AGM Minutes 2019

Saturday 15 June 2019

The Celtic Manor Resort, Coldra Woods, The Usk Valley, Newport NP18 1HQ

Lord Dear – President

Peter Glenser – Chairman

Eoghan Cameron – Vice Chairman

Ian Bell – Chief Executive

Angela Davies – Registered Society Secretary / Executive Director of Business Management

Ian Bell called the meeting to order.

Angela Davies (Registered Society Secretary) made administrative  announcements ahead of the AGM commencing:


The President asked Angela Davies to list the apologies received. Apologies had been received from:

Tommy Mayne, Colin Shedden, Geoffrey Coates, Alasdair Mitchell, Robert Crofts, Graham Teale and James Teale.


Ian Bell stated that there have been a number of members who have sadly passed away in the last 12 months and it is at this point in the proceeding that they are remembered.

JOHN WARDELL formally Chairman of WAGBI in the 1970’s a keen all round sportsman, a passionate wildfowler and a mentor of GWCT and a BASC Member.

LORD COTTESLOE – was a member for over 30 years. FREMANTLE Commander JP, RN (Retd) – 5th Lord Cottesloe, passed away at the age of 91. He was also Iain Duncan-Smith’s father in law and as a RN Officer was involved in the Yangtze incident in Communist China when the PRC fired on the sloop HMS Amethyst. A family with a long and prestigious history – his ancestor Admiral Sir Thomas Freemantle fought alongside Nelson and the family was unique in having four admirals in succession.

He liked rough shooting and deer stalking and owned a tribe of spaniels.

Lord Cottesloe came from a family much involved in Rifle shooting. The family name is remembered in many ways including Cottesloe Heath at the NRA grounds at Bisley, named after the late Lord Cottesloe’s father.

TRACY DAINTON – Tracy passed away in August 2018 due to cancer. She qualified as a BASC Shotgun coach alongside her husband Phil and her two sons, Peter and Jamie 10 years ago. They regularly volunteered at BASC shotgun coaching lines and other regional events. They lived in Bolton. She was a lovely lady, very family oriented.

MICKY DIAMOND – Was a lifelong wildfowler and rough shooter and was a founding member of the Lough Foyle Wildfowler’s Association, serving on the committee for many years and as club secretary until ill health forced his retirement.

JIM JERVIS – A life member of WAGBI/BASC for over 50 years. He was a wildfowler, rough shooter, beater and helped to run a small pheasant and duck shoot for many years. He was never happier than when in the countryside.

A minute’s silence was observed out of respect for those that we have lost over the last 12 months.


Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very pleased to be able to speak to you for the second time in my life as President. Reflecting on what I said last year, I feel we have come through in some what a battered storm and with all confidence I can say what has happened over the last year is amicable and I feel things have gone extremely well.

Membership is up and BASC has a strong financial standing. BASC still lead in the shooting field in a way that very few other organisations and in fact, is the lead organisation and choice for so many people in the countryside. I feel we are in a very good place and the main reason for this is that Ian Bell has settled into his new role as Chief Executive.  He was relatively new this time last year but with another twelve months on he has done extraordinary well and with a great deal of help from the staff around him and Council members. Who better than an ex-soldier to talk about teams and difficulties in times of stress. Whilst we are paying tribute at this time, I would also like to pay a personal tribute to the retiring Chairman, Peter Glenser.  Peter, I think has been on Council for seven years and took the role on as Chairman three years ago.  When Peter took over as Chairman there were several cracks in the organisation and BASC seemed to be losing its way, however, Peter pulled it together, looking for a new Vice-Chair and a new CEO, we owe Peter a huge amount of gratitude for what he has done within the Association. Peter, has recently received recognition of becoming a QC and I congratulate him on this, a fitting tribute to his work outside BASC and we have been very lucky to have him.

