Stafford Rambling Group Affiliated to the Ramblers Stafford Rambling Group Produced with Xara -  Stafford Rambling Group 2014 -17
CHAIR’S REPORT 2016-17 I   am   happy   to   report   a   generally   successful   year   for   SRG.   Our   membership   number   is   stable   –   we   aim   for   just under   100   members   at   the   end   of   each   financial   year   –   and   our   finances   are   in   good   order.   Our   walks programmes have been full with regular special events. The   one   disappointment   was   having   to   cancel   our   planned   coach   ramble   because   of   a   shortage   of   bookings. We   could   have   sustained   a   small   loss   but   we   were   looking   at   one   of   nearly   £100   and   the   committee   took   the view   that   this   was   too   much.   We   are   trying   to   run   the   trip   again   in   2017   to   see   whether   or   not   last   year’s outcome   was   a   blip.   We   have   also   included   a   trip   to   Bodnant   Gardens   to   boost   numbers   of   non-walkers.. Ironically   the   walk   which   Chris   Wiggin   led   from   Hayfield   to   replace   the   coach   ramble   was   one   of   my   highlights of the year and it was blessed with the traditional coach ramble weather. In   contrast   the   numbers   booking   on   to   our   weekends   away   increased   substantially   (and   we   had   to   declare   the coach   full   for   the   recent   trip   to   Exmouth,   which   falls   outside   the   scope   of   this   report).   There   was   a   distinctly damp   start   to   the   Ilfracombe   weekend,   with   only   8   members   undertaking   the   dramatic   walk   from   Combemartin to   Ilfracombe   on   the   SW   Coastal   Path.   The   weather   on   the   Saturday   and   Sunday   was   glorious   with   top   notch walks   and   I   enjoyed   our   visit   to   Dunster   on   the   Monday.   A   new   phrase   also   entered   the   folklore   of   SRG;   this was of course “relatively flat”. My thanks to the walk leaders – Beryl, Mike, Chris, John and Roy. My   task   at   Bridlington   was   made   much   easily   through   Alison   Spencer’s   assuming   responsibility   for   the   walks and   recruiting   David   and   Gill   to   lead   the   second   walks   on   Saturday   and   Sunday.   We   had   three   splendid   days weather   and   one   disastrously   wet   morning   on   the   Sunday   –   this   of   course   happened   during   what   was   officially one   of   the   driest   Octobers   on   record.   Fortunately   Alison   had   arranged   a   soup   stop   which   both   groups   reached at   much   the   same   time   –   and   what   a   set   of   drowned   rats   we   were!   Again   we   had   a   first   on   the   weekend,   as one   member   assisted   the   emergency   services   in   a   dramatic   rescue   on   the   stormy   seafront.   My   thanks   to Alison,   David   and   Gill   for   their   efforts.   And   to   Beryl   on   both   trips   for   her   bingo   quizzes   and   to   everyone   else who provided written puzzles. Jeanette   is   standing   down   as   our   short   walks   co-ordinator   after   two   years   when   she   has   been   a   model   of efficiency.   We   must   all   thank   her   for   this   –   and   also   the   leaders   who   have   provided   us   with   such   varied   short and   long   walks.   Without   them   our   club   is   nothing.   Angie   will   become   short   walks   co-ordinator,   her   second   stint in   the   role.   You   can   of   course   see   photographs   of   a   lot   of   our   walks   on   the   web   site   (splendidly   maintained   by John)   and   on   our   Facebook   page.   One   of   my   favourite   photos   there   is   a   group   of   members   earnestly   tucking into   fish   and   chips   in   the   bus   shelter   in   Gnosall.   This   happened   courtesy   of   Carol   who   organised   one   of   our irregular series of summer evening walks during July. I   have   to   say   that   I   enjoyed   our   Christmas   meal   more   than   any   other   (and   I’ve   been   on   and   organised   quite   a few).   This   was   down   to   a   combination   of   a   private   venue   (beautifully   decorated)   and   really   interesting   food.   I was   not   alone   in   this   as   the   event   was   a   sell-out   (adding   to   the   ambiance).   Tillington   Hall   did   us   proud   and many    thanks    to    Beryl    for    organising    this.    Hint:    she    is    doing    again    this    year    so    book    early    to    avoid disappointment. Finally   in   March   we   returned   to   the   Bull   &   Specs   at   Blythbury   for   our   dinner   ramble   where   the   food   was excellent   –   even   though   some   of   us   were   a   bit   worried   when   asked   what   we   would   like   to   eat   when   we   thought we   had   all   pre-ordered   to   make   things   run   more   smoothly.   Not   to   worry;   it   all   worked   out.   Our   thanks   to   John for   organising   the   meal   and   to   him,   Marian,   Chris   and   Bert   for   leading   the   walks.   I   found   something   comforting in the longer walk visiting all four of the Ridware villages. We   will   move   shortly   to   the   election   of   the   committee   but   you   will   have   seen   that   Bert   is   standing   down.   I would   like   to   thank   him   for   all   he   has   brought   to   its   work.   Indeed,   I   have   to   thank   all   of   them   because   they would   make   my   life   so   much   harder   if   they   didn’t   take   on   jobs   so   willingly   to   ensure   that   we   have   such   a vibrant and, I like to think, happy group. Trevor Whincup.