BASC AGM

The BASC AGM 2021 will be held on Saturday the 22nd May 2021.
Further details to follow.

BASC AGM minutes

Minutes of the 2020 Annual General Meeting

Saturday 11 July 2020 – Virtual meeting

  • Lord Dear – President
  • Eoghan Cameron – Chairman
  • Ian Bell – Chief Executive
  • Simon Starkie – Independent Scrutineer
  1. BASC Chief Executive Ian Bell opened the meeting.

      “Welcome to the 2020 British Association for Shooting and Conservation AGM.

It is a rather more unusual AGM than what we are used to, due to these strange times. Thank you for attending the AGM, we hope you and yours are all well and are looking forward to the coming season.

“Some of you may already have seen some of our officers in the field, as they visit shoots and provide Covid-19 compliance advice for the coming year.”

The CEO confirmed that the meeting was being recorded, for the purpose of assisting with the minute taking – and that attendees’ microphones were muted, which is why questions were sought in advance of the AGM. These questions will be answered immediately after the preliminaries.

The CEO advised that there may be a delay between presenters appearing on the screen due to home broadband speeds etc.

The CEO advised that he would be asking members to vote on four elements during the meeting

  1. Adoption of the financial statements
  2. Appointment of auditors
  3. Resolution regarding BASC committees
  4. Election of Vice President – Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

The CEO advised that voting will be open for 10 minutes from the time when it is announced that the voting has begun.

The CEO gave further information on the resolutions regarding the BASC committees and the election of Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown as a Vice President of the Association:

“Our current constitution allows us to invite only BASC members onto our committees. We have found that this is restrictive and we do not get the breadth of information and the engagement required in order for us to be provided with a full range of opinions when debating BASC policy and BASC decisions.

“It is important for us to be able to invite all experts, whether they wish to be a BASC member or not. For example, some of those that we would wish to have on these committees are members of other organisations and other bodies that perhaps do not wish to be members of BASC.”

The CEO advised that he had received one question about this from a member. The member understood that we require that level of expertise but was concerned we would not be able to protect BASC’s confidential information. The member asked if BASC would be able to hold those individuals to account while they are on the committees. The CEO confirmed that each committee has its own rules and regulations and members should be assured that any confidential BASC information will not be shared with those who are not BASC members. 

This move will only affect a small number of committees as and when it is required. Safeguards will be put in place and it is important that BASC has the confidence and the ability to invite members across a broad spectrum onto those committees in order that its decision making is based upon the very best information available.

Proposal for the election of Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown to be a Vice President of BASC

Proposed by Christopher Graffius

Seconded by Jak Abrahams

“In 2020, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown was elected as the third chairman for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Shooting and Conservation, as such he became the key person for the representation of British shooting in politics. He has since been re-elected by MPs and peers as chairman in each subsequent year.

“BASC provides the secretariat for the APPG and we work very closely with Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown on a range of matters. Sir Geoffrey is a keen shot and, as a member of the APPG since 2010, has brought his extensive political experience and great knowledge of shooting in the countryside to Westminster. The result is that the group has grown to be one of the largest in parliament. It plays a crucial role in informing parliamentarians and securing their support and action to promote and protect shooting and conservation in the political arena.

Sir Geoffrey also serves on several committees and maintains a broad portfolio of international and political interests; he is a man with credibility in Westminster, on every issue of late – from firearms licensing fees and home office consultations to medical involvement in licensing, general licences for pest control and the promotion of game.

“Sir Geoffrey has been a sound and protective ambassador for our sport and the countryside way of life – a commitment that he intends to continue in the future. An outstanding example of his dedication was his leadership of the campaign to preserve civilian .50 calibre target rifle shooting. This was in the face of ministerial opposition and an effective backbench MP pressure group. It is a testament to his impact and influence. Sir Geoffrey has appeared in BASC’s Shooting and Conservation magazine on many occasions, to inform our members of the political work he and others are doing to represent shooting and conservation. We have no hesitation in recommending Sir Geoffrey for his election to Vice President of BASC.”

The CEO confirmed that concluded the four items of business for voting.

The CEO announced the opening of the voting for the four items outlined and stated that voting would be open for 10 minutes.

  1. Answering of questions submitted

The CEO advised members he would answer the questions that had been submitted by members prior to the AGM.

The CEO advised that changes had been made to the agenda so that members’ questions could be dealt with upfront and before the President and Chairman’s addresses.

The CEO thanked those members who had submitted questions. Four members had submitted questions for the AGM. Some of these questions overlapped and consisted of several parts.

Question 1 from Mr Chris Manning

I note your removal of legal expenses insurance at a cost of roughly £13.50 per member. It was part of the benefits package that I paid for with my subscription and I regret that BASC is no longer honouring this contract.

Please can BASC at the AGM:

  1. Provide details of annual legal expense premiums over the last 10 years against claims?
  2. Notify members if they have any plans to replace this service via some other mechanism?
  3. Tell members what the c£1,000,000 surplus is being spent on, and why this is more important than refunding/reducing subscriptions.

      Reply to Question 1 from Mr Chris Manning

BASC ensures that its policies are worthwhile to members, provide value for money and are of sufficient benefit across the membership. The increasing cost of LEI insurance (which was not passed on through increased membership fees), the number of exclusions, the increasing excess, the 6-month exclusion clause and the low numbers of members seeing successful outcomes, all meant that this cover was no longer meeting the requirement. 

The legal expense cover has only been in place since 2014. In 2014, the premium was £250k a year; due to the net loss that the underwriters experienced in 2017, the premium almost doubled in 2018 to £463k.

In 2019, this almost doubled again to around £940k. This was despite re-tendering and moving the policy to another underwriter.

Due to the premium increases, the Association re-tendered the policy in 2017 and again in 2019. The market for this cover has shrunk significantly and due to the loss ratio on the policy, most underwriters do not wish to provide the cover. Those that do demand significant exclusions, excesses and limited numbers of cases taken to a successful conclusion.

The BASC firearms team, the very best of its kind, offers support and advice to all members on all aspects of firearms licensing. Our firearms team will still be on hand to provide support, advice and guidance to all members on firearms licensing matters.

Our public liability and personal accident insurances are unaffected and include:

  • up to £10 million Public Liability Cover
  • up to £10 million Employer Liability Cover
  • up to £10 million Product Liability Cover
  • up to £50,000 cover for personal accidents resulting in the loss of sight, hearing, or limbs.

The Association has frozen membership subscriptions for the coming year when other organisations are putting theirs up. As previously stated, the increasing cost of LEI insurance had not been passed in its entirety to members. BASC Council ensures that the Association invests its well-managed finances where they have the greatest effect, while continuing to meet the strategic objectives and invest in the protection of shooting for everyone.

      Question 2 (part 1) from Mr Michael Alldis          

  1. A very small time notification in Shooting and Conservation [was] received on Thursday 2 July for completion by 9am on Monday 6 July [in order for members to attend the AGM]. Also, those without computers or broadband [have been] disenfranchised.

      Reply to Question 2 (part 1) from Mr Michael Alldis

The country faces the challenges of a worldwide pandemic that has impacted every facet of our lives. BASC is already the first organisation to be out providing services to members on the ground.

Prevented by law from holding a face-to-face AGM, BASC considered Financial Conduct Authority and sector best practice, legal requirements and government guidance.  

In the May edition of Shooting and Conservation (S&C), we informed members that the decision regarding the AGM, due to Covid-19 restrictions, would be published on the website as soon as possible. Council decided in early June that there was no option but to have a virtual AGM to ensure legal and Association requirements were met. The decision was announced via the website on the 19 June 2020 and in the most recent S&C.

