Welcome to Felixstowe Scribblers

Friday, January 09, 2009


7.30pm TUESDAY 6th JANUARY 2009

1. Apologies for absence were received from Sue, Kay, Trish, Connie, Caroline and Nicola.

2. In attendance were Dave (Chair) Alex (Minuting), Debbie, Lauren, Les, Dick, Morag, Liliane, Ruth, Alex, Peter, Stephen, Jane, Tony, Barry and Angela.

3. Secretary's report on 2008 - Dave

The Felixstowe Scribblers:

First I would like to thank everyone who has helped at Scribblers throughout the year and to all our members for attending so many meetings and helping to provide a really enthralling set of evenings with their passion for our shared interest in writing. For some the year has been exciting, for others their have been disappointments but hopefully the New Year will be kinder and more lucrative to all.

2008 was a quieter year than anticipated as the Scribblers, for once, sat back and did not attend, nor were they invited to participate in any events.

Our membership remained quite healthy throughout the year although in early autumn the numbers seemed to drop off. It is disappointing to see members fall by the wayside due to other commitments and interests, whilst some have suffered illness and have had personal issues to solve. On the credit side we have had an influx of exciting new and talented writers and the return of some former members to help defray our losses. Additionally our younger generation are so very talented that their future, and ours, looks extremely bright. Of course not everyone is able to attend regularly but the uniqueness of Felixstowe Scribblers means that membership, however infrequent the visits, remains open to all for as long as they wish. Attendances for the year averaged around 15 a meeting – not bad when ten years ago the group was near to collapse.

This year we saw the second Bill Budner Competition sponsored by Maureen Budner who again donated cash prizes in her husband’s memory. We also saw the continuity of the regular in house ‘anonymous’ writing competition, which is also in memory of Bill and the introduction of short writing exercises at our meetings at regular intervals throughout the year.

Both these in-house events have proved extremely popular and I hope that we will be able to continue these in the same format in the future. They have brought some variety to our meetings, something that was lacking in earlier years.

Perhaps one disappointment has been the failure of our Online Scribblers forum that had, potentially, a worldwide audience and members from all corners of the globe. A lot of people viewed the forums but very few made any posts and so all the time and effort that went into running the site was wasted. When Vincent West pulled the plug on running the site because of work commitments it was effectively the end of the line. Thanks to French based Debbie for all her work in building and hosting the site, to Vincent for taking it on board and to Barry for offering to try and keep it running.

One difficulty that arose in the last three months was the necessity to change my own Internet Service Provider which has had a knock-on effect with the Scribblers contact email address. Apparently a lot of mail is still being forwarded to the old ntlworld address but this no longer active. Our email address is now scribblers@btinternet.com.

From my viewpoint I would like to see representation at some of the arts events, possibly with static displays of samples of our work. Perhaps featuring some of our verse for Poetry Day later in the year at the Library and certainly at the Writer’s Cafe at Starbucks that is organised on behalf of IpArt.

Our Committee:

Time and personal constraints reduced committee meetings to just one again in 2008. The lack of need for the meetings indicates that we are working positively but, should any matter need discussion or decision then the committee would be called together, possibly at the Library prior to or immediately after a meeting. I would like to think that our existing committee will be willing to continue in their existing positions for the foreseeable future and I would like to thank them all for their support throughout the past year.

4. Ratification of the Committee:

Morag declared her intention to resign from the committee due to heavy commitments and the inability to devote time to committee work.

The remainder of the committee, Dave (Secretary), Peter (Treasurer), Alex (IT), Ruth (Social) Peter (Membership) and Dick (Recorder) all agreed to continue in their roles.

Thanks were passed to Morag for her loyal support and thanks were passed to all the committee.

Ruth mentioned the affinity that Morag had built with Maureen Budner oprganising the two annual competitions and requested Morag to remain involved as a Competition Liaison which she agreed to do.

