Prepared by Peter Copsey - Honorary Secretary
1.This report covers the period from 1st April 2006 and is presented to the Annual General Meeting on 12th March 20072. Membership.
2. The Association has 61 members as at 12th March 2007, the same as last year.
3. Chauvigny Activities.
The big event of the year was the visit of our Chauvigny friends in April. Thirty-two Chauvinois arrived on 20th April to be greeted at Stansted Airport by a group from the Association. The events arranged for our guests included a visit to the County Council Chamber in Chelmsford where they met Billericay's Cllr Anthony Hedley; a tour of the newly-restored Hylands House; tea with Billericay's MP John Baron; a visit to the Mountnessing windmill; lunch at the White Hart at Margaretting Tye; a conducted walk around Norsey Woods hoping to witness a sea of bluebells but regrettably the flowers were not obliging, having been delayed by the colder weather; a guided tour of Ingatestone Hall with Lord Petre in charge; and finally a grand dinner at the Canon Roche Main Hall where the Morris Men gave a theatrical performance. Our guests returned home on 24th April after a most successful and well organised visit. A get-together of all those involved in the visit took place on 12th July.
Links between the Institut Rural Chauvigny and Writtle Agricultural College have been forged and two French students visited Stockbrook Manor for a month.
Pen-pal links, via e-mail, between teenagers in the two towns have been arranged.
The visit of Association members to Chauvigny from 16th to 20th May 2007 is presently being co-ordinated.
4. Fishers Activities
A proposal from Fishers to send two youth football teams (one boys, one girls) to Billericay for two weeks to play local teams was examined and local teams were contacted. Although local teams were keen to play the Americans, especially the boys, offers of accommodation were not forthcoming. This problem combined with the projected cost of the visit regretfully meant that the Fishers' suggestion had to be declined.
Two students and one teacher from both Billericay School and Mayflower School visited Fishers in September. The visit was enjoyed, in particular a period-dress event, part of their RenFayre celebrations. The students also visited places of interest in Indianapolis and the surrounding area. A return visit is being arranged for June this year.
Considerable effort has been put in by various members in fundraising for the Association; their contributions are gratefully acknowledged.
The first fundraising event was the John Baron Fun Walk in which several members of the Association took part. The walk which was routed through the countryside around Barleylands took place on an unfortunately wet May afternoon. Thanks go to Patricia Clark for the arrangements.
In July the Association ran a stall in the Rotary Club's Summer Charity Fayre held at the Cricket Club. A treasure hunt organised by the late Andrew Trasler and a ball-in-bucket game were offered and proved to be successful. Thanks go to all those involved.
On December 7th a coach trip to Bluewater was arranged; thanks go to our Chairman for this.
Also in December the Association organised a pancake and punch stall as part of the Rotary Club's Family Christmas Fair in Billericay High Street. Although profitable, it is not expected that the Association will continue with this event next Christmas. Thanks go to Grace Herbert and Patricia Clark for the arrangements.
On February 3rd a quiz night was organised at the main Canon Roche Hall. This event was well attended and thoroughly enjoyed by all. It was highly successful and profitable. Thanks go to David Clark for the arrangements and to Ray Keilthy, the quizmaster.
The Association has been mentioned in several of the local papers as a result of our activities and separate articles on the Association are expected in Billericay Network, Community Life in the Gazette, The Resident, and Billericay Journal.
The Association Newsletter has been resurrected and Issues 3 and 4 were sent to all members in October 2006 and February 2007 respectively.
A brochure for the Association has been finalised and is available to the public in the Library.
The web-site has been updated and the newsletters added.
7. Road Signs
In late November twinning road signs were erected on three of the main roads in Billericay, namely the London Road, Stock Road and Southend Road. The signs were commissioned by the Association and were approved by Essex County Council after considerable delay. The signs also include Billerica, Massachusetts, USA and both the Billericay Mayflower Twinning Association and Billericay Town Council were consulted on the wording and arrangement for the sign. The reflective aluminium signs are fixed directly beneath the existing Billericay town sign. No such town sign exists on the Noak Hill Road and the Town Council have been pressed to take this matter up with ECC. A fourth twinning sign has been manufactured and is kept by the Association in readiness.