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Chairmanís Annual Report to the Trustees for 2015

2015 was once again a great success in a number of different ways.

First of all, Tom McCree identified and solved the problems with the moveable jetty by donating and fitting a winch. This has certainly made life easier for those who have to move it.

Under the guidance and hard work of David Green, all the decking on the two balconies has been replaced by Jarra wood donated by Mersea Outdoors. David not only located the wood and transported it to his house, but also arranged for it to be sawed into planks so that it was the correct size. As Jarra is extremely heavy, no part of this job was easy.

In April, the Shed was partially repainted by the Community payback people. Unfortunately they didnít complete the work, but David Green, Paddy, Bry and I returned later and finished it. It now looks pristine.

Then following donations of boat related goods, two friends of the Packing Shed, Marion Jarvis and Carol Lowe set up a stall at a local Boat Jumble and raised over £120. Not bad for a pile of old junk!

There was a potential problem with the catering for the open days in 2015 as Jean Freeman had to have 2 knee replacement operations. However, she still managed to produce her share of the scones along with Ginny and these were served with hot drinks by other volunteers, Caroline Lucas, Kim McCree and Beryl Peckham. Our grateful thanks to them for all their hard work.

The Trust now has three new launch drivers, Kevan Pugh, Tom McCree and Greg Peckham. They have proved invaluable team members offering to help at most of the bookings when launches were required. This has helped to take the pressure off other launch drivers.

For the first time in 4 years, I have to record that sadly our income for the last financial year decreased. There were two main reasons for this: firstly 2 of our Open days were cancelled due to inclement weather and secondly donations for bookings were down as there were fewer of them. In all, income was down by approximately £1500, but with spending reduced by £800, this resulted in a surplus of £954 in 2015 compared to over £2,000 in the previous year.

Although there were only 25 bookings in 2015, compared to 30 in the previous year, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. There was a wedding reception in August, then in September 60 Scout Leaders, arrived from Enfield for an overnight camp. The fact that they arrived at 21.00 and had to be transported in the dark was difficult for the launch drivers but even harder for the leaders who had to put up their tents in the dark, around the edge of the oyster pits. They left early the next morning and claimed they had had a great time! Another first on the booking front was a group of Covent Garden stall holders who came from London for the day for a Packing Shed picnic. I look forward to seeing the inspiration they gained from their visit.

The Trust was surprised when Colchester Borough Council decided that both launches had to be licensed as this had not been the case for the last 24 years. This necessitated surveys of the boats and the purchase of extra safety equipment including new life jackets. This has been an expensive chore but at least each launch is now registered as safe and carrying the recommended safety equipment. The new licences will be displayed on both boats.

Lastly, and in closing, I would like to thank my fellow trustees, committee members, drivers and volunteers whose dedication and sheer hard work have made 2015 such a good year.

Without their commitment, none of this would have been possible.

Thank you.

Alan Mogridge
Chair, Packing Shed Trust 5th April 2016



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