I was asked to give a state of the nation address as to where we are politically as I work in the field of politics. One word that comes to mind is Brexit. I am frequently asked do I know what is going to happen.  When I say I do not have a clue, people are sometimes aghast; and they think people like me should know. I have no idea where we are but, have no doubt, we are in a mess. So, this leaves uncertainties, if there is an election this could leave us deeply uncertain of what will happen. If Jeremy Corbyn comes in, we will see anti-gun and anti-shooting lobbying. If the Conservative party get in, this is split at least three ways as many of them are not supporters of the countryside, as many of them do not understand what we are doing; and do not have an interest. There is a prospect of a hung parliament, which we have already had for some time under Teresa May. I feel if Boris Johnson comes in, he will see the same problems that Teresa May has experienced; and will not get the massive support he wants.

Whatever way Brexit happens, we will have a nation bitterly divided. For decade’s no-one will be happy with the outcome, so where does this leave BASC, Shooting and your interests.  Plenty of things need addressing and they are being addressed. The whole issue of General Licences, Firearms fees, and the whole issue of Medical issues. Medical licences will cause a few headaches for Marford Mill going forward.  On General Licences, there has been a huge effort by your Council and CEO for all the work they have done around General Licences and leading the way forward. In terms of lead shot this will be a matter for consideration.

So, what about the future in this turbulent time, we need to address the problems as if they are present here and now and your Council are addressing them. For my money as President I am here to advise from a long way back. The future of BASC will be a future for Conservation and Education. We are very good and have always been very good on a shooting angle. Our title is Shooting and Conservation, we have previously been aware of conservation but not done nearly enough upfront in this area. My suggestion to you for the longer term is that we should look to putting much more energy into research, sponsoring investigations into good quality conservation; and really putting the work we do in the conservation front, upfront in the public field. That way we will be able to head off the opposition which is certainly growing against firearms and people who use firearms generally. There is an urban population out there who have no idea of how the countryside really works and no idea of how people who work in the countryside operate. I think if we put Conservation in with Shooting and show them how they work together we will make friends and be able to influence people.

I think we are in a very good place now, we are going to get better and better and bigger and bigger. The problems will always be there outside, I think we are in a good place to deal with them and I congratulate and wish all of the membership, Council members and all the teams at Marford Mill a very good future year.


Ian Bell thanked the President for his address and his thanks to all the teams.

I thought I would start with updating you all on the review of our strategy which we undertook last September.  Did we have any fundamental shifts in our strategy? No, not really, but I would just like to remind you about why we exist. We exist to ensure a guaranteed future for sustainable shooting sports in all their diversity as a widely enjoyed and important part of the environment, economy and culture. We could spend forever picking that apart because that really is all encompassing.

I refer you to our annual review, we have not done one of these in many years. I think BASC is really good at trickling information over the year and every time I go somewhere I have members saying to me “what have you done about this and what have you done about that”. I cannot have all the stuff from the internet and the S&C magazines in my head, so I thought if we had it all in one place you can then see we have done a great deal over the year, but there is more to do, there is always more to do. This is why we have put the annual review together so everyone sees this at the same time.

I am going to report briefly on some of the big issues that Lord Dear touched upon.

The first one is General License, I thought I would be standing here today as the President suggested, talking about how difficult the fight is and how we are unsure of how it is going to end up. I have to say that given what you saw published on Thursday morning or Friday morning back in April, not in my wildest dreams did I imagine we would get to this point so quickly. I will touch on the work still to be done there in a moment, but what I would say is that this is a huge team effort. Again, I will touch on this in a second.

Let’s just consider the risk, why did this come about and forget the shifting mood from the public one way or another, this was a legal challenge supported by not very many people who signed up to it, but who had a reasonable amount of money to make a challenge. This was also because a risk adverse public body who decided to protect themselves rather than what they exist for, which is allowing the public to undertake their legal activity.

