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2014 Annual General Meeting

Below is the Chairmans report for the 2013



It is hard to believe that it is just 12 months ago that I felt that pain in my arm and back  as I was persuaded to take on the role of Chairman of this august body. As I said at the time of my election, unopposed despite my best efforts I did not feel that I was qualified to take on the role so brilliantly developed by Terry over many years.

I still feel somewhat of an impostor but have tried my best in my own way to fill his shoes. The year has been enjoyable although each meeting is still approached with more than a fair degree of trepidation and butterflies in the stomach. If it doesn’t seem that way to you then the old adage of the duck gliding smoothly over the water  whilst paddling like mad below the surface is clearly proven.

We have had a very good year again. Membership is still hovering around the 100 mark and attendance at the monthly meetings is usually up around 60 members. Your ongoing support is very much appreciated, indeed it is the lifeblood of our Group. You are the people who matter and we do want to hear from you if you think we can improve on what we are doing or if you have any suggestions for speakers and subjects. You will hear later in the meeting about one suggestion that has emanated from a member and which you will be asked to vote on.

Peter Farrow continues to book excellent speakers and we have had some real treats in the past 12 months. I am not going to recite a list of the speakers and their subjects, I realise that attention span at our age may be short, but I will pick out what for me have been the highlights. The 3 “girls” from the Luton Girls Choir in June, 2013, the Police dog Brodie and handler, Peter Madden, in July 2013, Entertaining Organs with Terry and Margaret Pankhurst in October, 2013 and the History of Harrods with Richard Furnival-Jones in February of this year. I know that the last one was very
well received because we very nearly overran our booking time in the hall.

However, saving the best for last I am sure that members will not need reminding of our greatest triumph. That evening in November 2013 with poet extraordinaire John Hegley. John accompanied, from time to time, by his nephew Paul enthralled, delighted and thoroughly amused an audience of 120 people half of whom were members and the other half guests from afar as Luton. It was a brilliant evening which, we are assured, was equally enjoyed by John Hegley and who knows we may yet persuade him to make a return visit.

All of our speakers have been good and I have just picked out my personal highlights but of course the real highlight is the hard work of Peter Farrow through which we are able to reap the rewards every month.
Another of Peter’s triumphs was the annual outing, last year to Bressingham Gardens and Steam Museum in Norfolk. Forty members enjoyed a really pleasant day with the weather almost perfect for the day, not too hot and just an occasional hint of rain. So not only did Peter  select a fantastic venue, he also managed the weather, ensured we had a safe and comfortable journey and generally arranged things to run like clockwork.


Now we come to something that Peter didn’t organise. The annual Christmas Dinner at Dunstable Downs Golf Club. For my sins I have to admit that the event in December of last year was only my second time that I had attended. The first being the previous year. I told you before I was  very much a newcomer to the Group. Anyway the Dinner organised by Terri Aubrey and Terry Oliver was another very successful outing and your Committee have resolved to go back there again this year on Friday 5th December. So please put that date in your diary now.


Whilst we are feeling appreciative can I also mention the other equally important members of your Committee.
Jane Payton – your Secretary – Jane strives to make sense of our committee meetings, not an easy task and, when she is not visiting Ken’s homeland, writes the reports on our monthly meetings. She has also been instrumental in our work with the Village School on the World War  I project.
Terri Aubrey – when she is not organising the Annual Dinner she is filling in for Jane doing the meeting reports, getting heavily involved in the World War I project and doing the refreshments at the monthly meetings.
Terry Oliver – Terry’s job is clearly to keep us on our toes and to maintain the standards he has set over the years. He assists in the arrangements for the  Annual Dinner and above all is the fount of all knowledge to whom we all turn in relation to the history of the Group, the village and anything to do with the War Memorial and the World War I project.
David Lenton – David is the one with the young mind, knowledge of computers  and the one who keeps us old fogies on track, or more accurately, gets us back on track when we wander off it.
Colin Stonestreet – Treasurer – You will hear from Colin shortly unless of course he has carried out his threat to go and research the Cayman Islands as a base for our bank deposit. Seriously though, as you will see from the accounts, Colin is an excellent custodian of our finances and we are all grateful for his efforts in that regard.