Yes, those with broadband and computer issues will find it difficult to attend.  But we are prohibited from holding a face-to-face AGM at this time. Even if we were allowed to run a face-to-face AGM, this would also mean that some members are disenfranchised if they are unable to travel to the event. 

It is worth noting that far more members have joined this AGM than have attended in recent years.    

      Question 2 (part 2) from Mr Michael Alldis

  1. [Regarding] the Accounts loss of half a million pounds: was this deficit agreed by F&GP or did they fail to rein in this profligate over-expenditure? Staff numbers increased by 16 per cent after many years of very little growth. Staff costs are up by over a million pounds. The dismissal of the former Chief Executive has still not been resolved and no provision has been made for what a tribunal may award.

Reply to Question 2 (part 2) from Mr Michael Alldis

Yes, the Council and Executive and Finance Committee did agree the deficit. The deficit was due to planned investment in the Association to achieve our strategic objectives, plus a significant increase in the legal expense’s insurance premium at renewal in August 2019.

Prudent financial planning has allowed us to invest previous surpluses when we have needed them to meet strategic objectives.

Staff numbers and costs are approved by Council in order to ensure the successful running of the Association. In 2019 this included a number of temporary roles – in particular, political officers in the run up to the general election.

(No provision is required to be made regarding to any legal cases – but I do not intend to answer this part of the question).

Question 2 (part 3) from Mr Michael Alldis

  1. Lead – gross lack of consultation. What will this cost BASC in lost membership?

Reply to Question 2 (part 3) from Mr Michael Alldis

Reactive and rearward-looking policies will not save shooting for future generations. BASC Council is elected to set the strategic direction of the Association and, in this case, with the eight other signatory organisations we are providing leadership in the aspiration to transition from lead shot and single use plastics for live quarry shooting within five years.

Yes, there has been a small dip in membership, but we have also seen new members who agree this demonstrates true leadership and will help secure shooting’s future.

Question 3 from Mr John Harlow – Chairman, Holbeach & District Wildfowlers Association

  1. Wildfowlers are the historic guardians of BASC and we find ourselves at the forefront of threats to our sport through the consenting process with Natural England and further restrictions on our ammunition. Will Council agree not to further erode our sport by the imposition of adaptive harvest management without first allowing it to be fully discussed AND agreed by the Wildfowl Liaison Committee?

Reply to Question 3 from Mr John Harlow

      Threats to shooting are faced across all disciplines and in many guises. 

It is recognised that wildfowlers are often the first line of defence against attacks on shooting; restrictions imposed on wildfowling could easily affect other disciplines in the future. It is for this reason BASC is working proactively to ensure we are well placed to deal with such threats – only yesterday Council agreed significant financial and legal commitment to ongoing appeals against NE decision making.

Part of the broader wildfowling portfolio is fully understanding the practicalities, pros and cons of schemes like adaptive harvest management (AHM).

BASC has been discussing the concept of AHM for at least three years. It has been discussed at length during the last two Wildfowling Liaison Committee (WLC) meetings and the minutes of these meetings are available on request.

At the WLC meeting on 8 Feb 2019, a recommendation was made for BASC Council to fully explore AHM. A report produced by BASC’s Head of Science was circulated to WLC for comment. No comments were received. BASC Council has supported the requirement to fully explore all permutations of AHM.

There is a drive from AEWA for AHM to be brought in across the flyway. It would be remiss of BASC to not recognise the possibility that such a scheme could be forced upon us in the future or that it could offer solutions that allow us to continue to sustainably take legitimate wildfowl species instead of species being removed from the quarry list. The system has already been used to increase the harvest of greylag geese in Scotland – AHM can work in in our favour, an extension to a season to allow a greater harvest is just one such example.

WLC will continue to be engaged on this topic. BASC needs to work across all levels to ensure we act in the best possible way to protect the sport, today and for the future.  

Question 4 from Mr David Stewart

  1. 1. Over the last couple of years there has been a welcome increase in references in BASC’s member material to BASC’s conservation role and activity.  What is the overall conservation goal of the society: how will we know that the goal has been achieved? And what contribution can the ordinary grassroots member make to help achieve that goal?

Reply to Question 4 from Mr David Stewart

BASC produced a conservation strategy for the organisation which was signed off by Council in September 2019 and is available on the website. It set BASC’s ‘Conservation Vision’: To have inspired every shooter to enhance their environment; and ‘Conservation Mission’: Enhancing the environment through sustainable sporting shooting

BASC’s strategic aims for conservation

BASC’s key strategic aims for 2020-2025 are part of a long-term commitment by the organisation for sustainable sporting shooting to deliver public benefits through increased biodiversity and habitat management, and produce a sustainable supply of healthy game meat.

The key conservation strategic aims are:

  • Sustainable ammunition
  • Sustainable management of quarry species
  • Eradication of wildlife crime
  • Net gain in natural capital from sustainable sporting shooting

Each of the key strategic aims are underpinned by action plans which show how BASC intends to take these areas of work forward. Individual members can support the organisation’s key strategic aims by moving to the use of sustainable ammunition, supporting the zero tolerance statement on raptor persecution, ensuring that they follow the GWCT Guidance for Sustainable Gamebird Releasing, and undertaking work to enhance the habitat on their shoots.

——————

The CEO stated that it is important to answer the questions that members have put forward and challenge the Association, challenge our decisions and support our objectives through the Council decision making and I hope that I have answered the details that were proposed.

The CEO handed over to the President, Lord Dear

  1. President’s address

“Can I start off first of all by saying that this is my third AGM as President and, to repeat what I said before, it is a very great privilege for me to maintain that office. I am grateful for your support in supporting me as your President. And the counter point of that is, that in the many things that I do, in various fields in public life, I get more enjoyment and a greater sense of fulfilment I think from the work with BASC than I do with almost any of the others.

“The CEO talked about change and you only have to look out of the window or look at your newspaper or turn on the television to know, had you missed it, that we are in an era of enormous change, enormous challenge and of course the foremost one that effects all of us in one way or another is coronavirus. Although, I want to touch on other challenges and changes in a moment.

“In the question of coronavirus, it could have brought down many organisations bigger and longer established than BASC. And my first comment is a word of thanks and very fulfilling word of thanks to the Chairman and to members of Council who have handled this crisis so very well. We’ve come out of it, or are coming out of it, I think very well. And because of that I pay that tribute.

“A particular word of thanks to the CEO and staff, and all the people at the Mill and elsewhere in the country who have done so much of the detail to do with coronavirus. A very fulsome word of thanks to all of them from me. I think you have done a brilliant job and are continuing to do that. And we will continue of course to try and do what I wrote about in one of the issues in our magazine a few months ago, to protect the key workers, as I think I called them. And I think most of you will know who I mean by that; the keepers, the ghillies, the stalkers, the people in the retail trade who rely on shooting as an essential part of their life and the way they run their business. They could have so easily gone out of business and some have of course, sadly. But we should do everything we can as members to support them and ensure their wellbeing as we look at our own situation and wonder where our sport is going.

“So where is our sport going? Well there are problems and many of the problems have been problems we have addressed in the AGM, in my time and in the past. And I make no apologies for repeating those. Medical reporting is but one of the three that I want to mention. Medical reporting is still there, and I do not know how it will end. We have a police service which is at odds with itself and cannot come up with a national policy that makes sense. And some forces are taking a line which I feel is totally unsupportable. We have the Home Office who typically, I have to say, are proving no leadership of any consequence at all on that. And of course, we have medical professionals which on the fringes vacillate from trying to make a great deal of money out of the membership all the way through to those who want nothing to do with shooting at all and refuse to grant certificates. All of that is an issue which has exercised the minds and the activities of the staff at the Mill for a long time and I fear will continue to do so because I don’t see a quick end to this. But we shall do our best as your Association to come up with a solution that is fair and equitable.

