Friday, 3 April 2009

Hexham Annual General Meeting

Annual General Meetings are a good barometer of the state an association is in: tonight's meeting in the Beaumont Hotel was well attended by a broad cross section of the community, from Bellingham to Ponteland, featuring young and not so young - from all walks of life. The great thing about this association is the way it is so united.

After the formal business of the election of the officers and the Chairmans report the head of the Unitary Council Conservative Group, Peter Jackson, gave an update on what the Councillors are doing in the brave new world of Unitary. Putting it simply they are making the best of a bad job. Then Peter Atkinson MP gave a speech outlining the view from Westminster and the efforts David Cameron and the team are making to combat Brown and the slow slide into a ever bigger morass of debt. He also explained with relish how he was looking forward to taking me on the Summer Tour - with all the trips up byways and dead ends that it so wonderfully features!
After that it was my turn to explain what we are doing locally, the campaigns we are running in West Prudhoe, Hexham, Ponteland and Corbridge, the extensive details of our 3 1/2 week plan for the Euro Election campaign and the increased activity in the association - with supper clubs, a new conservative future, and a sense of optimism and going forward.

James McCardle had found a wonderful quote from the minutes of the 1950 address by the then new prospective parliamentary candidate Rupert Spier, which described how upon standing he was received with "rapturous applause and acclamation". I told this story and indicated that I accepted that times had changed and that I did not expect such a reception...

After the formal business we all went to the bar and put the world to rights ... a good evening all round