The AGM of the British Benevolent Fund of Madrid was held at the Residence of H.E. Mr Simon Manley CMG on Wednesday, 28th May 2014 and the Annual General Report can be found by clicking on this link. The BBF welcomed its Committee and many of its supporters to the Ambassador´s Residence and the outgoing Chairman, Robert Grant thanked the Ambassador for his kind gesture to host the event.
A review of the Audited Accounts took place by the Treasurer, Charlie Wilson and he pointed out the number of individual subscribers had fallen in 2013 and that the BBF had been involved in rather more repatriation cases from Spain during the year. The level of costs, however, remained very similar to 2012.
This AGM in other respects was quite different to those of previous years as it included a proposal to transform the BBF into a Spanish `asociacion´. The Committee of the BBF recommended this at the AGM so that it would have an independent legal entity and no longer operate under the auspices of the British Embassy. To this extent the AGM was a landmark occasion and it was wonderful that Patricia Rigge and her son Simon could be present as well as Winifred Young and Mickey Wildman, representing the William Allen Young Charitable Trust, long time donors to the BBF.
Alex Pitts, legal adviser to the BBF Committee outlined the process that would take place over the next few months to register the BBF and the motion was approved so that the process can start. The point was made by Alex that as far as possible the new articles will follow the existing statutes, so that the BBF may continue to support the British community in Spain in the same as it has done for the past eighty one years or so.
One difference will be the formation of an Advisory Council which the Ambassador has agreed to chair. This body will provide help and guidance to the Executive Committee over a wide area of activities and there will be more to report on this moving forward.
The large number of people who attended this year are thanked for their attendance and their continued support.
Robert Grant who will be moving to the USA for business reasons has had to step down from his role as Chairman. Robert has been instrumental in setting the BBF on this new path and he will be very much missed. His wise and steady hand was very much appreciated by those around him and his involvement in getting the BBF this far, quite frequently from a distance, is a testament to his commitment to ensure the BBF thrives in the future.
The Honary President, Simon Manley closed the meeting and the group socialised on the terrace and in the garden of the Residence.