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Notes from Open Committee 9 September 2020

Minutes of an open committee of the MagnaMasters Association held on Wednesday 9 September 2020 on Zoom

Attending: Jeremy Randall (Chairman), Martin Miles, Patrick O’Reilly, Nic Birtles, Tony Watson, Chris Ford, Roger North, Stephen Bernhard, Richard Herbert, Debby Ounsted, Bob Morrow, Raymond Layard, Graham Dickinson, Rowland Hughes, Michael Godbee, Mike Felton, Kevin Moore, Barrie Stewart, Peter Williams, Patrick Chapman, Ian Locks, Ian McIntyre, Tony Watson, Graham Chase, David Illingworth, Chris Ford, Ian Frood, Derek Woods, Paul Heygate, Terry Last, Sir Roger Vickers, Tony Alston.

Apologies: Jim Conybeare, Robin Furber, Colin Goodman, Kathleen Duncan, John Shonfeld, John Hitchins, Adrian Scott Knight

1 Chairman’s welcome and introduction - Jeremy Randall thanked those on screen for taking part in the meeting and it was good to see an even higher number than usual taking part.

2 Minutes of meeting 10 September 2019 (Attached) Noted and approved.

3 Financial Report (Hon. Treasurer) - Martin Miles reported that last year showed a surplus of around £1,500, taking the association’s reserve to some £8,000. There had been 101 paid up members in the year 2019-20. The number for the current financial year were over 90 with a number of standing orders still to come in. He questioned whether members wished to donate some of the surplus to charity, particularly if the Gala Dinner in February was unable to go ahead. It was agreed this was not the time to decide what to do with members’ money and this should be an item for the AGM in November

4 Upcoming Events


Tuesday 20 October - An evening with the Magic Circle - Patrick Chapman.

The Chairman urged those attending to sign up for the next event which would now be a magic half-hour organised by Patrick Chapman, the “live” event having now been postponed to an equivalent date in October 2021. The starting time for the event would be 6.30pm

Monday 2 November - AGM, wine tasting and dinner - Patrick O”Reilly said the age was book as in previous years at the RAF Club. Were this to go ahead under present rules we would be limited to 30 people with the event all in one room, the club’s largest, and seating in group’s of six. Were the event not able to proceed the AGM would be held on Zoom. Patrick Chapman suggested the event should be accompanied by a Loire-style tasting of recommended wines for Christmas.

Thursday 5 November - visit to Westminster Abbey (Raymond Layard) - agreed to move the event to a similar time next year, it being unlikely there would be sufficient support at present.


3 February 2021 - Sixth Gala Dinner - Skinners' Hall hosted by John Hitchins, Past Master Skinner who reported that

constraints continued to be the social distancing rules and the willingness of a relatively senior age group to travel into central London for a dinner before a vaccine is available. If the rules did not relax a large dinner would not be possible and “the outlook for relaxation is not promising.” He said he would keep the date at Skinners (not difficult given current levels of demand!) so the question was when a stop/go decision needed to be made.

It was agreed it now seemed highly unlikely a Gala Dinner could be held in early 2021 and a “gala dinner” without partners would not be a “gala dinner”. If the AGM dinner had to be cancelled, as also seemed highly likely, a new date for an AGM-style dinner should be arranged for the spring. (Subsequently confirmed by Patrick O’Reilly as Monday 26 April 2021).

31 May - 3 June 2021 - Rescheduled visit to Loire wine growing area. Nic Birtles reported this was still fully booked for the new dates in 2021.

30 June - Dinner Lincoln’s Inn - Tony Watson. This event will be capped at 20 (not 25) to include Consorts and planned to include a tour of the Great Hall and archives. We potentially have around 50 people wishing to attend. Tony Watson agreed to inquire about the possibility of a second date.

October Date TBA- An evening with the Magic Circle - Patrick Chapman. The physical event would be rescheduled to October 2021.

5 Programme for 2021

  • Patrick Draycott had agreed to investigate the possibility of a repeat of the visit to CERN at a date in the future

  • Gala Dinner - future venues and arrangements: Tony Watson offered to check whether Leathersellers might be available to us. (Subsequent response from the Clerk was not promising this side of a vaccine being found).

  • Ditchling Village: Vineyard & Art and Craft Museum - Mike Felton said this would be for a small number, probably in October next year

  • Richard Herbert suggested a walk along London Wall with lunch at Cutlers’ Hall, which he would explore

6 Reports of events 2019/20

  • Dinner at Saddlers Hall on 29 January “complete success” hosted by Mark Farmar and with President SirAlan Yarrow and Lady Yarrow in attendance among the 124 guests seated

  • Visit to Tideway Tunnel, kindly organised by Richard Herbert, took place on a very windy but sunny March day, just scrapped under the lockdown wire. Although with several deciding not to attend the “wow” factor of this amazing and under publicised scheme was not lost on the 20 or so who did, enjoying lunch at the Humble Grape, just off Fleet Street, afterwards…..the last lunch out for many of us until the summer.

  • Subsequently our sold out visit to the Loire organised by Nic Birtles and Jeremy Randall and sold twice-over tour of the archives plus dinner at Lincoln’s Inn organised by Tony Watson have both been rescheduled to equivalent dates next year

  • Around 50 of us did nevertheless have a trip down the Loire, albeit virtually, thanks to the wonderfully well researched presentation by Jeremy Randall who had suggested a generous selection of wines from Waitrose to accompany his talk, much enjoyed by those who took part.

  • It was good to have 28 of you signed up for our meeting today - albeit without our usual jolly lunch

  • Our planned evening at the Magic Circle on Tuesday 20 October organised by Patrick Chapman will now be a half hour of Zoom Magic with hopefully the real thing next year.

i Events Committee - Nic Birtles/Stephen Bernhard/Gwen Rhys - Nic Birtles said he was preparing a guide for organising events

ii Membership - Michael Godbee said he felt it was unrealistic for us to expect to be able to keep in touch with members beyond the regular contact by email and, when permitted, at the meetings we organise.

7 Succession:

The chairman said there was only one nomination to succeed him as Chairman when he completed his term in November.

8 Other business

No other business

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