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Archived Minutes 2015

 Meeting Held Thursday 26th November

Chair: Alistair Robertson

Vice Chair: Dorothy Dolby

Treasurer: Betty Hopson

Secretary: Alan Breeze

Members Secretary: Lee Harris

Present: Cllr Colin Race; Rob Berry; Cheryll Dennison

Apologies: James Hargrave; Irene Hargrave; Gordon Parkin; Trevor Storey

The previous minutes were proposed, seconded and approved unanimously as a true record of the previous meeting.

Matters Arising

Following on from the previous minutes our seretary confirmed that a meeting to discuss the Tudhoe Grange saga had been secured with Jonathan Arnott on Friday 11th December at the Hartlepool Office at 11am and it was agreed that Alistair our Chairman and Alan our secretary would accompnay two representatives from the Tudhoe campaign including Trevor Storey.

The forthcoming By election at Oldham was discussed and Lee Harris confirmed that he participated in the campaign last weekend. We wished our candidate Mr Bickley the best of luck and would support him in any way we could.

Rob Berry reported back to the meeting that to participate in Market day at Bishop Auckland simply meant turning up on the day and paying a £20 fee. On this basis a date of 19th December was agreed for our presence in the Market Place and Lee Harris agreed to arrange the UKIP gazebo from Stockton branch at the statutory fee of £40.

Lee harris agreed to forward an electronic copy of our constituency members register to our secretary so that they could be added to our email circulation.

Our secretary confirmed that our website has now been modified to accept direct payments into our account for new members.

The meeting thanked our member Councillor Colin Race for funding and laying our Armistice memorial day wreath ably supported by Lee Harris.

The meeting discussed the possibility of a Xmas Dinner this year but it was generally thought that we would be better fixing a date as soon as possible for next year and invite a well known speaker. At the same time we could organise a Xmas Raffle to boost funds.

The meeting discussed holding more meetings in the other principalities of our constituency, Shildon, Spennymoor and Barnard Castle and this would be discussed further at the next meeting.

The Chairman thanked everyone for their attendance and contributions and brought the meeting to a close.

It was agreed that the next meeting will take place on the last Thursday in January ( 28th January ) at 7:15pm in the Manor Pub Henknowle.



Minutes of Meeting

Held: Thursday 29th October 2015

Location: Manor Pub - Henknowle

Chair: Alistair Robertson

Vice Chair: Dorothy Dolby

Treasurer: Betty Hopson

Secretary: Alan Breeze

Present: Rob Berry ; Trevor Storey; Christine Pearson; Lee Harris; Colin Race;

Apologies: James Hargrave; Irene Hargrave; Gordon Parkin

The previous minutes were proposed, seconded and approved unanimously as a true record of the previous meeting.

Matters Arising

Following on from the previous minutes which were very much dominated by the issue of the aftermath of the demolition of Tudhoe Grange School, our secretary reported that Jonathan Arnott our North East MEP has promised to meet a delegation highlighting the injustices and fraudulent behaviour surrounding the School in the near future and all parties will be informed as soon as a date is secured.

On this same subject Mr Harris our Chairman of the Young UKIP North East, suggested that we should also contact Paul Nuttall who as well as being UKIPs deput leader is also our spokesman on Education. The only concern with this suggestion is that to prematurely contact Mr Nuttall without giving Mr Arnott an opportunity to act may be seen as dis respectful to Mr Arnott, however this could be the next step of escalation beyond Mr Arnott.

Following a meeting mid month with Gordon Parkin where a vote took place to elect Alan Breeze as the UKIP representative for Sedgefield, Darlington and Bishop Auckland Constituencies at the North East Main Meetings, it was discovered that there is a purpose designed gazebo available in Gold and Purple. We were told that this available from Stockton Branch for the fee of £40 per day which includes delivery erection, dismantling and removal at the end of the day. This would be an ideal item to use at Bishop Auckland market on a Saturday to spread the word and recruit new members. Mr Berry said that he would contact the local authority looking after the Markets to find procedure for securing a pitch for the day. To help facilitate new memberships Mr Breeze our secretary promised to modify the website so that payments would be made direct to our account which is permissable for first years memberships.

