The 97th AGM of HF Holidays was held at Freshwater Bay House on the Isle of Wight on Saturday 26 March 2011, the first time an HF Holidays’ AGM had not been held on the mainland. Over 180 shareholding members attended, many taking the opportunity to book on the HF Holidays’ celebration weekend.
The event was chaired by President Keith White and VIPs included Vice President Peter Boulter, Mid Counties Co-op President Ben Reid, Co-op Travel Groups’ General Manager, Sue Reid and Stephen Swift of the National Trust.
In the morning shareholders enjoyed a lively Q and A session which included discussions on the sale of Conwy, removal of the dinner gong, clarification on the accounts, possible new HF Holidays’ locations, introduction of televisions etc.
After the Q and A session David Harrington, Head of Property and Administration, gave a short presentation on current developments at the Houses and the new standards being introduced.
After lunch there was a short Special General Meeting where a small number of Rules were updated and approved. Of particular note was the change to Rule 21.11 so that shareholders may appoint one proxy at an AGM.
A welcoming speech by the President highlighted how HF Holidays must move forward but retain the fellowship. Minutes of last year’s meeting were approved as well as the annual report and accounts for 2009/10.
Chairman of the Board, Bob Gomersall highlighted the financial strength of the Society and the excellent set of accounts. Significant investment had continued in the Country Houses and there had also been growth in guest weeks and holiday satisfaction. It was encouraging that nearly £1m was raised in share capital by existing shareholders increasing their shareholding or by new members joining. During the year, the number of new members had grown by 5.8%.
New Board members, Robin Lumb and Cheryl Harris were appointed. It was announced that the third candidate for the Board, Ian Williamson, had withdrawn his application. This would mean there would be only 11 members of the Board for the following year.
The AGM ended with a speech by Brian Smith, Chief Executive, featuring HF Holidays’ role in the community. HF Holidays now had an impressive network of relationships with key outdoor companies such as Cotswold Outdoors and Berghaus and organisations such as National Trust, Co-operatives UK, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and Coeliac UK. Brian mentioned that HF Holidays would be launching cafes in several Houses in the next few months to help build and promote the Society’s brand to a wider audience.
In traditional HF Holidays’ style the meeting ended with a fine afternoon tea followed in the evening by a special celebration dinner in the marquee. The next morning members enjoyed guided walks before returning to Freshwater Bay House.
Download the whole unedited copy of Brian Smith's address at the AGM. AGM speech.