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The Friends of the Far North Line
Cairdean Na Loine Tuath
the campaign group for rail north of Inverness - lobbying for improved services for the local user, tourist and freight operator

Friends of The Far North Line AGM at 11:30 at the Royal British Legion, Thurso on 3 June 2013


The AGM was chaired by FoFNL Convener John Brandon.

Present - Richard Ardern, Bob Barnes-Watts, John Brandon, William Bruce, David Bull, Alastair Christie, Janetta Christie, Sandy Colley, Linda Evans, Frank Faulkner, Geoff Hinder, Richard Langridge, Mary Langridge, John Logie, Mike Lunan, Iain MacDonald, John Melling, Frank Roach, Leslie Rowe, Gavin Sinclair, David Start, Martin Stillwell, May Sutherland, Les Turner, Anne-Mary Wharton, Andrew Wright, Chris Wright.

Apologies - Arran Aird, Stewart Campbell, Pamela Draper, P Hardyman, JM Mackie, Richard Morris, Roger Piercy, Gordon Pettitt, Oliver Rackham, Neil Sinclair, Angus Stewart, Janice Stewart, Mr & Mrs Duncan Stewart, John Thurso.

Minutes of 2012 AGM (previously circulated) were agreed. Proposed by Richard Ardern and seconded by Sandy Colley.

Matters arising - none.

Chairman's Report - see below.

Membership Report - The report was provided by the Membership Secretary and read out by the Convener owing to the Absence of the Membership Secretary. 162 members with 4 community councils.

Treasurer's Report -
The accounts for the year ended 31st December 2012 were presented to the AGM; the accounts are in line with expectations. A small surplus for the year-end of £115.37 was recorded. Bank interest on our current account, as with other banks, has been withdrawn and our income of £8.63 is from investment income. These bonds are to be withdrawn and no alternative has been provided by Halifax. A decision will be required by the Committee as to where this investment is to be re-invested. £150.00 as income was received from Network Rail Scotland as a contribution to the costs of holding the AGM 2012 in Dingwall. The Committee's decision to purchase postage stamps in advance of the steep postal increase reflects the £401.76 expenditure. FoFNL donated £82.33 to Shelter in memory of the late Mr Keith Tyler. Adoption of accounts was proposed by Bob Barnes-Watts, seconded by Les Turner and approved unanimously by the meeting.

Constitution Changes - Proposed changes to the constitution were advised to the membership in advance of the AGM. The changes were proposed by Mike Lunan, seconded by Bob Barnes-Watts and approved unanimously.

Election of Office-bearers:

Convener. John Brandon was nominated by Gavin Sinclair and seconded by David Start. There being no other candidates, John Brandon was elected Convener.
Secretary. There being no other candidates, Gavin Sinclair (proposed by Bob Barnes-Watts and seconded by Martin Stillwell) was elected Secretary.
Membership Secretary. There being no other candidates, Angus Stewart (proposed by David Start and seconded by Iain MacDonald) was elected Membership Secretary.
Treasurer. There being no other candidates, David Start (proposed by Mike Lunan and seconded by Bob Barnes-Watts) was elected Treasurer.
Newsletter Editor. No candidates came forward for this role and this position remains vacant.

Election of two Committee Members:

The Convener asked for nominations. As there were more nominations than places, an election by show of hands was held.
Sandy Colley was nominated by Iain MacDonald, seconded Richard Ardern; 7 votes.
Iain MacDonald was nominated by David Start, seconded Les Turner; 13 votes.
Bob Barnes-Watts was nominated by Mike Lunan, seconded Richard Ardern; 9 votes.
Stewart Campbell was nominated by Bob Barnes-Watts, seconded Iain MacDonald; 9 votes.
Convener's casting vote was for Bob Barnes-Watts. Iain MacDonald and Bob Barnes-Watts were elected to the Committee.

AOCB - The Convener, John Brandon, advised the AGM of his intention to stand down from the Committee at the next AGM.

Meeting closed at 12:00.

Draft minutes for approval at 2014 AGM

Confirmed by committee 7th December, 2013.

2013 FoFNL AGM Convener's Report

A year ago, I wrote that there was still no sign of Conon Bridge station being authorised. However, since then, there has been a complete turnaround and the station opened on 8th February this year after just a five-month construction programme. This is a major success story not only for us in the Friends of the Far North Line but also for all those residents of Conon and Maryburgh, along with their elected representatives, who campaigned long and hard for it. The springboard was the realisation that the major road works on Kessock Bridge could not be ameliorated by road traffic management alone but also needed a contribution from rail, something which we had been saying since the works were first announced several years ago. It is disappointing that the level of train service has not been improved to the hourly pattern we have proposed but there has been some strengthening of existing services to accommodate additional commuters. We would still like to see an hourly service between Inverness and Tain which, along with infrastructure improvements, would shorten journey times to all destinations on the Far North Line. However, we still await a business case for it.

Following last year's Annual General Meeting, the committee co-opted three additional members as permitted by the constitution. However, the newly elected editor of the newsletter, Iain Shand, had to stand down for health reasons. We were very grateful to the outgoing editor, Tony Jervis, who stood in at very short notice to produce Far North Express in September, the two subsequent issues being edited by me. I am pleased to say that Iain's health has now improved. We are, though, still looking for someone to fill the post permanently. The new distribution arrangements have continued to work well and I particularly thank Iain MacDonald who collects them from the printer, stuffs them into the envelopes and posts them. Once again, I make a plea for contributions. As you will have seen, most of the newsletters are written by just a small number of people. I'm pleased to say, though, that we do already have a couple of items from elsewhere for the next edition and these will be passed on to the new editor. As the constitution requires, we have held three committee meetings in the year just gone, two in Edinburgh and one in Inverness, and we are most grateful again to Network Rail for allowing us use of a meeting room on Edinburgh Waverley station which helps to keep the running costs of the society down.

Committee members have continued to represent the society by attending various meetings around the country and I thank them for giving up their time for this. We have again been keeping the society and its aims in the public spotlight and intend to continue to do so.