General Meeting takes place this weekend

This weekend sees the North West Blood Bikes general meeting, which takes place at Barton Grange Hotel at 10am on Sunday morning.

Will the members get answers to the questions that they have been asking for the last 6 months or will they be fobbed off with the answer about not being able to discuss subjects due to legal reasons!
As far as we are aware there is no legal reason that members can’t have answers unless the committee and trustees feel that their answers may perjure themselves and highlight their failings in carrying out their roles.
After they have finished carrying out their “security” duties on the door, maybe one of the trustees would like to stand up and explain why Scott Miller has said that the constitution, also known as the charities governing document, is optional. Every year at the members are expected to sign a declaration to say that they accept this governing document and will abide by the rules that are contained within it. Members have been removed from the charity for not accepting this “optional” document.

It is our understanding that this governing document isn’t optional and in fact is a legal document and the contents should be followed by all members, no matter what position they hold in the charity, whether it’s a non-elected trustee or a person that has a charity box on their counter at work. Of course this only applies when it suits and the committee and trustees regularly step outside these rules, and get away with it because nobody challenges them through fear of being removed as a member for daring to have an opinion.

This brings us nicely onto the agenda for the meeting. Prior to the meeting there are 2 votes to be taken
 Pete Howarth to be elected to a full voting position on the committee
 Chairman elect to be appointed

None of our sources have seen any correspondence asking for nominations for these positions. Although the committee reserve the right to add a temporary appointment to fill spaces on the committee (Constitution 7-E), but the committee are now asking the members to accept this as a full appointment, a position that should be advertised for nominations and not just an name put forward by the committee. This section of the constitution also states that the person must resign at the next AGM and re-apply for their position on the committee. This rule also stands for the Chairmans position, so in theory a Chairman Elect may be voted in over the weekend, but then In May the position of Chairman may be opposed and the Chairman Elect will be voted out by the members. Are the committee asking for a change to the constitution and asking members to accept that the Chairmans position will not be up for re-election in May and that the members accept the chosen person put forward by the committee to be the head of the charity in 2019/2020? This sounds more like a friends network than an elected committee.

The committee seem to have lost their way slightly and have forgotten that they are elected members and are there to represent the members and are answerable to the members. They are not there for fame and to stick their faces in front of the camera at every opportunity, they are there to ensure the charity is run correctly and represent the members. The members can at anytime submit a vote of no confidence in any elected appointment, and this also stands true for trustees who are elected by the committee. Is it odd that the current trustees were elected by the committee while they were committee members themselves? Was it a case of all sitting round a table and voting for themselves? There may be a case that with all the issues with the recent corruption allegations that surround the trustees and committee that the members do need to be asking are the trustees actually complying with their legal duties to the charity, and is it time that they were replaced with people who have experience in other sectors which will help the charity carry out it’s objectives.

If we are really lucky we might finally get to hear the fleet managers 3 year bike replacement program. He has been working on this for some time now and is still shown as an outstanding action in the committee minutes. This will be some presentation and not worth missing. We’re pretty sure that he has now gone past the stage of “We’ve been offered a bike so we’re having it whether we need it or not” and has put together a good plan which will ensure bikes are replaced in a timely manner and while they still offer the best value for the charity.

As with all general meetings and annual general meetings the accounts will be discussed. The members will be told there is a copy of the accounts at the front that they can look at. These documents should be made available to all members before the meeting. Why? If a member has an issue with the accounts or would like to raise a question, they can do so while the meeting is in progress, not after the meeting when their concern/observation won’t appear in the minutes. There may be questions raised over the sale and purchase of private bikes to and from the charity, or even why the charity objects to paying out of pocket expenses for volunteers. Have there been any unnecessary spending that the members need to know about? There are a lot of questions that can be raised just by looking at a set of accounts.

We are also now starting to understand the minds of the committee. “Operations manager”? Was it a case of “I’ve had this idea for a new position….” hoping that people will have forgotten that it has been mentioned in a draft document in March and the term objected to by a couple of committee members. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last, it’s a case of justifying their position and pushing themselves into the limelight.