The meeting thanked Mr Race our Bishop Auckland Councillor for his kind offer to obtain a wreath at his own expense and attend the armistice memorial ceremony on Sunday 8th November to lay the wreath on our behalf.

Lee Harris informed the meeting that UKIP were supporting all the other organisations set up to convince the public that we are better off out of Europe. In particular "The Freedom Association" chaired by Rory Broomfield have set up the "betteroffout.net" website to assist in the task. Our secretary promised to create a link to this site from our website.

Lee Harris informed the meeting that there is a move afoot to get rid of the Durham Light Infantry Museum in Durham and urged our members to lend their support in the online petition available here.

Mr Storey suggested hat we would benefit by placing free ads in Spennymoor Talk and Talk Spennymoor as well as Spennymoor Save our Heritage and this was thought a good idea to tie in with our market stall idea as well as advertising our meetings.

It was agreed that the next meeting will take place back here at "The Manor" Henknowle on the last Thursday in November starting at 7:15pm.



Minutes of Meeting

Held: Thursday 24th September 2015

Location: Manor Pub - Henknowle

Chair: Alistair Robertson

Vice Chair: Dorothy Dolby

Treasurer: Betty Hopson

Secretary: Alan Breeze

Present: Rob Berry ; James Hargrave; Irene Hargrave; Neil Grayson; Trevor Storey; Karen Fitzgerald; Owen Fitzgerald; Ernie Smith

Apologies: Gordon Parkin; Rhys Burriss; Lee Harris; Colin Race


The previous minutes were proposed, seconded and approved unanimously as a true record of the previous meeting.

Matters Arising

Mrs Hopson reported that at long last we have been accepted by the Darlington Building Society as a holder of a Bank Account and Betty was thanked for her sterling efforts in achieving success in what turned out to be a very daunting task. With a Bank account in place our Branch will now be fully recognised by UKIP Head Office and at long last we may get links from the main UKIP websites etc.

Following on from this the secretary explained that now we have our own Bank account we may route Constituency membership payments directly into our account for all new members through a Paypal account that will be opened. (This follows from the UKIP party rule that all new members payments are kept by the receiving organisation whether it be Branch or Head Office, although subsequent year payments are routed directly to UKIP Head Office Account).

As Promised at the previous meeting Gordon Parkin has provided booklets and CDs for distribution aimed at building the case for exit to Europe, which will be brought along to the next meeting.

After the false start the previous month with the Car Boot Sale venture it was determined that we would try again to organise another Car Boot Sale although Alistair mentioned that the last local Car Boot Sale for this season would be on Friday 25th September (tomorrow). Fortunately Jim and Irene Hargraves had brought along many very useful items for sale which were gladly accepted by the Branch and were expected to raise a significant sum towards Branch funds. The Chairman thanked Jim and Irene for this genorous gesture. It was agreed that our secretary and chairman would attend the Car Boot tomorrow on behalf of the Branch to help with our Branch Funds.

The meeting was reminded that Nigel was appearing at the Sage Gateshead on Monday 12th October and tickets were available on line for a nominal fee designed to dissuade Labour from taking up batches of tickets for free to sabotage the event.

At this point our Chairman welcomed Trevor Storey, head of the Spennymoor Grange School Investigation Committee to allow him to explain to the meeting a summary of the events that led to the demolition of the Tudhoe Grange School and the total mismanagement of the situation which verged on criminal misconduct. Trevor fully explained the situation and welcomed the UKIP support on this matter, as our secretary explained that it was in our interest to expose the misdeeds of the complacent and negligent local Labour Council in Spennymoor. Trevor expressed his disappointment that some key members of the campaign committee were unable to attend on the evening but said that there would be future opportunities to meet and discuss how we may best complement each others efforts in ousting the sitting Labour Council in Spennymoor in particular. The Chairman thanked Mr Storey for the comprehensive insight that he provided to the meeting and pledged our support for the future.