“The issue of lead shot, the CEO has already mentioned that and I endorse entirely. Steel shot is going to come in. Steel shot will be here in the years to come and I think we would be very wise as membership of an organisation like this to move to steel shot or similar as quickly as we can. And in doing that we enhance our conservation credibility, which I ought to mention again in a moment. We advance that and are seen to be an organisation which is willing to be at the forefront of change rather than being dragged, as it were, kicking and screaming into the future. And lastly, an issue which does not affect many of our members and that is the persecution of raptors. As an example, it is largely grouse moors as we know which are the focus of tension on this. And yet there is no doubt in my mind that one relatively small issue, although serious as it is in terms of raptor conservation, small in terms of the overall shooting agenda, can cause enormous damage to us as a shooting organisation and as members of it.

Because there is no doubt in my mind, that sitting as I often do in the centre of machinery of government in Westminster, no doubt in my mind that shooting, if you pardon the analogy, is very much in the cross hairs of public opinion. We are living in very strange and I think really quite worrying times. You only have to look at the way in which Black Lives Matter has taken off and the fringe elements that are now supporting it. Putting to one side the awfulness of the incident in the USA that sparked it all off, the tearing down of statues and the demands, and sometimes quite outrageous demands, on the coat tails of that is something that society has only just woken up to and is not at all sure of how to handle. You have got the total, I call it cluster, approach of smash everything. Everything that was once cherished and accepted is now there to be challenged.

“You’ve only got to look at the way in which free speech is now under very grave threat – generally, in the media and certainly in the universities – to ask yourself what is going on? Well I don’t know what is going on, except that I am absolutely sure that the organisations like ours cannot automatically expect an umbrella of protection from parliament and from government. Government and parliament will be swayed by public opinion. And if there is a strange current running through public opinion which is to challenge absolutely everything that once stood as something that was unassailable, then shooting is going to be, as I’ve said just now, right there in the cross hairs. Because in so many people’s minds, shooting is equivalent to slaughter. Shooting and slaughter go very cleanly/neatly together for those who oppose what we are doing. And yet shooting as the CEO has already mentioned, and I make no apologies for coming in on his coat tails for this, shooting and conservation, the two essential words in the title of our organisation, shooting and conservation are critical. So, what can we do as members to reinforce that? 

“Well there is a lot we can do. But I think there are three things that I would put in this very short address to you today.

“For a start, the shooting code is there to be adhered to. It was the subject of great debate as it was being fashioned but it has stood the test of time. It is absolutely essential for the wellbeing of shooting, the wellbeing of membership and the wellbeing of the environment that we all adhere to it.

“I think we should speak out when raptor persecution and illegal activities occur. Speak out! And say quite openly that this is nothing to do with us, we deprecate it, we do not support it, it is not what we stand for. I’ve pinched for myself I suppose, the old Tony Blair vision of three messages for education, when I say ‘education, education, education.’ I make no apologies for the pun. I think so far as this organisation is concerned shooting sits side by side with conservation, conservation and conservation. And that way, we can do what we can to put a balanced view in front of those who would seek to curb or destroy the sport that all of us at this meeting subscribe to.

“So, I conclude really with not warm words of everything is okay in this particular garden, because I don’t think it is. But my thanks go to the membership for supporting BASC so very warmly. It is a great organisation, a very well-run organisation, and one of the biggest organisations in the western world in this particular field and I think we should all take pride in being members of it.

“I wish all of the membership well and thank all of the membership for their support and their understanding. And during these very difficult times, for their tolerance for what we are all trying to do. I think overall, against the backdrop of what I’ve said about the challenging times, if we keep our heads and if we go forward sensibly, I think in the end we are going to come through. But it’s going to be difficult and I think we are very fortunate to have a Chairman, the Council, CEO and the staff to help us to do that. I conclude by saying good luck and good shooting.”

  1. Chairman’s address ­– BASC Council’s report on the Association

“Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, most in our community will be keenly aware that shooting sports have never faced so many challenges on so many fronts. Indeed, some have no doubt imagined that the final redoubt will soon be within sight, except that this is by no means reflected by the reality on the ground; BASC has never before conducted operations in so focused and strategic a manner. We are a small but highly professional and dedicated organisation which punches well above its weight in multiple arenas as the President has already touched upon. I would like to add to that the combined strength of our sister organisations, and the effect is a united front whose mindsets and actions could not be further from those of gradually shrinking defence.

“The days of reactivity are numbered. We are now entering the over-the-horizon era – an era in which the focus shifts to ensuring our treasured way of life is both available and appealing to those who come after. If, as we believe it is, the survival of shooting beyond our generation is important to our community, then it is the duty of our representative organisations to lead the way.

“BASC and its allied organisations’ aspiration to transition away from lead shot for live quarry shooting within five years is but one facet of this. We and our allies realise we cannot force a single shooter or manufacturer to transition away from lead shot. Nor, for that matter, can we force anyone who persecutes protected species to stop doing so, but what we can do is drive cultural change, change which will ensure the self-regulating, law-abiding shooting community is master of its destiny rather than the servant of legislators without sympathy for the survival of our way of life. Some among us may construe this as surrender, that their organisations have given up the fight; on the contrary, if we exhaust precious resources fighting for the indefensible, eventual surrender is inevitable. By identifying and eliminating the very few chinks in shooting’s armour well in advance of our opponents, we prevail. If the only argument left to the antis is that they simply don’t care for who we are or what we do, we prevail. With BASC’s increasingly focused approach naturally comes a leaner, more strategic budgeting model than in previous years and the CEO touched upon this earlier. This is reflected in BASC’s latest accounts, which demonstrate both financial health and capital efficiency. Members can be assured that their subscriptions are resourcing the right activities in the right areas at the right time. Put simply, if it doesn’t help to protect shooting, we don’t do it.

“It therefore gives me enormous pleasure to announce that today BASC is launching a new legal fighting fund for shooting and conservation. This fighting fund, which is the first of its kind, is designed to make a significant contribution to the promotion and protection of shooting and its benefits to the rural environment. The fighting fund is being established with a seven-figure sum from the Association and will be ring-fenced for proactive legal initiatives to benefit shooting and its contribution to the countryside. In addition, the fund will assist BASC in mounting legal challenges when shooting and conservation are threatened.

“We are now seeing a growing trend of disputes about shooting and conservation being taken to the courts rather than being resolved by co-operation and consultation. BASC will always take the offensive to meet such legal challenges whether they come from government, overly risk-averse police forces or anti-shooting organisations. Indeed, we are already fighting cases in England and Wales, with other potential cases in the wings. Being heard by the court depends on the ability to fund these actions and, thanks to the generosity of our members and sound financial management, BASC has the means to do so. This fighting fund gives us the dedicated financial teeth and muscle to make sure that shooting can take effective legal action whenever it’s required. 

“Everything BASC undertakes is geared to protecting shooting now and for generations to come. That is our overarching purpose. Our staff are dedicated, professional, passionate and extremely hard-working. Behind them stands BASC’s democratically elected Council, ordinary members who have stepped forward to represent you and shape strategy. Your membership buys much more than insurance, representation and advice; it is your important contribution to ensuring the sport continues to thrive. Without this BASC family, shooting is considerably weakened.