The other point I wish to make is genuinely without BASC and I do mean this, without BASC we would not have the results that we saw on Thursday or Friday last week. I have absolutely no doubt about that. It is worth considering our approach against our strategic outcomes because you only get success in these areas when you deliver on a full cross path of activity. If you do just go for one way to solve a problem, especially a complex problem as this, you will not achieve success.  What do I mean by that, well, we talked much about achieving a wider sector approach, well, when the Shoot Liaison Committee wrote to the Secretary of State, wrote to Natural England and was holding twice daily telephone conference calls with all members, on the same line. Same press releases were made to all members so that a sector wide approach was effective. Also, the basis of our legal challenges was sector wide as well. Cross party-political support was sought. The All-Party Parliamentary Group that Christopher Graffius works so closely with were absolutely behind this, Michael Gove was hauled in by over twenty-five MP’s on the first Wednesday evening and Marian Spain the Chairman of Natural England also, they were given a really hard time. That didn’t happen because they wanted to do that, that happened because of the pressure from organisations like BASC.

Public acceptance and sustainability, the national media for once came out and demonstrated why these licences were required, pictures of lambs with their eyes pecked out meant that public opinion started to shift, as they could see why this was required.  Again, this just does not happen, people like Christopher Graffius and Garry Doolan get the messages out to the National media in order to say this is the sort of thing you should be saying. We were able to demonstrate where we applied appropriate standards, level of responsibility and a sound legal basis for conducting what we did very, very clearly. Conservation, why do half of these licences exist in order for us to undertake Conservation protection of our species etc. and not only that back to our scientific basis, our research team. The amount of papers we put in at a days’ notice on why the General Licences exist, why you should be able to shoot pigeon, our whole response to the consultation.  The Conservation Research team did absolutely fantastic.

The BASC brand, we have significant financial muscle and credibility not just amongst ourselves but among the shooting world, it was Michael Gove’s office who emailed me on Wednesday evening asking me to go and see Michael Gove to explain why our letter was so robust and the three issues we have raised. This demonstrates the power that BASC has.

The membership power base, we had 29,645 responses in four days to our call for evidence, that was great. In terms of numbers, that really hit home with the government, a massive effort but a massive team effort. It really played out against the things that Council had set out last September as our strategic outcomes and unless we hit each of those we will not be successful. In this case we have succeeded for now, the war is not yet won, consultation in the summer means we are going to need an awful lot of academic research and legal opinions behind what we submit. Indeed, the other thing to remember is that for protected sites, the most precious part of our countryside, the General licences are still not clear or refined on how we act, so more work needed there.

Touching on Wales, we have a Welsh government which we see is increasingly anti-shooting, it is our role to explain the importance of shooting across Wales in terms of jobs, activity, wellbeing and management of the Countryside etc. We have not seen a lot of social media to convince the University of Wales to stop pheasant shooting, to stop anything to do with shooting on Welsh public land, we saw Bethan Sayed who we are going to write to and get all our members to write to. We see continual problems with the Dyfi, so there is a significant number of things to do here. However, NRW’s approach to General Licences consultation is far better than that of Natural England. Steve Griffiths, Director Wales was speaking with them this week and we think there is a sensible approach there to the Consultation, we also have a Political officer appointed in Wales to undertake work alongside Steve Griffiths and his team on our behalf.  There is a very successful gaming project here in Wales, so it is not all gloom and doom.

Lord Dear touched on Medical involvement of Firearms licencing issue, a grey issue, a huge issue, we think we have managed to stay it for now. We think we have managed to stop Dave Alford who heads up the Firearms Explosive Licencing Working Group from writing to all the Chief Constables saying that everyone needs a medical statement. However, we have plans in place should we need to deliver those medical statements where it’s difficult to get your own doctor to do it.

I’ve touched on high standards, conservation and food. It’s important here not least to talk about the success of our own Taste of Game initiative, but also that we are key supporters of the British Game Alliance (BGA). The British Game Alliance (BGA) is trying to drive standards and an assurance regime into the delivery of game meat that is sold for human consumption, they have achieved significant successes in their first year but there is much more to do there.

The Political work, we have touched on the offensive weapons bill and the success there. We have touched on the fact that there has been no increase in licencing and we have employed a number of Political Officers across each region in order to try and do that grass root constituent level of pressure, just to get the message to MP’s and councillors that it is important that people out there shoot and far more than you think and there is significant positive benefit to that.

