Agenda Item

Points Raised

Action By

1.  Introduction

26 people attended the meeting from a current total club membership of 40 (65%). 


Having introduced the six current members of the club committee, the secretary (Paul Hudson) made the following points:


·         Although he would be taking the lead during the meeting due to the absence of a chairman, the secretary would be speaking on behalf of the whole committee.


·         The committee had met three times during the past two months to try and identify pragmatic solutions to the key concerns raised by the outgoing chairman (Pete Parrish) during his address at the AGM in April, namely:


o   Lack of support for the committee.

o   Poor attendance at club events.

o   Concern that some individuals only joined club for a cheap boiler test.

o   Individuals failing to attend pre-booked boiler tests.

o   Lack of contributions for the newsletter.

o   Late payment of membership fees.


·         The chairman’s appointment remained vacant as no one had been willing to stand for election at the AGM.  Hopefully, a nomination would be forthcoming by the end of the meeting.


·         Members had previously been briefed at the AGM that the newsletter would only be published quarterly in future; an improved web presence would hopefully go some way to offset this reduction in the flow of information – for those with access to the Internet. The newsletter editor (George Hounslow) and webmaster (John Findley) would be giving an update later in the meeting.


A period of two and a half months has elapsed between the AGM and today’s meeting.  This had:


·         Enabled the circulation and subsequent analysis of the member’s survey.

·         Given the committee time to rationalise club activities and identify new ways to invigorate the club - based largely on the results of the survey.

·         The pause had also allowed the vacant chairman’s position to be advertised to all club members – not just those who had attended the AGM.


The secretary concluded his introduction by saying that the aims of the Extraordinary General Meeting were to:


·         Outline the results of the member’s survey.

·         Explain the changes that the committee intend to instigate.

·         Explain the revised club forecast of events.

·         Highlight areas where further work is still required.

·         Update attendees on changes to the website and newsletter.

·         Finally, attempt to elect a new chairman.


There were no ‘apologies’ for non-attendance; members had indicated their attendance (or otherwise) on the survey sheets.


2.  Member’s Survey

The secretary thanked those who had taken the time and trouble to complete the member’s survey.  The key results were:


·         65% of club members had returned their survey sheets.

·         The average travelling time for members to reach Porton Village Hall was 40 minutes.  At least 3 members lived more than 90 minutes drive away (one in France).  However, judging by comments received, most members were content to continue to use Porton Village Hall for future club meetings.

·         The survey suggested that the club’s boiler inspectors should be planning to undertake around 33 boiler tests each year.  This figure was well in excess of the number of boilers tested by the club inspectors so far in 2016.

·         Looking at the number of club events:

o   One member thought there were too few events organised each year.

o    Three members thought there were too many events organised each year.

o   22 members thought the number of events was about right.

·         In terms of the type of activity the club should be focussing on:

o   There was strong support for boiler testing, steam-ups/displays and the provision of technical assistance and advice.

o   Road runs were seen as less of a priority.

o   There was moderate support for club social events.

o   There was little support for the club film night in its current format.

·         The popularity of existing events amongst members was:

o   The most popular event was the 2-day Woodgreen Steam-up organised by Charlie Warne in late April/early May.

o   The Newton Tony Fete in August was the second most popular event.

o   This was followed by the Wilton Model Engineering Show on alternate years in late March/early April.  Pete Parrish highlighted that whilst organised by him, the Wilton Model Engineering Show was not a club event.

o   The Breamore Working Weekend and Steam-up came next, lying well ahead of the Durrington Show in popularity terms.

o   Next came Marder’s Yard steam-ups.

o   Least popular was the West Wilts Model Engineering Show at Westbury.

·         In terms of new events, there was strong support for a couple of ‘noggin & natter’ evenings each year, occasional visits to sites of engineering interest and also for technical talks.  There was some support for an informal gathering during the Great Dorset Steam Fair (GDSF).

·         As a means of improving membership loyalty:

o   54% of members were in favour of introducing a one-off membership joining fee.

o   27% were against.

o   19% didn’t express a view.

·         The secretary highlighted that the committee had noted this result and would review the issue during the summer - with a view to holding a vote at the next AGM.

