Prepared by Peter Copsey - Honorary Secretary

 

1.This report covers the period from 1st April 2007 and is presented to the Annual General Meeting on

10th March 2008. 

 

2. Membership.

The Association has 62 members as at 10th March 2007, an increase of one from last year.

3. Chauvigny Activities.

The major event of the year was our visit to Chauvigny in May. Twenty members of the Association visited our twin town from 16th to 21st May, all accommodated in the homes of our generous hosts. A programme of events was arranged. These including a civic reception by the Mayor of Chauvigny, a coach trip to the Abbaye de Fontevraud, a visit to the medieval town of Chinon and wine tasting at a nearby winery, an official dinner at Ste Radegonde and a walk in the forest. The host families also arranged separate visits and gatherings for the visitors. As always, our hosts gave the Billericay visitors a entertaining and memorable time.

Gifts were exchanged at the dinner; the visitors gave the town of Chauvigny a detailed model of the Mayflower made by David Clark and the guests gave to the town of Billericay a framed photograph of the castle in the Old Town by the acclaimed photographer Luis Lazo. The photo is displayed in the Town Council offices.

 

Margaret Trasler represented the Association in the Walk of Friendship that took place around Reiziem on the Austrian - Germany border in August.

On 7th October a ramble and pub lunch took place and was enjoyed; thanks to David Clark for the arrangements.

Planning and preparation for the return visit of the Chauvignois from July 3rd to 8th 2008 are close to complete. Host families have been identified and a programme of events has been arranged. A visit will be made to the Houses of Parliament when our MP John Baron will show our guests around. This will be followed by a picnic lunch and a conducted tour of London. A National Trust tour to Flatford Mill and a banquet at the Burstead Golf Club are also arranged.

Pen-pal links, via e-mail, between teenagers in the two towns continue.

4. Fishers Activities

Following a visit to Fishers in September 2006, a reciprocal visit was made by students and teachers from the two senior Fishers schools, Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers High, during the week 14th to 20st June 2007. Our guests spent a day at Mayflower High School and a day at Billericay School experiencing the English education system. A visit was arranged to Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, a day was spent in London and a long-boat trip on the Chelmer was enjoyed by the visitors . The group from Fishers met with the Billericay Youth Town Council followed by an evening meal before departing the next day.

Continuing the student exchange arrangement, two students and a teacher from each of the two Billericay schools visited Fishers from 6th to 11th December. The party was given the opportunity to experience the American education system by spending time at the two schools. Trips were arranged to the Chicago Bulls and to Butler University. A highlight of the visit was the tremendous welcome and hospitality of our American hosts.

5. Fundraising.

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 a few of the members of the Association took part. Regrettably the walk on 20th May co-incided with the visit to Chauvigny so the number taking part was considerably lower that the previously year. Thanks go to John Buchanan and Patricia Clark for the arrangements and to the Association members who took part.

On July 15th the Association ran a stall in the Rotary Club's "Fun Day on Sunday" held at Sun Corner. Similar to the previous year, a treasure hunt based on London Underground and a ball-in-bucket game were offered, again proving to be successful. Thanks go to all those involved.

Terry Gandy kindly opened his garden to visitors on two occasions, in March and in August, raising money for the Association.

On September 22nd the Association manned the Basildon Car Park. Although hard work, the amount collected was considerable. Thanks go to Patricia Clark for the arrangements and all those who helped.

A successful Bluewater shopping trip took place in December. Thanks to Trevor Stansfield for the arrangements.

On February 9th a quiz night was organised at the main Canon Roche Hall. This event, similar to the one last year, was even better attended and thoroughly enjoyed by all. It was again highly successful and profitable. Thanks go to David Clark for the arrangements and to Ray Keilthy, the quizmaster.

6. Publicity.

The Association has been mentioned in several of the local papers as a result of our activities. The Chairman had spoken on Phoenix FM about Fishers and Chauvigny.

The Association Newsletter Issues 5 and 6 were sent to all members in July 2007 and November 2007 respectively.

The Association set up a stall in the High Street on July 14th to publicise its activities.

A Round Table Charity Cycle on exercise machines took place in the High Street on 22nd September. The distance cycled by the volunteers was equivalent to the distance from Billericay to Chauvigny.

A brochure for the Association is available to the public in the Library. Copies of the latest Newsletter are shown on Town notice-boards.

The web-site has been updated and the newsletters added with thanks to Rod Rapley.