for the ensuing year. Jim Speed General Secretary - Brian O’Riordan Treasurer – Mary Fletcher Membership Secretary. The proposition was unanimously carried.

Election of the Committee

David fletcher proposed that the following should be elected to serve on the NHBS committee for the ensuing year. Rolf Augustin – Stan Benton – Dick Bradshaw – Allan Brewer – Peter Ferguson – Ian Jones – Mick Mullens – George Willett. The proposition was seconded by Jim Speed and carried unanimously.

Explanation and approval of NHBS Rule Changes

At last year’s AGM we voted to give Associate Members the same rights as Members. In addition, you asked the Committee to go away and consider if it was now sensible to do away completely with the category of Associate Member. After due consideration the Committee agreed with this proposal, and the Rule changes detailed in the notes on page 13 of the calling papers give effect to this.

The simple summary of these changes are as follows: -

  • All members of the Society are called Members or Family Members.
  • No more ‘no brass’ members will be recruited.
  • Existing ‘no brass’ members continue to benefit from a £3 reduction. (Note that there are presently 5 paid up no brass Members and 2 more outstanding renewals).

It was proposed by Rolf Augustin that these rule changes should be adopted seconded by Allan Brewer and the vote carried by those present.

A further minor amendment was that the only report to be approved at the AGM by a membership by vote is that of the Treasurer other reports are received by the meeting but do not require a vote of approval.

Acceptance of the amendment was proposed by Stan Benton and seconded by Colin Doy and carried by those present.

Membership Brass 2017

The result of the 2017 membership brass competition was declared as number 5 on the list. Details will be listed in the next newsletter.