·         One of the main concerns highlighted in the outgoing chairman’s address on 9th April had been the diminishing support from non committee members.  The results of the next two survey questions were therefore encouraging:

o   18 members said they were happy to assist in some way with the organisation of future club events.

o   15 members said they would consider joining the club committee in future years.

·         The last question in the survey related to member’s wishes, should the club become unsustainable in its current format:

o   54% thought that the club should focus on boiler testing and cease most other activities.

o   23% thought we should amalgamate with another club.

o   12% favoured disbanding the club and donating club funds to a charity of the committee’s choice.

·         At the end of the survey, there was space for additional comments.  Suggestions received included:

o   Possible new locations for meetings and events – these have been noted by the committee.

o   Ideas for possible future club visits – these have also been noted by the committee.

o   Several members suggested introducing mandatory charges for boiler testing and even charging full commercial rates if done outside club boiler test days.  At this point, the club’s three boiler inspectors confirmed that payment for boiler tests had to be ‘voluntary’ in order to comply with the Southern Federation’s testing policy.  Imposing fixed charges or commercial rates for boiler testing was not allowed.


The secretary concluded by reiterating the committee’s gratitude to those members who had taken the time and effort to complete the survey.  The results would continue to guide the committee and enable it to re-focus club activities, rationalising where possible, whilst trying to meet the wishes of the majority of club members.


Before moving on, the secretary asked if there were any final questions about the survey – none were forthcoming.


3.  Rationalisation Plan

The secretary explained that in light of the results of the survey and the points raised by Pete Parrish in his outgoing chairman’s report, it was the committee’s intent to make the following changes:


·         The club year will be aligned with the calendar year, i.e. January - December.

·         The AGM, Christmas raffle, supper and film night will be amalgamated into a single event in December.  This should reduce travel, reduce hall hire costs and rationalise committee workload whilst maximising attendance at the AGM - thereby enabling the collection of annual membership fees before the start of the boiler testing season.

·         The following events will become key or ‘core’ events for the club during 2016/17 – being coordinated by either the committee or a designated club member.  Maximum attendance is expected at these events.

o   The Wilton ME Exhibition (on alternate years)

o   Woodgreen

o   Breamore

o   Newton Tony

o   AGM/Christmas raffle/film

o   The Committee was content to add the Durrington Show to the core event list as long as there was a ‘sponsor’ to take the lead.  As he was already on the Show Committee, Martyn Jones confirmed that he was content to act as the club’s lead for this event in both 2016 and 2017.

·         The Committee was happy to advertise in the newsletter and on its website a number of other events, such as the Wilton House Summer Fair, Wallop Vintage Gathering and the Model Engineer Show in Westbury, but the committee would not coordinate attendance.  Members attending these events with an engine does so in an ‘individual’ capacity and will need to speak direct to the event organiser. 


Having rationalised the club’s existing events, the committee was also keen to introduce some new events in response to feedback in the member’s survey.  These new events might be termed ‘unstructured’, i.e. the committee would facilitate and coordinate the event, but it wouldn’t affect the running of the event if 3 or 30 individuals turned up on the actual day.  These new events would be run on a trial basis during the next 12 months in order to judge their popularity.































4.  Forecast of Events

A copy of the latest forecast of events was handed out.  The secretary explained that planned future events during the coming year had been categorised into one of four types:


·         Core’ events - organised by the club committee or a club member, when maximum attendance by members is expected. 

·         Discretionary’ events - organised by the club committee or a club member; attendance is voluntary.

·         Boiler Testing Days’.  There will be at least two such events in March/April each year.  Tests must be booked with one of the club’s three boiler testers at least 24 hours in advance.  In order to tie in better with member’s home locations, it was hoped that the tests could be performed at different venues during 2017.  Ideally, one test day would be held at Marder’s Yard, one at Woodgreen and possibly a third at/near Porton.  The forecast of events will be updated with the necessary detail once arrangements had been finalised by the club’s three boiler inspectors.

·         Finally, ‘Information’ only events.  Whilst happy to advertise such events (including contact details for the event coordinator), the committee will not be organising an official club presence at these event.  Accordingly, there will be no club stand, display boards, etc. present.  However, members are free to attend in an individual capacity if they wish.


New events included in the forecast included a low-key get-together during the GDSF, a visit to Twyford Waterworks in October and two informal noggin & natter evenings during the winter months.