Something we were looking forward to was hearing about how the events team have coped in 2018 and what were the plans going forward into 2019 to avoid conflicts of dates and major events not being attended by North West Blood Bikes. This could be included in the treasurers fundraising agenda item, but we personally think that events should be given a place on the agenda themselves since these are what brings the charity to the attention of the public and is one of the main opportunities to recruit new members by promoting the service.

We will look forward to receiving a copy of the minutes to see if they actually reflect what was said or if they are a summary of what the committee want the public to know.

This weekend also sees bonfire night celebrations and fireworks will be going off all weekend.

Whatever you’re doing stay safe.


  1. Well I will be attending and will be recording everything what is said. I have been following this website and can see that there are a lot of unanswered questions.

  2. Hi Everyone,

    As mentioned at the General Meeting yesterday, applications are now invited for the position of ‘Chair Elect’.

    For those not able to attend the GM yesterday (minutes to follow), all members present were asked to vote (and subsequently approved) running an election for the new Chairperson (the Chair Elect) to succeed Paul in advance of when he steps down at the AGM next May. This will allow the ‘Chair Elect’ enough time for handover and shadowing of Paul in his Chairman role.

    The key dates for the ‘Chair Elect’ election are as follows:

    Closing date for applications to be received by the Secretary by CoB 30/11/18
    Secretary to circulate to all members nominee names/cv’s by CoB 09/12/18
    Voting by email between 10/12/18 – 16/12/18 (email details to be issued by the Secretary)
    Secretary to announce the ‘Chair Elect’ by Friday 21st December 2018
    AGM Sunday 12th May 2018
    Would any member (with a membership greater than 12 months) wishing to apply for the position of Chair Elect, please send me their application by way of an email to, and include a summary of your skills, experience and suitability for the position, and, your aims and objectives in taking the Charity forward from next May.

    Note for your diaries, the AGM will be on Sunday 12th May 2019 at the Barton Grange Hotel.

    Thank you and Good Luck to all applicants.

    Derek Kerwin

  3. Hi All

    Great meeting to day with 132 members turning out. Thank you one and all for attending and your massive support, not just for me, but for the whole Committee, it was very much appreciated. I know many couldn’t attend because of duties and family, but to have 132 there was a massive show of strength and feeling.

    Take care and we’ll continue to do what we do.

    The minutes will be published as soon as possible.

    Kind Regards
    Paul Brooks
    Trustee/Chairman/Central Area Rider
    North West Blood Bikes Lancs & Lakes
    M: 07710951159

