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Minutes of Virtual AGM 2021

Virtual Annual General Meeting, 2021

Once again it has not been possible to hold an actual AGM so, with the agreement of the trustees, these draft notes were prepared and circulated to all Custodians for their input and approval.  These notes are now being issued as virtual minutes of the AGM.

Message from the Chair                                                  Peter Harris

It goes without saying that this has been a very traumatic year for everyone. The various restrictions have meant that our activities have been very limited. Mike and Paula have kept the flag flying giving virtual talks to various organisations and keeping up social media contacts. Many thanks to them both and all the members who have taken part in surveys etc.
Hopefully this year with the relaxation of restrictions and the vaccine roll out, the Custodians should be able to resume outdoor activities. 

I hope that everyone has remained well and will continue that way. Owing to health reasons, not COVID related, I will not be carrying on my role of Chairman. I will remain a member of the Custodians and support you in any way I can. I have very much enjoyed my years in post and appreciate all your efforts and hope the organisation will go from strength to strength. Finally, I would like pay tribute to Mike and Paula without whom the Custodians would not be the success it has. Their dedication and energy have been its mainstay.
Wishing you all well.

Minutes of previous Virtual AGM

These minutes can be reviewed on the RSC web site.

Presentation of accounts                                              Rex Shayler

The accounts have been prepared by Rex and are Appendix 1.

Annual report                                                      Mike Davies and Paula Scott

Our current membership is 37.                 

Invasive species monitor and control.  We have been unable to take teams out to control Giant Hogweed along the river banks this year due to Covid restrictions.  Some of the Custodians have, however, gone out to the various hot spots and kept these plants under control.  Sue Newham tackled some plants downstream from the Longbridge a few days ago so they have started growing.  Please keep your eyes open and report any infestations near public areas.  Hopefully we will be able to make a team effort sometime this year. Areas of Japanese Knotweed are reported to Natural Resources Wales who chemically treat it to protect flood defenses.  We encourage people to eat Himalayan Balsam and we only remove it to provide access to the river. 

Similarly, crayfish monitoring has also not been possible so far this year.  

Parson’s Bridge replacement. The approaches to this new footbridge have been prepared and the bridge was scheduled to be built last summer.  The delay is apparently due to the difficulty of obtaining some land at the back of the Poundstretcher store.  It is hoped that construction can begin this year.   

We have given one talk about the river and the Custodians so far this year and that was a Zoom virtual talk to the Tregynon WI. The group gave us a contribution to the RSC funds.

Walking Newtown’s Walk #6, Waterways and Town has now been updated to include the route changes caused by the bypass.  This walk is 5.3 miles long and takes you from the town centre, upstream along the Severn then along the Mochdre Brook. The directions and map are available to download free of charge from the Town Council web site at www.newtown.org.uk/walks

Facebook page and Blog.                                                                                Russ Edwards

Facebook only had 24 responses over 9 posts and public interaction (posts) with the page is virtually nil. I have purposely not posted my wildlife photographs for some time now, in case it was putting people off posting their own sightings, but it appears to have made little difference. However, it might just be the case that there hasn't been any sightings to post anyway.

The RSC Blog hasn't had an entry since the 2019 AGM post was made there.
I must confess that perhaps I should increase the number of entries, since it is the official face of the RSC's Web presence and important from that point of view. The problems with logging in are still present and to that end, I doubt whether it will ever be used to pick up photographs and sightings from the general public.

As a new idea, I would like to try using Facebook as a front-end for interacting with RSC Members and the public and behind the scenes, I will transfer anything useful across to the RSC Blog.  The RSC Blog will be there for as long as we want it to be, whereas Facebook can fall out of favor and become a lame duck over time, so I feel that it is the route that we should be following. People can make comments without needing to log in and as long as everyone can see what we are doing to preserve the river, is really all that matters!

Fly larvae monitoring and camera traps                                                                          Paula Scott

After a long hiatus when, first river levels were too high, then we were not allowed to go out and survey, monitoring has resumed at our sample location downstream of the Halfpenny Bridge. Results are updated regularly on the RSC web site and fed into the national monitoring system, Anglers’ Riverfly Monitoring Initiative. Training courses are still occasionally available for anyone wishing to participate in other locations, details will be emailed to members. We haven’t had much luck with getting good records with our camera traps so while in lockdown we decided to make another attempt at using them properly. The BIS has offered webinars on use of camera traps so we signed up for the beginner’s course, which was very useful, and will be followed up by a more advanced course in April. After we complete this one, we have one more on wildlife recording. In the meantime, we are practicing in our garden to try to determine the best placement and settings. Once we’ve finished all the courses we’ll try again to capture exciting river activity. If anyone knows of suitable sites (safe and likely spots for wildlife) please get in touch.