The forecast of events was discussed at length:


·         Martyn Jones agreed to act as the focus for the club’s participation in the Durrington Show in both 2016 and 2017.  In light of this offer, the event was upgraded to a ‘Discretionary’ event.  

·         Dave Watts and Peter Hounslow agreed to purchase coal and provide a suitable coal bin for members during the Durrington and Newton Tony events.

·         Peter Hounslow agreed to coordinate the club’s informal gathering at the GDSF on Friday 26th August. Details would be promulgated via the website and newsletter in due course.

·         At Pete Parrish’s request, the annual Marder’s Yard steam-up in October was added to the forecast as a ‘Discretionary’ club event. 

·         Pete Parrish agreed to coordinate the Club’s participation in this year’s Newton Tony Steam-up on Monday  29th August.  Those planning to attend the event with engines were asked to contact Pete as soon as possible.

·         John Findley agreed to coordinate the club’s informal visit to Twyford Waterworks Autumn Rally on Sunday 2nd October.  There would be a £5 entry charge and members should meet at the entrance at 1100 hrs.

·         The first noggin & natter would be held at the Mallet Arms, Newton Tony on Thursday 10th November from 7.30pm.  John Findley would coordinate the event.

·         The Club AGM, Christmas raffle and (short) film night would be held at Porton Village Hall on Friday 2nd December (7.00 for 7.30pm start).  Maximum attendance was requested.  Members were invited to bring a raffle prize and renew their subscriptions for 2017.  Offers of buffet style food for the event would also be gratefully received. Further details from Paul Hudson.

·         Paul Hudson would coordinate the second noggin & natter evening on Tuesday 7th February 2017.  The venue would be the Bat and Ball Pub in Breamore.

·         As event organiser, Pete Parrish confirmed that the next Wilton Model Engineering Show would be held over the weekend of 1st/2nd April 2017.  As in previous years, the club would be offered an area inside the hall to display a suitable range of ‘clean and tidy’ models.  Limited parking space constrained the number of engines that could be displayed in steam outside the hall and attendance would therefore be by invitation only - issued by Pete Parrish.  John Findley and Paul Hudson agreed to man the club’s display inside the hall.  Members who have models suitable for display on the club stand inside the hall are requested to let Paul Hudson know as soon as possible.

·         As in previous years, Charlie Warne would be coordinating next year’s Woodgreen steam-up.  This would take place over the bank holiday weekend 29th/30th April 2017.

·         Paul Hudson agreed to coordinate the club’s participation in the Breamore House Steam-up on 6th/7th May 2017.


The secretary concluded the discussion by confirming that a  copy of the revised and updated forecast of events would be available on the club web site and also issued with the July Newsletter.



















Pete Parrish

Charlie Warne

Martyn Jones



















Martyn Jones



Dave Watts & Peter Hounslow




Peter Hounslow







Pete Parrish

All members




John Findley



John Findley






All members

Paul Hudson



Paul Hudson









John Findley

Paul Hudson


All members

Paul Hudson




Charlie Warne



Paul Hudson

5.  Risk Management and Indemnity Insurance

The secretary introduced the issue by saying that the committee was concerned that the club didn’t appear to be conducting any formal risk assessment or health and safety checks at club events.  Moreover, if something did go wrong, all club members (whether attending the event or not) were potentially liable if the club were sued. The level of liability was theoretically unlimited and could potentially ‘bankrupt’ all club members.  Simply displaying a notice informing the public that the club would not accept liability for accidents/injury (as suggested by some members) wouldn’t stand up in a court of law or provide funds to contest a claim for damages.


Many larger model engineering clubs and societies formed a limited company, with members’ liability limited by guarantee to just £1.  Unfortunately, the SMTEC didn’t have the horsepower to do that.  Also, becoming a limited company potentially opened a Pandora’s box of extra regulation with which the club would have to comply.


The committee felt certain that boiler insurance would not cover them satisfactorily in the case of a vicarious liability claim (genuine or not) made against the event organiser, club members and/or the club committee.  Moreover, not all club members held boiler insurance.  It was also highly unlikely that domestic (home & contents) insurance provided suitable indemnity against the actions of other club members at a club event.  When asked, Charlie Warne confirmed that not all event organisers took out insurance cover to indemnify those attending the event from public litigation.


