Thursday, December 13, 2018

Chairman's Report - AGM 2018

Dear Members,

Firstly, I would like to say a warm welcome to you all and thank you for coming.

I would like to spend a few moments reflecting on the past year of our Society. Last year's Nursery series went very well, with good organised trials resulting in a strong team going forward to the English Nursery Final. This was a huge success with our team winning the team event, something our Society (I feel) can be immensely proud of. Alongside the Nursery trials, we ran Cradle trials which also proved to be a great success and very well attended, showing the obvious demand from our membership for events such as these.

This year's Open season has also been a success with Open trials in every month from May through to October, culminating in a very good Championship trial at Haughley Park. Our Society was well represented at the English National with 7 of our handlers running - and a special mention must of courses go to Toby Bulgin for getting into the team and going on to represent England at the International in Ireland, a fantastic achievement! Our Society also did well at the Inter Society Team trial coming a very credible third place.

Our Winter series is now underway for this year and judging by the first trial a couple of weeks ago, it looks like it will once again be well attended.

As much as it is nice to reflect on our achievements over the past year, something which I think we should all be very proud of, I feel it is the future that we should focus on. I am personally very passionate about our Society and feel very indebted towards it, and whilst I feel we have a very strong Society offering help, advice, encouragement and tuition to all levels of handlers and dogs, I think it is important that we continually look at ideas on how to take our Society forward. So I urge all Members to be vocal in telling Committee Members about things that you would like to see us do, tell us the things we could do better. Whilst as a Committee we work hard to take our Society forward, suggestions from you, the Membership, are always welcome.

I also feel it is very important to mention the sheep industry. Whilst we obviously all have a shared passion in working dogs and competition, it's important that we don't overlook the industry that is fundamental to our pastime and indeed our Constitution statement to promote and foster within East Anglia the breeding, training and management of all breeds of sheepdog to secure the better management of stock by improving the shepherd's dog. The sheep industry is going through a lot of uncertain times with Brexit seeming to be the key word causing a lot of the uncertainty. Testing financial times are sure to be ahead for anyone involved in sheep production and agriculture in general, something that I feel all members of our Society should be aware of and sympathetic towards, as without the support of shepherds and sheep farmers we will have no future for our pastime - and indeed without a thriving sheep industry in this country, there would be little point to it! Whilst we all love to run dogs and for them to achieve success on the trial field, it's very important that none of us lose sight of the fact that the dogs are here for the sheep and not the other way around...

Moving on, I would just like to talk about the financial side of our Society. We are in a reasonably secure financial position and whilst it is not the aim for our Society to make huge profits, recent events such as having our handling systems stolen, have brought home the reality that our Society needs to have quite a substantial amount of money in reserve to cover eventualities despite the fact that we have insurance cover. It is my view that we should be aiming to make a profit of around £1000 per year on average. This will also allow our Society to move forward with new equipment etc. as and when necessary.

I would like to finish my Chairman's address to you all by saying a huge thank you to the Committee for the enormous amount of work they put in - there is a lot more to running our Society and putting on trials than putting 6 gates and a pen up in a field!

Finally, I would like to say thank you to the Committee for allowing me to be Chairman - it's an honour!

Ed Thornalley

14th November 2018

Membership Sec., Kath Perry - 01362-860616


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