This signifies the end of my first year as new Chairman, and I’m still alive! I’m wearing Mike’s Crown Jewels as I speak, but you won’t be able to see them.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this incredible job. So many members have been very encouraging with their kind words, and their turning a blind eye when I’ve forgotten to do something important. I don’t want to sound too gushy, but your committee is outstanding. It is honestly a privilege to work alongside such knowledgeable and wise people, who are always happy to gently guide me back on track, or remind me when I haven’t done something.
Or when diplomacy is required they kindly tie me up and gag me so I can’t say or do anything wrong.
Membership has stayed around the same as last year, but with an interesting twist. Our average age has gone down, as we’ve had some members leave, and some younger members join. So that’s a fantastic testament to what an inclusive club we are, without alienating particular age groups, or being too cliquey. We need to keep it that way too. Please take a look around you at coffee time, and if you see someone on their own, or looking for someone to talk to, please encourage them and invite them into your group. I’m sure you can remember your first time here and feeling daunted by all the people around you!
Sadly, our long standing club funnyman, Dennis Topping died in January, and a group of us attended his memorial celebration, and as a club, we gave a film show that his dear friend Colin had created. Of course, everyone enjoyed it, and there were many laughs!
Blitz and Bananas
This year has been notable for Anna Littler’s sterling work with her club Wartime Drama, Blitz and Bananas. Anna single handedly applied and won a grant of £500 from Bromley Arts Council for this film, and in return has involved almost 50 members either as production crew, story contributors or actors. This is one of the most ambitious films we’ve ever taken on, but I feel that the most important thing for me is that so many club members have learned together and spent time with other members that they might not have previously spoken to. Also, the publicity around the Petts Wood and Bromley area has raised our profile locally, and even attracted some new members!
This year saw continued work and effort from our incredibly diligent Archive team. Andy Watson, Tony Faller, John Epton, and David Laker all gave their considerable expertise and time, and also Brian Pfiefer who has spent a tremendous amount of time transferring films into the Archive
Thanks also go to Mike Turner, and Simon Earwicker who continue to offer their time to organise and give film shows to other clubs and organisations, and earn significant amounts of money for club funds
Last Year’s BBQ at Hugh and Anne Darrington’s stately Manor House and grounds went really well, with more food than we could all eat, and my thanks go to Annabelle Lancaster, Freddy Beard, Zoe Taylor, Brenda Wheatley and Barbara Darby for all their help setting up and running the BBQ. The committee have noticed that it’s always the same faces running the BBQ, and it would be really nice if we could have some new faces stepping forward, so that the usual people can enjoy the BBQ for a change without having to work. So if you’d like to contribute, however much or little, please make yourself known any member of the Committee.
The club dinner at Donnington Manor was very well run, and our issues from the previous year were noted and fixed by the staff. Thanks to Peggy Parmenter for running around collecting the money and organising the whole event.
I’d like to give thanks to Mike Coad especially for all his work on the North V South competition. It’s a significant competition, and the North has seen some difficulties this year and last, with new management stepping in with some proposed new rules too. The OVFM Committee has put in a lot of time and effort standing up for the rights of the Southern Clubs, and Mike has been an unfortunate buffer in the middle, and we’re proud that he’s handled it all with statesman-like diplomacy.
Thanks are due to Peter Lodge who edits the viewfinder on time every month, who reliably calls me up every time the day before and says panickingly “Where’s your view from the chair?”
Ann & John Epton kindly stepped up at the last minute and offered to make the Oscars tape again this year, and really added to the atmosphere of one of our most important evenings of the year! A very special thank you also goes to Brenda Wheatley who organises everything to do with all of our competitions including the Annual Competition judging and the Oscars, and chased up everyone and bullied and forced them into reluctantly surrendering their trophies ready for the Oscar night. When you do your job well, nobody notices.
Peggy Parmenter, Jo Coad, Barbara Darby, Jane Oliver and Annabelle and Freddy have at various times helped silently in the background with refreshments, and repeatedly bribed me with cake and biscuits whenever possible.
Our autumn and spring shows at the new location of the Methodist Church has been a great success, and gives us almost double the space and scope for the growth of our shows, and I think the refreshments at the interval seem to work much better being in another area out of the main hall.
I must hold my hands up in failing to organise the tutorials this year, and nobody is to blame except me. Fortunately, Ian Menage and Colin Jones have offered to organise the tutorials in future.
Thanks are also due to Mike Turner for compiling this year’s newsreel, and this year, our Superstar contributors are Mike Turner, John & Ann Epton, Reg and Annabelle Lancaster, Derek Allen, Bob Wyeth, Mike Shaw and myself.
The club has enjoyed a significant quantity of positive publicity this year, thanks to Annabelle’s work as press officer. Most committee meetings she’ll have some clippings where we’ve been mentioned in some way in various newspapers. Also the website continues to attract new members, but it is in need of some sprucing up, so I hope we can work on that in the following year..
My personal thanks go to Ex-chairman and now Vice Chairman Mike Turner, for leaving me such a stable and well-run club, and also being excellent help whenever I have questions about matters of state or anything else, 24 hours a day. Also personal thanks go to Annabelle, who is always at the end of the phone and always listens to my whining complaints and rants whenever I have things on my mind that are unprintable, and fortunately, persuades me not to print them!
I’d like to thank David Laker, the club treasurer for really “owning” the whole club finances job. He gives us all a real sense of confidence with his hand on the purse, however ladylike that image is.
Finally, and in my opinion, most importantly, I’d like to give the biggest thank you to Freddy Beard – The club Secretary. She is the REAL force behind this club, and works more often and harder than any of us could even imagine. She handles every enquiry, she reminds us of every engagement and deadline there is, minutes every meeting, and organises the agenda for the next.
The OVFM committee do a lot of very hard work for the club, and it’s understandable, as we’re all very passionate about filmmaking AND our club. You’d really be surprised at how little politics goes on for a club of this size, and we’re all to be commended on that! If you have a question, or an idea, you don’t have to wait until the AGM – You can ask any question anytime you like, and all you have to do is tell a member of the committee, It doesn’t even have to be under the Freedom of Information Act! We’ll discuss it, and come back to you with a proper answer. Finally, on matters of the committee, Lets have some more nominations next year from you guys!
To conclude, I would like to thank every member of OVFM, for putting up with my trademark chaotic notices at the beginning of every meeting, my random numbers game with the teas and coffees, and my extra loud Gavel.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this year at the club, and next year has some exciting plans, with a new website, tutorials starting up again, and some exciting new ideas for attracting new members of all ages. We also have a very exciting new idea coming from David Laker in his Report.