  4. Minutes from the meeting

    NWBB Lancs & Lakes
    Page 1 of 9
    Date: 10:00 on 04/11/18 Location: Barton Grange Hotel
    Preston, PR3 5AA
    Members +132
    Colm and Karen Carton
    Nigel Bunney
    Jeff Edgar
    Tony Eglin
    Mike and Michelle Wilkinson
    Neil Demaline
    Lyn Mitchell
    Phil Bamber
    Stuart Hurst
    1. Open, Welcome, Housekeeping – Secretary, Derek Kerwin
    2. EGM – Secretary, Derek Kerwin
    a. Vote 1. Pete Haworth to become a full voting Committee Member. Committee members
    are normally appointed at the AGM, however, as Pete joined the Committee mid-year,
    approval requested in Pete becoming a full voting Committee member
    i. In favour: All, Against: None, Abstentions: None. Motion PASSED
    b. Vote 2. ‘Chair Elect’ appointment prior to the AGM. Paul Brooks has announced that he
    is stepping down as Chairman at the next AGM. As this is a key position the successor will
    need to ‘shadow’ the Chairman from the start of 2019 until the AGM to enable a smooth
    transition in May 2019. Approval requested to hold an election before the AGM
    i. In favour: All, Against: None, Abstentions: None. Motion PASSED
    3. (Start of the General Meeting) State of the Charity – Chairman, Paul Brooks
    “Since the charity started in 2012, we have grown exponentially and there are lots of new faces,
    but there is still a core of members who have been with us either right at the start or soon after.
    Whether you are a new member or an old member, you all make this Charity what it is today.
    Steve Jobs at Apple said “Great things are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of
    people”, and that’s what we are a great team!
    We have had some sad times, especially Russell Curwen being killed, whilst on a run, and nothing
    can be worse than that, we still feel it and many of us will feel it for a long time. It will be 6
    months tomorrow since that tragic day (and we’re still waiting for the inquest), but we have also
    had good times, good laughs and good get togethers. Most of all, we have helped countless
    patients either get the blood they so desperately need or the medication or their test results
    back as well as saving our local hospitals a great deal of money to spend on improving their
    NWBB Lancs & Lakes
    Page 2 of 9
    State of the Charity – continued
    We have been recognised and praised by many every year, but the one which will always stand
    out was from Her Majesty the Queen, for what we have collectively done over the past 6 ½ years
    and we should all be extremely proud of that.
    Since we got the Queens Award, several other Blood Bike groups across the UK have received
    the same. We are now being recognised as the 4th Emergency Service.
    All our Riders are the face of the charity but out Controllers are our backbone, our Guardians
    and you are going to hear our new Controller Manager, Sue Wolstenholme and I ask all Riders
    to take on board what she says.
    This is a great group, by far the best, biggest and busiest and I thank you all on behalf of myself
    and every other member, from the bottom of my heart for making it work”.
    4. Financial Update – Treasurer, Sara Hailes
    Financial Year Ending 31st March 2018
    • Income has increased by 33% compared with the previous year.
    • Costs have increased 4% compared with the previous year – which takes into account
    4 months of new Headquarters costs.
    • Donations received from St Helens & East Lancs Trusts, Rotary and Inner Wheels, the
    Women’s Institute, the Masons, Homeserve, The Clark Foundation and the Frieda
    Scott Trust.
    • Income has also been generated from talks, events, membership and merchandise
    • Donations generated at Sainsburys in Bamber Bridge and Morecambe.
    • The main costs of the charity have been; bike storage, bike purchases, merchandise,
    fuel (private and fleet bikes) and maintenance, insurance and trackers.
    Analysis of Income for twelve months ending 31st March 2014
    Costs Donations Breakdown
    Membership MEM 1.8% Collections 5.2%
    Clothing Sales CLS 1.3% Individual Donations 4.2%
    Merchandise Sales MER 2.0% Online Fundraising 6.3%
    Donations DON 77.0% Organisation Donations 84.3%
    Event Ticket Sales EVE 0.1%
    Misc. Income MISI 6.5%
    Invoice INV 11.2%
    NWBB Lancs & Lakes
    Page 3 of 9
    Financial Update – continued
    Analysis of Income for twelve months ending 31st March 2018
    Costs Donations Breakdown
    Membership MEM 0.5% Collections 4.1%
    Clothing Sales CLS 1.0% Individual Donations 3.3%
    Merchandise Sales MER 0.6% Online Fundraising 4.3%
    Donations DON 83.7% Organisation Donations 88.3%
    Event Ticket Sales EVE 0.0%
    Misc. Income MISI 1.1%
    Invoice INV 0.0%
    VAT repayments VATR 8.4%
    Xmas Do XMAS 0.0%
    Insurance Contrib INSC 0.1%
    Bike Sales SALE 4.6%
    Account Transfer XFER 0.0%
    What it all gets spent on: 2013/14 2017/18
    Printing and Paper PRT 2.2% 0.3%
    Phonebills TEL 0.5% 0.7%
    Bike Maintenance MR 27.2% 13.7%
    Fuel – Marked Fleet FF 8.7% 8.0%
    Fuel – Private FP 0.2% 2.0%
    Membership MEE 5.8% 0.2%
    Insurance Premiums INS 4.7% 9.4%
