Chairs Report 2014

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the second AGM of Friends of AHOH. I would like to begin by thanking Suzy Grigson for offering the use of her home as the venue for our meeting and for providing refreshments.

I was very pleased to be elected as chair of this group when Jill Eve stood down last year, as I believe its purpose of “raising funds to support choir members to learn to sing and provide opportunities to perform together” is a commendable one. We are delighted to be able to support the AHOH choir in this way whilst at the same time remaining a distinctly separate entity from it.

I can recall being surprised to learn that in its first fifteen months Friends raised an impressive sum of £5000 and as you have heard in the Treasurers’ report we have achieved that again this year. I am so pleased that we have been able to respond to requests to fund coaches and tickets for the London performances, and recently a portable PA system. Please remember that we will consider a request from any member for funding as long as it meets the stated aims of the group.

We never lose sight of the fact than many of the AHOH members simply want to go along to sessions for the pleasure and enjoyment of singing and have no interest in performing –but we are pleased to be able to support those members who want to stretch themselves a bit further by contributing to their costs.

With this in mind, building on the arrangements already in place we have our core committee of officers and a representative for each location. This group meets on a minimum of four occasions per year, and we also communicate regularly with each other by email. Our approach is deliberately low key –we do not want to be intruding on AHOH session time to promote what we are doing – but we do want to be able to reach people who are interested and are keen to be involved.

To that end we have purchased display boards which contain the schedule, newsletters, posters for forthcoming events and request/ suggestion forms.

The reps all wear pink badges to identify themselves if you want to discuss anything with them. We have made extensive use of the website – Friends of AHOH now has a tab on the home page, and we have linked a dedicated email address to each rep.
All newsletters, quiz results, meeting notes and forthcoming events are posted on the website to give easy access for anyone who wants to check them out.

In addition an email prompt goes out when the newsletters are posted. So it’s all there for you to read at your convenience.

We attempt to have one fundraising event taking place each month -and amongst other things this year has seen theatre trips, quiz nights, race nights, sing a long film nights and an Easter Fayre incorporating the AHOH Bake Off which turned out to be a great success. Our trademark Pink Tombola has generated a lot of income at some of these events, and well done to Sue Ward for her inspired idea. Working in collaboration with Andrew the proceeds from sales arising from the “CD Experience” is also bringing in a significant amount of funding. I would particularly like to thank Pat Weavers for asking guests at her recent “big birthday” party to make donations to Friends of AHOH in lieu of presents - a very generous gesture which is hugely appreciated.

So we have tried to be varied and imaginative in our approach –however some events have not been well attended and we really want your suggestions and we would also like to see choir members set up some fundraising themselves – more of that later on in the agenda.

So I am thrilled to report another successful year, with still plenty more to do with the performance at the London Palladium in March in our sights and a very ambitious aim to fully fund the costs if we can.

I would like to thank the committee for their very hard work and tireless enthusiasm during this year, and to specifically thank Rowena Samson who has been our secretary and Sue Ward our Spalding rep, both of whom are standing down from these roles. I would like to thank Andrew for working closely with us and for his practical contribution as MC at many of our fundraising events.

But we couldn’t do any of it without you- so a huge thanks to you, your family and friends for your ongoing support -we have raised a lot of money but we’ve had a lot of fun doing it!

With every good wish for another successful year.

Jackie Dodds