Membership is up up up, this is brilliant. Education and Training, from school children to policemen, we touch upon the entire spectrum of people you wouldn’t necessarily think of us to do so and the more we can do that, then the better. We have employed a Head of Pathways to Shooting and his role is to set the policy on how we draw in those who would not ordinarily be doing what we are doing, so that they are better informed.

Conservation, a really big issue, we need to be seen as a conservation organisation who are positive in contributing to what we do.

I have touched on the work we do with other organisations, the key point is that we do work outside the UK as well. We work with the Federation of European Hunters and this has become increasingly important whether we Brexit or not, as a lot of what affects us will come from Europe.

We cannot rest easy, there are those who wish to attack what we do and there are many that do not understand what we do. So, what are we going to do in the immediate future. We are going to undertake a strategic review of our threats and risks at the end of the Summer. This will be a Council focussed element at a strategic level.  We will take legal views where required and in particular legal reviews on the threats to shooting and especially on the General Licencing consultation, that is coming at the backend of the summer. We need to be proactive rather than reactive.

At the end of the Chief Executive address he expressed thanks to:

Louise and Sandra for organising the AGM

To the all the Staff for the amount of work they did on General Licences

The Chairman – an absolute pleasure working alongside you

John Thornley – thank you for your clear direction

Members – thank you to the members for you continued support and thank you to BASC staff for your hard work.


The Chairman introduced the awards made by BASC; the President presented them to the winners.

The awards were presented in turn. Photographs were taken.

Association Trophies

THE STANLEY DUNCAN TROPHY given by the late Earl of Leicester.

It is presented annually to a club, member or group of members, who in the opinion of Council, have contributed most in the preceding 12 months in the field of conservation.

DEVON WILDFOWLERS & CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION – Proposed by Matt Ellis: Seconded by Caroline Bedell

The Devon Wildfowling and Conservation Association, or DWCA for short, is a well-established club with wildfowling leases on the Exe and Teign Estuaries in South Devon.  The club owns around 30 acres of ground adjacent to the Exe which is managed for conservation purposes.

Both the Exe and Teign estuaries are busy sites with multiple stakeholders including RSPB reserves, kite surfers, and dog walkers.  The club is very proactive in terms of how it engages with these other stakeholders and is aware of the need to manage relationships carefully.

The club has a dedicated Conservation Officer on the their committee and take part in a variety of conservation projects including habitat improvement works, litter picks and the BASC wing survey, as well as managing their own land.  Conservation is fundamental to the club’s ethos.

Over many years they have recognised the importance of being able to support the case for wildfowling by having an evidence base to underpin their position.

The DWCA is a great example of a forward thinking and proactive wildfowling club, they have been nominated for this award primarily for their support with the fieldwork of our PhD student, Lindsay Bierman. They have embraced the responsibility, offering the opportunity for Lindsay to observe countless wildfowling trips in all sorts of weather over the past 2 seasons, the fieldwork would not have happened without them. This research is absolutely vital in our bid to ensure any future restrictions on the sport of wildfowling are proportionate and fair. The individuals that gave up their time to ensure this research could take place, are an absolute credit to the club and the sport of wildfowling.

THE IAN RICHARDSON TROPHY is presented to those who, in the opinion of BASC employees, have made a special contribution to BASC in whatever field.

DAVE GOFFIN – BASC Deer Assessor and BASC Trainer

Dave Goffin is qualified with BASC as a Deer Assessor and mentor.  He is also a trainer of DSC 1, Pre DSC 1 Intermediate Deer Course and Firearms Awareness Training (Rifle).

He is always willing to give his time, no matter when, to candidates, the assessors and the administration team in support of DSC 2.

The activities he carries out on behalf of BASC are volunteer roles, and on those activities where he is paid as a trainer, he always goes above and way beyond what is required of him.

The support in the delivery of rifle and deer related training courses has been an enormous help to the Training & Education Department over the last 12 months.  His willingness and ability to slot in at short notice on a number of occasions when scheduled trainers were unable to fulfil their commitment has been of great assistance.

