Preston Grammar School Association

Minutes of the 2016 AGM

Held on Friday 6th May 2016 at the Fulwood Conservative Club.

Charlie Billington (Secretary/Chair), Jim McDowall (Treasurer) Messrs Barker, Billsborough, Brook (Rob), Bunting, Dempsey (John), Dobson (Jim), Goring, Grindrod, Hall, Hayward, Jenkinson, Lonsdale, Mather, McVann, Monks, Olivine, Pearson (Frank), Rigby (Brian), Sergeant, Sumner, Turner (Alan), Walton, Wrathall, Tyrer and Yates.
Messrs Bryson, Caley, Collins, Eccles (Ray), Fazackerley (Allan), Hayes, Hesketh (Bob), Hesketh (Reg), Hunt, Kirby, Myerscough, Nightingale, Nix, Parker, Reeves, Robinson (Bill), Stansfield, Swindlehurst and Watson. The Members present passed on their thoughts and best wishes to Jim Bryson and Keith Nightingale who were not well, and also to David Swindlehurst who had had to cancel at the last minute owing to a family medical emergency. Thanks were also expressed for donations totalling £60.00.
These had previously been circulated in hard copy or by email attachment, and they were unanimously accepted as a correct record of events. (Proposed Maurice Barker, seconded Trevor Sergeant)
The Secretary referred to the opening statement, and explained that with a plan approved by the Executive Council, and the support of a few colleagues, he had effectively taken over the running of the Association in order to resolve the problems. At the first Extraordinary Meeting it had become clear that in order for the Association to survive it had to establish a new, much tighter Constitution. Tinkering with the old one was not an option. Four subsequent Meetings delivered draft 9, which whilst still requiring some work, needed to be adopted on the night in the first instance. Once adopted it could be developed in the correct manner.

Item 6 (Secretary’s Report, the New Hoghtonian and the Guild Wheel Project). Due to the turbulence over the last year the production of the New Hoghtonian had been seriously delayed, and at the moment it looked like the Guild Wheel Project had been abandoned, or at least it was for another day. No other matters arising.

Jim McDowall circulated copies of the Accounts and gave a very detailed analysis of them. He explained that although the assets looked good at £3686.60 this figure did include a bequeathal of £1000 from Alick Hadwen’s estate. Nevertheless the Association’s finances were in rude health, they had already been audited, and following some discussion they were unanimously approved. (Proposed Peter Walton, seconded Brian Hall). Sincere thanks were expressed to Jim Barwise for the auditing.

As Jim McDowall was standing down as Treasurer, the Secretary paid tribute to him by explaining that he and Mac had been friends and colleagues for 50 years, and for the last ten they had been heavily involved in the Association. Mac, as well as being a very able Treasurer, had also set up the Website on a shoestring (in every sense), which later became difficult as the amount of material that had been accrued could not have been foreseen. Nevertheless, with the input of David Swindlehurst, the Site had been maintained and was generally very highly thought of, to the extent of over 21,000 ‘hits’! “Webmaster” was not yet an official position, although hopefully it soon would be, so Mac had done all his work on a purely discretional basis. He had also been instrumental in supporting the Secretary with IT, and had published all the Newsletters until 2012. Much of this had been done by travelling from Crosby. At the same time he had very skilfully established and maintained the financial health of the organisation, for which all Members should be grateful. The Secretary thanked him personally and on behalf of the Association for all he had done, and it was hoped that he would not melt into the background. The Members present in turn expressed their appreciation in the usual way.

Deceased List, Members and Old Boys

BRANDWOOD, John (Miller, 1939-1949)
BRUNT, Derrick Archibald (c1938/39-????)
HALL, Brian (Miller, 1958-1965)
HEPPELL, James R M (Miller, 1932-1939)
INGHAM, John (1958-1963) (NM)
JONES MBE JP, Alan (Thornley, 1937-1945)
JONES, Neville (Thornley, 1943-1950)
McGUNNIGLE, Peter (Harris, 1941-1946)
PATERSON, John Edgar JP (Master, 1965-1969)
ROBINSON, John Trevor (Thornley, 1941-1949)
SCAMBLER, John Dodson (Harris, 1941-1948)
SCOTT, Norman Keith CBE (Miller, c1938-1945)
SHADLOCK, Gordon (c1934-1939)
SHERIDAN, Alan (Miller, 1945-1950)
WHITESIDE, Alex (Goodair, 1960-1966)

14 Members had passed away since the last AGM. Obituaries had been sent out by email, and posted on the Website. Sadly, the names included John Brandwood, uniquely twice Past President of the Association, Jim Heppell, Past President and author of “A History of Preston Grammar School”, John Paterson, Master and the Secretary’s predecessor, Keith Scott, world-renowned Architect and a founder of Building Design Partnership, and former Liverpool FC star Brian Hall. It had also come to the attention of the Secretary that both Neville and Alan Jones had very recently passed away, but he had no details. They, and all on the list, would be badly missed by the Association.

