Posted: November 7th, 2012
The association’s 2012 AGM in London (Oct 23) was a lively and well-attended affair which saw Tom Brown voted in as the new chairman, following the retirement of David Thompson from the post after nine years.
The meeting opened with a sombre minute’s silence for colleagues and friends who had died during the preceding year, including AMP life president Eric Newson, whose death had been announced only the previous day, and AMP committee man Don Hepburn.
The highest attendance for years then listened intently as guest speakers Paul Vickers (Trinity Mirror company secretary), Joanna Matthews (independent chairman of the MGN trustee board), and Iain Urquhart (TM’s group pensions director) faced some tough questions from the floor.
Subjects covered included the scope and impact of the government’s Pension Protection Fund; the resolution of a problem concerning spouses’ pensions; the timeline and feasibility of the company’s efforts to reduce pension scheme deficits; and the seemingly perpetual question of SERPs/GMP.
The successful launch of the association’s new website and recently published Mirror Pensioner magazine were also widely acknowledged.
It was unanimously agreed to continue the association’s Pension Contingency Fund for another year.
AMP secretary Gerald Mowbray heaped deserved praise on the retiring David Thompson’s head, and thanked him for his many years of stewardship through difficult times.
Former Mirror features editor Brian Bass, a colleague and friend of David’s for nearly 50 years, then paid his own tribute to the departing chairman, and presented a silver photo frame and gift vouchers from the committee and on behalf of the members.
David made a generous and grateful response, wishing us well for the future.
Incoming chairman Tom Brown stressed the need to do away with any “them and us” attitude, since the fortunes of our pension schemes are inextricably linked to the success or otherwise of Trinity Mirror.
“It is incumbent,” he said, “on the company, the trustees and the AMP to work together to ensure pensioners and their dependants are looked after.”
The meeting was followed by a farewell lunch for David at the Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street. Afterwards he said: “Thank you [Gerald] and all the committee for a wonderful send off as chairman. Thanks, too, for a perfect and very generous presentation gift, and for lunch. As I said at the AGM, it was an honour and a pleasure to work with such a friendly and professional committee of all the talents.”
By BILL ROWNTREE, former Mirror Group photographer
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