Chunterings of the Chairman
This is where the Chairman, Chris Moore, chunters on about things around the railway and the society
© Liam Barnes
May I start by welcoming the 53 new members who joined the Society in January and take the opportunity to remind anyone who has not renewed, that their membership will lapse on the 31st of March and they will no longer be able to access the members area of this site or attend the AGM.
The Society Board has been very active since the start of the year, our application for charitable status was submitted to the Charity Commission and has been subject of a first review. The Charity Commission has directed us to the ‘Model Articles of a Registered Charity’ and advised that our existing articles, which were suitable when we formed a Company Limited by Guarantee, do not meet the requirements of a registered charity.
Following several meetings, we have produced a document that meets the conditions imposed by the regulator and protects your existing rights and privileges of membership, for Associate Members it enhances their rights as it will allow them to attend and vote at General Meetings of the Society. The proposed articles will be landing on your doorstep within the next couple of weeks and will be put to the AGM to be held on 21st April 2020 for ratification. Should you have any questions about the articles please address them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me on 07840 110448.
In line with our agreement to fund the track relay on the Irwell Vale Section we have made an interim payment of £19k to cover the costs of the first materials, however due to extreme weather conditions at the beginning of February it is unlikely that the project will commence before October.
We are supporting the ELR in their application for a grant to develop a dedicated educational suite at the Bury Transport Museum and further information will be provided once the result of the application is announced.
We are keeping a careful watch on government guidance following the outbreak of coronavirus (#COVID19) and urge all Volunteers to check the advice issued by the ELR on ‘HOPS’. Dependent on the control measures imposed it may become necessary to re-schedule the AGM, we will give as much notice as possible if this happens.
New Year Chunterings
May I take this opportunity on behalf of the Society Directors to wish you and your families a Happy and peaceful 2020.
2019 was another busy and successful year for the ELRPS, but also a sad one as we lost Harry Hatcher our Honorary Vice President in February and Pam Pinder our Membership Secretary in March.
We started the year by incorporating the Society to a Company Limited by Guarantee and ended it with a resolution to apply for Charitable Status.
Taking production of the ELR Review in-house has enabled us to make considerable savings and our Web Site is proving a great asset, particularly as new members can join on line and a number of existing members are using the site to re-new their memberships.
We have again provided significant funding to projects across the ELR and still retain a significant reserve, certainly enough to meet any requirements imposed by the Charity Commission.
During 2019 I was present at the unveiling of two memorials, presented two long service awards and attended too many funerals of ELRPS members.
It would be remiss of me not the express our gratitude to our Working Members (volunteers) who gave up their free time to enable the ELR to operate its Santa Services. To quote Mike Kelly “The logistics are breath taking with a record 113 train trips accommodating over 41,000 visitors, where some 18,000 presents had to be colour coded, picked and packed into new reusable bags; around 23,000 bottles and sherry and mince pies are consumed where it’s all hands on deck”.
I have also detailed a review posted to Trip Advisor “Well what can I say apart from “I believe”! My husband and I took my granddaughter (2 yrs) and daughter and son in law on the Santa Train today for the third year running. There is so much for the children. There is also a small cafe and shop. Every year you think they can’t better last years but once again they have pulled out all the stops and it was magical. All staff (Santa’s Elf helpers) are sooooo friendly. They enter into the spirit of Christmas so well at times I actually felt myself welling up. The children were mesmerised. I don’t want to single any one person out (not even the great man himself But I have to mention Mrs Christmas Tree . She is absolutely lovely. It has now become our tradition to have Mrs Christmas Tree pictured with my son in law and granddaughter. May you live for ever and ever Mrs CT, which she will children as she is magical.
I defy anybody not to get taken in by the magic performed here. From the beautiful toys, chocolate and drink for the children to a miniature bottle of sherry (and plastic cup) and mince pie for the adults hiccup! To the magician, Father Christmas, Elf’s and the singalong with the brass band.
So so well done again and already can’t wait for 2020.
Merry Christmas to you all and to all a Goodnight x”.
So if you feel that you can spare some time to assist in the operation of the ELR we would love to hear from you. There are volunteer opportunities across all departments – further information is available on our volunteering page of from the Volunteer Liaison Team – email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued support of the ELRPS.
December is always a time for reflection, and for the ELRPS it marks our first year as a Company Limited by Guarantee.
For the Board it has been a busy and very productive year; we have continued to provide financial support to infrastructure projects across the railway. We have funded the first part of the platform canopy project at Rawtenstall, funded new steps for Rawtenstall West Signal Box and funded the re-roping of the diesel crane. We are currently discussing projects for 2020 with the ELR.
Following the ELR obtaining charitable status we have now submitted our own application, if successful it will exempt us from taxation and opens the way to discuss gift aid with HMRC.
The recognition of our volunteers who have enabled the railway to become one of the UK’s premier heritage railways has always been high on our agenda. Historically we recognised 20, 30 and 40 years’ service by the awarding of a certificate and embossed tie/cravat. The Board has decided to introduce a 10-year award and certificates are currently being posted to those who have completed between 10 and 19 years’ service. Separate arrangements will be made for the delivery of ties/cravats. In addition, we are introducing a badge that can be worn on uniforms detailing the number of years’ service provided to the railway. Badges will be issued to those who have completed 10, 20, 30 or 40 years service.
We end the year in a strong financial condition and our finances will receive a boost from those who are due to renew their memberships. May I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and remind you that you can renew your membership on line.
December is perhaps the railways busiest period and many of us will be actively involved in the Santa services, so I hope that I will meet Society members on or about the railway.
On behalf of the Board may I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Update from the Board – October 2019
It has been requested that I produce a monthly update to provide members information on how the Board is managing your Society.
Personally, I think it is a brilliant idea, particularly given our commitment to the membership that we will be fully open and transparent, we are all mindful that it is your Society and that it is your monies we are investing in the railway.
In respect of spending, it is pleasing to see that works are progressing on the erection of the canopy at Rawtenstall Station. Earlier in the year we committed up to £40K to cover the costs or materials and external labour. The final figure will be significantly lower given the generosity of contractors who are undertaking the works free of charge. Steps we took earlier in the year to produce the ELR Review in-house are also paying dividends as production costs have fallen.
Charitable Status is high on our agenda, apart from the advantage of being exempt from VAT and other taxation it will allow us to investigate opportunities to seek Gift Aid on your membership subscriptions, if allowed we can seek to back date our claim by up to three years.
We continue to forge closer links with the ELR, particularly in respect of joint initiatives; we are actively participating in a Joint Fund-Raising Group, where we are pooling our resources and knowledge to attract external funding for the railway.
The date of the 2020 AGM is Tuesday 21st April, so please add this to your diary.
Finally, and sadly I recently attended the funeral of Richard Guthrie a long-term Working Member of the S&T Team and I would like to share a reading given at the end of the service which perfectly described Richard.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather a skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow, what a ride”. (Hunter S. Thompson).
More next month, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org