Who knew AGMs could be so enjoyable?

Anne Franks won the 18+ section of the Essex Way photographic competition

We told you we’d be back! But perhaps we didn’t believe we’d back in quite such style…
Coggeshall’s stunning Grange Barn was the venue as some 45 people gathered for a very special AGM on Saturday (October 1).
After a Covid-induced two-year absence of a ‘physical’ AGM, the 50th anniversary of the Essex Way walk was reason enough to pull out all the stops and lay on something rather special at this National Trust property, built in about 1090 to store grain grown by monks at the nearby Cistercian abbey.
The presentation of awards to the winners of our Essex Way photographic competition by our president Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord-Lieutenant of Essex, was a highlight, as was the speech by retiring vice-president Robert Erith, who raised many pertinent questions regarding conservation.
The Lord-Lieutenant also helped out with a tree-planting ceremony that was the first step to the establishment of a small orchard serving as a tribute to the Essex Way’s 50 years.
And of course no AGM would be complete without a lively report from our chairman David Knight, who ran through what had been another busy year that included a winter series of Zoom talks on farming; the production of a solar-farm policy and booklet; and, as ever, involvement in a range of planning issues, including the proposed placing of a line of pylons through the county, plans for a new prison at RAF Wethersfield and a scheme to build a Next warehouse at Waltham Abbey.
The last proposal was defeated, which should give us all cheer that we are not constantly fighting a losing battle.
David related how recruitment had been difficult, but at least membership had remained stable in testing circumstances, while we had been speaking with potential new vice-presidents.
It was also an occasion on which to thank Rosemary Turner, who after many years of dedicated service has retired from the executive committee, and John Palombi, whose six-year term as a trustee has come to an end.
We were delighted, though, to elect Tricia Moxey and Petra Ward to the executive committee – we are very blessed to have the commitment of such talented people.
No one is pretending things are easy – especially in light of recent government announcements – but countryside champion CPRE Essex is in fine fettle, as the AGM demonstrated. It was a delightful afternoon.

  • To see the winning photographs, click here
Oliver Swinford-Howe took first prize in the 12-18 section of the competition