Annual General Meeting 27th January 2016
Tom Riddle the club Chairman welcomed and thanked everyone for attending. We had a full house with members traveling from all over the North East to be at the AGM and bearing in mind the average journey for each member is 25+ miles this was an excellent turn-out.
The club Secretary then gave his annual report on the 2015 season highlights before outlining some of the impacts that the NFC Management decision to create 3 new Sections including a Section N would have on the Sportsman. Everyone recognised the risks that come with the new arrangements, nevertheless the mood was very positive and members agreed to work hard to encourage more fanciers in the North East to take up the challenge of National racing with the NFC.
It was then on to the night’s agenda.
2014/2015 Balance sheet
The financial position of the club is satisfactory with our high transportation costs of ferrying birds to the marking station in Sheffield well under control. Options to keep transport costs at a minimum will be kept under review, any significant increase in birds entered would need to be carefully managed.
Peter Brunskill a founder club member resigned through health reasons (The Secretary will be in touch and pass on best wishes). There were 12 applications to join the club and all were accepted bringing the membership up to 35. More applications are known to be in the pipeline and these will be welcomed through to the end of March 2016.
Election of Officials
The secretary had suggested a restructuring of the Official jobs which was fully discussed and adopted for 2016.
Chairman: Tom Riddle
Secretary/Treasurer: Bob Mckie
Events Secretary: Jeff Walton (Working closely with the Secretary will lead on IT Developments, race management etc.)
Local Clock Station Officials: Tom Riddle (Greenside) Jim Nicholson (Sunderland) It was agreed to explore the possibility of a further local clock station around the Stockton area.
Maintained at £20 a loft for 2016.
Annual Telephone-in Young Bird Sale
To be organised mid/late April.
Once again the club has secured excellent sponsorship from Vanrobaeys and a big thank you must go to Terry Knox of Knox Feeds, Swalwell, who was influential in securing this deal. Each race there will be prizes of:- 2 Bags Vanrobaeys Young Bird and a full range of Vanrobaey Products including, Bacostar, Broncostar, Packs of Pickstones and 10 Kilo tubs of Super Grit Mix.
Paul Stobbs has generously offered £100 sponsorship for the winner of the Ancenis National.
Paul has always been a big supporter of the club in more ways than one and the members wished to send their appreciation for his continued support.
Garry Heslington, outlined proposals for a club show race from the Messac National to be flown 4thJune.
The show will be held on Saturday 27th February at the Sportsman, Toft Hill and open to club members. Penning 12 to 1.00pm. Entry limited to 4 Birds per loft (2 cocks/2 hens) All birds must be in show pen, 2 Classes Cocks/Hens, Show Prize Money 1st £20, 2nd £15, 3rd £10, Best in Show £10 (Entry fee is £5 per bird all paid out in the race four prizes. 50% 25% 15% 10% There will also be a £10 single bird nomination pool (Winner take all)
The Secretary then raised the issue of communications which he had touched on earlier in his overview. It was proposed that if the club wanted to raise and maintain its profile then there was real merit in having our own website created to promote the club. Given the vast area covered by the club/Section N boundaries it is critical that our members and supporters are kept up to speed with everything happening within the Sportsman FC, the new Section and wider National scene. It was agreed that we would take forward this initiative and have a Website commissioned which would be specifically used as an Information only website (no chat-room facility).
2016 Presentation evening
This will take place on Wednesday the 16th October. Rod Adams was so well received last year that he will be a difficult act to follow! The Secretary will follow up on suggestions made about the main guest(s)
The AGM, after a very busy and productive evening, was eventually closed. The next General Meeting will be held on 16/3/16 (kick off 8.00pm).
2016 Racing Season is fast approaching with many lofts well advanced in their breeding programme. If however your approach is like mine with distance racing only in mind, then there is still plenty of time before the nest boxes will be opened. In recent years I have become increasingly calm and more objective about pairing later, paying greater attention to the dates of the longer races. Where once the 14thof February or should I say Valentine’s day and a full moon were the trigger to mating it strikes me that we need to be more cognisant of other factors not least changes in weather patterns and impacts of climate change. In this respect there are a range of excellent websites outlining both short and longer term weather patterns which are extremely informative and can be considered when formulating your breeding and racing plans. Breeding sound stock has always been an art where good husbandry skills were key to success, however these days science has an increasing role to play not just in feeding methods but understanding weather conditions. An excellent example of this has been the information that Joe Murphy has brought to fancier’s attention in his press articles which centre on Space Weather, highlighting atmospheric pressures and Sun surface disturbances. When you follow these data reports it is not without coincidence how there are delayed impacts on prevailing and sometimes unusual earth weather patterns. The poor returns experienced some racing days are influenced in part caused by turbulent sun storms and we really need to better understand the full implications on our weather systems. All fanciers but especially long/extreme distance racing exponents could in my opinion benefit greatly from understanding the science behind this activity and factor it into race preparations.
Final Warning just been told in no uncertain terms by my wife that the job of home decorating started back in March last year has to finished before racing season starts. Be warned!!