logo Minutes of eleventh Annual General Meeting held on
18 April 2018 in Christchurch

1. Welcome.

The Chair welcomed everyone. About 45 people attended. Several regular members expressed their apologies for absence.

2. Minutes of 2017 AGM and matters arising.

No objections.

3. Treasurer's report.

Copies of the audited accounts were available for members at the meeting. For the calendar year to 31/12/17, FoMC started with £570.36 in the bank and ended with £577.65. Major expenditure included mower and parts, insurance, hall hire and plants. During FY 2017, FoMC received £274 in memberships and donations plus a £370 grant from the City Council. Next year 2017-2018, we estimate a starting balance of £577 plus memberships £100 plus £370 grant.

4. Subscriptions.

FoMC do not propose to ask the members for subscriptions this year. However, as well as hard cash which helps us with extra plants and projects and mowing costs, FoMC appreciates donations in kind like plants and refreshments for meetings. It was suggested that a tick box be added to the membership form for people to indicate if they wish to donate annually. To facilitate such annual donations and one off donations it was suggested that the FoMC bank details be published to enable bank transfers to be readily facilitated.

5. BruNK donation.

BRUNK chair, Roger Chatterton, explained that the group had become dormant and that he wished to donate the balance of their funds (£180.70) to FoMC. He suggested this might be used to provide something related to the Community Orchard. This was graciously accepted and will be implemented.

6. Election of Honorary Officers.

Thus the following were proposed by Sarah Green and seconded by Jo Hesslewood and Peter Gotham:

  • Chairman: Susan Stobbs
  • Secretary: Charles Hattersley
  • Treasurer: Ismail Akram

FOMC wish to thank Sarah for her excellent stewardship of the Treasurers role over the years on the committee and say she will be missed. The incoming treasurer Ismail was welcomed by all. Charles Hattersley, secretary, advised that our membership had grown by 25 in the past year and now stands at a total of 187. He urged members to encourage friend to join.

7. Election of Committee.

In addition to the Honorary Officers, the following were proposed for re-election as Committee members by Susan Stobbs and seconded by Sarah Green: Raymond Gay, Josephine Hesselwood, Caroline Lenoury and Cary Parker. The Committee proposed that Peter Gotham be elected to fill the vacant Committee slot and Dick Baxter remain as a co-opted member, as archivist and Orchard manager.

8. Chair's Report.

The Chair presented her Report.

9. Open Forum.

Anthony French the City Council officer responsible for Open Spaces responded to a comment from a Bob Jarman questioning the extent of damage to the grass allegedly caused by the Cambridge Half Marathon.(His comments are appended to these minutes for a correct record.) The timing of this event was unfortunate as the grass was frozen at set up time then thawed out by the time infrastructure was removed thus extra damage was very visible. Anthony commented that grass is resilient and that his team were able to start remedial work very quickly. Comments were made about how this would pan out over next few weeks. The circus arriving very soon afterwards only exacerbated the damage with some very large and noticeable ruts being seen. These may need to be back filled. Anthony assured the meeting that full repair and remedial costs were met by the events. He commented that the recent study of the 120 events that take place across the city each year was very informative and that they very much value the input of the various Friends groups in the city. Nicola Harrison County Councillor,for Market Ward, commented that she was attending a debriefing with Adam Moffat of The Half Marathon to understand the event organisation and the way ahead. She noted that Adam was very sympathetic to the need for the effective restoration of the Common.

Roger Chatterton expressed severe disappointment that parking on the Common outside Fort St George and Midsummer House had still not been sorted out satisfactorily and urged decisive action. Anthony French commented that discussions with Greene King were ongoing and that he was disappointed that the recent compliance had lapsed.

Strawberry Fair was discussed and Elliot Harris (Chair of SF management) assured the meeting that they were committed to a successful and well organised event as in previous years. Some small changes this year around Fort St George and Midsummer House will result in them being outside the fair perimeter. The footbridge between Pretoria Rd and the towpath by Fort St George would not be closed as in previous years. The signing deployed by SF around De Freville estate would be improved to try and obviate disturbance to residents.

It was agreed that the upcoming Pennywort clearance day organised by the guest speaker Anne Miller should be put on the FoMC website and circulated to members.

10. Any Other Business.

There was no other business.

Charles Hattersley (Secretary)
11th May 2018


The Cambridge Half Marathon

The claim that grass roots were destroyed by crushing during the Cambridge Half Marathon held on 4th March 2018 is not correct. Meadow grasses have strong powers of recovery and depending on species produce stolon or rhizomes:

Rhizomes are underground roots that regenerate into new plants when broken;

Stolons are above ground roots that regenerate into new plants when broken.

Within 3 weeks of the event (Half Marathon) 90% of the muddy grass area had recovered. Most of the muddy surface was caused by footfall from runners and their families and friends after the race. Within 4 weeks a circus was on the same site on the Common and after 5 weeks summer grazing cattle had returned.

About 7000 runners took part in the 2018 Half Marathon, 63% were local runners; both the women’s and men’s events were won by local runners (Cambridge and Coleridge); Over the years the event has been running c£1m has been raised for Cancer charities; On the day, the event is worth at least £100,000 to the local (Cambridge) economy.

The 2018 event was difficult because the night before the event the temperature rose and the ground, that was previously frozen, defrosted.

Mr Jarman thanked the meeting for listening to his points and said the half marathon should be cherished as a great event for all the people of Cambridge.

Other points – wild life

Bats have not disappeared from the Common area and move downstream as claimed; there are probably 5 species of bats that use the Common and the river for feeding.

There is no botanical definition for “rank vegetation”. ‘Rank Vegetation” can be an important wild life habitat. The patch of (stinging) nettles illustrated as “rank vegetation” is an important larval food plant for several of our declining species of butterflies.

Bob Jarman 23rd April 2018