    Misc expenses MISE 11.1% 3.3%
    Monthly Account Fee MON 0.0% 0.1%
    Clothing and promo items CLO 5.4% 3.1%
    Bike purchase PUR 23.6% 41.3%
    Payment card credits CARD 0.0% 0.5%
    Unit expenses UNIT 0.0% 17.4%
    The accounts are to be audited in December. Sara Hailes has a copy of the 2016/17 accounts
    and bank statements if anyone wishes to see them, these can also be found on the Charities
    Commission website.
    Sara is going to put together stats showing the running costs per bike.
    Note: Please e-mail the Treasurer when paying in money into the account and include details
    of the transaction. This is important as the information is required for the VAT return.
    • Question 1 – Has the insurance increased due to the number of bikes?
    Response 1 – Yes
    • Question 2 – Where does it show in the income that a bike is donated?
    Response 2 – It is shown as a monetary donation.
    NWBB Lancs & Lakes
    Page 4 of 9
    Financial Update – continued
    • Question 3 – How much is a new bike approximately?
    Response 3 – £16,500 + VAT (which is reclaimable)
    • Question 4 – How much is the fleet insurance?
    Response – Approximately £700 per bike
    5. Fundraising Update – Secretary, Derek Kerwin
    A successful programme of events and talks has taken place throughout 2018.
    • Sue Park is our new North Area Events/Talks Coordinator.
    • Nigel Parrish is our new Marketing Manager who will be focusing on developing our
    established brand/identity consistently across the organisation. Getting our ‘who we
    are and what we do’ message across.
    • There has been successful recruitment from events.
    Vice Chair, Lee Townsend also added that the Talks/Events Manager Brenda Taylor has done an
    excellent job in coordinating all the talks and that this is the best way to communicate with the
    Public. Unfortunately, we do have a shortage of speakers and if anyone is interested Lee will
    be holding a ‘NWBB speaking’ training session, date to be arranged by Steve Freeman (Fylde
    Events/Talks Coordinator) and will be open to all in the Charity.
    Lee also mentioned that there will be new posters/banners for Events next year.
    6. Fleet Update – Fleet Manager, Simon Hanson
    • The priority has been to continue to upgrade the Fleet and we are using two
    manufacturers to obtain the best deals on purchase and service – BMW and Honda.
    • We have 13 Fleet bikes in service; 7 BMW RT’s, 2 Honda ST1300, 4 Honda VFR800
    (one Blackpool Honda funded)
    • We have 2 RT’s being prepared to replace the ‘events’ bikes and 1 RT awaiting
    delivery. We will end up with a 14-bike fleet, all less than 18 months old. In addition,
    we have 10 privately funded liveried bikes
    • In other actions we have been working with various organisations I preparation for
    the re-introduction of blue lights
    • Trackers are now fitted on all the fleet bikes and cameras are to be fitted over the
    coming period
    NWBB Lancs & Lakes
    Page 5 of 9
    Fleet Update – continued
    • Request to Riders:
    o There have been no speed alerts, well done and please continue in this way.
    o Please remember to wash the bikes on return from duty
    o Please do not modify or carry out any repairs
    o Use the main dealers for service and payments via Simon
    o Report any damage/incident/failure as soon as possible and remember to
    complete an Incident Report
    • Thanks to all (including Fundraisers and Sponsors)
    7. Controller Update – Chairman, Paul Brooks
    Introduction to Sue Wolstenholme, the new Controller Manager. John Chisholm and Steve
    Bryan are Sue’s Deputy Controller Managers. The following statement was read out by Sue on
    behalf of all Controllers:
    “Our first thoughts are for Duncan Oag, our outgoing and much respected controller Manager.
    Alone he championed the Controllers and supported us all as the Charity continued to grow in
    membership and workload. We applaud his dedication as he worked to bring the mysteries of
    controlling to the riders through his presentations.
    We are all sad at his stepping down but understand that he needs to reclaim his life. However,
    I prefer to think of him only as stepping back. His experience as a Manager, mentor and friend
    is invaluable and I advise him not to get too comfortable as a controller.
    If proof were needed, and at your request, Duncan has agreed to offer an updated version of his
    presentation, which he will show at Area Meetings for the enlightenment of new recruits and
    those that missed it first time round.
    The Secretary asked if I would say a few words on behalf of the Controllers, but what to say…
    perhaps I should try to debunk some common misunderstandings:
    • No… Riders don’t have a controller for each area. Just one covering all!
    • No… there isn’t a given time to expect your confirmation text, but it will come!
    • No… we are not mind readers, though sometimes it may feel like it, or you may wish
    we were!
    • No… you are not alone
    • And Yes… we are always there for you.
    NWBB Lancs & Lakes
    Page 6 of 9
    Controller Update – continued
