Bolton MRT Annual General Meeting 2016 and Election of Officers for the period 2016 – 2017 this evening

This evening, commencing at 20.00hrs, forty one team members, including 37x Full Team Call Out list and 4x members of our Support Group, jointly attended our Annual General Meeting and our Election of Council Officers held this evening at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ.

Proceedings were opened by our outgoing Chairman Craig Lamb, who had previously presented to the membership a written Chairman’s Report, at the conclusion of this his fifth and final year in office as Chairman.

This report was followed by our outgoing Team Leader, Garry Rhodes MBE’s Annual Report, which reflected on his twenty seven continuous years in office as our Team Leader, over his thirty five years service to date in Bolton MRT.

For Garry, now aged 58, who decided very recently not to stand for re-election, this was a very emotional report to make, and obviously contained much by way of personal reflection.

Garry finished his report by reading out a selection of the congratulatory messages he had received over the last 24 hours since it was made public he was standing down, including kind words from the Team Leader of RPMRT Peter Goble and Team Leader Mick Nield of Oldham MRT, Deputy Team Leader Mark Susca on behalf of all at Cheshire SART, former Bolton MRT members Gyles Denn, David Crawford, Phil Beswick and Di James, GMFRS Watch Manager Glyn McGann (a former Bolton MRT member) GMFRS Senior Officer Ben Levy, Garry’s former work colleague Chris Rickson, former Bolton MBC Mayors Assistant Sally Hayes, Nick Mattock of BaySART, David Hamilton a school friend of Garry’s from the late 1960s and 1970s, family friends and team members, and finally Garry’s Brother Andrew and his family.

The end of Garry’s report was marked by a standing ovation form all members present, honouring his twenty seven years as Team Leader.

The final report presented was made by our Treasurer of this past year Martin Banks, who reported on the continuing very healthy state of our finances, which go from strength to strength thanks to the many small and large donations, grants and bequests received this year.

Our election of Officers followed which saw very experienced team member Gillian Leigh, a Head Teacher, aged 48, from Horwich, elected for her first term of office as Chair.

Gillian Leigh first joined the team way back in 1986, then spent a period away at Teacher Training College and consolidating her career before re-joining the team.

Support Group member Gillian Gregory from Horwich, was re-elected to her post on the Team Council as our Team Secretary (Gillian celebrates eleven years with the team this year)

Martin Banks of Horwich, was re-elected to his fourth year of Office as our Treasurer.

Our new Team Leader, is 44 year old Alistair Greenough, an Accident and Emergency Nurse, and our outgoing Training Officer, Alistair lives in Wigan, and joined the team on 17th April 2002, with previous periods in Team Office as our Equipment Officer – Medical and Training Officer for two separate terms of office.

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Chris Greenhalgh, aged 36 years old, of Heaton, Bolton, a team member since 13th February 2002, and a serving GMFRS Fire Fighter was appointed to the position of Deputy Team Leader for his third year in this post.

Michael Wakerley, a keen hillwalker and climber aged 33 from Farnworth, was elected to the post of Training Officer for his first term of office.

Nigel Booth, a full time Watch Manager with GMFRS, was elected for his second term of office as our Equipment Officer – Ropes and Stretchers, having previously served for two years on the Team Council as our Equipment Officer – Medical.

Steve James was elected as our Equipment Officer – Medical, a post he has previously held for the last few months.

Neil Aspinall, aged 47, of Eccleston was elected as our Equipment Officer – Vehicles, for his third term of office in this post and one he has previously held in the past.

Steve Fletcher, aged 34, of Lostock, was re elected as our Equipment Officer – IT and Communications, with Paul Copley of Johnson Fold, who joined the team in November 2010, being elected for his third term of office on the team Council as our Equipment Officer – HQ and Catering.

David Cook, of Dunscar, who joined the team with Paul Copley, was also re-elected within the Team Council as our Equipment Officer – Water, for his third term of Office.

The positions of Bob Hutchinson, aged 72 of Bury, as our President and Frank Hulton as our Vice President were also agreed, as was the appointment of our Auditors, HML Davis Limited, for 2016 and 2017.

A very special agenda item then took place, with now former Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE being offered by the team the following proposal;

“That the Team wishes to express its gratitude and thanks to Vernon Garry Rhodes MBE for his contribution as Team Leader for 27 years and award him Honorary Life membership of Bolton Mountain Rescue Team and the position of Honorary Archivist.”

DSC_6507Garry was then asked by newly in post Chair Gillian Leigh if he would accept this proposal, which he did, whereupon the membership voted to agree to confer such upon Garry, which he subsequently received with great honour.

Garry was then surprised by all present, with a short speech in his honour by outgoing Chairman Craig Lamb, to all assembled, who stated “if you cut Garry in half like a stick of rock, he’d have Bolton MRT written through him.”

Craig then further surprised Garry, by presenting to him on behalf of all the assembled team members, a Mountain Rescue figurine mounted on an inscribed plinth honouring Garry’s service to the team over the last twenty seven years as Team Leader – a very emotional Garry accepted the specially commissioned figurine, giving thanks to all in the team for such a wonderful surprise.

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The final matter for the evening was the agreement on our membership donation amount for the forthcoming year, which was set at a zero amount.

The meeting concluded at circa 22.00hrs, with team members then enjoying a post AGM slice of two cakes, made by Steve James to honour Garry’s retirement as Team Leader.

Thanks to Support Group members John Ryan, Bob Melia and Lee Grice, who attended tonight providing much needed administrative support to the AGM including the collating and counting of all the voting papers made for each elected post.

Garry would also like to express his thanks to former Team operational members Louise Jorgensen and Richard Janicki who attended tonight specially to honour Garry’s retirement from Team Leadership.