News From The Chair

News from the Chair. 25th June 2017

Golly we are now almost halfway through our current Sunday running season. What a busy constructive period it has been. There are so many good things going on and happening. We have at last finalised discussions with the Parish Council regarding the brickwork on the end of our club house, after a site meeting with Sedgemoor Council at the track it was agreed that brickwork may stay as long as we apply for retrospective planning permission, this in the very capable hands of Mike Barnard. Which we were told is just a formality. This means a lot to our society as it our relationship with the Parish Council properly correct, no hidden or grey areas. Further once we have also gained written approval from the water board means we can go ahead with the building without any worries. Here I must say a very personal Thank You to Geoff our Society Secretary for all his hard work and support with the negotiations with the Parish Council, without Geoff’s good council the job would have been much harder.

The interior of the clubhouse is slowly coming together with the counter now panelled and the area tiled. It looks rather smart, thank you to all who contributed. There are lots more to do however as always.

We now have a Catering Corps!!!  Di Barnard came forward and started to take on the catering sorting out the kitchen (and the mess room I might add.) with a team of lady members from the society who have done fantastic work together get the clubhouse up and running. Here I cannot remember all they names except that most seem to be call Ann. Please forgive me ladies; it’s my mother’s fault she always cooked with Aluminium Saucepans. Included in this is the shop or Osborne’s Emporium as it is now known, Ann has priced every item so all is now priced ready for sale. Di and her wonderful team now generate about 50% of our Sunday takings.

There has not been a shortage of engines this year at all both electric and steam, so the steaming bays on a Sunday are a busy place indeed. Lots of fun and very good humoured banter from all, even Colin was seen to smile although I did not witness it.

We have had a number of visitors from foreign parts all of whom have had a really good time with our society.

Mark Sweets Summer Programme is running well with the Ladies Tea Party coming up on the 1st July and a very interesting Silver Soldering Demonstration by Helen Verrall-Stait on the 12the July. Helen is of course Western Steam the premier copper boilers makers in the country.

Working parties are another matter so far the first only one person pitched up to help and the second one we had to cancel because of various commitments by most of the membership. This is not a complaint; rather it’s a cry for help to carry out various working party jobs over the normal maintenance that is always well supported. We have to take down the swings as agreed with the PC so all the help we can get will be much appreciated.

The Society is a happy place these days with lots of fun and good humour as I have said, long may it last. It is you the membership that has made it so, after all that is how it should be it is your society and you have made it so. For that I thank you on behalf of the officers and committee for your support and trust in what we do at your bidding.

Happy Steaming.

Simon Wager


West Huntspill Model Engineering Society

News from the Chair 14th February 2017

It is with a very heavy heart that I have to start my News from the Chair on a very sad note indeed. Our dear and honourable Treasurer Chris Osborne did not “Beat the clock” and sadly passed away in the early hours of the 13th February in Musgrove Hospital. Poor Chris had a stroke some two weeks earlier and simply did not recover.
Chris will be sadly missed by every member of the society for his kindness his very dry sense of humour and good guidance as our treasurer. He was a great mentor to us all in most matters. I personally will miss him greatly.
In the language of my birth and country:
Loop veilig langs jou pad na die lewe Chris vir my oë nie lank sien jy, maar ek hou julle in my hart.
Translated says:
Walk safely along your path Chris for my eyes no long see you, yet I hold you in my heart.

We start with a New Year our 50th Anniversary year with an almost completely new committee (Excluding Geoff and I) with a completely new direction or should I say a return to the principles, disciplines, interests of our hobby. Model Engineering in all it’s many and varied interests that are the very essence of what West Huntspill Model Engineering has always been all about. Something that was lost in recent years. However that is the past and hopefully we will all go forward as a united team and bring back the sense of fun and interest that made WHMES what is and will be.

As you will see we now have a dedicated team of officers and committee working collectively to bring this about.

During the recent months an awful lot of hard work and dedication has gone into bringing about the closure of the problems created with the Parish Council and I am very happy to tell you that atthe meeting with the Parish Council the whole matter is now closed and approved by the Parish Council. We have been very lucky in that respect. The Parish Council has asked that a member of the WHMES attend each monthly meeting and be part of the planning team for the new pavilion.

A new website will be up and running by the end of February/ first week in March, it’s a completely new website and quite comprehensive and will replace the Members Handbook in time, plus a lot more society information all members require. It will also be available to members as a handbook for those without internet/computer connection. Integrated with the website will be a new Westhuntspill Face book account and Twitter account.
The Newsletter in the very capable hands of Mike Barnard will of course continue as always. Please remember that Mike can only publish information and pictures if we all give him copy, get writing and sending pictures. It’s your Newsletter!

In light of the requirements for due diligence at the railway at all times, new and appropriate procedures will be set in place, all for the protection and safeguarding all members.
Boiler Testing and testers will have new procedure to work to in future again based upon the requirements of good working practice and procedure.
Our new Social Secretary Mark Sweet has already set up a social programme for the coming year.
Our Membership Secretary Gerry Willis has completely revamped the membership documentation and membership process to make it far easier to check and or hand over.
A sub committee has been agreed to head up and run the 50th Anniversary proceedings.
There are a host of other things going on; if I list them all in the comment it will be pages long.
My final thoughts on the last two years are this: Yes –  the society, for reasons I certainly am not going to go into at any time,  had lost its way somewhat and it has taken those years to bring the society back to what it should be and I hope will be for the foreseeable future. A Model Engineering Society dedicated to the advancement and pleasure of model engineering. To me I always remember the first day I met the society and said I was building a terrier. The help and interest was amazing. That’s what model engineering is all about.
To finish, I say to those that at the time that’s things were getting sorted out in the correct and appropriate manner. Who however criticised how the process was going and jumped ship rather than getting behind the wheel and helping bring about the changes. Well that is their prerogative. The past is the past and you will be welcome back at any time.