The Joe Meek Society

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting.

Held at The George Hotel, Newent, Gloucestershire on Saturday 6th April 2019

Agenda Items.

  1. Welcome and opening remarks by the Society Chairman. (Pete Rochford)

Peter welcomed 13 members and 10 other guests to the meeting which started at 12:10pm.

  1. Apologies for absence.

Apologies had been received from: Andy Knott, Bobby Rio and Peter Knight (Moontrekkers).

  1. Approval of the minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on the 9th June 2018 at The George Hotel, Newent.

These minutes had been posted on the website since June 2018 and copies were available at the meeting and were not read aloud.

They were unanimously approved as a true record of proceedings.

  1. Matters arising.

An enquiry was made as to progress on the proposed statue and this will be covered later in the meeting.

There were no other matters arising.

  1. Chairman’s report. (Pete Rochford)

Peter mentioned that it was only 10 months since our last AGM so as to coincide with Joe’s 90th birthday and expressed his pleasure at being back in Newent.

Peter mentioned the sad loss of Chas Hodges on the 22nd September 2018 as he was influential in a large part of Joe’s music.

Both Pete and Shy, on the invitation of Society member Maldwyn Griffiths, had visited the Ystrad Mynach Boys and Girls Club in Caerphilly, Glamorgan, Wales which Joe had supported and many of his artists including Frankie Vaughan, Mike Preston, Danny Rivers, Michael Cox and Heinz performed there when on tour. They have put together a museum of articles and photographs about Joe which is well worth visiting.

On the 1st November, Pete with Bobby Rio were interviewed on Richard Syrett’s Rock-n-Roll Twilight Zone, a pod cast radio programme for Westwood One – Satellites and Sound Effects, promoting Joe as much as possible.

On the 5th December, Pete contacted Francis McMahon from Thameside Radio, on the suggestion of Craig Newton. Frank was particularly interested in Joe’s female artists who do not usually receive much attention, and also with his use of sound effects. Our thanks to Frank for continually promoting this AGM and event over the past months.

Also on the 23rd December we sadly lost Anne Coxall, better known to us as Honey Langtree of The Honeycombs. A lovely lady who always had a good word to say about Joe.

The JMS Facebook group is proving ever popular, now showing well over 2600 likes and we thank Craig Newton for his continued promotion on Facebook.

On the 23rd December an application was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the planned statue. This was after months of obtaining quotes for the work, ending up with our member, David Wilson-Copp, being the preferred contractor. On the 25th January, we heard back from the HLF that the application was being processed, which is positive, although, according to Sandra, there is some doubt that it would be sited outside No.1 Market Square. There are plans for another statue, of Charlotte Dujardin’s Olympic winning horse, Valegro, which was trained at Carl Hester’s stable in Newent, to occupy that space. Much discussion ensued at the meeting resulting in the need to further consult with the Council for clarification.

Pete had an interview with Anthony White of The Moontrekkers which will be sent to Bob Bradford for inclusion in a forthcoming Thunderbolt and another interview is being arranged with Owen Money formerly of The Bystanders and who is currently a radio DJ for a Mid-Wales station Pete regularly listens to.

Pete then gave a quick run through of the day’s events including Sandra’s Exhibition of Joe’s equipment and personal effects at her home, a Film Show (of which Ray Liffen gave a mouth-watering summary), the Newent Walk with Pete and not forgetting the Question and Answer session with Davy Kaye and Malcolm Lenny. All of this to be followed by the evenings entertainment provided by acoustic guitarist George Stapley followed by The Triumphs and Davy Kaye.

Peter thanked everyone for attending and to the committee members for their contributions over the past year and also to Sandra Meek for her continued support and enthusiasm for the Society and for her help in promoting the AGM venue.

  1. Presentation by The Treasurer of the accounts for the year ending 31st March 2019. (David Nevols)

Copies of the Audited Accounts have been distributed.

2018-2019 has seen a significant change in the Society’s operation. Rob Bradford took over from Mark Newson as the Thunderbolt editor with effect from July 2018 ending Mark’s 21 years and 61 issues of compiling the magazine. Although we did give him a very well-deserved round of applause last year, I believe we should again show our appreciation of his enormous effort. I did meet up with Mark last August when I presented him with a special award for which he thanked us most sincerely. Although I did manage a couple of photos of the event, Mark, as modest as ever, asked for them not to be published. I do have prints of them here should anyone wish to view them.

As you may know, Mark and computers did not get on well, a feeling I share sometimes, but Rob is very proficient and this has bought about a change in the printing method of the Thunderbolt resulting in some major cost savings. With Nicola Shilcock also on board to work her magic on the layout we are now seeing a new look Thunderbolt packed with fantastic information.