“I am delighted to inform you, therefore, that our membership continued to show positive growth through 2019. This boosted BASC’s membership income by some £625k – a clear demonstration of the confidence placed in us by new and existing members. But what is this down to? Some of the many direct member benefits developed further by BASC in 2019 included:

  • The further expansion of member training and education events.
  • The augmentation of our member benefits portfolio. During 2019, for instance, our offers on vehicles saved members a staggering £5.4m across 23 different manufacturers.
  • We’re also constantly looking at members’ value for money and we found the firearms licensing legal expenses insurance package to be wanting in this regard, with only 1 in 1,000 members making a claim and only 1 in 2,000 members having their cases taken up, at an annual (and rising) cost of £1million to BASC. This was clearly unacceptable.
  • Although not an easy call, Council decided it was right to withdraw this element of the membership package which the vast majority of members will never use.
  • Of overriding importance to us is the fact that BASC’s membership package is one of the most competitively priced, even though our insurance package remains the most comprehensive.

“In the wider context of 2019, the Association also invested its income and some of its reserves to support delivery against its strategic objectives. Some examples included:

  • The expansion of political and public engagement, with particular emphasis on general licences and the protection of shooting.
  • Investment of around £1million in specialist staff focused on:
    • Promoting and improving access to shooting
    • Training and education
    • Championing game as food
    • Boosting our social media presence and resources to improve member awareness and educate the wider public about the benefits of shooting
    • Expanding UK-wide political engagement
    • The establishment of a new Eastern England regional team
  • Supporting the British Game Alliance financially and by providing expertise and knowledge to help them grow and succeed.
  • Investment of £106k of legacy funding in projects such as Let’s Learn Moor, launching the BASC Scholarship programme and the osprey conservation project in northern England.
  • Launching a new website to improve information quality and delivery to members.

“None of this is possible without you, the members. BASC’s strength lies in the breadth and loyalty of our membership and we are extremely grateful for the faith that you continue to place in us. Let us, with you the members, continue to take the sport forward and make our grandchildren’s grandchildren proud of what we did to ensure their place in the field.”

  1. Council elections

Independent Scrutineer Simon Starkie addressed members to announce the results for 2020.

There were ten candidates for two national seats and one uncontested candidate for Northern Ireland.

Simon Starkie confirmed that 5,214 votes were received from valid voters and were cast in the following order as they appeared on the ballot sheet.

  • Duncan Greaves – 1,126
  • Karl Waktare – 680
  • Mike Madgwick – 553
  • Paul Mayfield – 601
  • Mark Shillito – 860
  • Ann Mortimer – 2,530
  • David Fry – 690
  • Al Gabriel – 1,500
  • Geoffrey Burgess – 529
  • Martyn Jones – 1080

Simon Starkie stated that he therefore declared Ann Mortimer and Al Gabriel duly selected for two national seats and Oliver McCullough duly elected for Northern Ireland.

  1. Obituaries

      The CEO read out the obituaries:

Jack Charlton OBE, Mr J Wardell, Mr Clive Rogers, Mrs Kim Chesworth, Mr Leonard Collins, Mr J Ashbrook, Mr Roger Lindop, Sir Henry Riley, Mr A Thomson, Mr A Spicer, Mr Gary Smith, Mr C Witt, Mr Geoff Cook, Mr Harvey Harman, Mr D Ausobsky, Mr Paul Taylor, Mr John Kidd, Mr James Jennings, Mr J Hewins, Mrs Katharine Robinson, Mr David Dance, Mr Dominic Brown, Mr Peter Anderson, Mr Rod Coult, Mr Ivan Haynes, Mr M Funnell, Mr Peter Elliott, Mr Ron Rollason, Mr Keith Morley, Mr F Allen, Mrs B Willmington, Mr A Marsh, Mr J Dobney, Mr J Gittens, Mr Kenrick Barter, Mrs Helena John, Mr John Gorman, Mr Christopher Rooke, Mr P Cooper, Mr Jonathan Wood, Mr F Howsam, Mrs Elizabeth Bennett, Mr I Pritchard, Mr Steven Masters, Mr Ken Hocking, Mr Nigel Steele-Mortimer, Mr Tristram Turton.

The CEO asked all to observe a short period of silence to remember our fellow shooters and members.

  1. Results

            Simon Starkie, independent scrutineer, announced the results as follows;

Resolution 1

Adoption of the financial statements: 37 for; 0 against; 1 abstained

Duly carried

Resolution 2

Appointment of auditors: 37 for; 0 against; 1 abstained

Duly carried

Resolution 3

BASC Committees: 36 for; 2 against; 0 abstained

Duly carried

Resolution 4

Election of Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown as a Vice President: 38 for; 0 against; 0 abstained

Duly carried

  1. AGM closure

The BASC Chairman thanked everyone for attending the AGM. He confirmed this concluded the AGM and passed on his congratulations to re-elected Council members and the new elected Council member.

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:

1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

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.

2. PROMINENT MEMBERS WHO HAVE PASSED AWAY

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.

3. PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS

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.

4. CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S ADDRESS

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.

AWARDS AND PRESENTATIONS

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.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

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.

5. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

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.

6. QUESTIONS

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.

7. ADOPTION OF THE ANNUAL REPORT AND AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31 DECEMBER 2018

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.

8. ELECTIONS

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.

MEMBERS OF COUNCIL

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.

WILDLIFE HABITAT TRUST – TRUSTEES 2019-20

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.

9. APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS FOR 2019/2020

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.

10. ANY OTHER BUSINESS BY LEAVE OF THE CHAIR

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.

Saturday 9 June 2018

Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa, Neston Road, Thornton Hough, Wirral CH63 1JF

Lord Dear – President Peter Glenser – Chairman Ian Bell – Chief Executive Angela Davies – Executive Director of Business Management Ian Bell called the meeting to order. Angela Davies (Registered Society Secretary) made the following administrative announcements: 2018 AGM Preliminary Matters Good morning May I bring to your attention the fact that today’s proceedings are being recorded; this is for the sole purpose of assisting with the preparation of the minutes. Members who wish to address the meeting may speak from the floor, but please await the arrival of a microphone before speaking, and provide your name for recording in the minutes. I would remind our supporter members that while they are welcome to attend and speak at the meeting today, they do not hold voting rights. Toilet facilities are located at the suite entrance/exit you came through to enter this building. Lunch is planned for 1:30pm prompt. For those who have confirmed they are staying, lunch will be served in The Orangery. If necessary, this meeting, or the Council meeting which follows, will continue after lunch. While the Council meeting is in progress, the remaining delegates are requested to move to the bar area of the hotel. If weather permits, there are outside seating areas. In the event of an emergency, please make your way to the assembly point, which is located in the front carpark. The emergency exits are accessed behind and through the doors you entered. A BASC Fire Marshall and a first aider are available; if you need their assistance please speak to a member of BASC Staff who will contact them for you. Can I just remind you that all buildings are no smoking; there is a designated smoking area outside the hotel. Finally, so that proceedings are not interrupted, please ensure you have switched off your mobile phones.

1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

The President asked Angela Davies to list the apologies received. Apologies had been received from: Tommy Mayne, Colin Shedden, J Noel Hulmstone, Martyn Jones, Sean Anderson, Bryn Parry, Russ Smith, Wendy and Bob Pittaway and George Ashcroft.

