Summary of the 2007 Annual General Meeting

Tollgate Hall, Stanway. Saturday, 31st March 2007.

Chairman: Chris Jenkinson. About 35 people were present.

1. Welcome

Chris Jenkinson welcomed Robert Meadowcraft (Policy and Operations) and Gemma Strutt (Regional Fundraising) from Head Office.

2. Minutes and Accounts

Minutes of the AGM of 2006 and accounts for the year 2006 were circulated. No matters were raised for discussion.

3. Chairman's/Treasurer's report

During the year we lost three members; Marion Salmon, Rene Baker and Peter Loxley. Our income was greatly boosted by a generous gift of £10000 in Rene Baker's will; we sent £14678.20 to Head Office, but still had £4751 at the beginning of the year in the branch account, which can be used to help local sufferers. We now have a neurologist (Mr Sharif) at Colchester General Hospital, which is a great advance; unfortunately he now seems to be fully booked. The Falls Prevention Service offer a handyman service for those in danger of falls, and there is a wheelchair loan service if you need one for a short period. Since last June we have been taking part in the Colchester Mayor's Charities, and the regular concert by the West Bergholt Concert Band this year was on behalf of the Mayor's Charities. Last year the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign was selected by the Prudential insurance company, which raised £196000 for the national campaign; in Colchester the Sweeting Swing Band did a concert for us in Culver Square, raising over £300. Maria Fremlin continues to raise money through donations for kefir culture and cards.

4. Election of Officers

Position Nominee
ChairmanChris Jenkinson
SecretaryDavid Fremlin
TreasurerChris Jenkinson
WelfareJanet Saunders
CommitteeMaria Fremlin
Jan Jarman
Beryl Leeks
Tricia Stewart
Christine Cooke
Frances Matthews
Pauline Liddamore

5. Presentation

Ben Culhane presented a bouquet to Janet Saunders in recognition of her work as Welfare Officer and other ways.

6. Robert Meadowcraft said:

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign was founded 50 years ago, and now has 4500 members; it is the only charity dealing with all forms of muscular degeneration on all three fronts, research, care and information. We have about £1.3 million p.a. for research, which is still with animal models, though some drug therapy has reached the stage of a human trial, with 17 boys with Duchenne's participating. We must remember that only 15% of trials which reach this stage lead to useful treatments. Stem-cell research is promising, though there are safety issues concerning the possibility of cancer. We still have hopes of antisense therapy. There is such a variety of muscular dystrophies that we cannot expect any treatment to be universally effective. We want to establish "career development grants" to attract good people into the field and help them to work together. There are about 400 neurologists in the UK, most not specializing in muscle diseases. We are trying to establish networks of specialist physiotherapists and occupational therapists; in Cheshire we give some support to a neuromuscular centre, and we should like to have similar centres elsewhere. We are trying to get the NHS to understand our problems and do more for sufferers; recent moves towards decentralization have complicated the task, since 85% of NHS money goes directly to Primary Care Trusts.

Revised 16.7.07