It’s the third Wednesday in January, the now traditional date of QWAG’s first event of the year – the Annual General Meeting.

As has become the custom, attendees were treated to a fine spread of refreshments before QWAG’s Chair, Ray Manchester, opened the meeting. Ray welcomed attendees, introduced the members of the management committee and duly dealt with the first two agenda items, apologies for absence and approval of the 2008 AGM minutes.

Ray Manchester, flanked by James MacGregor and Dave Larkin, delivers the annual report

Ray Manchester, flanked by James MacGregor and Dave Larkin, delivers the annual report

The next agenda item was the 2008 annual report. With the completion of the Flood Alleviation Scheme and the ‘credit crunch’ halting building projects there was little to report on QWAG’s core activity – promoting conservation, protection and improvement of the Quaggy. In addition to running the river walks the Group’s interaction with the local community increased and diversified, including new activities such as organising a highly successful river clean up and hosting two school visits. Other items mentioned in the report included a further increase in vistor numbers to the website, the publication of another excellent newsletter and QWAG’s possibly first ever walk in the snow!

The Treasurer’s Report for 2008 was presented by James MacGregor. Despite the subscription reductions introduced for 2008/9 income increased over 2007 while expenses fell, and QWAG maintained a healthy balance. In view of this, the reduced levels will be kept for 2009/10.

With no other nominations, current officers Ray Manchester (Chair), Jerry Pinel (Vice Chair) and Dave Larkin (Secretary) were re-elected unopposed. James MacGregor (Treasurer) stood down – Anne Scott was elected unopposed to replace him. Maria de Jesus remains a member of the management committee and has been joined by Evelyn Carr. Before closing the meeting, the Chair thanked all those who had helped QWAG over the course of the previous year.

Following refreshments, the meeting settled to hear a talk entitled QUERCUS and Beyond. The success of Cornmill Gardens and the QUERCUS project. What next for the rivers of Lewisham; projects, funding opportunities and partnership working. Given by Martin Hodge and Paul Chapman of Lewisham Council, the talk covered the history of the QUERCUS project and how its success could be leveraged to secure funding for further river restoration within the borough.

A lively question and answer session followed the talk. With time running out, Martin and Paul were thanked by the Chair and warmly applauded by the audience. Ray closed the meeting by thanking those who had helped in its preparation and execution. Thanking the attendees for their participation he said he hoped to see many of them at QWAG events over the coming year.

Make a splash without getting wet!