Annual Report 2014 - 15

Prepared by Peter Copsey - Secretary


1. This report covers the year from 1st March 2014 and is presented to the Annual General Meeting on 30th March 2015.


2. Membership. The Association has 38 members as at 1st March 2015, a drop of 3 from last year mainly due to members moving away from Billericay.


3. Management.The following people were elected to the ExecutiveCommittee at the 2014 AGM; Rod Rapley, Sue Rapley, Trevor Stansfield, Howard Watson (Treasurer), Marion Wilson (Chairman) and Peter Copsey (Secretary). The Executive met only three times during the year; the meeting planned for June had to be cancelled and no suitable alternative date could be found.


The Chauvigny Sub-Committee (The Friends of Chauvigny) met regularly during the year under the chairmanship of Jeannine Watson. Similarly the Fishers sub-committee met under the chairmanship of Marion Wilson.


4. Chauvigny Activities. The main event of the year was the visit of our friends from Chauvigny from Wednesday 28th May until Monday 2nd June. The visit, as always, was a great success and enjoyed by all.


On 28th May our guests attended an evening reception, hosted by the Town Council, in their meeting room in Crown Yard. Chairman of the Council, John Buchanan, and other councillors made them welcome. The next day was spent in Kent visiting Camden Place, where Napoleon III had died and Sir Winston Churchill’s old home at Chartwell. The day was rounded off by a most enjoyable unscheduled evening meal at a restaurant in Tunbridge Wells attended by most of the visitors and hosts.


On the following day a visit to Greenwich was arranged. A coach was hired which took the party to the Emirates cable-car in Docklands followed by a ride over the Thames to Greenwich. A guided tour took to the party to the Observatory, the Naval Museum and the Cutty Sark, before returning to Billericay by coach.


The meeting of the two twinning committees took place on Saturday whilst non-committee members were shown around the Cater Museum. The official Dinner took place that evening at Downham Village Hall when special 10th anniversary mugs were presented to all guests and a special anniversary cake was enjoyed. Our friends from Chauvigny presented the Association with a 10th Anniversary plaque.


The following day was a free day when the hosts took their guests to various interesting locations in Essex. An evening buffet was arranged at Canon Roche before our guests departed the next day.


The Walk of Friendship was this year in south Brittany and five members from the Association joined in. This included five days of walking and a visit to the walled town of Vannes on the “rest” day. Our delegation included Jeannine and Howard Watson, Margaret Kingston, Martin Hart and Janet Cosgrove.


Our Association were also invited guests to the twinning meeting in Trino in May where the twinning anniversaries between Chauvigny, Trino and Banfora (Burkina Faso) were celebrated; Janet Cosgrove and Maggie Kingston attending.


The annual event of Janet Cosgrove opening up her garden for a garden party on July 18th was enjoyed by many. Thanks go to Janet for her hospitality.


The successful French Evening in 2013 was repeated in 2014 after many requests. The small hall at Canon Roche was hired on the evening of 28th November. Association members brought drinks and buffet dishes and the singer Olivier entertained us; a most enjoyable evening.


5. Fishers Activities. The student exchange with Fishers continues to be a regular event thanks to the sponsorship of the Sisters Cities Organisation in Fishers and the help and support of the Billericay Schools.


One teacher and four students from Fishers visited Billericay from July 9th to 15th. The itinerary was similar to previous visits except the visit to Papermill Lock and time on the canal had to be cancelled due to the very late arrival of the visitors. They had been held up by a late plane arrival and additional security measures at the airport. Time was spent at the two Billericay Schools. There was the usual visit to London, travelling there and back by train. The party took in the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Supreme Courts, Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade. A Thames Clipper took the party to the O2 arena at Greenwich before crossing the River by cable-car. The hosts entertained our visitors with various excursions at the weekend and the visit ended with an enjoyable evening meal at The Hoop, Stock before our visitors left for home the next day.


The returning students made presentations of their visit to Fishers at their respective schools. Marion Wilson and Trevor Stansfield attended.


The return visit took place between 30th September and 7th October. Two teachers, four students visited Fishers. The first full day included the usual tour of the town taking in the police station, the fire station and the Town Hall followed by a visit to Conner Prairie with its historical museum. Days were spent at the two High Schools in Fishers where the visitors experienced the teaching methods and magnificent well-kept facilities. The party visited Indianapolis taking in the Colts Football Stadium. The weekend was spent with the host families, and many were taken to the Renaissance Fair. One host indulged their visitor with a weekend trip to Chicago. The visit ended with a Thanksgiving-style dinner before returning to the UK the next day.


The project set up between Buttsbury Junior school and Hoosier Road Elementary school in Fishers to exchange art between the two schools resulted in the art from the schools displayed at the Art Trail and Festival in July.


6. Fund-raising. Considerable effort has been put in by various members in fund-raising for the Association; their contributions are gratefully acknowledged.


The Chauvigny Quiz Night at Canon Roche on 17th January was well attended with some ninety people attending. Many thanks go to all those that attended.


The Fishers section held a number of table sales throughout the year.


John Baron's Fun Walk took place on 24th May in which both sections of the Association took part. Thanks go to the marshals, all of our walkers and their sponsors.


Both sections of the Association also manned the car park in Basildon during two separate Saturdays in December. Well done to all those that stood out in the cold.


7. Publicity. The Association has been mentioned in the Gazette as a result of our activities.


The Association Newsletter Issues 22, 23 and 24 were sent to all members on 31st July, 30th September and 19th February respectively.


The Association's brochure (including application form) is available to the public from time to time in the Library.


The web-site is regularly updated with thanks to Rod Rapley.


The Association supported the Mayflower High School by sponsoring prizes for the annual Prize Giving Evenings in July. Marion Wilson and Jeannine Watson represented the Association on the two evenings of prize-giving and handed out the sponsored prizes for French.


7.Other Matters. Relationships with Billericay Mayflower Twinning Association (BMTA) remain satisfactory with exchanges of information taking place regularly.



Peter Copsey 30th March 2015.