We have also seen the end of the bi-monthly newsletter with issue 210 being the last in December 2018. This decision to end the newsletter was not made for cost cutting reasons but mainly due to the lack of finding someone prepared to produce it. As you all know, Rob Bradford was the Newsletter editor prior to him taking over the mantle of Thunderbolt editor and it would have placed a greatly increased and unfair burden on Rob to do both. Furthermore, the original intention for a newsletter was to make members aware of upcoming events and this is now ably provided by our website.

With these changes only having come into effect recently they have not yet impacted positively on our bank balance and you will see from the historic comparisons included with the Revenue statement, that our retained bank balance has continued to reduce. There are reasons for this. Our membership rates have remained unaltered for the past eight years during a time of increasing printing and postal costs and a steady decline in membership numbers. This year in particular shows a more dramatic reduction due to the AGM being bought forward by a couple of months meaning that subscription income included only 10 months receipts whereas all annual expenditure has been paid. All things being equal, I expect next year’s figures to start showing a surplus which, as stated during last year’s AGM, will be available to fund special events.

Despite this reduction, I am pleased to say that the Society’s current balance remains adequate to fund our costs as they fall due.

As always, I would like to record the Society’s thanks to Catford Print Services for continuing to provide us with an excellent magazine, and I would also like to pass on my personal thanks to all the committee members for their help and support during the year. Special thanks to Ray Liffen for auditing my workings, Pete Rochford, Rob Bradford and Andy Knott with whom I have the most contact financially, and to Nicola Shilcock for her typesetting and layout expertise in producing the Thunderbolt. Also not to forget Steve Nash ( and Kait) for holding the stock of back issues and to Rob Humphreys in Spain for his superb management of our website.

Copies of this years audited accounts have been distributed to you and I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

A proposal for the accounts to be accepted was made by Ken Penrose and seconded by Craig Newton and approved unanimously.

  1. Reports by Committee members.

  1. Secretary. (David Nevols)

Greatly encouraged by the good attendance at last years AGM (13 members & 7 guests), also held here at The George Hotel in Newent, we were hopeful of even greater things this year especially with the additional activities we are staging it is good that we do indeed have a few more here this year.

Finding a suitable venue for our AGM is not as easy as it may first appear. Finding a place in London is proving to be more and more difficult, and expensive, and with the newly imposed transport charges, it can only get worse, so many thanks once again to our hosts here at The George Hotel for welcoming us here today and for making available the room for this meeting and for the entertainment later on tonight.

I am really looking forward to hearing The Triumphs tonight with Joe’s artist Malcolm Lenny in the line-up and to seeing Davy Kaye once again. Both of whom will be taking part in a question and answer session later this evening.

It goes without saying that these events do not just happen by themselves. An enormous amount of work has been put into the preparation for todays programme and for that we must, most notably, thank Pete Rochford who has led the task. I think he and Shy will be enjoying a rest after today is over.

Also special thanks to Ray Liffen for the planned film show a little later on, and to Sandra Meek-Williams for again giving us a tour of the town and pointing out all of the family’s old haunts.

I hope that you all enjoy your day with us in Newent and that you can spread the word amongst your friends. There are new Joe Meek fans out there but perhaps they just don’t know it yet.

  1. Thunderbolt editor. (Rob Bradford)

Rob made us aware that 21 years ago, John Repsch had approached him to take over editorship of the Newsletter, which has only just come to an end. He recounted a comment by John on publication of his first issue, “that he had done quite well but that he had missed out a comma on page 2”.

John had also contacted Rob recently complementing him on taking over the Thunderbolt and keeping it going. It was a daunting prospect to take over the role from Mark Newson who had, coincidentally, been editing the Thunderbolt for 21 years. With no-one else volunteering to do the job, Rob stepped in, initially in 2017 but actually not acceding to the position until 2018 as Mark had so much material to use. This delay helped Rob in the preparation of his first issue in October 2018. Rob’s decision to take on the role was greatly helped by the knowledge that Nicola Shilcock would assist him in the layout. Rob also thanked fellow writer Paul Moy for his contributions. It was thought that Paul may even join him as a co-editor until he unfortunately suffered an eye condition that made it difficult to work long hours at a computer screen. As it is Paul has offered to send in articles from time to time.

Rob is enjoying the challenge of the Thunderbolt and really likes researching and digging up new “old” information. He is still finding his way but hopes we will find each issue getting better and better.

Rob was very keen to receive articles from members. Anything at all, be it full articles on RGM related matters, snippets of information, letters, photographs, reviews, even “How I got involved” stories etc, etc.

  1. Membership Secretary. (Andy Knott)

Since the 2018 AGM, we have gained 14 new members to the Society (including 1 re-joined) and we wish them all a warm welcome.

However, when adjustments are made for those who have dropped out for whatever reason, the total membership figure is much the same as it was this time last year so whilst interest in Joe and his music remains relatively strong, I get the impression (particularly from some of the longer standing members who have decided not to renew their membership) that maybe the passion has waned a touch over the past couple of years.

On point that I feel I should raise is that since the decision at the last AGM to discontinue publication of the Newsletter, I have received three comments in respect of this, none of which were positive, in that they no longer felt that just receiving three Thunderbolts per year was value for money.

