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Saturday 8th October 2022:

Friends of Oignies AGM 2022

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Thank you to all our members who attended our  Annual General Meeting at the Bath road Church Centre. We had a total attendance of 23, including members, the Committee and our Honorary President, Councillor Ollie Cross, Mayor of the High Peak; a pretty decent turn out, given that a significant number of members were away from home or on holiday on that weekend. It was a pleasure to catch up with members over some wine and cheese.

With Association Chair Derek Thomas being unavoidably absent, Deputy Chair Ian Hamilton stood in, and did a great job, making short work of the evening’s business, which left plenty of time for members to socialise at our first ‘in person’ AGM for 3 years.

Below is a brief summary of the meeting, along with the Chairman's report and a link to the full minutes which are available, along with the Financial Report, as .pdf.s.



  • After a two year hiatus due to the Covid epidemic we were finally able to recommence our normal schedule of alternating visits this spring with a very successful visit to see our Amis in Oignies. A great time was had by all! There is a full report on this fantastic weekend here. We are now planning for next April when we welcome the Oigninois to Buxton, and preparations are already well underway. Watch out for further details on the website over the coming months. 

  • Peter Bloomfield, Association Treasurer reported a balance in hand of £4463.60. Ideally, we would aim to have approximately £6000 before the visit to Buxton in 2023 in order to fund the hospitality for our guests from Oignies, and we would hope to organise some fund raising events over the intervening months. 

  • The membership subscription for the coming year 2022/23 of £25.00 per adult member is now due. A proposal to increase the annual subscription to £28.00 per adult for next year 2023/24 was passed by a members vote. This increase reflects the current RPI (Retail Prices Index) annual rate. 

  • Subs via Electronic payment if possible before 30 November please, via the Friends of Oignies account.


  • Election of Officers for 2021/22

​President: His Worship The Mayor of High Peak

Chair: Derek Thomas

Vice Chair: Ian Hamilton

Secretary: Sue Quas-Cohen

Treasurer: Peter Bloomfield


  • Committee: Ian Calvert, Jeanette Hamilton, Sue Hodgkinson and Chris Clegg (Publicity Officer).

  • ​After many years of sterling service Karen Done has decided not to stand for Committee this year. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Karen for her significant contribution to the Friends of Oignies over the years. We would also like to welcome Jeanette Hamilton as the newest member of the Association's Committee.

  • ...And don't forget to visit the website regularly the all the latest news from the Friends of Oignies.


Mr Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, good evening and thank you for joining us for our AGM, it is good to be face to face for the AGM for the first time since 2019.


The twinning year started with uncertainty yet optimism with the committee continuing to work towards the ‘now likely’ visit to Oignies in 2022 and our hosting programme for 2023. We tried to ignore the possibility that our visit to Oignies may need to be deferred to 2023 and our hosting to 2024.


As the date of the visit drew closer it appeared we may not be able to meet the high cost of hiring a coach with fewer members able to join us this year so we were therefore immensely thankful when The Mayoral Charities Committee came to our rescue with a kind and generous donation and the trip was on… only for us to get another set-back when our ferry booking was suspended by P&O due to strike action…!


Anyway, despite yet further complications and set-backs right up to embarkation at Dover, we made it to Oignies for a wonderful and quite emotional reunion and a great weekend that was enjoyed by all.


The work of the committee never stops… whilst we are putting together the final elements to hosting this coming April we are also assessing how we meet the ongoing challenge of balancing the Association’s accounts. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the committee alone to not only plan and organise the visits but to also finance the operation with less than a third of our funds currently coming from subscriptions.


We would welcome any help and ideas from all our members in raising future funds to ensure the ongoing success of our wonderful Twinning. Vive le Jumelage.


In closing, I’d like to thank Peter Quas-Cohen for his support and expertise in scrutinising the accounts, to our excellent committee for their efforts throughout the year. We’d like to make a special note of thanks to Karen Done who is stepping down as a committee member after many years of tremendous support.


And finally, thank you again for joining us this evening.

Derek Thomas - Association Chair, The Friends of Oignies

Full minutes of the meeting

Finance Report

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