The Treasurer's Tale

I am a new boy on the TMA. I have only been there for 10 years. In that time I have accumulated enough jobs to get called "The Organiser", mainly because mine is the name on the entry form. But Tanners has always been a team effort, and 10 years' RAAs have traced my progression through the organisation like that of a good Politburo apparatchik.

My career in the Tanners field was brief - the 30 in 1967, a 50 dropout in 1772 and a successful completion in 1974 (which makes me the only current TMA member to have completed both walks within time). I have marshalled, even taken down arrows, but since (about) 1977 have stayed all day at the headquarters, Leatherhead Football Club - a permanent office boy. This is compatible with my first main job for the TMA, and still an important one - that of treasurer.

In some of the earlier RAAs an account for the year's marathon was published. Nowadays, the finances are more complicated. This account summarises our progress through the years.

The first Tanners made a (now legendary) loss of 1d. The accumulated profit was still only £5 (admittedly , much more substantial pounds than today's) by 1964. Records for the 1960s are somewhat scant and inconsistent, but 1966 reports income of £85, and excess of £24, and an accumulated fund of £53. Profits in five of the next six years took the fund to £129 in 1972, when income was £156. Two deficit years followed (largely due to spending on stocks), then a record year restored the balance. At this point I became treasurer.

It took a year or so to separate the finances from the general administration (the cheque book I had inherited had one cheque accidentally used to pay the Blatchford gas bill!) (promptly repaid I might add - Barabara). At the end of the year a stock valuation was included in the accounts, stocks having become increasingly important as we carried more items and bought them in larger quantities. Total assets in 1976 rose from £326 to £402 on income of £284.

For various reasons, we now took a more prudent view of the finances, and the annual profit has not dropped below £100 since. In 1978 we introduced T-shirts and both income and profit rose by 70%. Assets reached £675; by 1982 that had doubled. 1982 remains the record year with income of £1,542 and profit of £213.1983 had the first ever recorded fall in income, but another healthy profit left assets after the 1983 event standing at £1,437.

So what do we do with it all? Well, the cash we have is needed as working capital - T-shirts alone cost over £500 and here is always some printing needed at the beginning of the year. So £600 or so goes out before any real money comes in and without replenishing any stocks of certificates, check cards, badges etc. These stocks are bought in as large a quantity as we can afford , which keeps the price to the walker down. This year, of course, we are also financing and subsidising this book. The cash we hold does generate some interest , which represents nearly 40% of the last four years' profits.

Meanwhile, we have financed new services (catering, the minibus to return retirees, the car park). We have added items for sale (10 mile badges, pens). We have increased our donations to those who look after the Marathon's countryside (e.g. National Trust, Hurtwood Control), and thanks to an enormous amount of voluntary effort we have still been able to keep our prices reasonably stable.

So far, the Marathon has always been blessed with success. May this continue, but in case it does not, we have a financial buffer against disaster (say a foot and mouth outbreak) and we can continue to provide what we think is a good-value event, and hope you do to!

Andy Young