Local events

Minutes of RPWBRA AGM, 2018



The Chairman welcomed twenty-five residents to the meeting.

Apologies for absence were received from Avril and Jerry Cuthbert. 


These were published in the April 2017 issue of the guide and were approved by those present. 


John Elvidge spoke of his pride in the work and achievements of the Association since its inception in 1928. He reminded those present that the RPWBRA had been formed 90 years ago mainly because of local concerns regarding flooding but also to engender community activities and awareness. He felt that the original reasons for its existence were as relevant as ever and he thanked all those who helped to keep the association running. 

He announced that a special 90th anniversary dinner at “Taste” (Merton College) would be held in November and that full details would be published once details had been confirmed.

The Chairman recognized the dedicated, conscientious band of road stewards and area coordinators who, once again, had given freely of their time and energy throughout the year to ensure that residents received the association’s monthly Guide.  He hoped that they would join him and the rest of the committee for a summer celebration on Saturday 7th July. 

Before highlighting other areas of endeavour the Chairman singled out the joint secretary and editor Jill Truman for special praise. Amazingly, Jill has worked as a volunteer for the association for 50 years! During this time she has held every office apart from that of treasurer. Prior to the AGM Jill had been very ill in hospital, yet she insisted upon participating in the meeting and assured members she would be busy during the coming months researching and collating a special 90th anniversary edition of the Guide. 

The Chairman then extended his gratitude to the other members of the committee. He thanked John Townsend for his exemplary work as treasurer and was particularly appreciative of the clarity with which he regularly summarised a multitude of complicated financial transactions. He also expressed his appreciation for the audit support provided by Brian Lewis-Lavender. 

The Chairman also thanked both Dick Coleman for the huge enthusiasm he has brought to the role of Advertising Manager and Andrew Barwick for his ever-efficient work as Distribution Manager for the Guide. Excellent support for Andrew’s task was also provided by Dick, by George Holder (postal members), by Charles Briscoe-Smith (webmaster) and by our newly appointed membership secretary Rosemary Wright. 

John Elvidge then drew attention to Jerry Cuthbert’s tireless work as Chairman of the Pavilion sub-committee and thanked him for overseeing its development. He appreciated the involvement of David Freeman and he felt that the Thursday Social Club run by Jill and Andrea Hannon was a great resource for local people. 

The Chairman noted the huge amount of work done by Jerry and David respectively regarding information about environmental matters such as Crossrail2, Heathrow expansion and local planning issues.  

There was appreciation of the work done by the local councillors, Gilli and Brian Lewis-Lavender and Mary-Jane Jeanes.

Mary-Jane had informed us she was standing down and was presented with a beautiful garden plant in recognition of her work.

The chairman also thanked Margaret Barratt for her painstaking organisation of the annual RPWBRA horticultural outing to Wisley. 

Please note: unfortunately Margaret could not attend the AGM so the Treasurer visited her the next day with the bouquet she should have received at the AGM. She was very grateful for the gift and sent a letter of appreciation. 

Amongst the events which had taken place since the previous AGM were

(i) A beautiful outdoor social occasion during which a flowering cherry tree was dedicated to the late, much missed Jan Bailey, which was much appreciated by her partner Gordon Stratford, plus family and friends.

(ii) An excellent guided visit “behind the scenes” to the All England Lawn Tennis Association Club attended by over 30 road stewards and committee members

(iii) A lively Christmas party at the pavilion enjoyed by over thirty volunteers and friends 

(iv) An enjoyable open meeting at Blossom House where those who attended were most impressed by a fascinating talk from Joey Burgess, the Principal of the establishment

(v) A well-organised Wisley trip (mentioned earlier) plus various well-attended outings organised by Andrea and Jill.



John Townsend gave a clear, comprehensive report of the Association’s finances. He emphasised that they were in a healthy state thanks to Dick Coleman’s success in managing to increase revenue, Andrew Barwick’s volunteer teams ensuring steady membership levels plus a regular income garnered by Jerry Cuthbert and the Pavilion Management Group. He thanked Brian for auditing the accounts.

The treasurer then spoke of the excellent response to Tom Deveson’s article regarding the retirement of local milkman John Braden. Over £600 had been received from residents. Clare had arranged the accompanying cards and letters into an attractive booklet to be presented with the money. 

Please note: the publicity-shy milkman did not attend the meeting so John Townsend took the booklet and money to John Braden’s home where, as you might imagine, the gifts were received with much gratitude! 


John Elvidge vacated the Chair which was taken by Jill Truman.

There were no new nominations and in response to Jill’s proposal, seconded by Gilli, John Elvidge agreed to continue as Chairman for the coming year.

The remaining members of the committee were then re-elected by general approval.

The Chairman thanked members for his re-election and urged any residents who wished to become involved in the general organisation to put themselves forward for consideration as committee members. 


The Chairman was pleased to introduce the Secretary of the Paddock Allotments to the meeting.

He described the allotments as a “true local success story” and was intrigued to learn more about its development from a run-down underused council facility to its present vibrant existence. 

Ruth thanked the association members for inviting her to the meeting and then proceeded to give a fascinating account of the Paddock’s history and current situation. 

Pre-dating the formation of the RPWBRA by two years, the lands covering five and a half acres were originally earmarked for allotment use in 1926. Then in 1946 the Paddock Horticultural Society was formed to enable Cannon Hill residents to buy and sell stock. 

Gradually the brief widened to include neighbouring areas and a strong community and social spirit emerged centred around the allotments. 

Merton Council eventually asked members if they wished to take over the management, encouraging them to do so by improving basic aspects such as the water supply and fencing and providing a simple hut.   

By 1991 the paddock members had established the beginnings of today’s thriving set-up. Whilst still answerable to the council, the Paddock Committee is in charge of tenancy, security and maintenance and has overseen amazing improvements to the site. 

It is a truly community facility – anyone can become a garden member for only £4 per annum, enabling them to participate in social activities and to use the shop – and those wishing to have their own plots can apply to Ruth for cost details as there is a waiting list. 

Ruth was particularly proud to emphasise the multi-cultural nature of the plots, adding that anything could be grown as long as it was legal! 

Ruth outlined the range of social activities: Sunday breakfasts provided at a reasonable price by four teams of volunteers, a weekly hobby club run by Cynthia Hatcher, quiz nights, seasonal events such as the Christmas dinner and Summer bbq, “yellow book” open days and the unmissable annual Horticultural Show. 

Yvonne Sharp also organises short holidays at reasonable cost and there are a number of popular day trips throughout the year. 

Ruth pointed out that the whole enterprise was made possible by an amazing team of volunteers who open up and lock the facilities, clean, cook, stock and run the shop and generally commit to the shared feeling of mutual endeavour. 

The Paddock Committee members listen to plot-holders and garden members, meeting regularly to review matters and plan improvements thus ensuring that all runs smoothly. 

Following her talk, Ruth was applauded by those present and presented with - what else? -  a beautiful bouquet of her favourite flowers! 


Although there was no single overriding issue, there was discussion and concern about impending waste management changes, the loss of local post office and banking facilities and the never-ending traffic and parking concerns. 

Garry and Wendy Hunt spoke from personal experience about the need for vigilance regarding postal and identity theft and this concern was echoed by many present. 

The meeting finished at 9.50pm. The Chairman thanked Clare and John for arranging the refreshments and was grateful to everyone for their contributions to an informative and friendly meeting.

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