5. Treasurer's Report: - Peter

Earlier this year, difficulties arose with the cost involved in any transactions involving withdrawal of funds from and paying small amounts into our Alliance and Leicester non-interest account. The decision was made to change banks and so we joined HSBC with both a current and a Money Manager account that pays interest. Although our funds are small, our need is to care for what we have so that we cover running costs - postage, provisions, website fees, etc.and are able to make small donations to needy causes. This year we have been able to assist in the expense of a speaker at the forthcoming Social event whilst hopes are that we will have sufficient monies to help produce our next anthology.

Les questioned if we should have a paperless account that would be cheaper but HSBC make no charges and we will maintain our present banking arrangements.

The cost of tea, coffee and refreshments will remain as a voluntary donation of 50 pence.

Thanks are recorded for Peter’s astute work with our funds.

6. Website and weblog report: - Alex

Posting on he weblog is currently being done by Dave although there is a need to update the Scribblers contact email address and phone number. A request was made that no postal addresses be shown. The security level concerning spamming the site has been reduced but this has not had an impact on the weblog. The side bar of the weblog will be updated to include the dates of the 2009 meetings.

The website is also in need of updating. It is a static site but it does have links to the weblog.

Thanks are recorded to Alex for the responsibility he has with the sites.

7. Recorder’s Report:- Dick

The average attendance for 2008 was 15 per meeting. Records are kept of the sequence for taking the chair each meeting, along with the topics that have been set as homework and of those members who have agreed to do the 1,500 word assignments. This ensures that everyone has a regular chance to take on this work.

Thanks are recorded to Dick for his diligence in maintaining sequences.

8. Membership Secretary Report:- Barry

The membership records need to be updated and also the profiles on the website need updating. Everyone is asked to contact barry.darnell@ntlworld.com to provide a profile of themselves to be included on the site.

Thanks are recorded for Barry’s growing help and vision for the future.

9. Social Secretary Report:- Ruth

2008 began with the social at the Grosvenor which provided 2 for one meals and is basically cheap and cheerful. Unfortunately only fourteen arrived for the meal.

The Summer Social took the form of the third beach party, the second time it has been held at Ruth’s Beach Hut. Whilst it turned very cold later on, the evening was quite a success with not only food and drinks but the appearance of several Rushmere Players who provided some excellent entertainment.

The biggest event is yet to come with the social having been organised at the Castle Lodge Hotel – owned by Ruth’s parents – with meals offered at cost price. It has been the most complex to organise with the arrangements of Maureen Blundell the guest speaker who is also providing private one to one sessions on the afternoon of the Social and a group session the following morning. Ruth thanked Barry for his help with the arrangements.

The 2009 summer social will be another Beach Party centred on Ruth’s Beach Hut, date yet to be arranged.

Thanks are recorded for Ruth’s valuable contribution to our Social events.

10. Structure of meetings

Ruth as holder of the Bill Budner Trophy for the anonymous competition thought that the current holder should drop out of the following competition but following a short discussion it was agreed that all attending writers including the holder should enter. The rules remain the same for 1,000 words on any subject. What is nice is that the cup has been held by a different writer on each occasion. It is also very satisfying hearing one’s words read out by others.

Ideas were put forward by Dick, Jane and Angela about creative writing exercises and topics for homework.

Dick suggested one meeting could be a 1,000 word piece on any subject but written in an n historic period or even the future. This would involve some research and as such the homework could be set four weeks in advance rather than the normal two. It would also mean that the meeting the work is delivered would be 1,000 word pieces only.

The four-word creative exercises were enjoyed by all but Jane suggested perhaps dropping the four words and making this into a particular subject or theme – perhaps geographical whilst Angela suggested an exercise using genres.

Dave suggested it would be possible to fit in another creative writing exercise evening in lieu of a normal meeting and this provoked discussion whilst Liliane did not wish to lose any more of those meetings.

The meeting agreed that the torchlight Halloween meeting should remain in the programme as it was atmospheric and the sense of occasion was highlighted by Lauren and Rosie in fancy dress.

There remains the freedom to skip homework assignments and bring in items, such as chapters from books or published articles to read instead.