New Members

DOBSON, Desmond John (Des) (Miller, 1964-1970)
KINLOCH, Chris (Miller, 1954-1961)
PEARSON, Frank (Goodair, 1955-1961)
THOMAS, Frank Graham (Frank) (Harris, 1960-1968)
WOAN, Harold George (Harry) (Miller, 1954-1959)

There were 5 new Members, who were officially welcomed to the Association. Others were in the pipeline, but membership forms weren’t always returned!

The Membership

Late last year the Secretary had done a trawl of the database, which resulted in donations of £350 being gratefully received, and the transferring of 37 untraceable Members to an ‘inactive’ list. Thus there were currently 304 active Members, of whom at least 249 were contactable by email, which represented a huge saving on printing and postage costs. The Meeting was reminded that it was very important to keep the Secretary up-to-date with new or changed email addresses. Most communication was carried out by emails, of which there were often several a day, which inevitably led to the occasional backlog. Some were of the “get in touch” type in which the Secretary strictly adhered to the Data Protection Act. One interchange had taken place in and around the Lancashire Evening Post, and related to a football shirt which had once belonged to a member of an Old Boy’s team. It was significant, as the badge on the shirt referred to the Lancashire Amateur League, Northern Section, Division Two for 1938-39, a year in which the Old Boys won both the First and the Second Division Championships, a unique feat. The writer had incorrectly ‘identified’ the wearer of the shirt, but the correspondence had continued and the shirt itself would shortly come into the possession of PGSA.

Franklyn Jackson, one of our Carcassonne residents, had last year stood as a Parliamentary candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in opposition to Boris Johnson, in order to raise the awareness that many UK tax-paying citizens did not have the right to vote after a number of years’ residency abroad. Frank had now produced a book of short stories entitled “Loopholes” which included this episode in his life. The Secretary had received an e-copy from Frank’s Publisher and had found it very interesting and entertaining. Details of the book and how to get it in its different formats were now on the Website.

Many emails had also been exchanged with a correspondent who had acquired four hallmarked silver medals dated 1938 and 1939. The Secretary had traced these to the School Sports Days and the winner of them, E. Hall, of Harris House. Further enquiries had revealed no additional details but Brian Rigby was about to carry out some extra research. In the meantime images of the medals were on the Website. They would eventually be sold if any Members/Old Boys were interested.

The New Hoghtonian

The recent Issue 5 would be the last to be produced by David Swindlehurst, who was thanked for his efforts. Someone would now need to step up to the plate but the Secretary promised to resume its publication ‘pro tem’, hopefully with the help of David on the publishing side.


Since the last AGM the Cabinet had been disbanded. There had been three Extraordinary Meetings of the Executive Council, along with two regular scheduled ones. The overriding concerns had been the state of the Association and the way forward with a new Constitution. The Secretary was proud to state that despite the difficulties the ordinary business of the Association had by and large continued to be carried out by a small, dedicated team.


Last year the Secretary had managed to retrieve the Headmaster’s Chair and the School Lectern from Preston’s College. Both had been on popular display at the Annual Dinner, and the Lectern had actually been used by the Speakers. Temporary storage was being desperately sought, as the Secretary was currently having difficulty in negotiating a way through his kitchen! As previously mentioned, the 1939 football shirt would soon be finding its way into the PGSA collection, and Brian Rigby had also been to see the School Hall paintings at the Fulwood Academy. The Head’s commitment to these paintings was in doubt, and it was hoped that the Association would be able to establish some form of ownership on them. Images would shortly appear on the Website.

The Website

This had continued to be maintained, but Jim McDowall had decided to stand down from his unofficial capacity as Webmaster. He was thanked for all his hard work, and David Swindlehurst, who already ran PGSA-Plus, had agreed to take over the running of the whole Website. This might only be for one year, so some thought would have to be given as it would be a tragedy for it to be closed down.


Jim Goring gave a brief résumé of the events of the past year, singling out the trip to the National Memorial Arboretum, which would be repeated later in the year, and the Talk on the First World War Trenches which had not taken place as the Speaker had got his dates mixed up. Instead, an unscripted, impromptu evening had been held free of charge for those who had attended, and a really good time had been had by all! Jim made the point that people who complained about events were invariably those who didn’t attend them. The next event would be the ever-popular annual visit to the School Building on Thursday 16th June 2016. Details had yet to be finalised and would be sent out nearer the time. Other events were in the pipeline, including proposed tours of the Minster and St George’s and the Harris Museum and Library. The Meeting expressed its appreciation for all Jim’s hard work.