Open Newtown update.                                                                                          Stuart Owen

With partners Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, Severn Rivers Trust and Cultivate, we’re expecting to deliver more projects around the River Severn, through the next iteration of the ENRaW project (Enabling Natural Resources and Wellbeing / Where the Severn Smiles).
That should be starting in April and job vacancies are being advertised in the coming weeks.
From that project we’re hoping to see the formation of a Forest / River School, the details of which are yet to be developed, but we hope this can be a project for children and adults alike. Your involvement would be very welcome, when the time comes to develop ideas.
This new project will also see our Park Ranger Dewi Morris move into a far greater public engagement role, Covid / vaccine roll out permitting.
We’ll be seeking to backfill Dewi’s ranger role with another ‘hands on’ job opportunity, that we’ll be advertising soon.

Planned activities for 2021

Recruitment, involvement of young people.  We would like to encourage more young people to get involved in our activities and will continue to offer presentations to schools and community groups.  If any members have contacts in local youth organizations or schools please spread the word.  The Air Cadets would like to help with some of our activities but need at least 2 to 3 weeks’ notice.

Newtown Food Festival.  Unfortunately, this popular event has had to be cancelled for 2021.

Newtown Outdoor Festival.  This festival organized by Walking Newtown was cancelled in 2020.  Walking Newtown hope to be able to hold a small festival on the first weekend of June, 2021 if the virus threat has disappeared.  Updates on the festival, if it goes ahead, will be posted on the web site at www.newtownoutdoorfestival.uk and the WN facebook page.

Disposal of assets.  When we first set up the Custodians we bought an inflatable boat, see Appendix 2.  It was planned to use this to survey and monitor the river banks.  We found, however, that some of our members who are active canoeists can carry out this work very effectively and probably with more control than using the inflatable.  We therefore have never used it and in fact it is still unopened it its’ original box.  We are suggesting that it should be either sold or perhaps given to a suitable group.  Your suggestions are requested.

Election of Committee and Trustees

The current list of trustees is:
Peter Harris – Chair
Charles Rex Shayler - Treasurer
Mike Davies – Secretary
Paula Scott – Scientific Officer
Liz Hinkley
Chris Kinsey
Kath Wigley
John Wigley
These trustees have all confirmed their willingness to continue but Peter will not be continuing as Chair.

Mike Davies
24th March, 2020

APPENDIX 1 Financial accounts 2020-2021.

                Accounts 17th March 2020 to 10th March 2021

                                                             Balance bought forward    £296.54


                                                                                        OUT               IN


19th August     2020        Web-Site Domain (MD)*        £14.39

3rd September 2020        Donation (RSC Speech)                              £30.00

 8th March      2021         KWT Insurance  (CRS) *        £75.85  


                         New Balance as of 10th March 2021                     £236.30 

* Due to the Corona Virus both items were paid by personal cheque/Card and reimbursed later.


         MD cheque number 000040 for £14.39

        CRS cheque number 000041 for £75.85


                                                  C.R, Shayler            11th March 2021




APPENDIX 2. Assets possibly for disposal

There are a couple of items that we have never used and are no longer needed by the Custodians.  We would like to sell them to aid our funds. 

  1. Seahawk Inflatable boat.

The Seahawk 4 inflatable boat kits feature lightweight vinyl construction, quick-fill/deflate Boston valves, all-around grab lines, gear pouch, two fishing rod holders, welded-on oar locks, and motor mount fittings. Also comes with two 48″ (122cm) deluxe aluminum oars, a high-output manual hand pump and two inflatable cushions.  It is designed to carry up to 4 people.  It is (L x W x H): 138 x 57 x 19, maximum Weight Capacity: 1050 lbs. 






We bought this boat in 2012 for £89.76 and never opened the box.  It is still for sale but the current price is around £120.

 2. Boyu MR-398 Fashion Aquarium. Black.

This 27litre capacity tank has a high efficiency lighting system. 230/115 V, 11 watts, turn over lid for easy maintenance, upper filtering system. 230/115 V, 7 watts.  The dimensions are: 398 mm length, 250 mm width, 290 mm high.
It was bought in 2014 for £44.99.  We’ve opened the box but have not put water in the tank or connected the light and pump, which are still in their original packaging.  I don’t think this one is still for sale but similar ones are around £55.