Finally a couple of other people to thank. Sheila Farrow, who,along with Terri Aubrey, provides the refreshments at the monthly meetings,  Norman Aubrey who helps in the background quietly going about his work without people really noticing what he does and Sallie Stonestreet and Joan Bunyan for their sterling work on the door. No I didn’t mean that they are Bouncers!!!


I have made several references to the World War I project and I ought to expand on that a little. With the 100 year anniversary of the start of World War I taking place this year and to commemorate the lives of those men from Caddington who gave their lives in the Great War members of the Committee have been working on the production of a booklet. The booklet will contain information researched and collated by Terry Oliveron the 20 servicemen and 1 civilian from the 1914-18 War whose names appear on the village War Memorial as well other information about the men that has been put together by members of the Committee. It is intended to publish the booklet before August 2014.

As an adjunct to this work Jane has been coordinating work with pupils from the Village School in relation to research for a trip they have since undertaken to France and Belgium to visit various sites relating to the First World War, particularly in regard to servicemen from Caddington who were killed in the conflict.

There is no doubt that the project, whilst in many ways rewarding, has been hard work.

As you may be aware 2015 will be the 21st anniversary of the establishment of Caddhist and your Committee are proposing that we should mark that occasion in a suitable way. Nothing has yet been decided on how we might do this other than the publication of an anniversary booklet so if you have any bright ideas please talk to one of the Committee members.

I was recently approached by a member who queried why the single membership subscription is disproportionately high compared to that for a couple.  The thinking behind the subscription structure historically lies in the cost of producing our newsletters and the fact that couples received only one newsletter between  and not one each.
The suggestion by the member that higher single member subscription “penalised” those members has met with sympathy from your Committee and it coincides with a review of the Group’s finances and the way in which we want to distribute newsletters in future. Many of us are now on e-mail and we are proposing to use this method more frequently for our correspondence. This will, for example, reduce the printing costs associated with the newsletter.
But, I hear you ask, what happens if I don’t have e-mail? Don’t worry you will continue to receive correspondence including newsletters in hard copy. It is essential that no-one gets left out.
So, what are we proposing on subscriptions for the future? Unfortunately it is a little late for the current year as most, if not all, of you will have renewed your subscription for 2014/2015. However, you are now being asked to vote on the subscription levels for 2015/2016. This is very much a matter for the membership and not just for the Committee.
As Chairman I would like to propose a flat rate subscription of £5.00 per member with effect from 1st April 2015.
I am happy to listen to any comments, counter proposals but is my proposal seconded?

Thank you and that leads me nicely on to my next topic the position of Distribution Officer.
The Committee recognises that we need to be smarter, more efficient and more timely in our distribution of correspondence and information. Although only one Committee member is in “proper” employment all of the others do have calls on their time. You know how busy it can be being retired!!!
We are therefore looking for a volunteer to be the Group’s Distribution Officer. The duties will include:
The assembly of the newsletters  and the annual subscription pro-forma.
Coordination of the delivery of newsletters by e-mail and by hand– hopefully we still have a volunteer to tramp the streets – many thanks to Sue and Maurice Taylor
Upkeep of the Group’s library.
Any questions? You don’t have to volunteer right now but we would like to know if you are interested.

Officers of the Group
Shortly we will have the elections for the Group’s officers and this is an example of where we have slightly fallen down on our communication with the membership. For this I apologise.
Therefore although I understand that all of the current Committee will, however reluctantly, stand for re-election I would invite anyone who wishes to stand for any of the posts, including that of Distribution Officer to make their position known as we go through the election process. I can assure you that none of us will be in the least embarrassed if there is someone else who wants to take on our role.

Departed members
Sadly during the last 12 months we have lost 3 of our members, David Moore, Ethel Green and Valerie Lee. We remember them with fondness and our thoughts once again go to their families.

Finally then and to much sighing of relief I have come to the end of my report. If you wish me to continue next year I will certainly do so but equally I will not be offended if someone else wants to take on this role.
Thank you for your patience, your kind comments throughout the year and for being so supportive of this Group.