Les, a member for five years, felt that the present format is tried and tested and is a success whilst Ruth with seven years membership felt that Scribblers is now the best it has ever been.

The consensus emerged that we should always try different things and unanimously agreed with the proposed 2009 programme, supporting the creative writing exercise but adopting some of the ideas discussed earlier.

Our normal meetings would continue in the same vein with two 1,500 word open themed work along with the 500 word homework assignments. The proviso remains that, should attendances rise to unmanageable numbers, then the question of longer pieces would be reviewed.

11. Planning for the future

The possibility of a further competition, sponsored by Maureen Budner in memory of her husband Bill was raised and Morag will make contact with Maureen once more.

Ruth mentioned the possibility of using some club funds towards the cost of producing an anthology. The first and last was in 2004 when sponsorship was obtained from W D Coe Ltd, Ipswich and also Mr Cobbler in Felixstowe. The anthology was designed by Sue Smith’s husband Peter and the books were printed by John Zoller. That had around 30 different writers included along with a play by our late friend Allen Williams. A sub committee was elected of Barry, Les and Jane to look into the costs of publishing, possibly with local printers and look for sponsorship. Obviously we would need to design the anthology ourselves including the cover but most important will be to get Felixstowe Scribblers and associate friends to provide the stories or poetry and then to ensure strict proof reading to make certain our work is top class.

Stephen suggested a Radio Drama written by Felixstowe Scribblers for Felixstowe Radio and interested writers should notify a committee member to see if we can take this idea forward.

Involvement in the Art on the Prom in Felixstowe and also the Ipswich Arts Festival were discussed. Currently we have no ‘product’ to sell, but with the possibility of the anthology this year then perhaps we target Art on the Prom for 2010. Costs would need to be considered as hiring a pitch for this event was about £50 this year.

Whilst Ipswich Arts Festival was discussed it was thought that as a group we did not need to be involved. Representation at the Writers’ Cafe at Starbucks would be more important and recent evenings have been supported by some members.

Involvement by providing static displays about the group at various places and events was suggested and also the display of Poets Day poems at the Library was mentioned but the question arose about why we need to be involved at all. Our membership is quite healthy and to “advertise” in this way may swell our membership making the size of our group unmanageable.

Angela asked, in view of this, whether she could bring a friend along and we were strongly in favour. We have good organic growth and basically keep going. We would never turn anyone away as our membership is open to all.

12. Publicity

James Marston from the Ipswich Evening Star contacted Alex to ask if Felixstowe Scribblers would be prepared for him to come along one evening with the intention of providing an article in his newspaper. Although we do not necessarily need publicity, this could be regarded as recognition. The meeting agreed and Alex will contact James in the affirmative.

13. Any Other Business.

Debbie works for a local authority on a project called ‘Sea Change’ – to advocate the understanding of Climate Change and to build up a carbon footprint of Felixstowe. Peter was worried that the public may not be willing to contribute however the Scribblers are keen to be involved and have agreed to make the subject for the meeting of 3rd February exactly that – Climate Change. It is obviously a huge subject. Debbie promises to bring along or email through some information before then.

Angela was taken with the idea.

Tony requested more of last year this year!

14. Our Next Meeting

Is in TWO weeks time in the Café Libra, Felixstowe Library, on Tuesday 20th September, at 7.30pm.
The Homework Assignment is the special anonymous one on any subject for the Bill Budner Trophy. It is for attending writers only: -

The Bill Budner Trophy

Bill joined Felixstowe Scribblers in August of 2005 and soon afterwards registered with our online group. A really friendly and popular character, Bill made many friends at Scribblers in such a short time. His tremendous passion for writing produced many prolific words in his short stories, his mild manner and quiet voice accentuating every facet of his work.

Away from Scribblers Bill was a lay preacher and heavily involved with church affairs at St Mary's in Walton where he took over the responsibility for the parish magazine.

Bill died suddenly from a massive heart attack on Tuesday 14th February 2006 leaving his wife Maureen and family deep in shock and mourning his loss, the Felixstowe Scribblers sharing their grief.