Because of time constraints, caused by the excellent explanation provided by Mr Storey the meeting unanimously agreed to carry over "Any other Business" to next month's meeting and the meeting was duly closed. It was also agreed that there would be insufficient time for the post meeting Quiz and this was also carried over to the next meeting.

It was agreed that we should target our meetings to the last Thursday each month except where there was a clash with Bank Holidays (the last Thursday in December is New Years Eve) and therefore the next meeting will take place on Thursday 29th October.



Minutes of Meeting

Held: Wednesday 26th August 2015

Location: Manor Pub - Henknowle

Chair: Alistair Robertson

Treasurer: Betty Hopson

Secretary: Alan Breeze

Present:Rob Berry ; James Hargrave

Apologies: Rhys Burriss; Gordon Parkin; Dorothy Dolby; Lee Harris

Previous Minutes

The previous minutes were proposed, seconded and approved unanimously as a true record of the previous meeting.

From the previous minutes Betty Hopson reported that a little more progress had been made with securing a Bank Account with Darlington Building Society and said that Gordon Parkin our Regional Organiser was also assisting with securing an account. During the meeting Betty got Alistair and Alan to sign Bank documents as signatories and Alan confirmed that he had already confirmed his identity at the Darlington Branch. In discussion with the Darlington Building Society, Gordon agreed that we should provide a copy of our Constitution, a copy of the most recent AGM Minutes and a document stating the purpose of the require account. Alan Breeze promised to provide these documents through Betty to DBS as a matter of priority.

At the previous meeting it was agreed that we would bring along articles for sale at a Car Boot Sale that Ernie Smith would run on our behalf. All the members present provided items as previously agreed but unfortunately Ernie Smith did not attend the meeting and after discussion it was agreed that due to individuals circumstances the project would be held over for a month with a request that items are brought to the next meeting.

Whilst Gordon Parkin could not attend the meeting, he did relay information to the effect that he would provide CDs and booklets for distribution at a Car Boot event before the next meeting.

The meeting were reminded that Nigel was appearing at the EFDD referendum debate which is taking place at the Sage Gateshead on Monday 12th October at 7pm and tickets are available free (other than small booking charge) HERE

Correspondence from the Spennymoor Grange Action Committee who have uncovered several very worrying things that had happened under the jurisdiction of the local labour party relating to the demolition, was discussed and it was agreed that they should be invited to the next meeting.

As agreed at the previous meeting our secretary had prepared a Quiz with the dual purpose of providing a little light entertainment and raising more funds. The Quiz was conducted by Alan our secretary with a political theme and based upon mutiple choice answers, everyone took part and despite some grumbles that some of the questions were a little obscure, our treasurer Betty proved to be a worthy winner and agreed to donate the full takings to our cause. It was agreed that the Quiz was a useful addition to the meeting held at the end and everyone stayed over to take part and should be repeated at the next meeting.

It was agreed that the next meeting will take place on Thursday 24th September at 7:15pm


Minutes of Meeting

Held: Thursday 23rd July 2015

Location: Manor Pub - Henknowle

Chair: Alistair Robertson

Vice Chair: Dorothy Dolby

Secretary: Alan Breeze

Present: Lee Harris ; Betty Hopson ; Colin Race ; Ernie Smith; Brian Smith

Apologies: Rhys Burriss; Gordon Parkin

Previous Minutes

The previous minutes were accepted as published and the meeting went on to discuss points arising.

Fund Raising

The secretary reported that he had investigated the details of the previous meeting suggestion of taking a stall at a car boot sale and that the fee at the South Church one which started at 11am every Friday was £5 per Car and normally went on to around 3:30pm. Mr Ernie Smith also pointed out there was another significant sized Car boot sale held every Sunday at Willington which although just over the constituency boundary might be equally suitable. The secretary also reported that he had been in touch with head office and sourced UKIP booklets priced at £1 which could be obtained for £0.50p with a MOQ of 100 pieces. Lee Harriss said that boxes of booklets and literature had been donated to other branches and said that he would contact Gordon Parkin on our behalf to secure literature for our cause.