Dave has provided significant support to BASC over the years but particularly in the Deer Assessment Centre.  Dave is a true professional, dedicated, hardworking and fun to work with.

He is a huge asset to BASC.


Presented to those who may or may not be members of BASC. Recommended by Council and/or staff. The service being recognised must be special, but it can take any form and have occurred over any length of time. The single criterion is that it is of benefit to BASC that merits public recognition.

BOB & SHELIA WEBB – Proposed by Dan Reynolds: Seconded by Steve Bloomfield

Nominated for their significant contribution to BASC at Game Fairs over the last 30+ years, catering for staff and volunteers at major shows. Bob and Shelia have now retired from this volunteer role, but should be recognised for the significant contribution which they have made to us over the last 30+years.

GRAHAM & JUNE PERRY – Proposed by Dan Reynolds: Seconded by Lewis Thornley

Graham and June, along with Sam and Lewis, their two sons have been a support to BASC for many years but especially since 2008 when they joined the Firearms department on the BASC stand at the major Game Fairs.

The help and advice given to members in support of our firearms team has been immense. Not only is Graham a traditional gun maker and therefore able to give our members expert advice but Sam is the Assistant Proof Master at Birmingham and Lewis is a firearms law barrister so very much a one stop source of advice and information.

From a regional perspective, the Perry’s were part of the team at the Game Fairs and brought the stand to life with their interesting and interactive display that drew in members and public alike to look at the guns and chat about all things shooting!

It was always a pleasure to welcome Graham, June, Lewis and Sam to the team and they will be greatly missed now that they have retired.


Now it is time for my final report as Chairman. I would like to start by thanking Lord Dear for his very kind words and Ian Bell for his.  I would also like to echo Ian’s thanks in thanking Louise, Sandra and Andrea for all their hard work in organising the AGM.

So where are we ?. Please forgive me for some personal reflections. We now have in the region of 155,000 member’s and a very healthy war chest, we need it, and why? We need it because we are living in dangerous times. There are challenges and there are significant challenges coming and we need to be ready to meet them.

One thing for certain is that we are going to be under increasing scrutiny in everything that we do and we must ensure we are fit for the future and that means sorting out the “C” in BASC. We must been seen to be conservationists as well as shooters and that may mean an end to the single use of plastics, I would be delighted to see a return to paper cartridges as we are going to have to think about lead. Lead is going to be difficult.

The behaviour of some of our members on social media I am afraid is appalling and this is going to have to change as it is worrying. The backlash to Christopher Packham’s campaign did not reflect wholly well on some members. We need to educate and discipline people when breaking the law and using threatening behaviour.

Members were unhappy with BASC over the General Licences and even thought that we had written the General Licences and we came under attack, this was not pleasant for the staff.

BASC were very effective through the General Licences, they came together and worked well together. There will be more challenges to come. However, we know how to deal with this and what do to.

I said when I took over three years ago as Chairman that I wanted to leave it in better shape than I found it. I am happy to say I have managed that. Council certainly looks very different, I brought the average age down and we have ladies on Council as significant amount of our members are ladies too. The organisation certainly looks different, there is a degree of cross fertilisation, Council speak to staff, staff speak to Council. We are forward looking and play nicely with other organisations. We have fantastic relationships with all. We stand for decency and do the right thing, and we will continue to do so.

I would like to finish off with some special thanks:

Bill Harriman for all his support

Christopher Graffius – my interim Chief Executive when I first took over for all his support

Angela Davies for all her support

Steve Bloomfield for all his support

Louise Murray for all her support and keeping me in check

Ian Bell – I am confident that I leave the association in very good hands, he is very widely respected

All my fellow Council members

Eoghan Cameron Vice Chair and Oliver McCullough E&F Chair

John Thornley – Vice Chair for two years and who handled the internal affairs

It is with a heavy heart that I leave but I will be on the phone if I am needed.


The Chairman opened the floor for questions.

