Chairman's Report 2015 

CTTA AGM  Friday, Oct. 16th 2015

I'm sitting here for a simple but sad reason; my predecessor, David Jones, has had to step down from the Chairmanship on health grounds. I’m sure we’d all like to wish him a speedy recovery speedy. It’s also good to see Gloria back 'in harness', but unfortunately Kelven and Pat Spratling have been poorly. This is a pity since they have perhaps been the keenest supporters of our Annonay link.

My first job was to attend the Essex & Suffolk twinning congress meeting at Hadleigh last Saturday. Like the curate's egg, it was good in parts. The Burnham-on-Crouch twinning has folded but there was better news from Felixstowe and Basildon. Beccles has no official twinning committee and administration but a small group of activists is keeping the concept of twinning alive.

At this point I’d like to thank our own committee for planning events here in Chelmsford. Our ‘Christmas’ meal is actually taking place in January in order to avoid the frantic activities as people plan for Christmas. There will be no quiz in Spring  next year (although, financially, we are in a healthy position) but the Autumn Quiz will be going ahead on November 6th.

We were joined on the committee for a time by Nicole Gay, who was also the President of the Chelmsford French Circle. As a French speaker she was valuable as a translator and, with another French Circle member, visited Annonay for their Balloon Festival. She met Alain Dusser and other key personnel from Annonay twinning and discussed our respective organisations. Unfortunately she found the experience somewhat frustrating (the hoped-for link with the two rugby clubs, for example, has not materialised) and has subsequently stepped down from the committee. She felt that Backnang featured more than Annonay and I have to admit she has a point. So far, I myself have been to Backnang five times (including the Strassenfest this year and last year) but Annonay only once. However, we have committed to supporting their Art exhibition next May and negotiations with Chelmsford Art Society are already under way. Hopefully the event will be a success and give a boost to our Annonay links. Furthermore, some of the key members in their organisation have passed on.

Coming back to Backnang, we are looking forward to celebrating our 25th Anniversary of twinning. 8 members (so far) are going to their Advent Market, with 12 representatives from City Council, including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Following that we will then start planning the return visit from the Backnangers, which is scheduled for September 2016. It is important for the future of our twinning that we make a success of this.

Can I close by thanking once again the members of our committee who have worked so hard, together with the 'pioneers' who have made twinning possible. The  future will not be easy, especially with the overshadowing of the migrant crisis and the forthcoming 'in or out?' referendum but we shall still be around!

Alan Arnot