March 1971

New date for AGM
Ballot for exec.c'tee
Coming events
Work on the canal

Contact the Society


bcnmsthd16 (13K)

Newsletter No. 37March 1971


Because of the postal strike, it has been necessary to alter the date of the Annual General Meeting. This will now be held on:
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21 and not on March 31 as stated in the previous newsletter.
Venue and time are unchanged:
Brookwood Memorial Hall, Brookwood, Woking, 8.00pm


For the second year, the number of nominations exceeds the number of vacancies on the committee. There are 12 nominations for the nine vacancies, six of them are retiring members of the 1970 committee.

With this newsletter you will find the Agenda for the ACM and audited accounts, which you should bring with you to the meeting. You will also find a Ballot Paper as we are holding a postal ballot to elect the new committee . We appreciate that many members may find it difficult to vote for people who are not personally known to them, and to assist your choice, this newsletter gives biographical details of the twelve nominees. Please read the voting instructions below very carefully - and please, use your vote !


1. Please put a cross or tick against the names of NINE candidates who are your choice for the new committee. Do not vote for more than NINE candidates. To facilitate counting, please use the voting space provided on the right hand side of the Ballot Paper.

2. Return your completed Ballot Paper to the secretary, Miss June Sparey, 8 Beaufort Road, Maybury Estate, Woking, Surrey, to reach her NOT LATER THAN FRIDAY, APRIL 16.

3. Please write your name and address on the BACK of the envelope containing your Ballot Paper. This will enable your name to be checked against our membership records.

4. On the top left hand corner of the FRONT of the envelope, write the word "BALLOT" so that it can be distinguished from ordinary mail. The envelopes containing your Ballot Papers will then be handed, unopened, to an indepen­dent scrutineer for counting, and the result of the Ballot will be announced at the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, April 21.

5. Those of you who are family members, i.e. husband and wife, will receive two Ballot Papers, to be completed by both partners. These can be returned in the same envelope. Any Ballot Papers received after April 16, and any which contain more than NINE votes cast will be declared void.

The candidates for election have been proposed and seconded as follows. An asterisk indicates a member of the old committee seeking re-election.

Proposed bySeconded by
Alan BabisterR.D.FoxB.Parker
Stuart BrowningJune SpareyPeter Caiger
*Peter CaigerJohn PeartPeter Walker
Glenis CrockerMrs Wendy Walker.Peter Caiger
*John DodwellBarry HumpidgeDieter Jebens
Mick FairlessLes HarrisPat Harris
*David GerryBarry HumpidgeJohn Dodwell
*Robin HiggsLes HarrisJeff Holman
Jeff HolmanRobin HiggsHoward Diamond
*Barry HumpidgeDavid GerryJon Talbot
Alan MossDieter JebensHoward Diamond
*Jim WoolgarPaul DysonPeter Walker

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Sunday, April 11: Easter ramble along the top pound of the canal. Leave from Reading Road Bridge, Fleet, 10.30 am; lunch at the Barley Mow public house, Dogmersfield, and ramble on to Odiham. For those who are not quite familiar with the canal's geography Reading Road Bridge is on the main road between Fleet and Reading (B.301l). For new ramblers, the top pound contains some of the canal's most attractive scenery, especially attractive at this time of the year. Come and join us for the whole day, the morning or after­noon. We'll provide a car shuttle service.

Friday, April 16: Closing date for postal ballot.

Wednesday, April 21: Annual General Meeting, Brookwood Memorial Eall, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey, 8.00 pm. The hall is situated in Connaught Road, Brookwood (it's the main road) and lies down a little lane at the junction of Connaught Road and Connaught Crescent. From Aldershot direction, it's on the left hand side of the road, just past the fish and chip shop; Approaching from Woking, it's on the right.

