Our 2023 AGM

We were pleased to hold our 2023 annual general meeting as a hybrid event for the second time, with members attending by video conference or in person at Friends House in Euston on 6 July.

Phil Wadey, our chairman, chaired the event which was attended by 41 members of the society and ten members of staff. Phil spoke passionately about the need to record rights of way, in order to ensure that more households around England and Wales can be close to guaranteed green spaces.

All the resolutions were passed, and the 2022 minutes approved.

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, presented the Trustees’ report for 2022. She said that she was proud to work for an organisation which was brave, quick to act, and professional, and had such a brilliant staff-team.

It was probably because of these qualities, emphasised Kate, that the society had recently been approached by three barristers from Francis Taylor with an offer of pro bono help to intervene in the Dartmoor backpack-camping case.

In the last year, explained Kate, the society had taken on more than 1,000 cases on behalf of members - an extraordinary figure for such a small organisation. She ended by thanking the trustees, local correspondents, volunteers, staff, and members for their support and activities throughout the year.

Following the ballot, Tara-Jane Sutcliffe was re-elected as a trustee, and David (Lord Clark), Mike Clarke, Roger de Freitas and Richard Maybe were re-elected as vice-presidents. We also welcomed Diane Andrewes, a long-standing member of the society, as a new vice-president. You can read more about her appointment here.

We have produced draft minutes here of the AGM with the detailed results.

The chairman then introduced the Eversley Award, presented on an occasional basis to individuals for outstanding personal endeavour. We were delighted to present Ian Witham, our local correspondent for Norfolk, with the award. Ian has been our local correspondent since 1999 and has championed our interests across the region.

You can find out more about the award here.

Following the formal meeting, we heard from a number of members. Phil Escritt spoke about securing better outcomes for access through the planning system. David Howerski talked about his experience as a local correspondent. Sarah Bucks walked us through submitting definitive map modification order applications. Hugh Craddock went into more detail about the wild camping on Dartmoor appeal. And finally, Michael Green and Angela Raif-Green talked about the historic Blackwell Parkland in County Durham.