OTLEY PUB CLUB
OCTOBER NEWSLETTER 2017
INTRO – AGM, AND A NEW CHAIRMAN
Another Annual General Meeting has come and gone, and if you weren’t able to come along and join us, you can see roughly what we talked about in the minutes below. Because of the lack of interest from anyone else in filling the main posts on the committee, or indeed in helping at all, we’ll be carrying on pretty much as we have been doing up to now.
The one big change was that Andy FitzGerald had been finding it more and more difficult to carry out his responsibilities as Chairman, because of the increasing amount of time he was having to spend on his paid employment! Fellow committee member Matt Hardin stepped up and volunteered to take over the chair, and he was willingly endorsed and accepted by all present.
I have to admit, you have to be pretty dedicated to read through all this, so thank you in advance for persevering – no pictures or anything this month, just the [very important] report of the AGM.
AGM: CHAIRMAN’S REPORT – ACTIVITIES LAST YEAR
THE CHAIRMAN’S REPORT COVERED THE 2016 – 2017 ACTIVITIES, AS FOLLOWS:
- A vote of thanks was first recorded to the Otley Pub Club President Greg Mulholland. OPC was his idea and his creation, and whatever has happened during the past year he has continued to fight for Otley’s pubs as well as pubs and publicans throughout England. We are proud and pleased to have him continue in the role.
- The year began with the official launch of Version 2 of the Ale Trail, the very next day after the 2016 AGM. Sponsors, publicans and committee members attended and the leaflet proved at least as popular as the first one.
- The Victorian Alehouse competition was again a great success at Victorian Fayre 2016. Tim and Sarah at Whitakers were worthy winners, and it’s a real shame they can’t be here to defend their title this year.
- In November 2016 we again sponsored a barrel at the Otley Beer Festival and the organisers kindly allowed us to hand out membership forms at the event, from which we gained another handful of members.
- OPC sponsored 2 walks at Otley Walking Festival in June 2017. On the first Saturday around 45 walkers enjoyed trying out the clockwise version of ‘The 4 Pubs Walk’, and on the final Saturday around the same number braved the first time out for ‘The Road To Marston Moor’. The latter included a fine re-enactment of the battle itself, with just 3 people on each side!
- In July 2016 we manned a stall in the Market Square for Otley Food and Drink Festival and once again managed to give away free beer throughout the day – this time from Ilkley Brewery, to whom we are extremely grateful. Not only did we get the usual queries about OPC and The Historic Ale Trail, but two visitors also asked about the potential purchase of The Bay Horse [which was for sale at the time].
- Our event on Yorkshire Day was a huge success, helped by the presence of comedian Charlie Chuck, Otley Morris side Wayzgoose, and live TV coverage by The Lowdown:Leeds. The 21 Yorkshire-born celebrities who had been chosen by an online survey were paired with Otley’s 21 pubs as a precursor to our big event in 2018.
- The year ended as it started, with the release of yet another new version of the Ale Trail in September 2017. Virtually every copy of Version 2 had been handed out, and it gave us the opportunity to include Stew & Oyster – meaning that all Otley’s current pubs are now shown in the leaflet.
ANDY THEN WENT ON TO SAY THAT IT HAS BEEN A TUMULTUOUS YEAR FOR OTLEY’S PUBS:
- THE BAY HORSE has had a particularly hard time. After two local members of the pub scene tried to take it on following its sale by Punch Taverns to New River Retail, they were never able to reach an acceptable agreement with LT Management Services [New River’s pub estate managers] and the pub was eventually just handed back to LT. A temporary manager was put in place, but the pub never regained the same popularity in the Otley pub scene that it had enjoyed under Vernon. Eventually it was put up for sale . . . then taken off the market and another manager shipped in from out of town. He only lasted for a few weeks, and yet another manager is now in situ – but is getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of punters through the door. We will have to keep a close eye on what happens.
- THE FLEECE also lost its landlord during the year, and the new licensees faced a lengthy period of uncertainty where they were on a month-to-month agreement, awaiting a long-term deal. That has now been achieved, and fortunately they seem to have got the place back on an even keel, and we wish them well.
- THE BLACK BULL was another pub that lost its long-term licensees, when Audrey and Sue left for a well-deserved retirement. The new landlords have taken over a pub that has been substantially refurbished [but missed its target, so our Marston Moor walk couldn’t finish there] and has been changed to be partially food-led. We wait to see whether that is successful, and whether it changes the inherent character of the most historic pub in town.
- WHITAKERS is yet another pub that had a double change of landlord during the year, following what we considered to be the disgraceful treatment of the couple who were running it last Christmas. It now seems to have settled back into the Otley scene again, including being a host venue during Otley Folk Festival 2017, and we wish the new landlord well.