Trevor Sergeant then provided an update on the World War One Battlefields Trip. There were currently 8 Members and one Guest, and this would likely be the final party. The Tours were difficult to organise from a booking point of view, as the Company, Leger, only released so many rooms, so it was always important to get in early. With an eye on 2017, Trevor was already gathering details about a World War One Tunnels Tour, in which several Members had expressed an interest.

Finally Tony Olivine gave details on the golf and bowls tournaments to come. The PGSA Masters Tournament had been put back to 31st May on account of the recent poor weather, and David Bunting would facilitate the action on the day. The Roebuck Cup for Bowls would now be on Thursday 7th July 2016. Registration forms had been left in the room for Members to sign.

The Secretary concluded by thanking all those who had worked to support him in his tasks throughout the year. In no particular order these were Jim Goring, Trevor Sergeant, David Swindlehurst, David Bunting, Tony Olivine, Brian Rigby and Jim McDowall.

This would normally be done by the President, but most of the points had been covered by the Secretary. It had not been an easy year (indeed two years) for the Executive Council, but the adoption of the new Constitution would directly address most if not all of the issues that had arisen.
At this stage, with a new Constitution proposed, it was only possible to consider two positions, those of Secretary and Treasurer. One nomination had been received.

(a) The President Elect - This was held over, to be considered by the new Executive Council.

(b) The Honorary General Secretary - The present incumbent was the sole nomination, and he was happy to stand. Proposed Maurice Barker, seconded Brian Rigby, unanimous in the room. Charlie Billington was therefore re-elected as Secretary.

(c) The Honorary Treasurer - As Jim McDowall was retiring, Mike Tyrer had been nominated. Proposed Trevor Sergeant, seconded Jim McDowall, unanimous in the room. Mike Tyrer was therefore duly elected as Treasurer. A Past President, he re-introduced himself in his new position.

(d) Up To Six Members of the Executive Council - John Paterson had sadly passed away, and Bob Booth and Jim Bryson were not well. Phil Billsborough had taken a back seat, but the other Members, Jim Goring, David Swindlehurst and Trevor Sergeant would be part of the new structure, so this election was held back.

Jim Barwise had offered to continue to examine the Association’s Accounts on an annual basis, and was unanimously re-elected (proposed Jim Goring, seconded Charlie Billington), subject to a further discussion on the position at Item11. In the meantime Jim Barwise was thanked again by the Meeting.
All Members had received a copy of draft 9, along with a detailed explanation as to why it was necessary. Without its adoption the Association could not hope to survive. In truth there was little else to say. All Members of the Executive Council had been involved in some way, and draft 9 was now being put forward to the AGM for adoption. It still required some work and would continue to evolve, but for this to happen it needed to be considered as it stood. The Meeting, therefore, was asked to vote on the following resolution: “Will the Members of the Preston Grammar School Association accept and adopt the new Constitution as presented in draft 9 in entire favour of the old Constitution last updated in March 1965?”. Two Members voted against it (although one stated later that he had been in error and wished to retract it) and there was one abstention. The resolution therefore was easily carried.

The new Executive Council could now be formed, and whilst there might be some doubling-up, most positions had already been filled by volunteers. More would be required however, and elections would start from next year. Further, all Members would in the future be made aware of any proposed changes to the new Constitution, and would receive amended copies once the changes had been approved by the AGM. This led very directly into Item 11.

This had suddenly become very important:

• Was the Association to continue in the same vein and if so for how long?
• Should the Association downsize, and if so, when? It was nevertheless important to continue to include Members who did not have email addresses, and this had been strongly reinforced by the response to the database ‘trawl’.
• What about the Website if no one succeeded David Swindlehurst next year?
• How would the Association dissolve and dispose of its funds?

The first task of the new Executive Council, apart from setting the 2016/17 Calendar of Events, would be to examine parts of the new Constitution again. In particular: • The terms “Audit” and “Auditor” were now strictly governed by European Law, and it was suggested that “Examine” and “Examiner” should be substituted, as was the case with most small voluntary organisations. • The dissolution and disposal of funds should be enshrined in the new Constitution. Charities and other organisations could come into consideration, but the Secretary also pointed out that if an independent agent were to maintain the Website, it would most likely cost money. • “Income and Expenditure Account” would be a more appropriate phrase than “Balance Sheet”. For raising these points, the Secretary gave thanks to Colin Foster (who had done so by email), Mike Tyrer and Alan Turner, who was most eloquent on the night.

Due to the enormous success of the 2016 Dinner the Executive Council had agreed that it should be staged again next year at the Samlesbury Hotel. The date had been fixed for Saturday 18th March 2017. The Secretary had already negotiated a contract favourable to PGSA and provisionally re-booked the venue. There would be a slight increase in cost but the Association should again be able to absorb it. The Meeting gave the Secretary permission to sign the contract and return it as confirmation to the Hotel.
There was no other business.
The Chair closed the Meeting at 20.43h.


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