The only viable solution appeared to be to take out club indemnity insurance through Walker Midgley at a cost of about £260 per year.  In the absence of any other viable ideas, the committee confirmed that they would proceed and have suitable insurance cover in place in time for the Durrington Show on 17th July.  Afternote: Once suitable insurance is in place, details will be promulgated via the club website and newsletter (e.g. who and what is covered and the levels of cover in force). 


The liability cover available from Walker Midgley explicitly excludes cover for any activity involving passenger carrying miniature railways.  The Sarum Model Traction Engine Club is therefore unable in future to organise/run any events that include the carriage of passengers by miniature railway engine.


There was a probable duty of care requirement to introduce some form of club boiler/insurance register and/or a spot check of insurance discs/documentation at events organised by the club, especially if ‘guest’ engines attended.  The requirement would be reviewed by the committee and a plan developed that would also be captured within the club’s constitution (see Item 8 below).


The committee agreed to try and compile a generic risk assessment form for use at future club events using material supplied by Martyn Jones and John Findley.  The review process would also consider if the club needed to obtain any additional Health and Safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, child proof temporary fencing, signage and an accident book.








































Sharon Hoult






All railway engine owning club members to note

















6.  Website Update

John Findley outlined briefly the changes he had introduced to the club website, such as adding photographs of the committee and a copy of the latest forecast of events.  He was continuing to investigate the viability of a members only area within the website.


7.  Newsletter Update

Having recently taken over as editor, George Hounslow outlined his plans for the newsletter:

  • In future, the newsletter would be issued every 3 months.
  • The next edition would be sent out by e-mail and hard copy before the end of July.
  • He had already received photographs and a write-up about the Woodgreen event.
  • Members were encouraged to keep sending in suitable articles/material for inclusion in the July and subsequent editions.


8.  Club Constitution

The committee felt that the existing club constitution needed a refresh to better match the current shape, size and role of the club.  The secretary agreed to produce a revised draft constitution for consideration/approval by members at the AGM in December.





Paul Hudson

9.  Election of Club Officials - Chairman

The secretary asked the assembled members if there were any volunteers to fill the vacant role of club chairman.  Roger Melton responded that he was willing to stand for election.  No other nominations were forthcoming.

·         Proposed by Andy Rodgers

·         Seconded by Martyn Jones

·         Votes in favour 22

·         Votes against 0

Having been duly elected, Roger Melton assumed the role of Chairman with immediate effect.


10.  Any Other Business

a.  The secretary explained that he had not had sufficient time to produce and issue an updated club contact list (previously issued in May 2011).  Given the need to focus on higher priority club business, he hoped to have a revised list ready for the AGM in December.


b.  The committee agreed to examine how useful technical information, such as how to re-tube a boiler and how to prepare an engine for an hydraulic test, might be disseminated to club members.


c.  A separate meeting involving the secretary and the club’s three boiler testers would be held immediately after the Extraordinary General Meeting.  Afternote: the following was agreed at this sub-meeting:

·         Charlie Warne to confirm the cost of using the field and toilet/kitchen at Woodgreen Community Hall for boiler testing in March/April 2017.

·         Pete Parrish to confirm if the club would be allowed to use the Porton Village Hall car park for boiler testing.

·         Martyn Jones to investigate the purchase of a boroscope for use by the club’s boiler inspectors.

·         Martyn Jones to examine options for having the pressure gauge on the club’s hydraulic test equipment either re-calibrated or replaced.

·         After a short discussion, it was agreed that there was no requirement at present for an ultrasound machine to test boiler plate thickness.

·         The three boiler testers agreed to produce a short guide for dissemination via the club newsletter on how best to prepare a boiler for inspection and hydraulic/steam testing.

·         To comply with the latest test regulations, a club boiler test book would be introduced by the three inspectors with effect from January 2017.





Paul Hudson













Charlie Warne



Pete Parrish


Martyn Jones



Martyn Jones





Pete Parrish

Charlie Warne

Martyn Jones


Pete Parrish

Charlie Warne

Martyn Jones

11.  Date of Next Meeting

As highlighted in Items 3 and 4 above, the date of the next General Meeting would be Friday 2nd December; the evening would also include supper, a raffle and a short film. 



All members


The Secretary closed the meeting at 1535hrs and confirmed that the minutes, plus a revised forecast of events, would be placed on the club website and also distributed with the July newsletter.




Paul Hudson