John Harper

Summary of Chairman’s Report to the Annual General Meeting held on Thursday 23rd April, 2015

Once again the Group has had a very successful year, particularly with regard to the publishing of our booklet For King, Country and Caddington setting out details of all those whose name appears on the village War Memorial and who gave their lives during the First World War. A copy of the booklet had been given to each Member or pair of Members, to museums, the Collings-Wells family and other official bodies. A number of copies had also been sold.

The Group also received a visit from pupils and teachers at Caddington Village School in relation to their trip to the battlefields and cemeteries of the Somme.

An event which did capture the imagination of several of our Members and other villagers was the Reminiscence Event which took place on the 23rd November 2014. The idea was to identify people, locations, buildings etc. in the vast number of photographs we have. Despite the occasional meandering through nostalgic memories and a bit of chatting the Event was very successful and a great deal of information was gathered. Another Event was held on the 22nd February. Another great success..

The summer outing visit to Cambridge was a great success as was the Annual Christmas Dinner.

Peter Farrow again successfully brought us Speakers covering a wide variety of subjects that were both entertaining and informative and we are all grateful for the work that he puts in to provide us with the entertainment.

We welcomed a number of new Members this year and sadly saw the departure of others including Ray Jenkins. We offer our thoughts to their families.

Finally my thanks, on your behalf, go to the Committee and the other helpers whose efforts make the meetings, outing and Annual Dinner such a success. We are lucky to have such a dedicated group of individuals.

John Harper

April, 2015


Welcome everyone to the 22nd Annual General Meeting of Caddhist. A meeting tinged with more than a little touch of sadness following the recent death of Terry Oliver, one of our founder members and the former Chairman.

I will make further reference to Terry once we have finished the formal business of the AGM and at that time anyone who wishes to say a few words is welcome to do so.

One of the things I have learnt from my relatively short time in office, I am now entering my fourth year as your Chairman, is that no-one wants to hear the Chairman droning on endlessly. Few can forget my epic report to the 2014 AGM. It still surprises me that so many people turned up the following year, but I had learnt my lesson.

The Group continues to thrive with great success. Membership continues to hover around the one hundred mark and attendance at monthly meetings is consistently around the sixty mark. The summer day trip and the annual Christmas Dinner continue to be very well supported.

Peter Farrow has again proved himself the master of the skill of booking speakers on subjects that are diverse, entertaining and instructive. No-one who attended the talk on Octavia of Dunstable could fail to have been bewildered, fascinated and entertained by Colin Oakes with his story of this strange lady and her followers.

Of the other speakers over the last twelve months I would single out Alan Goodger for his wildlife photography and, of course, our own Sandra Lawes for the story of her trip to Peru and Machu Picchu.

The summer outing to London was a great success, hailed by all who went as a great day out, and the annual Christmas Dinner was a sell-out with very complimentary comments about the food and the service.

Another success was the Heritage Day held in October, due in no small part to the efforts of the many volunteers who came forward to assist the Committee both prior to and on the day. We are still working our way through the information we put together that day.

And so what haven’t we done so well? Well we are still working on the production of a book of photographs celebrating the first twenty one years of Caddhist. Rest assured it will see the light of day as soon as we possibly can. It has not been an easy task sorting through and selecting the photographs to use .

My thanks as always go to our splendid Committee who help to administer the various activities required to keep the Group going. Thanks also to the refreshment team, Terri and Sheila, the reception team of Sally and Joan and to Alan and Lorna our resident Librarians

And of course our Members without whom we wouldn’t have a reason to get out and do all this work. Welcome again to all those Members who have joined over the last twelve months. Hopefully you still think it was worth it. So how about a round of applause for yourselves.

Finally, and unfortunately, on a sad note we remember with fondness Joan McCartan, Pat Wood and Terry Oliver whom we lost during the past twelve months and once again we offer our thoughts to their families.

Thank you for your support and encouragement.

John Harper

24th April, 2016


Welcome everyone to this the 23rd Annual General Meeting of Caddhist. A meeting for the second successive year that is touched with more than a little sadness following the recent death of Colin Stonestreet, until August last year our excellent Treasurer. Just how good he was you will be able to judge when the accounts are submitted later in the meeting. It will not be difficult to see which part Colin completed and which part was completed by a bungling amateur.

Before continuing with my formal report I would like us all to take a moment to reflect on Colin’s contribution to Caddhist in a moment of silence. He was a quiet man but the way he managed our accounts was exemplary.