- THE WHITE SWAN has seen the return of a familiar face behind the bar since the previous landlord and management team left. There was a great crowd in there on the very first day after the changeover, and we’re pleased to see that It too seems to be ticking over nicely.
- THE HORSE AND FARRIER had a change of manager for a while during the year, but still seems fairly settled. Their regular Thursday music night and the welcome addition in Otley of a first-class comedy night every month seem particularly successful.
- THE YEW TREE is losing its landlord Brett Booth almost on the very day of this AGM, and one of the reasons we held the meeting here was to thank him for all the good work he has done in maintaining and increasing the business of the pub. We look forward to having as good a relationship with new landlady Julia as we did with Brett, and wish him well after he leaves.
- . . . and finally of course STEW & OYSTER opened in the old Grammar School building just in time for Victorian Fayre 2016, bringing the number of pubs in town to a new high of 21! Their wide range of drinks, different type of pub food, and their willingness to take part in community events are very welcome.
HE FINISHED BY THANKING HIS FELLOW COMMITTEE MEMBERS AS FOLLOWS:
BOB B [Secretary] for his work in keeping the administration and business of the Pub Club going and keeping everyone else in check;
CATRIONA [Minutes Secretary] for doing what can be a thankless task, producing concise and accurate minutes of all meetings;
BARRY [Treasurer] for looking after what little money we do have and maintaining accurate accounts, as well as overseeing and maintaining the Pub Club website;
ANDREW for his work on the sponsorship, production and distribution of version 3 of the Ale Trail;
MATT for his ideas and his enthusiasm in turning them into reality;
BOB M for his assistance to the chair and secretary on projects and maintaining business through the year; and of course –
ALL COMMITTEE MEMBERS for their commitment and hard work throughout the year and their participation in OPC events, without which the Club would not be successful, and indeed couldn’t even exist!
AGM: SECRETARY’S REPORT – PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR
THE SECRETARY’S REPORT SET OUT WHAT THE CLUB IS HOPING TO ACHIEVE IN 2018:
- Despite the success of the Civil War battle re-creation that we sponsored in 2016, and the requests we’ve had from all sides to do it again, I’m afraid that won’t be happening – at least in the next 12 months. It left the Pub Club in debt, and some of its committee members exhausted after its planning and delivery;
- We’ll run the Victorian Alehouse competition again during the Victorian Fayre, and hope that some of the newer landlords take part as enthusiastically as last year’s winners, who have now sadly moved on from Whitakers.
- We’ll also hope to sponsor a walk or two during the Walking Festival at the end of June and have a stall at the Food and Drink Festival again in July, giving away free beer from a third different brewery.
- As usual, we’ll be sponsoring a barrel at the Beer Festival next month, as well as helping to promote a second beer festival that Otley Rugby Club are hoping to organise themselves in April or May 2018.
- Our first major event next year is arranging for the shire horses from Thwaites Brewery to come and pull a float in the Otley carnival parade in June. It will probably just be their usual dray cart, but we might be able to at least persuade them to put our Pub Club banners on each side.
- The second event will be taking part throughout the whole of June, when we will be taking an active part in the town celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of Thomas Chippendale’s birth in Otley. Otley will be part of a nationwide Chippendale Trail, and there’ll be a special walking trail round town that will include the still-surviving pubs and other buildings that were here in the early part of the 18th century. We’ve also arranged for a special beer to be brewed and be available in pubs during June, which will be called, not surprisingly, Chippend’Ale. We’re still working on trying to get a bottled version produced as well. As Chippendale is thought to have attended Prince Henry’s Grammar School, we’re also in negotiations with Stew and Oyster to put on a Chippendale ‘birthday party’ in the Old Grammar School itself over the first weekend in June. [Chippendale was baptised in All Saints Parish Church on June 5th 1718, but no-one knows the exact date of his birth.]
- The third and most ambitious project is our Yorkshire Day celebration. Following an online survey to choose Otley’s favourite Yorkshire-born celebrities, we held a televised draw on Yorkshire Day this year to see which pub would be named after which celebrity. We’re now in the process of trying to contact those celebrities or their agents, to ask them all to come to Otley and visit their named pub on the 1st of August 2018. The very first person we asked has checked their calendar and said they ‘are minded’ to come, and we’re confident that a number of others will agree, even if we can’t get everyone. We’re also asking that if they can’t come, could they at least send an item of memorabilia for display in the pub.
HE THEN REPORTED ON THE CURRENT POSITION OF THE CLUB, AND WHERE IT MIGHT BE HEADING:
- It’s self-evident that we can achieve nothing in the next 12 months if we don’t have sufficient people helping us to plan, organise and deliver our events. So I will just repeat my plea for more support from anyone who would like to join the current committee, or just volunteer to help out with any of our activities. You’ll see from the financial report below that we desperately need money to be able to fund our programme. We have already had two offers of help – one to take part in any fund-raising event we might organise at The Buttercross in Otley and a second to help organise social events like raffles. We’ll be hoping to take up both of those offers, and it shows that if – like one of those volunteers – you ‘hate’ committees, you don’t necessarily have to have anything to do with them [although of course we would love you to!]
