I don't know about you, but I often find that my energy levels tend to dip around this time of year. I say this as an apology for sending out the News Letter a few days late. If this also applies to our members it will explain why the attendance at the Annual General Meeting was lower than in previous years. Maybe it had something to do with the date of the AGM which coincided with Half Term School Holidays. With the excitement of Christmas and New Year well and truly behind us, tiredness is thought to affect two out of three of us around this time of year.
The actual business meeting proved to be refreshingly positive. Those members attending showed a strong commitment to our continued success as a club. The council members were re-elected for another year, minus Peter Osborne who stepped down due to health reasons. I also remain your President for the 12th time. We lost one member, Sonia Stokes for age related reasons and a special mention to thank Sonia for her many years in Skal will be made below.
I would like to bring extracts from my President's report: When I took over as President 11 years ago, I was convinced that one man can make the difference, all I needed was to have the qualities of leadership, vision and passion . I can assure you that I have not lost my vision and passion, but to be honest, I wish that I was 30 years younger. (I almost can hear you saying, don't we all)
I am delighted to report that we can look back onto a successful year in terms of Club activities which earned us the "Skal UK most Innovative Club of the year Cup". This is a testament to the dedication of our Council Members. This year mark's the 66th year of our Club's anniversary and I share my feelings that after all those years we are still staying true to our mutual values, after all this time.
2015 was a busy year for Eileen and me, we attended first the UK National Assembly in the company of 15 other Southampton delegated in Lincolnshire, this event was a great success due to the organization of our members Shirley and Geoff at Isle of Wight Tours. During June, I was invited to Celle, to attend the German Skal Assembly as an Observer. This was a perfect opportunity to observe the particular radical form of Skal offered to German members. I for one support their strong business content of their meetings, which unfortunately is not popular in most countries. I am pleased that Skal International will respect Germany's different views on our organisation. A few weeks later Eileen and I joined a small group of Skal members to accompany the Southampton Albion Brass Band on their tour of North Germany. We met Marianne Krohn in Celle and many of the Hamburg Skal members known to us from our previous Hamburg Skal visit. Again, Eileen and I attended the Brighton President's Ball where I was the only visiting President there. A week later we had our own President's Dinner/Dance which easily marked the event of the year and was without doubt a great success. Twice last year I travelled to Gatwick to attend the National Committee Meetings, and I am happy to report that I managed to attend all Southampton's events.
Professor Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary Anthropologist at Oxford said: "Friendship and Community are probably the two most important factors influencing our health and wellbeing." Making and maintaining friendships however is something that has to be done face-to-face. The digital world is simply no substitute. Given the increasing tendency for our social life to be on line rather then face-to-face, having relaxed, accessible venues where Skal members can meet old friends, and business partners, and make new ones becomes ever more necessary. Skal International Southampton still plays an important role in bringing people together.
Awards Season we had the BAFTAS and the GRAMMYS and at the Skal AGM we had our own Skalleague of the Year Award. The PRESIDENT'S CUP was awarded to Peter Osborne. OK, the ceremony is not on par with the Oscars and there is no backlash or even outrage, or me overlooking minoritiy members or racial prejudice. Peter was an easy choice to make and he had been a clear winner in my mind for a while. Newly re-elected Secretary Brian wrote a letter to Peter on behalf of the Club writing; "Congratulations! Sorry you both were not able to be with us for the AGM particularly as Dieter awarded you the Skal Member of the Year Trophy in recognition of your service to the Club both as President and Council Member over many years. A vote of thanks for your contribution to Council in recent years was given by Dieter at the AGM and has been recorded in the Minutes. I well remember playing a Fanfare for you at your President's Night in Southampton when well over 200 attended, happy memories! Regards and best wishes from Everybody in Skal Southampton, regards, Brian".
A letter of thanks to Sonia Stokes: Dear Sonia, Sorry you were not able to be with us for the AGM and lunch this year, Dieter did explain to us your change in circumstances but you were missed by us all. During the meeting, Dieter gave a Vote of Thanks to you for your loyal service to Skal over many years with both Portsmouth and Southampton Clubs. A special mention of your contribution to Southampton Council in recent years was given by Dieter and has been recorded in the Minutes. Kind regards, Brian.
Last call for our 2016 SKAL QUIZ NIGHT to be held in the upstairs Restaurant part of the RISING SUN, Shore Road, Warsash on Tuesday 15th of March at 7.00Pm. Teams of up to 6 per table – if you are only two persons, a table can be made up with other people taking part. Supper in the interval 2 courses £11.50 per person. Prizes for the winning team. Please book with David Pitter by sending the booking slip posted by John a few days ago to all members. This is promising another good night out.
Congratulations to Hazel and Mike Pressley who are celebrating their Golden Wedding this month. As you are celebrating this wonderful milestone, all of us in Skal Southampton wish you all the happiness your hearts can hold.
"A Night on the Town" is the title of our April event which will be staged at the New STEIN GARTEN BAVARIAN BEER KELLER at 46 High Street, Southampton, SO14 2NS on Friday 15th April 2016 at 7.30Pm. Order from the menu on the night and pay your own bill. Pre booking of places are needed so that we can reserve the right amount of space for our group. For that please contact Brian on the attached booking form. We will have some Overseas Skal guests joining us for this event, so we hope for a good number from our own club attending this one. For Eileen and me this is a must not miss!
Did you know...Foreign visitors to the UK spend £21.8 bn in a record year? A record 35.8 million visits to Britain were made by foreign tourists last year, up 20% on 5 years ago. Since the Olympic Games inbound tourism has grown by 4% each year. These are record-breaking figures, visitors from the US spent the most. This makes Tourism the fastest growing Industry in the UK, this is not only important for the sector but for the whole UK economy. If this trend continues we can see 42 million visits by 2020.
We welcome TERRY COOKSON onto the Southampton Skal Council! Terry has been co-opted onto council to represent our "Associated Members" or also known as "Friends of Skal", Terry promises to help to make our events even more interesting and enjoyable.
From one AGM to another, the Skal UK National AGM which was held at the Gatwick Airport Inn on the 25th of February and was attended by three Southampton members. I just have space to tell you that the new National President is Kenneth Sharp from Skal NI.