Sunday, April 25: Coach trip to see the Boulton & Watt steam engine at Crofton on the Kennet and Avon Canal. Coaches will leave Woking Station at 8.00 am, and full details of pick-up points and times will be sent to those who have applied and paid for tickets. The fare is £1 for adults; 50p for children (under 14). Will those who have applied for tickets please send their money to Peter Caiger, 42 Orchard Way, Camberley, Surrey. Cheques and postal orders should be made out to the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society. We have booked two 52—seater coaches, and there may still be a few seats left if you are quick - again, contact Mr. Caiger. We will watch a private steaming at Crofton in the morning, and in the afternoon visit some places of interest on the Kennet and Avon. Bring sandwiches. Should be a lovely day out.

Wednesday, May 5: Public meeting, Christ Church Hall, Woking. Another of our big recruitment meetings. Members in the Woking area will be asked to help with a leaflet distribution and display posters if they can.

Tuesday, May 11: Another public meeting on similar lines at Lakeside Junior School, Frimley. We'll be asking Frimley area members for help with leaflets and posters. Both meetings start 8.00 pm. Although these meetings are aimed at increasing our membership, we would welcome support from existing members who haven't been to one of our public meetings before.

Monday, May 31: Surrey Show, Stoke Park, Guildford. Help wanted in manning our publicity caravan and sales stall. Offers to Peter Caiger, address above.

Set of golf clubs wanted. - Alan Babister, Farnborough 46147.
BBC 2 indoor aerial. Gives good reception if you live in on area with a strong BBC 2 signal. £1. June Sparey, Woking 63095 (weekends); Camberley 4444 (week­days, 9 am - 5 pm)

The strike didn't prevent the majority of the last newsletter getting out, thanks to our postmen and their network of contacts. But it has played havoc with the arrangements for wine and cheese parties in Church Crookham, Sandhurst and Farnborough. New arrangements will be made and members in these areas will be getting invitations. The strike didn't stop a very successful wine and cheese party being held at the Weybridge. home of member Mrs. Kay Lippold. Our sincere thanks to Dr. and Mrs. Lippold for their hospitality.

Or it seems to be as far as our membership is concerned. Two recent public meetings at Farnborough and Church Crookham, have brought in 250 new members. Both meetings were packed and showed a great public awareness in the canal, A big thank you, once again, to our volunteer postmen who showed their worth during the postal strike, and without whom our balance sheet wouldn't be so healthy; and to the members who so willingly delivered leaflets for those meetings. Because of the influx of members, we could do with extra help delivering newsletters in Fleet and Farnborough. Please get in touch with the secretary if you can help here.
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In the last newsletter, members' comments were invited on the private working parties now taking place on the canal. The postal strike did not prevent these contributions to the debate reaching the newsletter.

"In the current issue of the newsletter the chairman asks for members' views on the volunteer groups which are at present working on the canal. As a member of one group I feel it right to defend our position and say in public some of the things which have been said in private.

"Firstly, I would like to thank the chairman for saying that the work is being well done. Certainly when I now go over St. John's Bridge I think the view has been improved, but I am obviously prejudiced and it is comforting to know that other people agree.

"Secondly, I think we appreciate that our efforts could add to the value of the canal and thus enable the owners to get a higher price from the county councils, but because of the surveys carried out months and years ago we do not consider that the scratching on the surface we are doing (and spectacular as the results may seem, this is all we are doing so far) is likely to fool anyone.

"Thirdly, although our efforts are unpublicised, nevertheless the public are learning who we are and why we are there. People do ask questions, some just nod and pass on, others are more encouraging. One dear lady gave us a shilling (5p) for our funds and said we ought to have a collecting box at the ready.

"Fourthly, this activity will filter back to the authorities and will be a practical demonstration of what you have been saying for years - but nevertheless may be difficult for others to believe - namely that there is a large body of people who are prepared to work hard and for no other reward than to see a public eyesore become a public amenity. You have been saying it I know, but I think that this is an instance where actions can speak with greater effect.

"Fifthly, when ownership of the canal does pass to the county councils we shall be able to come out of hiding and say "This is what we have done so far - now join us and finish the job!

