CHAIRMAN’S REPORT ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 22/2/2019
To begin I would like to welcome our guests, including the Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor and Mrs Linton, Jayne Bryant AM and Jan Preece, the author of “Newport Transporter Bridge and Industry along the River”, copies of which are available for purchase. (Jan was unwell and unable to attend)
We very much regret the passing of two of our staunchest supporters, Paul Flynn MP, one of our Vice Presidents, and Tom Dart, the husband of our archivist Monty Dart.
I would like to express my thanks to the Officers and Committee for their splendid work over the past year, particularly to Chris Boots, who has been our webmaster and contact with the Charity Commision for many years, who is now standing down. In welcoming new members to the committee I particularly mention Peter Thomas-Keefe, who has taken over as webmaster. Thanks also to John Evans, who has returned as Vice Chairman, Linda Davies, who assists Bob Richards as Treasurer and oversees the distribution of the Journal, Gerald Black, our Membership Secretary, Bernadette Newton, who has kindly relieved me of the onorous task of Minute Secretary and Councillor Charles Ferris and Mike Lewis representing Newport City Council. Regarding the Journal, Andy Humphries has kindly offered to help with articles but we are still looking for someone to relieve me of the responsibility of editing.
As well as serving on the Committee, Terry Mercy, Dilys Rosen and Trefor Giddings are diligent volunteers at the Visitor Centre, together with Maureen Hendon, Rob Reese, Carole Fereday, Jeff Grosvenor, Grenville Pew and Sharon Spring. Other great supporters of the Friends are Jo and Dave of Fanny’s Cafe, who we must thank for tonights’ sumptous buffet and Liz of Asda, who has managed to secure a cheque for £200 from Asda for the Lottery Fund.
Others who have helped are Russell Jones, Jan Jones, and Chris Mullins. Monty Dart is a constant source of help and Sandra Worthington is our Honorary Solicitor, who services we hope we’ll never have to call on! Thanks to all have supported our Bank Holiday Fun Days.
This year has seen the Council’s bid for a £10m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure the future of the Bridge, improve its surroundings, extend the car park and build a state of the art visitor centre. The bid has successfully passed its first stage but the Council must find £100k of match funding. The Friends have pledged £10k, of which we have so far raised over £6k. It was lovely that our Honorary Life Vice President, Hayley Mills agreed to help the fund, and it’s great to see her on the television again.
Following my trip to the re-opening of the Boca bridge in Buenos Aries last year, I was privileged to represent the Friends and the City at the 6th Congress of World Transporter Bridges and at the celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the opening of the first ever Transporter Bridge near Bilbao in 1893. I reported on this in the winter
journal with regard to the formal establishment of a World Association and an
international, serial application for UNESCO World Heritage Status. I hope Newport City Council will agree to be involved with the World Association but UNESCO application seems a long way off.
Mary & I were privileged to represent the Friends at a reception for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. I invited Prince Charles to visit the Bridge and climb the 280 steps to the top; he expressed a polite interest but didn’t commit himself!
We had our usual clutch of appreciative visitors to the Bridge from all over the world, including Charlie Ross of the BBC Antiques Road Trip, a film crew from CBBC’s “All over the Place”, the City of Newport Male Choir and the Shaftesbury Youf Gang.
I was invited as guest speaker to the Newport Royal Naval Association Trafalgar Night Dinner to honour Horatio Nelson, in the shadow of the Bridge here at the Mission. Thanks are due to the Mission for once again hosting our AGM.
I was invited to give several talks on the Bridge to local organizations.
Our calendar was again well received and has been sent all over the world. We have a few left which are now available at just £2.
Finally, you will be aware of the publicity for the Bridge and the Friends associated with the 4th Round of the FA Cup. With Newport County AFC playing Middlesbrough the clash was dubbed “The Battle of the Transporter Bridges”.The Friends announced that they would present the winning manager, both Pill boys, with a canvas print of the Newport Bridge. In the end we gave them both one. The print was well received in Middlesbrough where local fans queued up to take a photograph
of our Bridge against the background of theirs. The “Battle” was reported widely in the media and the press including, would you believe, the Sun! We are most grateful to Tony Dart for donating the splendid prints now adorning the walls of Chez Flynn and Pulis.
Thank you all for attending this evening and for your support over the past year.