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Saturday 24th October 2020:

AGM 2020 on ZOOM

AGM 2020 Zoom.png

Thanks to everyone that logged on for our ZOOM AGM the other Saturday. We are living through strange times, and this was certainly unlike any previous Friends of Oignies AGM, though fairly typical of the many meetings and events happening in the current situation. Let's all look forward to the time when we can meet up again in the real world!

There were 12 members present for the meeting - as evidenced by the screenshot above! - with Judith Dakin joining in briefly for the last few minutes. We also received voting from a further 11 members not present at the meeting, via the on-line voting form, which was available on the website during the preceding week.

There is a summary of the meeting below;

which is followed by Derek's report to the meeting from the Chair - (click here)

and the full minutes of the meeting and Peter's Financial report are available below as .pdf s - (here)



  • 2020 has indeed been a challenging year, with the principal event, our visit to Oignies, cancelled along with so much else. We have been keeping the spirit of the Twinning alive however, with a series of virtual 'Trans-Manche' events held together with our Amis in Oignies; such as the Virtual Twinning Soirée in May, and our regular weekly ZOOM get-togethers on Wednesday evenings. (Details here).

  • We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to visit Oignies in 2021. It was decided, if possible, to defer the 2020 visit by a year, and to continue with the usual program of reciprocal visits in subsequent years. As soon as we have any further news regarding the proposed 2021 visit we will post it on the website.

  • We welcomed several new Members during the last year: Anjanie, Ric, Olivia and Joseph Mackenzie, along with Brian and Anthea Lightowler. Welcome to the Friends of Oignies!​

  • Peter Bloomfield, Association Treasurer reported a balance in hand of £4,009.30, this would normally represent a healthy figure at this point in the cycle, given that we are do due to host (in principal) in 2022. However, the cost per member (in normal times), is around £100 over the two year cycle, and we are currently unable to organise our usual program of fund-raising events. This means we will need to keep a careful eye on our financial resources over the coming months to ensure we will be in a position to successfully host the next visit from Oignies. Let's hope we will be able to re-commence our usual program of fundraisers in the not too distant future.

  • The membership subscription for the coming year 2020/21 has been reduced from to £15.00 per adult (from the originally proposed £22.00). The proposal to reduce subscriptions was passed by a members vote, which also included votes cast on-line by members not present at the meeting.

  • Annual subscription for 2020/21 is due by 30th November, please. As agreed above, this is £15 per adult member (No subscription is payable for children). Several members have enquired about the possibility of voluntarily paying the originally agreed (Pre-covid) amount of £22. Whilst the Association would be very grateful to receive any such donations, there is absolutely no obligation on this point. 

  • Subs via Electronic payment if possible please, via the Friends of Oignies account.


  • Election of Officers for 2020/21

​President: His Worship The Mayor of High Peak

Chair: Derek Thomas

Vice Chair: Ian Hamilton

Secretary: Sue Quas-Cohen

Treasurer: Peter Bloomfield


  • Committee: Anne Johnson, Ian Calvert, Karen Done, Sue Hodgkinson and Chris Clegg (Publicity Officer). The committee remains the the same as last year, no other candidates having come forward.​​​​

  • ...And don't forget to visit the website regularly for news from the Friends of Oignies, and details of upcoming events, all be they virtual during the immediate future.

AGM 2020 Chairman's Report



Ladies and gentlemen, good evening and thank you for joining us for our AGM. The virtual nature of tonight’s meeting, together with the lack of a quiz and supper has impacted on the attendance level, but we felt it important to hold an AGM and to give all members the opportunity to participate in the proceedings.


I am sorry to begin my report by recording the sad passing of Jean-Pierre Bossu who had served on the committee of Amis de Buxton from the early days of the Twinning. Our thoughts are with Francine and family.


The year started as busily as ever with the committee continuing to put together our hosting programme for 2021, considering many suggestions from our members and also developing initiatives to raise the necessary funds.


At the last AGM, I was pleased to report that the coach was already booked for our visit to Oignies in May and we were grateful to everyone who advised us of your intentions with regard to the visit. We were really looking forward to the visit and introducing some new families to the twinning experience.


Of course, I don’t need to remind you of the circumstances leading to the joint committees’ reluctant cancellation of this year’s visit although we must remain positive and remember that this is actually only a deferment. Normal services will be resumed as soon as possible.


Some noteworthy points to mention from this year;


Thanks to Chris Clegg for launching the FoO Calendar last December. The 2020 edition was so well received (in addition to raising valuable funds for the Association) that details of the 2021 calendar will be released shortly.


Karen Done and Ian Hamilton kindly took on the roles of Archivists for the Twinning and, with the help of the U3A oral history group, made a start on creating an audio history. This will resume when restrictions relax.


Our last fundraiser just before lockdown was a Dinner event in March with dancing to the High Peak Swing Band which is something we hope to be able to repeat in the future.


We could not let the planned twinning weekend pass without event so we were very pleased to host a virtual reunion which was well attended and very much enjoyed. I thank Chris Clegg for his organisation and technical support on this.


I sadly reported Ted Fell’s loss of his wife Eva last year. On a happier note this year, I am very pleased to tell you that within the last two weeks, Ted has begun his new life as a Chelsea Pensioner. Our congratulations and best wishes go to Ted who assures me that we haven’t heard the last of him as he plans to remain a member and hopes to be able to host our members who wish to visit London and the famous Chelsea Hospital in times to come.


In closing, I’d like to give thanks to our excellent committee for their efforts throughout the year, to Peter Quas-Cohen for his support and expertise in scrutinising the accounts and thank you again for joining us this evening.

Derek Thomas - Association Chair, The Friends of Oignies

AGM 2020 Minutes and Reports

Full minutes of the meeting


Treasurer's report


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