"Finally, whatever the outcome, our work will not have been in vain. Whatever the future of the canal may be, a linear park with weired locks or, as we all wish to see, restored to full navigation, it will be the better for having the rubbish hooked out of the waterway and the towpath a more pleasant and safer place for having the vegetation trimmed".
Harold Haydon
Grindstone Handle Corner
Knaphill, Woking.

"I was interested in your front page article in the last newsletter about voluntary working parties on the canal. I agree that where this work has been carried out it has made a vast improvement, which must have been noticed by many members of the public. At the same time, I can understand why some people are anxious about work being done at this stage.

"I know those good souls carrying out the work are doing so privately. Provided the work is properly undertaken and adequately supervised, I don't think there could be any objection. The danger lies in the over-eager enthusiast who may, by a little thoughtless behaviour, cuts down the wrong tree or offend a nearby resident. If this happens, then with the best will in the world on the part of those responsible, there is bound to be some come-back on the society, since the society's name and its suggestion that volunteers can help restore the canal are inevitably linked in the public mind. And although the present volunteers may be acting privately, some at least are members of the society, this is obvious even to the casual observer who notices cars bearing the society sticker parked where work is being carried out.

"I would not like to see the society's present standing in the public eye jeopar­dised in any way. If the present work is properly supervised, this should not happen. But accidents can and do happen, and if anything did go wrong, then I am afraid the society would become involved, however innocently, and its good name could be affected. In short, I would not want the society to take the rap for something which was not of its own making.

"If those involved would like to bear this point in mind for the future I would be grateful since it is one on which I, as an ordinary member of the society, am more than a little concerned".
A Member
(Name and address supplied)

"In the January newsletter we are asked to comment on the private working parties. Are they a good thing or not? Surely the most important factor is psychological. The society has been going for four years. It came into being to restore the Basingstoke Canal from its increasingly derelict condition. Even the WRG owes some of its origins to an observation of that condition years ago. But so far nothing has been achieved by the organised societies in the way of physical resto­ration of the canal itself.

"At long last the members and prospective members can actually do something on their own canal. It is instructive but hardly inspiring to go, as I have done, to see how the other societies go about it at Harvington, Bath or Dudley. Now that is changed. We can actually work on our canal. Already with minimal publicity people are coming from as far as Essex to join in. The days of inactivity are over.

"There is another benefit, just as important, we have been informed many times that the state of decay is fast reaching the point at which decline will be head­long and increasingly difficult to reverse. Already one flight of locks has been cleared of deeply rooting vegetation, and basic preservation started. If we wait for the conclusion of negotiations — perhaps two years — some of this work will come too late to avoid major expensive outlay by the new owners.

"There seems little real danger of upsetting the negotiations by increasing the canal's value. It is still derelict - simply tidier in some places. And the progress made so far, quite remarkable in its way, is much more likely to encourage the local residents and the counties, rather than change their attitudes.

"Incidentally, the canal telegraph informs me that if the society decides to oppose the work now in progress, they will lose many of their potentially more active members. The repercussions of having a rival society could be far-reaching and must surely be avoided at all costs. The S & H must not go down in history as the canal society that never wanted anything done.

"My advice is - do all that you reasonably can to encourage the work, without becoming actually involved".
C. E. C. Hebert
The Grange

*Mr. Hebert's letter deserves a little editorial comment. I don't think the question of the society opposing the work now in progress has ever arisen. Perhaps the crux of the matter comes in Mr. Hebert's very last words - "without becoming actually involved", particularly in view of the sentiments expressed by the previous letter writer. Although Mr. Hebert states that members and potential members can now work on the canal, we must emphasise that these are private working parties, not organised by the society. The reason for this is somewhat tedious, if not ridic­ulous, and dates from the society's early days when permission to work on the canal was withheld by the owners because they refused to accept that the society could not be responsible for any publicity given to the work through the agencies of third parties. There is one other point which has really given rise to the present situation: representatives of the society committee have been told by a very senior member of Surrey County Council that he would rather that no work is carried out on the canal until its future is finalised through acquisition. This comment was noted by those members present. So can we please all the people all the time? - Editor.
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page issued March 2005