The charity’s Annual General Meeting was held at the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, in Victoria Road, London, by kind permission of the Ambassador, H.E. Vu Quang Minh.
The meeting began on a sad note as the Chairman, Peter Lidgard, remarked that it was the first Annual General Meeting that he had attended without the presence of Dr Madeleine Sharp. He said that Madeleine been a wonderful inspiration and a tireless worker for the charity for over 40 years. A minute’s silence was kept in her memory.
Introducing the Annual Report, Peter Lidgard told the meeting that 2013 had been a difficult year for the charity. Due to her declining health, Madeleine Sharp had only been able to attend one of the Trustees’ meetings: as had Brian Stenson, who resigned in March due to ill-health. Chairman Peter Lacy had been in hospital during the summer, and both he and his wife Sheila Lacy had reluctantly resigned from the Trustees due to ill-health, in November.
In February Peter and Mary Lidgard embarked upon an extended visit to South-East Asia to monitor and evaluate all of the charity’s projects. They spent a total of fifteen weeks in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and were for the first time able to look in detail at all the charity’s projects. They also had an opportunity to meet some of the beneficiaries of the aid which we send, and to make a number of outreach visits. It was a tiring but very worthwhile trip.
During their visit Peter and Mary sent full reports back to the Trustees, and on their return a number of important policy decisions were made. These were:
- To target the charity’s aid to the poorest and most vulnerable people in the three countries,
- To continue to make biennial monitoring and evaluation visits to South-East Asia, to ensure that the charity’s money was being spent wisely and effectively, and
- To try to limit the number of projects supported and not to take on any projects in new locations.
During the year the Trustees noted that the charity’s website was completely out-of-date, and so it was agreed to re-write and re-launch it. They were fortunate to recruit Jon and Deborah for this task. It was a major undertaking to rewrite the reports of all our projects and include many new photographs, which is now nearing completion.
The Honorary Treasurer, John Firth, presented the Financial Report to the meeting. He noted that the charity’s income was well down compared with 2012, but that we still have plenty of funds in reserve. Spending on the charity’s projects in South-East Asia was up compared with 2012, but this was not surprising because of the project proposals made following the monitoring and evaluation visit.
John also noted that administrative costs, excluding production and posting of the Bulletin, were less than one per cent of the charity’s spending.
The Charity’s Trustees were then elected as follows:
Chairman: Peter Lidgard
Honorary Secretary: Mary Lidgard
Honorary Treasurer: John Firth
Trustees: Lynn Firth