    I’d like to say that the Controllers’ role is not for the fainthearted. Due to recent upheavals we
    find ourselves short of the required number of active Controllers. We now have a list of potential
    candidates with training sessions booked, so hopefully, you will soon see new names enter the
    Training aims to ensure they are up to the task for an ever-increasing work load and once they
    truly know what they are signing up for and agree to continue to put their name on the rota, we
    need to try and hang on to them. We ask for rider understanding as the first few duties are a
    cause for high anxiety and we don’t want to terrify the life out of them. During their first shifts
    they are supported by an experienced controller who acts as a ‘shadow’ on the computer, but
    remember they are not in the same location, which may result in mobile communications being
    busier. So, I ask for patience please and be gentle. Controllers can only absorb so much
    information at once and gaining experience on the job is a difficult path.
    We all work from home isolated from each other and consequently develop our own way of
    doing things. There is no first and second rider in the mind of a controller. There is only which
    rider is best placed to take the run. For this we considering everything, sharing the load between
    riders, any complications from relays and regular runs, riders already on the road and rider
    shortages. We are all capable of making decisions that can differ from what may be expected.
    However, while keeping all these proverbial balls in the air, our first concern is to get the rider
    and his cargo from A to B as safely and efficiently as possible. That is our measure of a successful
    night. We may get to enjoy some home comforts, the heating in winter, the kettle if we get the
    chance for it to boil, and suffering B movies in the dead of night. We don’t need to brave the
    vagaries of the British weather and in most case, but I cannot speak for all, we have no need to
    pour ourselves into leathers or ride a bike.
    But we can sympathise with the riders when the weather turns foul. We also understand your
    disappointment knowing you sit waiting in anticipation for the phone that may not ring. We
    worry when a rider is out of contact and fume when he forgets his home safe text at 2am and
    goes to bed himself. And sleep, is certainly not an option, until we know you are all home safe.
    Communication is a Controllers watchword, despite lost signals, hand free hiccups, textswallowing
    blackholes and all manner of gremlins. The rider and controller are a Team, and we
    rely on each other to achieve our common objective.
    Controllers are obviously an essential cog in this charity, however much unseen, or hidden in the
    background. We are there at the beginning, we never finish early and we can never leave a shift
    uncovered. But the Controllers can’t look at Duncan’s stats and say that we have covered X
    number of miles, fulfilled X number of runs or that we have the NHS X amount of money. But
    just this once may I give you some numbers. During the month of October only 19 Controllers
    covered 55 shifts and recorded 1,154 runs.
    NWBB Lancs & Lakes
    Page 7 of 9
    Controller Update – continued
    Those Controllers that are here, are lost amongst a sea of black leather and fluorescent jackets.
    We are only a few in number, yet we hope that we are appreciated and celebrated for what we
    do. Yes, ‘#itswhatwedo’ as the riders often quote. But recently it was suggested to me that for
    the Controllers it should be ‘#wegetstuffdone’, which we most certainly do, but only together as
    a team. May I thank you all very much and for those old enough to place the quote ‘be careful
    out there’ and please, … Ride Safe.”
    8. Rider Update – Operations Manager, Pete Haworth
    • We continue to be very busy and only getting busier. For the last 6 months we have
    been averaging over 1,200 runs per month.
    • Fylde has a new Area Manager, Andy MacKenzie
    • We are looking to recruit a new North Area Manager. A big thank you to Rob Clarke
    during a very difficult year
    • … and a big Thank You! to all the Area and Controller Managers, their Deputies and
    all the other Managers for the excellent job they continue to do.
    • I look forward to working with you all, as I settle into my new ‘Operations Manager’
    role on the Committee
    9. Statement – Vice Chairman, Lee Townsend
    The Vice Chairman read out the following statement:
    “This year has seen what I believe to be the most difficult and trying for the Committee and
    Trustees of the charity. Dealing with the day to day running of what is now a very large
    organisation is time consuming and taxing at the best of times, notwithstanding the tragic
    events of May this year.
    The role of the Committee and Trustees is to act in the best interest of the charity and I think
    that given we are all Laymen and volunteers like you, we stand together as members of the
    largest, busiest and best group in the country. No small achievement by everyone.
    So, it begs the questions, what have we done so wrong? What are we so bad at doing? Why