Richard Playle – asked the following four questions:

Mr Playle commented that he had a job to find the accounts and why were they not published.

Ian Bell thanked Mr Playle for his feedback and stated that it is a significant amount of money to publish the accounts in the Shooting &Conservation. We do not feel this is the best use of Members money. Therefore, we have made them available online.

Would BASC be looking to purchase land?

The Chairman confirmed there is a policy and advised that we have an Estates Committee set up and this includes overseeing any sensible purchases and recommendations are made. At present there is nowhere that is of an invested interest to BASC.  Ian Bell stated that we review the purchase of land and did come close to a possible purchase, however, a view was taken by Council and for several reasons it did not meet the objectives of the Association. The most important question we need to ask ourselves with regards to the purchase of land is, has the situation changed. We took the view that the situation has changed that we may well need to spend our money far more on legal fees and research at the moment.

The Chairman asked for Mr Playle’s third question, which was with regard to WHT and WHSCT. Why are these trusts being dissolved? 

The Chairman said the short answer is that the trust will have more money. Angela Davies, Executive Director of Business Management confirmed the trusts were subject to administration, annual audit and legal costs as they were separate entities. By moving the trust business into the Association significant savings would be made, which will enable more money to be used to meet the trust aims. It was purely a financial decision by the trustees, the running and branding of trusts will remain the same. Mr Playle thanked everyone for the answers and said he was pleased to see BASC putting £50,000 into the trust.


The Chairman highlighted key features.

  • Significant investment in the Association and shooting
  • Growth in frontline staff – Executive Director of Conservation, Political Officers, Pathways to Shooting, Training and Education, Taste of Game and a new Eastern Regional Team

The Chairman opened the floor for any further questions regarding the financial statements.

No questions were raised.

The Chairman moved onto the adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Accounts:

Proposer was Claire Sadler. Seconder was Martyn Jones.

The Chairman asked for a show of hands for the adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Accounts. All were in favour and they were duly adopted.

The President declared the outcome.


The Chairman opened the elections before handing over to Angela Davies.

Nominations for Honorary Life Membership this year.

Honorary Life Membership:

People of known integrity and stature in the eyes of fellow members who have given prolonged and distinguished service.

They will have served the membership of the Association over an extended period of years, perhaps through service to one of our affiliated bodies or clubs.

Distinguished service to members (in a club or other body), distinguished service to BASC, length of service to extend continuously for more than 20 years, unquestioned support from all those members who might reasonably be expected to know the nominee that the honour should be given.

DAWN WARR – Proposer – David Gervers: Seconder – James Green

Dawn is a talented professional gamekeeper, taxidermist and artist and it is safe to say that Dawn has contributed more to BASC in the South West than anyone could reasonably be expected to.

For many years she has joined us at all our main shows where her taxidermy and artwork is a major draw to the stand. She is also happy to provide practical experience gamekeeping advice to anyone asking questions.

Dawn is a fantastic advocate for the sport and has an amazing ability to engage with people of all ages and backgrounds, Dawn does not differentiate between royalty and someone from the local town who has never seen a pheasant before.

Dawn has previously served on the BASC Gamekeeping and England Committees and supports our social events, our Young Shots programme, and represents us at shows that the South West team do not attend; and has been a prolific donor to BASC fundraising activities over the years.

Quite simply, Dawn is the best sort of volunteer that we could wish for.

The Chairman calls for a show of hands. She was duly elected.

DENNIS KURLE – Proposer – Julia Birchall-Mann: Seconder – David Gervers

Den Kurle has volunteered for BASC for well over 30 years starting out running the BASC stand at regional shows including Devon County, Royal Cornwall and the Cotswold Country Fair. .

Den progressed to running the gundog events at the Cotswold Country Fair and the West Country Game Fair as well as volunteering at a national level with the gundogs at the Midland and CLA Game Fairs.

In more recent years Den has assisted with the formation of the BASC Young Shots Progression days and helped out at BASC Young Shots Introduction to Country Sports days.