After discussion, it was agreed that we would go for a car boot sale and would start with all supporters and members donating items for sale to the next meeting to be taken to one or both of the Car boot sales. Mr Smith volunteered to take the goods collected and run the first car boot event on behalf of our branch.

Another idea was to hold a short Quiz to follow the next meeting with £2 per person entry and 50% of takings as prize, Alan Breeze propmised to sort this out for next meeting

Local Elections

The secretary explains that we just missed out on the last elections for Eldon and West Auckland, but Mr Harriss said there were more coming up shortly of which it was agreed that West Auckland Ward 2 was a suitable target, whereas Barnard Castle East and Shildon Sunnydale could not be covered by our members. Mr Breeze agreed to stand for the West Auckland election and Mr Race promised to help in securing the necessary signatures for the nomination.

It was also confirmed that Mr Harriss is standing for Durham County elections.

Bank Account

Betty Hopson our Treasurer outlind the continuing saga of opening a Bank account, but said she finally had a positive response from the Darlington Building Society, and the main committee members signed the necessary documents for Betty to progress (assuming that she was re-elected as treasurer)

Any other Business:

It was suggested that we start thinking about a Christmas dinner event for our branch, and initial enquiries were made to Phil at the Manor who said that he would check the feasibility and suggest a priced menu for the next meeting to consider.

It was also suggested that we should secure a high profile guest speaker again at a future meeting and Lee Harriss promised top speak to Jonathan Arnott and Mike Hookham (MEPs) as to their availability.

One of the new guests at the meeting, Mr Brian Smith stated that he was a member of BNP for one year several years ago and asked how this might influence his prospective membership. Mr Breeze the secretary said that he would check out details of the ruling on this matter.

Our Chairman Alistair circulated a draft of a potential "Newsletter" and everyone agreed it was an excellent article he had assembled, this will be discussed in more detail at the next meeting.

With no other business to discuss the meeting was closed and none members were advised they could not participate in the Annual General Meeting which was to folllow.

The next meeting was agreed for Wednesday 26th August at 7:30pm in The Manor



Held: Thursday 23rd July

Location: Manor Pub - Henknowle

The first task was to appoint a Chairman for the coming year, who would then go on to Chair the remainder of the AGM and supervise the appointment of the other officers.


Proposed: Alistair Robertson (by Dorothy Dolby)
Seconded by Colin Race

Unamimously elected without opposition

Vice Chairman:

Proposed: Dorothy Dolby (by Alistair Robertson)
Seconded by Lee Harriss

Unamimously elected without opposition


Proposed: Alan Breeze (by Lee Harriss)
Seconded by Colin Race

Unamimously elected without opposition


Proposed: Betty Hopson (by Dorothy Dolby)
Seconded by Alan Breeze

Unamimously elected without opposition

Membership Secretary:

Proposed: Lee Harriss (by Dorothy Dolby)
Seconded by Betty Hopson

Unamimously elected without opposition

Campaign Manager: It was generally agreed we hold this appointment over to the next AGM to give a better choice as there were no anticipated tasks within the next year.

The Annual General Meeting was then duly concluded with the next AGM to take place July 2016.





Minutes of Meeting

Held: Wednesday 10th June 2015

Location: manor Pub - Henknowle

Chair: Alistair Robertson

Vice Chair: Dorothy Dolby

Secretary: Alan Breeze

Present: Gordon Parkin ; Cheryl Dennison ; Lee Harris ; Betty Hopson ; Colin Race ; James Hargrave ; Irene Hargrave ; Stewart Gregory

Apologies: Rhys Burriss

Before the meeting got underway the Chairman warmly welcomed Gordon Parkin, Regional Organiser for UKIP who said he would lend his experience, help and support to our branch whenevr he could and asked to be included on all future correspondence so that he could diary future meetings.

In addition a letter from Rhys apologising for his absence and thanking everyone for their tremendous support at the election was read out in full by Alan.