    are we subjected to so much abuse? I of course make reference to more recent events.
    If you knew the amount of time this Committee and Trustees have spent dealing with petty
    complaints, false allegations and on occasion abuse, you would al wonder how we manage to
    carry out our working and personal lives.
    NWBB Lancs & Lakes
    Page 8 of 9
    Statement – continued
    It is fair to say that ‘if you carry the rank you carry the can’ and I am more than happy with that.
    However, what is hard to carry is the knowledge that there are individuals both past and
    prese4nt that seek to undermine and destroy this Charity. There is quite possibly one such
    person in this room now and if you are then you know who you are!!
    One or more person/s continue to feed information to a certain despicable character in an
    attempt to undermine this charity. To that person we say this ‘good luck’! We are a strong,
    dedicated, united and committed group of people who have nothing to hide or fear so take your
    small minded disruptive little self and find someone or something to do that better suits your
    All of that said, if you as a membership feel that actually these individuals are right, then you
    have the power to vote us all out. According to the ramblings on a certain website most of you
    agree with his rantings. One person even calling for a vote of no confidence to be held today.
    Does anyone wish to propose a vote of ‘No Confidence’ and if so, is there a seconder?”
    • (No response from Members. No hands raised)
    “So, in summary, I would like to submit to the membership that this strong unit of brilliant
    volunteers continues to do what it does best and to treat the ‘naysayers’ with the contempt they
    deserve. Any questions please?”
    • (No questions)
    Member suggested an applaud in show of confidence to the Committee.
    • Applause from members.
    10. AOB – ALL
    The Secretary invited questions from Members:
    1. Question: How many people have been suspended and what was the process?
    Response: Vice Chair, Lee Townsend
    • The correct process has been followed and all actions have been in the best interest
    of the Charity. Unfortunately, no more information can be divulged.
    2. After signing for a collection at Blackpool Victoria Pharmacy but not being required for
    sign on delivery, what is the correct procedure?
    Response: Vice Chairman, Lee Townsend
    • There used to be A6 books with detachable slips, however, we discovered that the
    hospitals had no use for them, so the books became obsolete. Regarding the
    pharmacy, this is their process and does not affect us
    NWBB Lancs & Lakes
    Page 9 of 9
    AOB – continued
    3. Is there any scope for promotional material to be made available to hand out at talks?
    Response: Marketing Manager, Nigel Parrish
    • Leaflets should be left
    Response: Administrator HQ, Paul Pain
    • There are leaflets at HQ which can be requested
    Vice Chair: Vice Chairman, Lee Townsend
    • We will look into preparing ‘information packs’ over the winter
    4. Prior to the Scorton Country Fair on 8
    th September, an appeal was put out via Facebook
    for a private liveried bike to attend as all the fleet bikes were in use. The requestor didn’t
    get any response. Is there any way this could be avoided?
    Response: Vice Chairman, Lee Townsend
    • A list of privately-owned bikes is available, and the owners should be contacted
    direct by e-mail
    5. Wayne Jordan requested that Controller applicants need to be over 18
    6. Ian German asked if depreciation was being taken into account on the fleet bikes?
    Response: Treasurer, Sara Hailes
    • Yes, they are depreciated. Our bikes do more miles than average bikes and this will
    be noted to the auditors. We are fully compliant with the Generally Accepted
    Accounting Practice.
    7. Dermot – should Riders doing ‘regular runs’ make it known if they are available and willing
    to do additional calls after their regular run?
    Response: Controller Manager, Sue Wolstenholme
    • The general rule is that they do the regular run only.
    Response: Vice Chairman, Lee Townsend
    • There are already short notice riders available for emergencies. However, this will
    be revisited and discussed at the next “Managers” meeting on 17th November.
    With no further questions or business, the Secretary thanked all attendees and closed the Meeting.
    NOTE: for your 2019 diaries:
    The AGM will be held at 10:00 on Sunday 12th May 2019
    at the Barton Grange Hotel, Lancs, PR3 5AA

  5. Paul Brooks is the ‘despicable character’ in all of this. He is a s### stirring liar, spreading malicious rumours about innocent people and stopping them from volunteering their own time to this corrupt charity because of his own personal feelings about certain volunteers. He is so far up his own a###! He needs to leave the charity immediately, but he won’t because he has his own interests at heart, NOT the charity’s! He is the one who is giving the charity a bad name. Leave now Brooks before you totally destroy this charity!

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