Den is the President of Bridgwater Bay Wildfowlers and has invested a great deal of time and effort into building a vibrant BASC affiliated club with a buoyant membership, supporting BASC by hosting Help for Heroes, Ladies, and Young Shots wildfowling experiences.

Den is a passionate BASC member who has invested a great deal over many years to encourage the next generation into our sport whether they be young or old. Den continues to contribute and was a prominent face at the West of England Game Fair and Devon County Show in 2019.

We would like to nominate Den in recognition of all he has done for our sport over many decades.

The Chairman calls for a show of hands.  He was duly elected.

PAUL WALLACE – Proposer – David Gervers: Seconder – James Green

This nomination might be short but no-one should under-estimate Paul’s contribution to his club and the sport.

Paul has been Secretary and mainstay of Cornwall Wildfowlers for 23, possibly 24 years now.  He has managed the role with skill and dedication and no small degree of diplomacy.  He also ably represents the club with the Duchy of Cornwall, as well as regionally where he has been influential in local liaison initiatives and on the national stage. He had planned to stand down at the 2018 AGM but as no-one else stepped up to the plate he has agreed to carry on rather than see the club in an awkward position.

Paul is a great advocate for wildfowling and shooting, a great friend to BASC in the South West, and a valued source of “on the ground” information regarding wildfowling and what is going on in Cornwall.

Paul and his family regularly support BASC at the Royal Cornwall Show and across a wide variety of Young Shots events in the County.

Paul thoroughly deserves recognition for his services to the Cornwall Wildfowlers and BASC.

The Chairman calls for a show of hands. He was duly elected.

ROBERT CROFTS – (Not present, unable to attend) Proposed by Laura Morrison: Seconded by Jonny Orr

Robert Crofts is a well-known and highly respected figure within the NI shooting community.

He is professional gamekeeper and has been a member of BASC for over 30 years, serving on the Northern Ireland Advisory Committee for over 20 years.

In 2010/11, when the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill was going through the Assembly, Robert frequently accompanied BASC staff during meetings with civil servants and Ministers.

Robert has chaired the NI Snares Working Group, which included organisations such as BASC, the Ulster Farmers’ Union, Countryside Alliance Ireland and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency; the group produced the draft Snares Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 and the NI Snaring Code of Practice.

During the 2012 Firearms Consultation, he made a valuable contribution to the debate regarding the introduction of a banded system that would allow firearm certificate holders to exchange one sporting rifle for another, providing both firearms sat within the same calibre group/band.  This proposal, which is unique to Northern Ireland, was accepted by the Department of Justice and the Assembly and passed into law in May 2016.

During his time on the NI Advisory Committee, Robert has been extremely supportive of the BASC NI team and since stepping down from the NI committee continues to provide assistance and support when required.

In view of Robert’s dedication, commitment and loyalty to BASC, over a prolonged period of time, we have great pleasure in nominating Robert for Honorary Life Membership.

The Chairman calls for a show of hands. He was duly elected.

Oliver McCullough received the award on behalf of Robert Crofts and read a thank you letter on behalf of Robert Crofts.

HUGH THOMAS – Proposed by David Gervers: Seconded by Steve Bloomfield

Hugh Thomas is proposed for an Honorary Life Membership to recognise the extensive service and dedication he has shown shooting sports over the last 50 years.

Hugh originally joined WAGBI as a member of the Taw and Torridge Wildfowlers Association and is still a member.

Having qualified as a land agent he has acted professionally both for and against driven game shoots in Devon and particularly on Exmoor where he has worked tirelessly to protect shooting and has significantly influenced the positive relationship between shoots and the Exmoor National Park Authority which has done much to ensure the continuation of shooting in the National Park.  This resulted in the creation of Greater Exmoor Shoots Association (GESA) which he chaired for 17 years, only retiring last month. BASC have a good working relationship with Greater Exmoor Shoots Association (GESA), the shoots and many of the people involved.

Hugh was also pivotal in commissioning the GWCT and gaining the support of GESA members to undertake recent ecological surveys on release pens in Exmoor.

