We’ve been looking at the ins and outs of the Gresley Society AGM, held in London last December, in connection with a complaint to the Charity Commission. A lot of people who attended were shocked at the way it was run, for reasons which will become clear over the coming days.
It was obvious at the time that the trustees were determined to get their way over the statue and over the election of trustees – whatever their members thought. The way they achieved this was absolutely ruthless and, we contend, in large part illegal.
How were the trustees ruthless in pursuit of what they wanted? Well, let’s start with just one example, which gives a flavour of how things went.
The Gresley Society AGM is normally tagged on to a talk of interest to GS members, which is also open to the public. The AGM notice on the GS website is still there as of 12:47h today, and there is nothing to suggest the meeting was to be members only. Nor was there any mention of this in the notices of the meeting that appeared in the house magazine, the Gresley Observer.
One member from Gloucestershire had been nominated to stand for election as trustee and was accompanied to the meeting by his wife. The couple had driven up to London that morning, directly after she had finished work (on a night shift).
The couple, like the other attendees, were checked-in just outside the meeting room and took their seats inside. As the proceedings got under way, the Chairman announced the meeting was for members only, and said any non-members must leave the room. He said ‘we know there is a non-member present.’ And so, the poor woman was evicted from the room, all eyes on her as she walked out into a cold winter afternoon.
Why did the trustees think that was necessary? Perhaps it was designed to set the tone for the rest of the meeting. In fact, the rest of the meeting was even more unpleasant.
To be continued…
Gresley Society trustees (L to R): Peter Beynon, Ian MacCabe, David McIntosh, Philip Benham, Graeme Bunker, Mike Foreman. Chris Nettleton (not pictured) was on sentry duty outside the room