Annual General Meeting 2023

Our AGMs tend not to be filled with drama, and this was no exception, however we appreciate the effort our members take to come in and attend on a miserable November evening.

After many years as chair, Helen stepped down, although she remains on the committee and will continue to be a great help. Her contributions over the years are very much appreciated.

Tom was elected as our new chair, leading us through the second half of the meeting.

The treasurers report noted that we have spent more this year – largely because we subsidise our Holiday to Avon Tyrrell and the South East Weekend to make them affordable to our members. Our fundraising income was lower this year too, but our reserves are sufficient for this not to be an urgent problem. The committee will discuss fundraising and ideas – especially if accompanied by a plan and action – from members are welcome.

Wednesday Coffee at Wesley Memorial

Wesley Memorial has been running a Wednesday Coffee morning for many years, welcoming regulars and newcomers alike. As not all Phab members can make it into town on a Friday night we have some Wednesday mornings when some of the committee make a special effort to be there to meet up with any members who are able to come.

The members who came enjoyed their coffee (or tea) and biscuits, and a relaxed chat, amongst ourselves and with friendly members of the public.

Halloween magic with Banbury Phab

We have been meeting up with Banbury Phab for 42 years, but have not seen them since their Halloween disco in 2019. Thirteen of us (an ominous number for a spooky night) went in our minibus to Banbury, where we were made welcome with hot dogs and Halloween themed snacks.

Several Phab members, both from Oxford and Banbury, had put a lot of effort into seasonal costumes, and one of our members was awarded first prize for her costume with green face paint, and real ivy. Helen, our chairperson, was looking very witchy with her blue wig, witches hat and Hogwarts gown.

We also had a selection of terrifying accessories…

The main event of the evening was a magician, who performed some incredible tricks, even more amazing as we, the audience, had a view from the sides as well as in front of him, as he made things appear and disappear, chopped up and restored a piece of rope and borrowed, and eventually returned – intact – items such as a watch, a mobile phone, a signed ten pound note, and a ring, from members of the audience.

Zumba Fundraiser

George Martini and his Zumba Instructor friends kindly laid on a Zumba session for us from 11am until 12:30 – a morning of high energy activity which sped by. Phab members, friends and supporters paid £10, came and danced and had a great time and raised over £300.

Afterwards we were able to restore the burnt-off calories with home made coffee cake, courgette and poppy seed buns and tea or coffee.

We were also delighted to be joined by one of our original members, and had an opportunity to chat and reminisce.

Celebrating Softness and Strength

Some of our members brought in favourite soft toys, who get together for a party !

Who knew you could find such diversity in soft elephants !

Sometimes we all need a little softness in our lives, and it is good to have an environment where we can celebrate our weakness for cuddly animals, as well as the inner strength which has helped several of our members though difficult times.

We could also celebrate Helen’s trip to a reception at the House of Lords as this year’s winner of the Paul Hope Award.

Helen with other Phab guests at the House of Lords

In the spirit of diversity Helen did not restrict herself to humans in making new friends …

Helen with a friendly seagull.

Helen did bring her trophy to Phab, but although we are always glad to welcome friends of members, she came without her new avian pal!

Serving Refreshments in church

Sometimes we serve refreshments in the John Wesley Room of Wesley Memorial Church, raising money for club funds. This time the church was open as a historic building, as part of the Oxford Preservation Trust Open Doors Weekend.

Chatting to the many people from all over the world who came to see the beautiful city were we are privileged to meet was a joy, and hopefully some of them will come away with some awareness of Phab and what we stand for. We also raised money for Rainbow House, a drop-in centre for accompanied pre-school children, which also meets at Wesley Memorial.

Cookies Galore !

For our last meeting before we break for Summer we took advantage of having a talented chef amongst our members. Maria made cookie dough, to which we could add a variety of toppings of our choice.

Maria baked them, assisted by Darren, and they emerged from the oven transformed! (and with a delicious aroma)

… and were eagerly eaten!

It was a great night, and we look forward to resuming in September.