Hugh has sat on the BASC England Committee over the last 3 years and now represents Exmoor on the BGA Shoot Advisory Committee.

He sat for many years as the Chair of the Exmoor Deer and District Management Society which monitors the population of the deer on Exmoor and works in conjunction with local hunts.

The Chairman calls for a show of hands. He was duly elected.

GARY BOWES – Proposed by Mat Holloway: Seconded by Peter Watson

Gary Bowes is Club President and founder member of the Wentloog Wildfowling and Conservation Association. In 1981 a group of local wildfowlers responded to a request by local farmers to organise a club to control shooting on the salt marsh below the seawall between the Rumney River and Peterstone Wentloog near Cardiff. Gary was a member of the small group who founded the Wentloog Wildfowling and Conservation Association. Gary to this day remains a member of the club’s committee and has served as its chairman for many years. Gary is currently the club’s President.

Gary is a staunch supporter of initially WAGBI and now BASC and has attended may wildfowling conferences nationally and in Wales. Gary has also been a member of the South Wales Joint Council of Wildfowling Clubs since its formation and is currently their Chairman. He is Deputy Chairman of the Consortium of Severn Estuary Wildfowling Clubs. Gary is a consistent and passionate ambassador for the club and for wildfowling and is an active and forceful presence in the wildfowling community in South Wales and we can think of no better person who deserves this award.

The Chairman calls for a show of hands. He was duly elected.

Peter Glenser and John Thornley – Vice Presidents

The Chief Executive said before we leave elections and awards he wished to touch upon Vice Presidents and what this role will give to BASC in the future.

There are two nominations for Vice President and these are Peter Glenser QC and John Thornley OBE both proposed by the President, Lord Dear and seconded by Mr Ian Grindy.

We have described their time at Council and working alongside each other and how they were elected Chairman and Vice Chairman, robust, knowledgeable and principled, they have lead BASC in through some challenging demanding times, the Association is truly fortunate to have benefited from this team, but, there is always a but, Vice President is not about what they have done but acknowledgement of the benefits for the future of having such influential individuals act upon our behalf.  They have served BASC with distinction and we will be honoured if we can call upon their services in the future.

Ian Bell asked for a show of hands. They were duly elected as Vice Presidents.


The Chairman handed over to Angela Davies, The Registered Society Secretary to report the results of the ballot for election to Council.

Angela Davies confirmed that unfortunately the scrutineer could not be here today, however, Angela Davies confirmed that the scrutineer passed the envelope to her personally yesterday morning and it has been in her care until now. Angela Davies read the report from the scrutineer.

Angela Davies stated “I present to you the results of the election to Council 2019 there were 8 candidates reduced to 7 standing for 1 place on Council which is a national seat. The votes received from valid voters were cast in the following order as they appeared on the ballot sheet.

  • Geoffrey Burgess – 231
  • Ian Grindy – 882
  • Ray Walters – 285
  • Ian Coghill – 761
  • David Carter – 130
  • Duncan Greaves – 446
  • Jeffrey Coates – 212

Angela Davis confirmed, I therefore declare Ian Grindy is elected to Council”.

The Chairman congratulated Ian Grindy who remains on Council for another 5 years and commiserations to those who put themselves forward. It is important that people stand for Council and I encourage this.

There will be a Council meeting following lunch at 2:00pm and Ian Grindy is invited to attend.


The Chairman introduced the nominations for the elections to The Wildlife Habitat Trust.

We have one nomination from members this year which is David Steele.  David Steele has been proposed by Peter Glenser and seconded by Eoghan Cameron.

The Chairman asked for a show of hands.

It was confirmed David Steele is duly elected to The Wildlife Habitat Trust.


The Chairman advised following a re-tender exercise, in accordance with good governance practices, that Council recommends the appointment of Whittingham Riddell LLP.

The Chairman asked for a show of hands, this was duly carried.


No other business.

The Chairman thanked everyone for the last 10 years.

Ian Bell advised that lunch would be served at 12:30pm in the Olive Tree Restaurant.