Entertaining and inspirational talk

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Our AGM on Saturday, February 20, was attended by 71 members, from ours and other branches and included special guest Dr Bruce Fogle.

The meeting began with a brief outline of the achievements of 2015 by the branch organiser, Richard Herrington, followed by a financial report from me.

The total raised by the branch in 2015 was £43,196.64, an amazing amount and a credit to all the volunteers who give up their time freely to attend fundraising events throughout south Hampshire.

Mark Pegg, our co-opted media officer, then gave a report on the setting up of our new website and a report on how we are being followed on Twitter and Facebook.

The committee elected Richard Herrington and me for our fourth year in office. Mark Pegg, Jeanette Collett and Sally Pantridge were also co-opted on to the committee.

Each year the committee chooses volunteers who they feel have made outstanding contributions to the charity and awards them certificates.

Award-winners were Julie Yemm (newcomer), Sheena Lewry and Sara Yaxley (most attendances at events), Diana and Bernard Rogers (speakers), Diana Rogers (volunteer of the year 2016).

These certificates were presented by Debbie Blyth, fundraising support manager.

This ended the formal proceedings of the AGM and our guest speaker, Dr Bruce Fogle was invited up to give a talk.

Bruce was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1944 and graduated in 1970 as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He moved to London and set up the London Veterinary Clinic in 1973, where he remains the director and a working vet.

That same year he married actress Julie Foster and went on to have three children.

He went on to co-found Hearing Dogs for Deaf People with Lady Beatrice Wright in 1982. He received an MBE in 2004 for his services to deaf people.

Bruce is the bestselling author of more than 100 books and he showed slides of his books Travels with Macy, and Barefoot at the Lake, a new release due out this year, which records his introduction to and lifelong love of nature by his grandfather.

Everyone found his talk extremely interesting and entertaining and his inspirational life and list of achievements is mindboggling.

Bruce concluded our AGM by signing books and having selfies with our members, while enjoying tea and cakes.

For further information visit hearing-dogs-southhants.org.uk.