Chairman's Report to The AGM, March 2005

Good Morning

Like last year I do not propose to mention the normal club activities.

I wish to keep the meeting to time to allow a lunch break before the presentation at 2pm by Mr. Geoff Skerritt. The full report on the shows, pup of the year etc can be found in my main annual report published in the year book.

This new venue for the AGM is the result of the decision taken last year by members to only hold the AGM once every 3 years in London instead of every other year.

During 2004 we have made significant progress towards our Cavaliers in the future being healthier. As you know the Lub Dub Fund closed last year and the money along with the Kennel Club Charitable Trust Donation is already being put to good use, in fact the first of the three years research has now been completed.

We all hope that this research produces strong indicators for the way forward in reducing and eradicating this terrible life shortening disease. It is my hope that if this is the case we have the will and conviction to raise the money to continue with this research. May I thank Mrs. Jupp Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Boyd for their efforts this year.

In addition they and other members of the committee arranged a further three health check days in different parts of the country making 4 so far held. These were made possible by the sponsorship arranged with Boeringer Ingelheim. More will be said I'm sure within the heart and health reports.

Blood sampling to hold in a bank for future research has been a new initiative this year and it was pleasing to see the queues for this at our recent championship show, more I am sure about this later.

With all this activity in progress it was satisfying to see the dog media papers recognising what we are trying to do for our lovely breed ourselves and it really is about time.

Our web site continues to grow and revenues through the Shopping section have increased over the first year, we now were able to offer booking on line for the Club Awards Dinner the night before the show and quite a number, especially overseas made use of this new facility. Once again grateful thanks to Mr. David Norris assisted by his wife Jo and Mrs. Elaine Dolamore who keeps the payment system running smoothly, thank you to them for another busy and successful year.

Elaine has also taken on this year, the role of membership secretary from Mrs. Margaret Carter and the transition went smoothly, again thank you for the hours that I know these two roles involve in a month.

The Welfare and Rescue Service was finally last June granted Charitable status, not an easy task but with the diligence of Mrs. Joan Pagan and Mr. David Sedgbeer they managed to pull it off. Well done and congratulations. This now ensures a strong organisation and a safe future.

Also during the year we held a judging seminar where our President put twelve candidates through their paces helped by Mrs. Judy Wright and our secretary Mrs. Annette Jones. More are planned in the future. Mr. Rob Sansom did a sterling job in organising this event.

Over my time as chairman many changes have been made to the running of the club, in an attempt to embrace the situations our breed faces today and untold new legislation both from The Kennel Club and Government.

We have raised over 50,000 towards MVD, Syringomyelia and general health issues and all members should be rightfully proud of this achievement.

We have been criticised for many years and probably rightly so, that in the past that the committee did not communicate enough with regard to what happens to funds raised and progress in various fields. Well I am very confident now that with the aid of the web site we very much DO. One look at it will show you the number of reports, articles and countless updates on all sorts of topics that now keep the members well informed, without involving further heavy postage costs. This is the true benefit of the internet.

Turning to the future, you may have read my aspirations for the way ahead in the yearbook. I have been made aware for some considerable time from members speaking to me that the workings of the committee are sometimes considered undemocratic where a huddle of the few impose decisions on the many without proper open discussion of other opinions be it committee or wider.

I considered that on occasions this view had not been warranted nor fair, but then on other occasions I have felt yes I can see the point they are making. I have during my chairmanship attempted to open up these discussions in order to bring a more transparent approach. My letters on the web site have averaged around 6 per year and over the last 3 years 20 have been published, hopefully at times giving an insight into what the committee are working on at that time.

We must never forget our historical breed heritage, but we must also move forward and embrace new thinking and ideas. We need to introduce new blood on to the committee and more importantly allow them to play their part in the shaping of the club for the future. Too many have become disillusioned and ideas stunted in the quest to keep the status quo, even though what the club did 40 years ago is wholly different from today. It is no good thwarting their suggestions and offers of help in order to keep power in a few hands, only to then complain they do nothing ... at that rate new blood will dry up.

Democracy is the watchword for the future, pooling ideas from a wider lake of talent and not just the pebble of a few people dictating the flow. A clear example is the present chairman election, three years ago members had the choice, the first for many, many years. I always felt that the right way, but the pebble felt otherwise, and the pressure to take away the members right of choice was not what this club should be about. Indeed senior officers should not get involved in supporting one candidate over another, they should stand back. I never felt I should do this for committee candidates and never did as Chairman. Others also offered a similar view to me - how times and goal posts change in three years.

But very soon there will be a new chairman and I hope they take some or all of my views on board, they are made with the very best intentions for the club's future.

This year we are losing three members from the committee. Mrs. Margaret Carter who has worked hard over her six years on the health committee, and as membership secretary, a thank you for all your efforts. Mrs.Fry who ran the 100 club and has been of help in many ways, and Mrs. Chris Knight who in her two years had edited the newsletter. I thank them for their efforts during their time on the committee.

Finally I thank my hard working committee for all their efforts with special mention to Mrs. Anne Rennard for another superb year book and again this year the club magazine. Mr. Peter Towse for Cup secretary. Mrs. Annette Jones as club secretary , Mrs Deirdre Thomas who in her first year as Treasurer has been such an asset to the club along with her assistant Zoe Elkin and Mrs Jupp as my Vice Chairman who stepped into my shoes whenever I could not be there. Thank you all for their support.

It has been a very busy three years, and I have many fond memories that I will not easily forget nor wish to. The club is in a sound position and I wish the new committee every success in taking it forward.

Paul Follows
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