It will be interesting to see how this may or may not impact on the membership numbers in the future.

Once again, I would like to thank all those members who send a little extra along with their subs – every little helps and at the time of writing, postal rates, as sure as night follows day, have increased again.

My personal thanks as ever to the rest of the team who, in their respective roles, keep the Society running and to the members for their continued support which makes it all worthwhile.

  1. Back issues. (Steve Nash)

No report had been received at the time of the AGM.

  1. Website Administrator. (Rob Humphreys)

Well this past year has been one of the quietest for some time. Email enquiries have slowed down.  Digital subscribers at time of writing are 14. I don’t think we have ever had more than about 20 in the time we have launched the digital subscription option. DVD sales. I think we have had about 2 sales online. I still keep busy as there is still lots of news to post on our site – sadly these days more obituaries than in the past. I also receive a regular number of renewal payments by Pay Pal which I bank to the Society’s account.

Following this report, there was discussion as to how Digital membership could be increased as 14 members seemed very low. There was a proposal to review the price of digital membership and also use our Facebook and Twitter mediums to make people more aware of the service. With another related topic to be presented under Any Other Business, the meeting agreed to review this a little later.

  1. The Joe Meek Society Hall of Fame nominations.

Pete read out the current list of HoF members and also other connected artists who had been nominated. When asking for any further nominations Anne Coxall (Honey Langtree) and Dave Adams were put forward and received unanimous support from the members present and so were duly elected.

  1. Election of members of the Management Committee.

No requests or nominations had been received prior to the AGM but Pete asked the members present if anyone wished to be considered for a committee position. No requests ensued and with the current committee members all willing to stand for a further year, a proposal was put to the meeting for them to be re-elected en-bloc. The proposal was supported by Shy Rochford and seconded by Alison Cope and received unanimous approval.

  1. Amendments to The Society’s constitution.

No amendments were put forward for discussion. Clarification of the timing and location of the AGM had previously been amended to be at the Committee’s discretion rather than alternating between London and Newent, so no further amendment was necessary.

  1. Date and venue for next year’s AGM.

There was a general discussion on the location of next year’s meeting. Finding a suitable venue in London, around Holloway Road has become very difficult with several sites that we have used in the past now closed down. Also, any alternative would likely be very expensive to hire. Ray Liffen proposed looking to the outskirts of London so that access would be easier via motorways and parking less of a problem. There would however be no direct link with Joe which has been one of our main aims.

The pro’s and con’s of returning to Newent were discussed, although the main point against, being the travelling distance for many members, was thought to be outweighed by the strong link to Joe, the hospitality we receive and the free use to facilities.

The timing of the meeting was further discussed and it was agreed to maintain a date close to Joe’s birthday and Saturday 4th April 2020 was agreed. This would also result in a full 12 months financial figures being available.

  1. Any other business.

An enquiry was made as to the availability of the Radio show files we have in our library. Craig Newton looks after this and reported that all the old tape data had been transferred to CD. There remains the uncertainty over copyright as a lot of the files are BBC programmes and interviews. Some legal guidance will be sought but it is hoped that a list of available recordings can be published in a future Thunderbolt and that copies of the CD’s or even digital downloads will be made available to members for their personal use only.

A similar story relates to the Photo library which Mark Newson has passed on a quantity to David Nevols although Rob Bradford also has more. There are some where we are aware of the owner but many more where we are not. Legal guidance will again be sought. The plan is to get them digitized although it will be a very long job.

David Nevols raised a matter regarding the Website which contains huge amounts of specialised information all of which is currently available, free of charge, to anyone who wants to read it. Should we consider making some of the material available only to Society members via a “Members Only” password protected link? This could encourage viewers with an interest in Joe to apply for membership. There was general agreement to look further into this.

The item raised following the Webmasters report regarding pricing, was re-visited. It could not be shown that pricing was the reason for low take-up and it could well be through lack of publicity for the service. This will be advertised more actively both in the Thunderbolt and on the website and Frank McMahon offered to mention it regularly on his radio show. We will see what response is achieved.

Ray Liffen suggested a slight alteration to the webpage with the “Latest News” being displayed on the initial “Home page”. This would make viewers immediately aware of current items rather than having to scroll through the whole directory.

There was a short general discussion on the progress of the Video, “A life in the death of Joe Meek”, to which we could, unfortunately, supply no up to date info.

Malcolm Lenny wished to pass on good wishes to The Society from his old bandmate, Ian (Stu) Stuart who has how returned to the UK following a residency in France. Ian would have been with us today but unfortunately his wife is currently unwell. We asked Malcolm to pass on our very best wishes and that we hope to see them at a future event.

  1. Closing remarks. (Pete Rochford)

Peter again thanked all the members and guests present for attending and made arrangement to split the numbers wishing to go on the Tour and the Exhibition later in the day.

The meeting was closed at 13:40pm.