I would also emind you that we alao lost Barry Howitt who had been a member for only a short time.

Thank you and now back to my report.

In my view the Group continues to be a great success and I have given a great deal of thought to how I can justify that view and how we can measure success. Membership is admittedly not quite as high as it has been in the past couple of years but attendance at meetings continues at a pretty constant level even during the wintebemonths. Certainly many of the speakers are very impressed at the turnout we get and the enthusiasm of our members.

The annual outing, this year to Brighton, was again a great success. The weather was fantastic, I don’t know how Peter manages it, and I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed the visit to the Pavillion. Some people even managed to have a little paddle in the sea.

In this last twelve months we have also held a sort of Summer party. The Group have not held this type of event since Vic and Val Meakes had to stop holding their annual barbecue. Anyway, despite my absence, or perhaps more likely because of my absence, a very good time was had by all and we look forward to holding a similar event in 2017. Terri Aubrey and her team did a great job organising the event and the catering was up to the standard that we have come to expect.

In the short time that I have been Chairman our annual Christmas Dinner seems to have gone from strength to strength culminating in December 2016 with our highest attendance yet and with rave reviews for the (free) entertainment. Next year we aim to do even better. Once again many thanks to Terri for such splendid organisation and to all who attended and joined in the entertainment.

Peter Farrow has arranged nine Speakers over the past twelve months ensuring another year of informative, entertaining and surprising talks. These talks included such topics as Peter and Christine Graham’s trip to the Galapagos, Roald Dahl’s War and Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition. I am sure that each of you has your own particular favourite and we are so grateful to Peter for carrying out this task so well.

Once again I am indebted to a number of people without whose help, assistance and support the Group would not be able to function. Once I start to mention names I run the risk of omitting and therefore offending someone but here goes anyway. Jane Payton our admirable Secretary, Terri and Norman Aubrey, Peter and Sheila Farrow, David Lenton, Alan and Lorna Martin, Joan Bunyan, Peter Graham and everyone else who helps with the chairs and tables, etc., etc.

And finally for the last twelve months, to each and every Member many thanks for joining the Group, attending the meetings and events and supporting the Committee and me in the positive way that you do.

And so to this coming year. The 27th March, 2018 is the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Lieutenant-Colonel John Collings-Wells VC. DSO. We hope to celebrate this event with the laying of a commerative stone and, for those who are interested, a visit to the site of his grave in Bouzincourt Ridge Cemetery, France. This trip will be jointly undertaken with Markyate Historical Society. More on this to follow.

Thank you for all your support.

Many thanks

John Harper


Welcome everyone to this the 24th Annual General Meeting of Caddhist.

I am pleased to report that the Group continues to thrive with membership consistently hovering around the 100 mark. We have been lucky enough to recruit some new members and we look forward to continuing our promotion of the benefits of membership to other villagers in 2018.

Attendance at our monthly meetings has been at a really good level, usually in the region of 65 members and guests and I know that our visiting Speakers are quite surprised and delighted by the number of attendees.

Once again this year we have had some really good Speakers and we are indebted to Peter Farrow for the magnificent job that he has done in securing such a great range of Speakers who have kept us so entertained over the past twelve months.

The outstanding talks for me have been A Journey by Stagecoach from London to York in 1820 from Hugh Grainger, Bill Hamilton’s Man on the Spot – A Broadcaster’s Story and Failed to Return from Tony Eaton.

Hugh Grainger was a very late replacement for a Speaker who was indisposed and he treated us to a wonderful journey inside and atop a stagecoach to York. In addition, Hugh broadened our knowledge of the English language with the use of sayings that are in regular use now but which originated in the early 1800’s.

Bill Hamilton’s career has taken him from his start as a cub reporter on the Fife Herald to a foreign correspondent on the BBC and he treated us to some wonderful stories of his experiences all over the world. He also gave us an insight as to how the role of the roving reporter has changed since his debut in journalism.

Finally, Tony Eaton regaled us with stories about the disappearance of Amy Johnson and the actor Leslie Howard under suspicious circumstances during the Second World War. Tony’s talk was both entertaining and thought provoking, especially the story about Leslie Howard and the Winston Churchill connection. My lips are sealed!