For attending writers only, the guidelines for the Bill Budner Trophy are:
Short stories or poetry up to a maximum of 1,000 words on any topic.
Work must be typed (on single sides of paper).
Entries must be completed before arrival at the meeting.
Work must be anonymous - so no names or identification marks on the paper.
All work will be placed, face down, on a table, and each writer, at a given time, will collect one entry and have a short time to familiarize themselves with it.
The stories will then be read out to the group with everyone present marking them and selecting their top three entries.
At the end of the evening all the marks will be entered anonymously into a box and then counted by designated members of the group.
The winner will be announced and The Bill Budner Trophy presented to them by the previous winner.
The trophy will be engraved by Scott at Mr Cobbler in Felixstowe.
The trophy will be held for four months(or as decided) until the next competition
The holder undertakes to return the trophy to Felixstowe Scribblers and advise any change of address.

Previous winners have been: Tony Shearman, Rosie Woolley, Morag Clarke, Dick Bradshaw and Ruth Dugdall.

A reminder that payment is now due for the social at the next meeting along with any booking fees for the one to one and group sessions.

There being no further business the AGM closed at 9.55pm.

Keep Scribbling!!


Springfield Follies present Jack and the Beanstalk at Kesgrave Community Centre on Saturday 31st January at 2.30 and 7.30pm, Friday 6th February at 7.30pm and Saturday 7th February at 2.30 and 7.30pm. Written, directed and produced by Carolyn Pettman and Giles Meehan, tickets at £7 adults and £4 children may be purchase from the ticket line at 01473-819051. Visit the website at www.springfieldfollies.org.uk


On Wednesday 21st January from 7 - 9pm at Broke Hall School in Ipswich there will be an evening organised by the Eastern region of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, an international group that supports children's writers and organises events for anyone interested in children's books. The Eastern region is a new branch of the organisation, based in Norwich, who are starting to get some events going in our area. This one is about how children's writers and school librarians / teachers can work more closely together to encourage more reading for pleasure amongst children and teenagers. Should be good! Admission is £3, or £2 for members of either SCBWI or FCBG (Federation of Children's Book Groups, which I belong to). I'm planning to go along myself, so if anyone else is interested perhaps they could let me know. With best wishes to all Scribblers for 2009, Sue.


TheCreative Writing Groups has just moved to a new location in Brantham, hopefully a bit closer for those from Felixstowe wishing to attend some classes and workshops! See you all soon, Caroline
Caroline Foster
Creative Writing Groups
01473 858429


I am the editor of a new writing project. www.shortbreadstories.com is a website which has recently launched and we aim to encourage literacy and writing, as well as providing support and a platform for new and established writers. We already have the support of well known authors such as Alexander McCall Smith and Rosamunde Pilcher, who will be providing help and encouragement to our members. We also provide free audio stories in order to encourage a love of reading and listening. The site is non profit and the service is completely free of charge. We are currently looking for submissions of between 1,000 and 4,000 words of any genre from writers.Shortbread is a great opportunity for serious writers' as it is a chance to have your work viewed by a global audience and the best submissions will be produced in audio form for the site. I understand you run a writers' group. Is Shortbread something which your members would be interested in getting involved with? Would you be able to pass our details on to your members?

Fiona Smith Editor Email: fiona@shortbreadstories.com Mobile: 07792761151 Shortbread Ltd., Easter Caputh Farmhouse, Murthly, Perthshire, PH1 4LA Registered in Scotland number SC316907


Anonymous online writing jobs com said...

Wow! Thank you! Honestly, I love the internet for having writers like yourself that sit down and take time to educate, and mentor us into preparing us through the right way to succeed in life. Whether you think that this helps or not, I just want you to know that it most definitely makes a huge impact and a difference for someone like myself. I'm taking my time to write this because I don't want you to go feeling un-noticed! You have most definitely been recognized and you should know that this has surely helped me along my way! Thank you once again, really..
Have a great day!

Thursday, March 05, 2009 7:13:00 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Felixstowe Scribblers Weblog Feed