- The other celebration taking place in June next year is my own 70th birthday, and I’ve already decided that I will be standing down as Secretary, Membership Secretary, Information Gatherer, Newsletter Author, Social Media Manager and Projects Manager at next year’s AGM, so my 12 months’ notice starts now! If we can’t get one or [preferably] more people to join the committee in the next 12 months, and take on those jobs next October, it’s unlikely Otley Pub Club will be able to continue in its current form. Whether that is important, or whether a different group with a different focus should take its place, is up to you.
- We currently have almost 450 members on our books; we have almost 200 facebook likes and over 1,750 followers on Twitter. There must be a handful of people out there who would enjoy helping us promote the pubs and the town, put on some enjoyable events, and possibly have a sociable drink or two along the way! We’ll be starting a strong recruitment campaign immediately!
AGM: TREASURER’S REPORT – WE’RE IN THE RED!
THIS WAS THE FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR, PRESENTED IN THE TREASURER’S ABSENCE:
- This report is the summary of Otley Pub Club’s financial activities in the last year. Our accounts are relatively simple with this year seeing the launch of the Ale Trail 2016 and due to its success a reprint in the latter half of this year with minor adjustments.
- We bank with Lloyds TSB in Otley and if anyone wishes to inspect our bank records you are welcome to at any time. Unfortunately Lloyds TSB has now closed in Otley but as most of our transactions are electronic with Online Banking this has had no major impact.
- All of our sponsorship money for the Ale Trail launch has now been collected and the sponsorship money from Stew & Oyster for the reprint has been collected.
- Sponsorship money raised this year was £600 from First Bus and Stew & Oyster. Our expenditure was mainly for the launch event buffet, reframing and new frames for the 2016 Ale Trails in Otley’s pubs and for the 5000 reprint of the Ale Trail.
- This gave us a deficit of £553.03 over the year. We also paid back £2000 of a £3000 loan from a committee member for the previous year’s Civil War event, leaving £1000 still outstanding.
- Cash in bank stands at £187.15 so leaving us with a net worth of -£812.85.
- We have outstanding commitment of £31.00 for the web hosting and £100 for the design amendments to the reprint (This has been deferred till more cash in the bank) as well as repayment of the outstanding loan .
- As can be seen we do need to raise more money. There are as yet no major projects this year that require planned funding but being Yorkshire (trained) we don’t like to owe.
AGM: ELECTION OF OFFICERS
PRESIDENT – GREG MULHOLLAND Unanimous
CHAIRMAN – MATT HARDIN Andy FitzGerald said he was unable to commit the amount of time to the role that he thought it required, because of increased employment activity and the nationwide travel involved. Matt volunteered to take on the role, on condition that he was assisted by Andy throughout the next 12 months. There were no objections.
SECRETARY – BOB BROOK Unanimous.
TREASURER – BARRY TOMLINSON Unanimous
PUBLICITY/PR OFFICER – [VACANT]
MINUTES SECRETARY/ADMIN – CATRIONA BROOK Unanimous
PUB CAMPAIGNS OFFICER – PHIL GREAVES Unanimous
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY – BOB BROOK Unanimous
PUB LIAISON OFFICER – BOB McLAUGHLIN Unanimous
SOCIAL MEDIA CO-ORDINATOR – BOB BROOK Unanimous
WEBMASTER – BARRY TOMLINSON Unanimous
SPECIAL PROJECTS – BOB BROOK Unanimous
AGM: OTHER BUSINESS
There was a brief debate about the future role of the Club, and about its current aims, objectives and mission statement. It was felt there needs to be a full and frank discussion about the relationship between Otley Pub Club and the pubs in town, and about what each needs and expects from the other if the relationship is to be successful.
Andy FitzGerald suggested the Club should have an Extraordinary General Meeting in The Bay Horse soon, as that particular pub seems to be suffering most from recent upheavals and uncertainties surrounding its future. I’ll send out notification of that meeting as soon as it is arranged.
HALLOWEEN AND BONFIRE NIGHT
The Roebuck’s having its traditional bonfire and fireworks, and The Fleece is putting on fireworks and a barbecue the same as last year. There must be loads of other stuff going on in the pubs in town, but the AGM and the Welcome Way have exhausted me over the last week or so, so you’ll have to check the links below again, I’m afraid.
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Finally, my usual apologies for errors and/or omissions this month. If you are receiving these newsletters and any other correspondence from Otley Pub Club by email, but you no longer want them, just email the return address and let me know. On the other hand, if you stop receiving our newsletters in future but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Remember this email address for the future – firstname.lastname@example.org , or get in touch via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list right away. Thanks!