|Beer and chips in the Flying Duck|
Dales Way Association members come from all over the country and one of the highlights of the year is our annual meeting. As a constituted small charity we have a legal obligation to hold an AGM but that section of the day has always been the least important bit for me. Every autumn members travel to Ilkley from as far afield as Essex and Northumberland, some of them booking overnight accommodation and some spending a few days in the Dales. We have a morning walk together followed by a chips and sandwiches lunch in the Flying Duck, a short business meeting and lots of chat and laughter. Over the 10 years I've been secretary I'm proud to call these people friends. So it was with a very heavy heart we contemplated cancelling the 2020 meeting. Even without the rule of 6 and the ban on meeting indoors (Ilkley is in the Bradford District and has had local restrictions in place for most of the last 3 months) we couldn't ask members to leave home and travel across the country in current circumstances. What to do instead? Zoom was out of the question with over 300 members and several of the committee less than enthusiastic. Postponing felt a bit like a cop out and cancelling altogether would be letting down our members.
So last week we compiled all the reports we normally present at our AGM into an Autumn Newsletter packed with information about the year's activities. We sent it out with a voting slip asking members whether they accepted the Annual Report, Accounts etc. and waited. I was blown away by the response. A huge number of people replied. Members of the committee got involved, responding to the comments and questions about their area of responsibility and I compiled the votes and emails into a set of minutes. We very much hope we'll be back together again next year, walking and talking on the Dales Way and enjoying our chips but I'll look back on our virtual AGM with pride. It's been hard work but a real pleasure to be in touch with so many supporters and to know that they appreciate the efforts of our small voluntary committee.