A) Review of Recent Election Performance

Gordon commended the branch and Rhys our candidate for doing exceptionally well, perhaps beyond the expectations of UKIP central office in gaining more than 7,000 votes which stood alongside any of the other North East Constituencies including ones where signifcant money was invested.

Dorothy explained that she had previously expressed her concern about "Megaphoning" as a means of communication to Rhys himself and held that a more personal approach would yield better dividends. Gordon ststed that the two Megaphones that he purchased on spec for the North East were quickly taken up by the constituencies for use. The general consensus was that they probably were a worthwhile tool but perhaps just in the last day or so before the election when people would not consider them offensive.

Alan suggested that we should consider a telephone campaign for the next election, to seek out the wavering voters and skilfully guide them to the UKIP cause. Gordon said that UKIP had developed telephone scripts that could be employed to achieve this end.

It was generally agreed that a Market stall in the last month before the election would ave been a great plus but Alan explained that we came to the idea too late to gain the appropriate permissions and it was thought that this is a must before the next election.

It was also suggested that if a large car boot sale could be tapped into in the constituency then this could serve as a promotional table, selling UKIP goods and could be supplemented by donations from members to raise funds for the next campaign. This will be discussed further at the next meeting.

B) Fundraising Ideas

The previously mentioned Car Boot Sale was one suggestion to help raise funds for future and Gordon suggested that we should aim to gradually increase our membership and start having a donation box at the sign in and perhaps a raffle at the end to maximise funds.

Everyone was asked to give some thought to further ideas that could be discussed at the next meeting.

C) Any other Business

Gordon suggested that we should consider printing a newsletter for distribution within the constituency on say a bi monthly basis to keep UKIP fresh in everyones minds and increase everyone's awareness.

Gordon also suggested that we compete for every possible council seat within the constituency because it was stated that failure to do so results inevitably in a Labour candidate taking the post by default. Alan promised to write to County Hall suggesting an election for the forthcoming West Auckland Council seat and Lee said he would write concerning two other seats coming up shortly in Eldon.

Gordon mentioned that a monthly return statement of our accounts has to be passed to UKIP head office and this was duly noted for when we appoint a treasurer.

It was agreed that the next meeting would become our AGM which is approximately 6 months from our inauguration. We seek to appoint for the coming year the posts of Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Secretary.

Concern was expressed by Alan that in the recent campaign, Cheryl had on her own initiative gone to considerable expense printing her own literature and procuring official party literature, which was a tremendous gesture appreciated by all that understood the amount of work Cheryl and her mother had put in before the election. Cheryl was asked to compile details of her expenditure so that a future meeting could consider the level of recompense, although with the next meeting being strictly an AGM this may have to wait till August.

It was suggested that we obtain membership forms to aid our recruitment especialy bearing in mind that membership through the branch resulted in significant financial benefit for the branch itself. Alan said he would also review the website to achieve the same end instead of simply routing everyone through to the UKIP main membership portal.

It was explained to Gordon that we had considerable difficulty opening a Bank Account despite having jumped every hurdle placed in front of us both at Lloyds and the Yorkshire Bank, Gordon suggested we try Santander as an alternative and he agreed to take back to Jonathan Arnott the now expired cheque for £100.

Gordon suggested that we would benefit from a "Membership Secretary" and after discussion it was felt that his task was ideally suited to Lee Harris who agreed to stand for the position and was unanimously elected.

D) Election of Treasurer

Due to the resignation of Mike O'Neil our treasurer on health grounds we had a requirement for election of a new treasurer. After discussion it was felt that Betty Hopson would be the most suitable candidate, and having gained her acceptance to put herself forward for the post she was unanimously elected.

Betty had a first task of trying once more to open a Bank Account for the Branch and promised to start the process as her first priority.


It was initialy suggested that we meet the second Wednesday every month which was agreed with the Manor, however subsequent information has come to light pushing us to postponing the meeting one week to Wednesday 15th July at 7:30pm.

NOTE: This will be the Annual General Meeting

The meeting was then formaly closed by our chairman.