The meeting opened with our Chairman welcoming everybody. After enquiring if there were any matters arising from the minutes of the previous AGM, the meeting continued with reports from the Chairman and Treasurer.
The new committee was elected and Cherie Cheetham was welcomed as the new YDGS President. There were some amendments to the Constitution which were approved by the members present.
THRIVE was agreed to be the nominated charity for the year.
The three members who resigned from the previous committee were thanked wholeheartedly for their support and contribution over the years. Three presentations were made to Neil Hulbert for his work as Webmaster for several years and to Diane Buckle for arranging the programme for the past 5 years and Claude & Shirley Kensett for donating a projector screen to the society.
Following on from the AGM our Chairman drew the members’ attention to the plight of orangutans and sunbears in Borneo by giving an illustrated presentation about his experience as a working volunteer at an orangutan sanctuary last year. The Borneo rain forest, home to orangutans and sunbears, is being destroyed through illegal logging, mining and the creation of oil palm plantations. This has resulted half the orangutan population being slaughtered over the past 10 years. Some of the orphaned orangutans are cared for in sanctuaries where volunteers can assist in their rehabilitation and eventual release into protected forests. The Chairman concluded his talk by describing a visit to the Komodo National Park where he had some close encounters with Komodo Dragons.
He concluded his presentation with a poem that he had written on the plight of Orangutans. (See below for poem and photo gallery.)
It was good to meet you, but now you’ve gone
I hope you’ll remember what went wrong
In my life, when I was snatched
From a caring Mum and then dispatched
To a horrible place and kept in a cage,
Where they called me a pet, yet ignored my rage.
I hope you’ll remember to tell everyone
How my days of misery were begun,
With a chain round my neck and little to eat
Unable to swing by my hands and my feet.
Beaten, deprived, starved of love and affection
Vulnerable to every infection.
There are many, of which I am one
Of my tribe, who could not run
When our World came crashing down.
Destroyed by humans from a nearby town.
Then one day my life improved
At Samboja to where I was moved.
In the nursery I could play all day
And when it got dark had a mum who would stay
To keep me company all night long.
I was well fed so I grew strong.
I made new friends of my own kind
But was sad for those whom I’d left behind.
When I started Forest School
Learning to climb trees was really cool.
All day long we would climb and swing
Until it got dusk and our mums would bring
Bananas and melons to bribe us back home,
But I long for the days when I’ll be free to roam.
I’ve come a long way since my mother was shot
But thanks to Samboja I’ve been helped a lot
By carers, vets and volunteers
Who’ve looked after me for several years.
So thank you for coming, but keep me in mind
By remembering me to all Mankind.