In July we had the annual outing, this year to the Black Country Museum. As usual Peter Farrow had organised good weather and a great place to visit. What we didn’t know was that he had arranged for our visit to take place during a World War Two themed week-end. It was brilliant. Music, uniforms, 1940’s clothes, vehicles and even a baby being thrown out of a window. What a wonderful day and hey the Museum was very good too. Many thanks Peter.

In August 2017 we had another splendid Summer Party attended by over 50 of our members. The wordsearch and quiz provided great entertainment for everyone. The food was very good and the hall at Heathfield looked resplendent with the table decorations provided by Wendy Catford.

On the 14th October, 2017 Caddhist held a Heritage Day to promote the work we do to research, collect and store information about the village, its facilities and its people. Files and photo albums were laid out for perusal and a rolling montage of old photos was shown using our newly acquired laptop and projector.

We even provided guided tours of Heathfield. These proved very popular with many people reminiscing about their involvement with the old school.

The event was extremely well supported by the members who not only gave assistance on the day but also provided the vast array of cakes, sandwiches and savouries that kept everyone fed during the day.

Our annual Christmas Dinner was another huge success with 59 people attending the Dunstable Downs Golf Club and enjoying the meal and the ensuing sing-a-long. I am grateful to everyone for joining in the entertainment.

I mentioned in the report on the Heritage Day the newly acquired laptop and projector. Peter Farrow had advised us of the need to replace our old laptop and computer and he put together a successful bid to the Angus Brewer Community Fund as a result of which we have new replacement equipment. We have already loaned the equipment to other village organisations and we are pleased that they too can benefit from Peter’s excellent work.

Perhaps the main focus of our efforts in the last twelve months has been the commemoration of the centenary of the death of Lieutenant Colonel John Stanhope Collings-Wells VC, DSO. Although Caddington did not qualify for the “free” memorial paving stone Caddhist members felt that the village should still mark this occasion and therefore a replica stone has been purchased and unveiled at a ceremony on the village green attended by members of the Collings-Wells family, children from the Village School, soldiers from the Anglian Regiment, representatives of the, now defunct, Bedfordshire Regiment and Central Bedfordshire and Parish Councillors.

We are seeking funding for the purchase of the stone and we are discussing with the Parish Council and other interested parties where the final resting place for the stone will be. In the meantime it is safely in our possession.

No organisation can be successful without the support of its membership and the commitment of its Committee and we are extremely lucky to benefit from both of these things.

The Committee, comprising Jane Payton, Peter Triddon, Terri Aubrey, Peter Farrow, Kay Palfrey, Sarah Fitzsimmons and David Lenton work extremely hard to make monthly meetings and the extra-ordinary events such a success. I am pleased to welcome Terri back following her stay in hospital and her subsequent recovery.

All of these good people make a significant contribution and without them it would not be possible for us to continue.

I would like to single out Jane, our Secretary, as she has really worked her socks off doing her own job and additionally trying to manage your Chairman. Latterly she has done so with a broken arm which has not made it any easier.

And finally we come to the members.

Speakers have commented on your enthusiasm and interest in the various topics and, as said earlier, your regular attendance in great numbers, and I can only echo those comments. Where would we be without you all?

To Alan Martin for the Library, to Joan Bunyan and Sallie Stonestreet for taking our money in such a pleasant way we say thank you. To everyone who has baked a cake or sausage roll, made a sandwich, poured a tea or coffee, helped with the setting up, moved a chair and/or a table,wheeled a memorial paving stone halfway round the village, been a member of the quiz team or just attended a meeting, thank you so very much You make it all worthwhile.

So what do we have to look forward to in 2018/2019?

Well, hopefully more of the same and then some.

We will introduce the idea of local outings to, for example, Luton Museum, the Priory Church in Dunstable and others slightly further afield. These will be aimed at smaller groups and lasting perhaps a couple of hours.

We will also undertake, under the leadership of Colin Austin, a Well Walk around the village discovering the sites of the water wells which were the lifeblood of the village in the early 1900’s.

Finally and yet once again I would like to thank everyone for the support you have given to me over this past year. Thank you.

Thank you for all your support.

Many thanks

John Harper