Chairman’s Report & Finances for 2016

This year has had more ups and downs that a year should have.

The Banner Project

Starting with the positive, the street banner team continues to do a fantastic job, and the banners seem now to be one of the town’s greatest tourist assets, as well as something which residents hold dear. As soon as the banners go up, we’re inundated with requests from neighbours who ask if they can have one as well. This year, we’ve reached 149 banners. Next year; who knows! It only works, of course, because of the banner painters who devote their Monday afternoons to restoring banners and painting new ones, and to the team of people who go out on a Sunday in June to put them up, and a Sunday in September to take them down. Especial thanks must go to Andrew, who co-ordinates all this with amazingly good humour.

The small Devonshire town of Colyton has its own banner project up and running now, but displaying the banners of the Monmouth Rebellion, their own particular bout of local blood-letting. They have based their systems on ours, and used our banner styles.

The Street Banner book continues to sell well, with a spurt every summer. This year, a visit from the Heraldry Society Biennial Congress resulted in the Abbey’s entire stock being purchased. Our stocks are beginning to run low, and a reprint, the third, is probably on the cards for the coming year.

Other Projects

A decision has also been made to print Cecilia Cooper’s poem on the Battle of Tewkesbury, This is an early nineteenth century work by a lady living in Tewkesbury with literary aspirations. Following the mood of the time, it’s heavily biased towards the Lancastrian cause. The poem will be enhanced by some magnificent woodcut illustrations which are being commissioned for it, and accompanied by essays about local and social history of the period. It’s not likely to hit the best sellers, but as a piece of local history we hope that it will attract interest.

Working on the battle display in the Museum has ground to a halt, simply through lack of time. This might be a higher priority for the coming year. Whilst there are major works being planned for the building, these are a little while off, and an effort to complete the battle display, which really means filling all the available space, would be worthwhile.

The Gastons

At some point, the Gastons must be mentioned! It’s been another very frustrating year, with the outcome of many hours of work by a lot of people being the disappointing news that the owners have decided not to sell. We’d invested a lot of time and effort into a vision of how the area could be used for public benefit, pursuing our own objectives and working with partners to pursue theirs. We had the enthusiastic support of the Local Authority, and possibly even, we thought, the owners. Disappointing as it is, we have to accept their position, that professional advice finally stopped the sale, and they have decided not to sell. I should here pay tribute to the tireless work which Christine has done on our behalf, researching, planning, lobbying and persuading. There is a petition which has done the rounds of the town and the internet. We have a meeting with the Borough’s Chief Executive soon to decide next steps, if any. We’re working on the basis that there won’t be any.

Meanwhile, our objective to use our best endeavours to preserve sites associated with the battle remains, and the Gastons is a principle site, which is in some danger of serious degradation. We have offered an olive branch to the Trustees regarding the selective funding of maintenance, and hope that this will open a constructive dialogue about the management and future of the site.

Battlefield Listing

English Heritage (or as they’re now styled, Historic England) are revisiting the Battlefield listing, and as a result of representations their representative came with us on our annual walk to Tredington, and seems to have been convinced by our arguments about the course of the battle, to the extent that he’s proposing to extend the registered battlefield to the Southwick Park drive, though we might have failed to get the roundabout included in the registration!. The revisions to this, and the listing text, will be out for consultation in the very near future.

Membership

Membership remains buoyant. Our approach to membership arrears means that so soon after the end of the membership year it isn’t possible to be precise about paid-up members, but we are corresponding with eighty at the moment. Some members have lapsed, but they’ve been compensated for by new members. This year, the Committee agreed that Phil Bews and Diane Gorvin, creators of the ‘Arrivall’ sculpture, should be offered honorary membership, which they’ve accepted.

The ‘Arrivall’

The ‘Arrivall’ has become so well-known within the landscape that it’s hard to remember when it wasn’t there. It is weathering exactly as we anticipated, and even the detractors, who insisted that vandals would burn it down, and that carving poppies on the legs ruined the artistic effect are admitting that they were wrong. Phil continues to keep a proprietorial eye on it. There is a little work required this year; not to the timber but to the landscaping below. We should also investigate the steep increase in the insurance charges to the Town Council.

Visits

As far as events and outings are concerned, the year was notable because two regular features; the Palm Sunday event at Towton and the Richard III Foundation seminar at Bosworth were both cancelled. We did, though, have four outings of our own. A visit to the always popular Avoncroft Museum of buildings, a very interesting visit to Northampton, hosted by the Northampton Battlefields Society, an enlightening visit to the Newport Ship workshop/warehouse (and the transporter bridge) and finally a Castles and Churches trip to some of our old favourites on the border of Herefordshire and Monmouthshire. The Mary Rose trip was postponed, because the main exhibits were closed, but has been scheduled for October 30th.

Not only but also

Our sales and information teams have been quietly adding to the coffers. Both the Christmas lights and Medieval Festival showed increased incomes. The Medieval Festival stall was this year within a marquee of ‘invited guests’, which seemed to work very well (at least from the chair in the corner which I was slumped in) in getting out the serious messages about the history of the period. We were particularly pleased that the Newport Ship was represented there. The Christmas Lights profit is all generated from the efforts of Angie and Gill, who selflessly search Evesham once a week for suitable soft toys.

Finally, Society member Adrian Fray’s book about John Wenlock is about to be published. This is a considerable body of research, which has taken many years of detective work. It sounds very intriguing and is likely to revise the orthodox view that Wenlock died at Tewkesbury.

Summary of the Society’s Financial Position

Unrestricted General Funds
£
Restricted
Funds
£
Total
2016
£
Total
2015
£
INCOMING RESOURCES
Voluntary income:
Donations and gifts (including GiftAid)
1,047
1,047
4,309
Activities for generating funds:
Subscriptions
202
202
288
Banner rentals
3,430
3,430
3,107
Income from Events and publications
1,981
1,981
7,016
Investment income
70
70
367
Donation from Horseman Trust
120,000
120,000
             
             
             
             
TOTAL INCOMING RESOURCES
6,730
120,000
126,730
15,087
             
             
             
             
RESOURCES EXPENDED
Fundraising costs
T-shirts
1,557
1,557
Banner maintenance, brackets, paint etc.
1,189
1,189
1,911
Other
50
50
Charitable expenditure
Direct charitable expenditure
Contributions to Museum
510
510
Return of donation to Horseman Trust
120,000
Books and publications
4,630
Statue maintenance
288
288
Support costs
Printing and postage
188
188
551
Consultants fees
270
Insurance
182
182
176
JustGiving website subscription
108
108
72
Sundry
126
126
65
             
             
             
             
TOTAL RESOURCES EXPENDED
4,198
4,198
127,675
             
             
             
             
NET MOVEMENT IN FUNDS
2,532
120,000
122,532
(112,588)
Fund balances at 6 April 2015
25,280
25,280
137,868
             
             
             
             
FUND BALANCES AT 5 April 2016
27,812
120,000
147,812
25,280
             
             
             
             

This page is for management purposes only to allow comparison with the preceding years activities carried on through the predecessor organisation and does not form part of the statutory accounts.