Summary of the 2004 Annual General Meeting

Tollgate Hall, Stanway. Saturday, 20th March 2004.

Chairman: Chris Jenkinson. About 30 people were present.

1. Chairman's/Treasurer's report

The past year has been a difficult one for the committee due to lack of numbers, and we have been unable to mount many store collections. However we have now been joined by David Fremlin. Our income has been reduced from the record total in 2002; 5226.52 gross in place of 8829.63. The highlight of the year was the concert given in November by the West Bergholt Concert Band, which raised over 450; as in the previous year it was attended by Bob Russell MP. Maria Fremlin has raised money from kefir and cards, and Tony and Bridget Farley have continued to run their organ collections despite Tony's severe back problems. This year we have made a good start by having a stall at the Bypass Nurseries Primrose Festival for nine days; this raised 955.54 and we have been promised a further 1900 under the Bypass Nurseries' sponsorship scheme. We have arranged many collections this year, and hope to run a stall at the West Mersey Lions fete on August Bank Holiday if transport and volunteers can be found. One of our members has had hydrotherapy at Colchester General Hospital and feels he has benefited. Unfortunately Stan Angier has been unable to attend this meeting due to ill health, but we all remember his years of service to the group and in particular his work with the Cards for Good Causes.

The accounts for 2003 were distributed to the members.

It was suggested that we should ask for a collection at Tesco's in Ipswich; we agreed that we should look into this.

2. Election of Officers

Position Nominee Proposed by
Chairman Chris Jenkinson David Fremlin, Norman Saunders
Secretary David Fremlin Chris Jenkinson, Geoff Wiseman
Treasurer Chris Jenkinson David Fremlin, Norman Saunders
Welfare Janet Saunders Chris Jenkinson, Karen Turner
Committee Maria Fremlin Chris Jenkinson, David Fremlin
Jan Jarman " "
Beryl Leeks " "
Sue Wood " "

3. Other business

The Chairman reported that the Oakseed Charitable Trust aims to give opportunities to disabled people in, or seeking, self-employment.

David Fremlin proposed a vote of thanks to last year's committee and in particular to Chris Jenkinson.

4. Guest Speaker, Gavin Buckley said:

The lifeblood of the charity is in the branches, and we are seeking ways of re-invigorating local activities, which (in common with most charities) have tended to decline in recent years; we are asking for National Lottery money to help with this. Last year was our third best, with an income of about 5m; a significant proportion is from legacies which are inevitably highly variable, making planning difficult. We are trying to expand our own lottery, using cold calling, and naturally we hope to get a share of the interest on dormant bank accounts as announced in the Budget. Last year's Christmas cards sold well, and we had a successful Christmas concert at Gloucester cathedral; this year we hope to repeat this at other venues, including Chelmsford, Norwich and Peterborough. The Somerfield sponsorship may enable us to develop our website and expand the welfare grants given by the Joseph Patrick Trust.

Target MD is being re-focused. We are now running "condition-sensitive" meetings, focusing on particular issues, rather than general conferences on all aspects of MD. The Scottish Muscle Network has been helping doctors to understand MD better, and we mean to extend this to other parts of the UK. On the research front, we have asked for a grant of 2.3m to investigate an antisense technique for improving the quality of dystrophin in Duchenne's sufferers, but at best it is likely to be four years before clinical trials can be attempted. This year we are mounting a conference for the scientists we sponsor.