2. PROMINENT MEMBERS WHO HAVE PASSED AWAY

The President asked Ian Bell to say a word about prominent members who have passed away. Ian Bell: There are a number of members have sadly passed away in the last 12 months and it is at this point that they need to be remembered. Harry Warr Harry was a widely respected Dorset keeper and countryman. A great man and unstinting ambassador for shooting and fishing; he served for a time on the BASC gamekeeping committee. William Frederick ‘Fred’ Grote Fred passed away in Milton Keynes on 16 May 2018 aged 75 years; he was a member for 8 years. John Edward Tylor John, who died last September aged 75, was a BASC member for more than 25 years and a great supporter of shooting. John was a member of the GWCT’s Oxfordshire committee and raised considerable funds for shooting. Paul Goldsmith Paul, who died last December, was a member of the Southport and District Wildfowlers’ Association and a BASC member for over 30 years.3. Ralph Gibson Ralph, who died in May of this year at his home in Broughton, North Lincolnshire, was a keen game shooter and occasional wildfowler. He served as captain of the Springthorpe game shoot for 12 years and was closely involved with the feeding programme there. Anthony Phillips Anthony was one of the founding members of the South Hants Wildfowling Association and was a well-known character in wildfowling circles. A member of BASC for over 30 years, he received a special award from BASC Council in 2005 in recognition of his longstanding and significant contribution to the SHWA. Michael Byron Wells Mike Wells was the General Secretary of the Sportsman’s Association of Great Britain and Ireland and sat as its representative on the British Shooting Sports Council. He was a keen target shooter and a member of the Marylebone Rifle and Pistol Club. Mike practised what he preached and routinely crossed swords with the Metropolitan Police Firearms Licensing Team over members’ problems. When he was not shooting, Mike played and sang in an amateur blues band. Bill Harriman spoke about Colin Greenwood: Colin Greenwood I’d like to remember Colin Greenwood, who was one of the great men of our industry. Colin died in November last year and with his loss I think UK shooting has lost a very great champion. He was born in the little Yorkshire village of Cornholme in 1931. He left school aged 14, finding work as a butcher’s boy and then in a textile mill, and I would have to say, the phrase ‘trouble at mill’ might have been written with him in mind. As soon as he was able to enlist, he followed his brother into the Coldstream Guards where he served for three years. I can always remember the late Lord Kimble introducing people from the shooting world – there was Major this and Colonel that. Colin was completely un-phased and claimed in a no nonsense Yorkshire accent that he was, ‘Lance Corporal Greenwood’ my Lord. That was Colin all over; it was not who you were but what you did that counted with him. After Colin left the army he joined the police and he met his wife Pauline in the most romantic of situations – a stakeout in Pontefract; you couldn’t get better in Mills and Boon. He was a sergeant at Hebdon Bridge for many years and he left as a superintendent after 25 years’ service. Because of his interest in guns and shooting he became a firearms consultant and expert witness and he and I often collaborated on cases. He later became editor of Guns Review magazine, which was perhaps the most pre-eminent magazine of its day – hard-hitting and no-nonsense and it catapulted him into a position as the leading campaigner for shooting sports. His knowledge of firearms law was unsurpassed and he was no slouch when it came to firearms’ history and technology either, writing an excellent book on the English rifle. BASC owes Colin a particular debt because it was his constant agitation during the 1988 AGM that led directly to the creation of the firearms team, in order to counter the political hostility towards sporting firearms following the Hungerford killings. Later, BASC made him an honorary life member in recognition of his tireless political campaigning. Such was his international reputation that the world forum on shooting activities made him an ambassador in 2007. I always remember that Colin never ceased to remind anyone who worked for a shooting organisation that they were employed by the members for their benefit; he wouldn’t tolerate people who were lazy or ineffective and didn’t have a hundred per cent commitment to shooting. He applied the same principal to repressive police officers and civil servants. He had a bit of a reputation as an ogre but that was very far from the truth because he was a very warm, convivial, jovial and generous man and you’ll be unsurprised to learn that I enjoyed many a jar with him after difficult meetings. I can remember writing a paper on some aspect or other of the law which Colin read. When he’d finished reading it he remained silent for what seemed like an eternity and I thought ‘Oh my God, he doesn’t like it!’ before he said to me, ‘This is quite good; well done lad!’ High praise indeed from him! I was very proud to have him as a colleague. Colin’s wife and daughter pre-deceased him. He leaves a son and granddaughter to whom BASC extends its condolences for their loss. When he retired a few years back, Colin’s final inspirational words to me were, ‘Look after yourself and don’t stop kicking the bastards!’ My Lord President, I try to live up to that advice! A minute’s silence was observed out of respect for those that we have lost over the last 12 months.

3. PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS

The Lord Dear: Ladies and gentlemen I am very pleased to see you all here today. Thank you very much for selecting me as your president. I was not here last year, that’s the way the system goes; but this is my first AGM as President – I’m still wearing L plates and I’m not too sure how the proceedings go. But I have to say in all sincerity that I do see it as a great honour to be president of this Association; it is a great privilege and it’s also a great opportunity for me to do just a little bit here and there to try and help BASC along the way with what we’re doing. It’s been suggested to me that not many of you know me so if you will forgive the modesty I want to take you very quickly through where I’ve come from and what I’ve done in the past to put what I’m going to say about the future into some sort of context. I’ve had three careers in my life. The policing side of it which most people can remember something about, a career in business (there was a bit of an overlap after that), and latterly in government and in politics. As far as the policing side was concerned, I was in the Metropolitan police for five years. I was head of operations for London for part of that time, went on to be Chief Constable of West Midlands, with its dearth of countryside, then onto Inspectorate or Area Command. In that role, with an interface to government I was concerned with a number of major things: crime squads, the beginnings of what became the National Crime Agency, prevention of organised crime and counter-terrorism. I started policing in Peterborough, then in Cambridgeshire then in Nottinghamshire; rural, or largely, semi-rural areas and I developed there and was able to continue right up until today, my love for the country and country sports. This included a bit of stalking whenever I could get it and fishing but shooting has always been a particular passion and the gundogs that go with it. That’s what brings me here; I am pleased to be part of BASC. I think of myself as a countryman; I live in the country; I train my own gundogs. My second career was in business. I was sitting on boards from start-ups right up to FTSE 100s. I still chair a company which is to do with protecting people from the effects of blasts and bombs. I have sat as a crossbencher (party-politically independent) in the House of Lords for 12 years. I’m one of the small number of people who sit as Deputy Lord’s Speaker. I get involved with fundamental legal right’s issues, freedom of speech and freedom of association which it seems to me governments have been trying to curtail for years under the guise of, we need to protect you. What they are actually doing is curtailing things that you take for granted, to which I take great exception and have tried, sometimes successfully, to challenge. I also take a deep interest in the countryside. In that role in Parliament, I and others like me can exercise quite a profound influence on the influence makers. I’ve been a member of BASC for 30 or 40 years. I’ve been a member of an All Party Parliamentary Group on sporting shooting for the last ten years. In that guise, I’ve been able to see what BASC has been doing and have watched that with considerable admiration. There is a very good story to tell as far as BASC is concerned being the largest shooting organisation in the United Kingdom, if not Europe; over 150,000 members and growing steadily and a very healthy balance sheet. BASC has come through two very difficult years. There are still legal cases to be resolved which will need some very careful handling over the coming 12 months. We are fast approaching a point where we can turn our back on those problems and look to the future. Thanks must go to: Christopher Graffius, who took the role of Acting CEO and handled the business of BASC so well. BASC owe him a huge debt of gratitude; John Thornley, Vice-Chairman, the man who closely interfaced with the legal team that handled BASC’s affairs; and Peter Glenser, as the Chairman overseeing the whole thing. To them, corporately on your behalf, I’d like to say thank you for what they have done over that time. Congratulations also to Peter Glenser on his recent appointment as Queen’s Council. Not many barristers get to that point; it is to his considerable credit that he has. We are slowly coming out of the difficulty but we face a whole range of other problems. I’m going to give you the headlines. The ongoing problems with licensing and the medical side of licence applications. For a long time, I’ve said we should get well away from looking at the size of the gun; we should look at the person holding the gun; whether they are fit and proper or not and not get too worried about how they lock the gun up and where they take it and in which direction they shoot it. If the person holding the gun is okay, then everything else follows; the reverse is also true. A lot of us have said for a long time, the medical aspect is important; significant mental problems causative at the Hungerford and Dunblane massacres, among others, may have been apparent to other people. True. Did doctors know about it? Arguably, probably, yes. So how do you bring that knowledge into the system? It can be done sensitively and properly to protect the general public. What is happening now is that the Home Office are going headlong into wanting full medicals at considerable expense for everyone applying for the licences and for those renewing as well; that I think is wrong. They are breaking all the Treasury rules which say you should not factor enforcement costs into the cost of any licence – they’re doing that. Doctors themselves are divided; some don’t want to touch it at all; others are undecided and others still are thinking they can take as high a fee as possible. There is a lot of work to do in this area which BASC is engaging in, and holding their own; we should continue to support this work to get some sort of sense into this aspect of the licensing regime. More or less parallel to that, it hurts me to say, is the totally inconsistent police policy of licensing – why we haven’t got a national register beats me. I advocated that a long time ago, so did others; we still have 40 plus licensing authorities. Some Chief Constables do it very well; they are in the minority. Some do it in a more or less acceptable way and some are appalling. Some of you will have suffered from that. In that patchwork of enforcement, this Association is doing everything; there’s nobody else really pressing back on the police and the Home Office to push back and get some sanity in all of this. The good work that BASC does in trying to foster better relations with police, to educate police licensing authorities is well known. BASC is the only body which collects the official statistics and are the only ones who can say it is going well or not as the case may be and is willing to confront bad practice when it occurs; sadly, it occurs too often. Then there is the growing problem of lead shot. Nothing to do with the alternatives of steel and bismuth – do they damage old guns, we know about that. It’s what happens if the EU, whether we’re in it or not, ban lead shot. You may know that 70 per cent of all the game that we shoot in this country is exported to Europe; if lead is banned, that 70 per cent of the bag going to Europe will not be acceptable because it may or may not have lead shot in it. That then opens the door to what do you do with all the birds that are shot – are they going to be bulldozed, God forbid; are they going to be incinerated, God forbid that as well. The whole question of organised shooting is up for grabs if lead shot is banned and BASC is at forefront of this issue. We still have the Berne Convention regarding the conservation of wildlife and habitat, and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement remains in place, which wildfowlers will know about. All of that, and others, may or may not be on the table if we come out of Europe and nobody really knows what is going to happen there. All of that is going to be in the hands of your Staff. I’d like to pay a tribute from my position to the 120, shortly to be 130 BASC Staff members and what they do, which is a really splendid, first-class, professional job. I think we are lucky to have Ian Bell on board as the new CEO. A Brigadier until recently, in the army in Germany; I have a lot of contacts in the army from my counter-terrorism days and I know that he is widely respected in that environment for the way he has handled the army problems, particularly in Germany. Experienced, widely respected, a sportsman (a good thing to have in that position) and I think he’s going to make a powerful and very positive impact on what we are doing in the future. So welcome to you Ian, on behalf of all of us. Thanks to the Staff, thanks particularly to the Council members for what they do and the time that they devote to the work of the Association and of course, to the members. People often forget the members at a time like this when you are thanking everybody but without the members, there wouldn’t be an Association. I am very grateful for the support, understanding and involvement of the members, who join because they want to do something positive for shooting and that is exactly right and is one of the reasons that we are as good and as powerful as we are. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Chairman, I look forward to a very successful year with BASC.

4. CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S ADDRESS

Ian Bell: Thank you Lord Dear. Here I am four months in. In that period I have been all over Great Britain, visited all our staff, many members, my opposite numbers in our sister organisations, Parliament, partners, stakeholders and even some of our Eurpoean allies in the form of the Federation of European Hunting Organisations.  It has been a whirlwind tour and it has convinced me that, despite the threats that have been alluded to and will be touched on later, BASC is in rude health; well over 150 thousand members, a great deal to be proud of and a bright future. But let us not be complacent – although our future may be bright it is up to us to take action to keep it so – there are storm clouds looming.  More on that in a second. I am delighted to be here and am relishing my job at BASC; it is an utterly fantastic position to be in. It is a great honour to be given the day to day task of running the organisation on your behalf and delivering the very best for our members. I can genuinely put my hand on my heart and say that, although I knew what BASC did, I didn’t really realise just how much work goes in on a day-to-day basis in order to deliver what our members require. But actually more importantly, I think, the staff and Council crack on doing what is best for shooting regardless of where membership sits. It really is about the best for what we hold dear and that is a great thing and long may it continue. As an ex-military man I love to be given a clear mission; I can’t think in any other way. It focusses everything I do and is what I measure myself against… And I thought it would be worth reminding ourselves that BASC has a clear mission which has 3 parts: (a)  to promote and protect sporting shooting and the well-being of the natural environment throughout the United Kingdom and overseas (b) to represent members’ interests by providing an effective and unified voice for sporting shooting, provide individual services to members and others, and (c) to act for the benefit of the community by promoting  practical habitat conservation, wildfowl, game and deer management, good firearm licensing practice, best practice, education and scientific research. I see that going on every single day. They are important, given my previous point on storm clouds, and very relevant.  My first four months as chief executive have reaffirmed what I learned over my 34 years in the Army: it is really easy to become distracted by the little things; those things that annoy us on a daily basis, that don’t quite meet our immediate objectives. This at a time when we must focus all our effort on our long term objectives. Why do I start with this – because we, as a responsible shooting and conservation organisation; no – as THE responsible shooting organisation, the biggest and most influential in the country we MUST keep our eye on the prize and not become distracted by those things which do not actually threaten the future of shooting. We face a period of unprecedented threat to our sport and way of life; a perfect storm of misunderstanding, political threat and cheap populist political policies, a population ever increasingly divorced from the reality of where food comes from, over regulation, increasingly militant and threatening animal rights movements, the view that animals think and behave like people, an ignorance of how the countryside is maintained and the significant level of work we do to contribute to that, unprecedented levels of crime linked to offensive weapons that are linked to our sport in a lazily and unintelligent way and, in my view one of the biggest threats to shooting – the failure of a minority of shooters to adhere to the standards that ensure our way of life is sustainable. For a group of people that many have difficulty in understanding what we do and why we do it we must be beyond reproach.  I listened to a dedicated and hugely committed member recently – when asked to give advice to those running or involved in shooting some advice – he said it is simple.  Just don’t do anything to pee people off – anyone at all.  Sound advice I think you would agree. We all need to get involved… we need all members to participate actively in all our campaigns… we need your help to promote shooting so it can survive; for our children, our children’s children and every future generation. But enough on the perfect storm that we may face as it is my firm belief that we are well positions and are doing the right thing – please spread the word. I want to touch now on the organisation itself – and in particular those that you pay to ensure the BASC wheel keeps turning.  And here I make no apology for reiterating some of what I said in S&C magazine. As I have travelled the length and breadth of the country I have come to one inescapable conclusion – I have been hugely impressed by our people and BASC are extremely fortunate to have such committed, proactive, passionate and intelligent staff.  They reflect our diverse membership and are routinely engaged in a plethora of challenging and often conflicting issues on your behalf. Like any membership organisation there are disagreements and priorities to be decided but rest assured every member of staff comes to work each morning determined to do the best for our members, for our treasured shooting sports and the great British countryside. The other thing I learnt in the Army is there is an art to when you finish a talk – and it must  always be sooner rather than later – especially when we have some very important business to get through before lunch. So I will go back to the start – It is a huge honour to be here and I look forward to working on your behalf over the coming months and years. Thank you for the warm welcome and support. AWARDS AND PRESENTATIONS 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. This is presented annually to a club, member or group of members, who in the opinion of BASC Council, have contributed most in the preceding 12 months in the field of conservation. This year’s award goes to the LINDISFARNE WILDFOWLING MANAGEMENT GROUP [Proposed by Duncan Thomas; seconded by Dan Reynolds] for its continued involvement in the Natural England Lindisfarne Wildfowling Scheme. The group ensures wildfowling interests are represented and a sustainable permit scheme can exist on a National Nature Reserve with over 500,000 annual visitors. The group won Bronze in the 2017 Purdey Conservation Awards application and remain a supportive presence for BASC regional Staff and the wildfowling warden. A representative of the Lindisfarne Wildfowling Management group was presented with the trophy. 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. This year’s award goes to CLINTON DEVON ESTATES [Proposed by David Gervers; seconded by James Green] and was collected by John Wilding, Head of Forestry & Environment. Clinton Devon Estates, based at Bicton in East Devon, has since April 2016 been working with the BASC grey squirrel project to control these invasive pests with a view to reducing damage to trees and pave the way for a possible reintroduction of native red squirrels to selected areas of woodland. Controllers using air rifles have been highly effective in reducing the grey squirrel population and the scheme has been expanded. SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS These are presented to those who may or may not be members of BASC but have been 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 of benefit to BASC that merits public recognition. RUSS SMITH – BASC SHOTGUN COACH AND TRAINER: [Proposed by Jane Hatton, Liz Ridgway, Nick Lane and Lewis Thornley] Russ Smith became a BASC Shotgun Coach for BASC in 2009 and since then has qualified as a mentor, trainer and assessor of our shotgun coaches. He is also qualified in many other areas of shotgun training. Along with delivering and supporting courses, he also regularly volunteers his services as Lead Coach at coaching line events. He initiated the BASC coaching line at the Kenilworth Show a few years ago and has continued to manage this event. Russ is a true professional, dedicated, hardworking and most of all fun to work with. He is always very keen to help out where he can doing whatever is asked of him. Many of the activities he carries out on behalf of BASC are volunteer roles. The award is to be presented at The Game Fair in July as unfortunately Russ is unable to attend the AGM due to being on the coaching line at the Kenilworth show. RICHARD FAULKS: [Proposed Steve Moore; seconded by Christopher Graffius] Richard Faulks is one of Britain’s finest shooting-sports photographers. A keen game shot and stalker, he has been a member for several years and is a staunch ally of BASC. The quality of all our publications, especially Shooting and Conservation magazine, owes much to the images he provides at well below market rates. Richard was presented with the award. LANGSTONE & DISTRICT WILDFOWLERS & CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION (LADWACA) [Proposed by Michelle Nudds; seconded by Taylor Rikje-Pearson] Over a number of years members of LADWACA have attended and assisted at many game fairs and shows, bringing with them excellent displays of wildfowling past and present, with an emphasis on conservation work. As a club, just in 2017 they would have contributed well over 400 hours of voluntary work at shows. LADWACA also assist with auction lots and supported the BASC South East team’s first Ladies Wildfowling Day. The award was collected by Allen Musselwhite, Vice-Chairman of the association. TINA BROUGH (CO-ORDINATOR OF THE NORTH YORK MOORS MOORLAND ORGANIZATION NYMMO) [Proposed by Duncan Thomas; seconded by Dan Reynolds] The work of NYMMO has highlighted the benefits of grouse moor management and the very positive role that gamekeepers play in rural communities. Tina has worked tirelessly in her role with NYMMO in promoting the region and as a positive media presence for the keepers. As a fundamental partner in the BASC “Let’s Learn Moor” project NYMMO co-ordinated local keepers who took hundreds of primary school children out onto the moors for essential educational days in 2017. Tina collected her award. CURTIS MOSSOP: [Proposed by Duncan Thomas; seconded by Dan Reynolds] Since Curtis became Head of Gamekeeping at Newton Rigg College two years ago, he has ensured that BASC’s already excellent relationship with the college has continued. He continually promotes the joint working partnership we have through his contacts and social media, always reflecting the work BASC does in a positive manner. This relationship has a big impact through the students who enjoy a near 100 per cent employment record on leaving Newton Rigg, taking their positive experience of BASC into the workplace. Curtis received his award. JULIE HAGGER: [Proposed by Duncan Thomas; seconded by Dan Reynolds] Julie, or Jules, has been a superb volunteer for BASC North over the last six years. She has attended countless events and shows and has especially supported our Ladies Shooting projects. Jules is competent fielding enquiries and questions while “shop front” on stands and is an asset to our team. With a pleasant, helpful and professional image, Jules is first on the invites when planning an event. Jules received her award. PAUL REED AND SIMON WADE OF P&S BUTCHERS IN HOLT, NORFOLK [Proposed by Simon Reinhold; seconded by Louise farmer] Over the last eight years Paul and Simon and their team have provided all of the top quality venison burgers with which we have fed more than 60,000 children, teachers and parents at schools’ food and farming events around East Anglia. Recently, they provided 100-plus dressed pheasants to schools for our ‘Game Changer’ project to get children cooking game. They’ve done all of this with a smile, even when it’s at short notice, without asking for anything in return and we are delighted to be able to present them with an award. Due to their work commitments Paul and Simon were unable to attend the AGM so will have their award presented at The Norfolk Show in June. TO THE GAMEKEEPER MIKE HOLLIDAY AND HIS BEATING TEAM AT GLENAMPLE ESTATE, LOCHEARNHEAD: [Proposed by Donald Muir; seconded by Colin Shedden] in recognition of running the beating line for the BASC Scotland Young Shots’ driven days on the estate for the past 18 years and for their encouragement to the all the Young Shots and their assistance to BASC Staff. Without their hard work, hundreds of Young Shots would not have enjoyed their day’s shooting – for many of them their first introduction to game shooting. Mike received his award. PATSY MCGLONE: [Proposed by Oliver McCullough; seconded by Tommy Mayne] Patrick (Patsy) McGlone, an SDLP Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly since 2003, is a BASC member and chairs the Assembly’s All Party Group on Country Sports. Patsy has played a key role protecting and defending shooting interests in Northern Ireland. He has worked closely with the BASC NI team to prevent proposals to massively increase firearms licensing fees and introduce mandatory testing as a prerequisite to obtaining a firearm certificate. He has helped the BASC NI team to hold the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to account over firearms application processing delays and discriminatory changes to policies. Patsy received his award. BRYN PARRY OBE: [Proposed by Peter Glenser; seconded by Ian Bell] Many will be aware of his fantastic work in setting up Help for Heroes to assist our wounded servicemen and women, injured in the line of duty. Bryn Parry is also one of Britain’s best known countryside and shooting cartoonists. His drawings appear in many and varied publications and he has illustrated countless products with his witty, detailed, and perceptive pictures. His humour and interpretation have exposed the joy of shooting to a vast audience and by doing so he has done much to reinforce the position of shooting sports in the British psyche. He is a great ambassador for the British countryside, British shooting sports and that which BASC holds dear. It has been said of him that he has the unique ability to mock and flatter every type of person to be found in the shooting field. As a shooting man himself he is also able to ensure that every detail of his cartoon smacks of authenticity. Whether on the page or on the wall, his work always brings a smile and a nod of recognition and we will be delighted to welcome him to the BASC stand at The Game Fair in July where his award will be presented. WENDY AND BOB PITTAWAY: [Proposed by Helen Crick; seconded by Robin Marshall Ball] Wendy and Bob Pittaway are retiring due to ill health after almost 28 years volunteering on gundog scurries with BASC. Over the years they have encouraged many new people, especially the younger generation, advising on gundog training and which clubs to join. Bob has thrown dummies in all weathers and timed the scurries, while Wendy was indispensable in the booking in tent, sometimes working all day. They will be greatly missed. The award is to be presented at The Game Fair in July. WALTER AND JULIE COLE; [Proposed by Ian Grindy; seconded by Steve Bloomfield] Walter was an inaugural member of the Gamekeepers Working Group at BASC in 1984, which later became the Gamekeepers Advisory Committee. Walter and Julie became avid fundraisers for the cause. It was in no small way due to their efforts that BASC was able to fund a new full-time Gamekeeping Officer, and supply him with a car. Walter and Julie organised innumerable clay shoots, fundraising activities, and local BASC gamekeeper liaison groups, and would always be on the BASC stand to support the gamekeeping team at Game Fairs and other venues. Walter was also a founder trustee of the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust. He still serves on the Trust and has done much to see it progress into a charity that really makes a vital difference for gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies. Walter and Julie received their award. Walter Cole: Lord Dear, members of the Executive Committee, Council members, Staff; this is a very proud moment for me. 34 years is a long time. I’ve enjoyed pretty well every moment but I cannot carry on due to ill health. I was hoping to do another three years to make the 80 but I can’t quite get that far. I’d like to thank Ian Grindy and Steve Bloomfield very much for putting me forward for this. A lot of it, I couldn’t have done without my other half because in the early days I would leave her with an incubator in the rearing field and the feeding to come to Marford Mill to attend meetings; in those days, meeting were monthly; the Gamekeepers working group. I thank Julie for all she did for us. I miss the shows, I miss the friends, a lot of people we met over the years; I’ve stood on the stands at different times and talked to someone for ten minutes – and then I’ve said to someone, who was that? Because unfortunately, a lot of people knew me that I didn’t know. A lot of them became good friends.

5. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Peter Glenser: Let’s start with the good news; many of the issues that face shooting are the result of the remarkable success of our sport. Walter Cole told me this morning that when he joined Council in 1984, there were some 44,000 members. We now stand a little short of 153,000. Compared with the rest of the world our shooting is varied and relatively free of regulation. We continue to attract newcomers, as well as visitors from all over the world, keen to enjoy some of the best shooting in the world. The growth in the market for game outstrips that for farmed meat. The amount of land shot over continues to grow. We are net contributors to the environment and the economy. For this to continue and improve, shooting must remain sustainable and have the highest standards. This Association has, and is, at the forefront of driving that sustainability and promoting those high standards. I have been delighted to welcome our new CEO, Ian Bell, who has, as you would expect from a vigorous Brigadier, hit the ground running and is doing a fantastic job. The Association, Staff and Council have made significant progress over the last two years – I’ve already made mention of our record membership levels. In the last two years we’ve increased membership above target to 152,000, delivered retention levels in excess of 92 per cent and seen a 25 per cent growth in women members. More than 30 per cent of all women with a shotgun certificate are BASC members. The Association has never been so financially strong. In the last two years we’ve recorded surpluses over a million with a £1.26m surplus this year. The balance sheet has never been so strong with assets of some £9m. This allows us not only to have a war chest to protect the sport but to invest more in member services and Staff than we have ever done before. We are actively sourcing sourcing “centres of excellence” to establish state of the art facility for research and courses. We can devote more to member benefits. We aim to ensure that your BASC membership leads to savings on kit for your sport that more than covers your subscription. Over the last two years we’ve expanded the range, for example: 4x4s, cars and ATVs. Over 20 marques offer very substantial discounts of up to several thousand pounds to BASC members. We’ve worked on dog insurance, an important matter for our membership. We’ve produced a policy for members, tailored for gundogs, which, are regularly, and unfairly, we think, excluded from readily-available pet insurance. We have introduced complimentary entry to The Game Fair and discounts on member’s guests’ tickets for all three days. We did this last year and we will do it for the next three years and there are other very exciting benefits in the pipeline which will be announced when finalised. All of that is perhaps on the credit side. What about the threat; the potential debit side? There are threats; I have written about them in the past and I have referred to them as the “perfect storm” facing shooting. What are the elements of this perfect storm? Well, firstly, there are Home Office-sponsored restrictions which would lead into threats of regulation in Scotland and in Europe; there are the challenges of Brexit; there is the possibility of an increasing urban government, out of touch with the countryside and out of touch with our way of life. Of whatever colour that government may be, there may be less friendly relationships than we have enjoyed before. There are unacceptable government proposals on medical involvement in firearm licensing. Those proposals have led to the Home Office guidance being ignored by constabularies across England and Wales who have just decided to do their own thing. There’s the threat of extra cost that is involved in that and bureaucracy forced on the shooting community. I’m thinking in particular of medical matters and firearms licensing. There is the proposed, wholly disproportionate, ban on certain rifles. As Lord Dear has mentioned, it’s the calibre of the person that matters, not the calibre of the gun. Some of these guns, for example, 50 calibre, are being targeted on security grounds despite there being no evidence of criminal use. There are dramatically increased fees on clubs and on registered firearms dealers, imposed by government without any transparency on the actual costs as is required. There are proposed increases in licensing fees, despite continued issues with the poor levels of service offered by many constabularies. There are further controls on knife sales, even when this government knows that knives used in violent assaults on the streets of our cities come from kitchen drawers or tool bags and not from the pockets or kit bags of deer stalkers. There are proposals to licence airguns in England and Wales. Looking at how poorly many police forces deal with firearms licencing, the spectre of them having to licence seven million airguns and getting people to comply with that would be an unmitigated beurocratic and financial disaster. There is the threat of shoot licencing in Scotland. The threat to the use of lead ammunition in Europe. Seventy per cent of our game is currently sold in Europe and if there is a ban on lead-shot game being sold in Europe, it will dramatically increase difficulties in the marketing and consumption of game within the United Kingdom and Ireland. There are threats to the quarry list, particularly certain species of migratory duck under the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement, which again, Lord Dear touched on already. What are we doing about all this? Well, we are fighting, and will fight, any proposals that threaten to damage shooting and to ensure that we continue to have varied, accessible and largely self-regulated shooting sports. We will fight behind the scenes continuing our work in Parliament; our liaison with the APPG on shooting and lobbying of ministers. We will, where appropriate, fight in the courts. An example: In Northern Ireland, our engagement with the Comptroller and Auditor General has resulted in an audit of the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI’s) Firearms and Explosives Branch. The audit report is expected to be laid before the Northern Ireland Assembly in the very near future. The involvement of the auditor has prompted a welcome improvement in processing times and I would like place on record my sincere thanks and appreciation to Patsy McGlone MLA, chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s All Party Group on Country Sports, for facilitating our work with the Comptroller and Auditor General. Also in Northern Ireland, we are on the threshold of instructing a legal challenge to the PSNI as a result of their failure to consult on the removal of the paper application system in favour of a fully online system, which we say is discriminatory. We will carry forward the fight to the threat wherever we find it on your behalf and do so by both soft and hard means. To do all this we need your continued support, without which BASC’s work for shooting would plainly be impossible. We also need your commitment to high standards in the field which demonstrate to all that shooting is sustainable, safe and delivers enormous environmental and economic benefits to the country as a whole – as well as putting damn good food on the table and let’s not forget that the production of food is at the heart of everything that we do. BASC, through its Council and Staff, are utterly committed to these standards and thereby demonstrating the benefit that shooting and this Association brings to the United Kingdom; and long may that work continue.

6. QUESTIONS

The Chairman opened the floor for questions. There were no questions.

7. ADOPTION OF THE ANNUAL REPORT AND AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31 DECEMBER 2017

The Chairman moved to adopt the Annual report and audited accounts, the key features of which were highlighted, thus:
  • The highest surplus in BASC history
  • Significant investment in the Association and in shooting
  • Growth in frontline Staff – particularly the firearms team and the regional teams.
The Chairman opened the floor for any questions regarding the financial statements. There were none. The Chairman proposed that the Annual Report and Audited Accounts be adopted; seconded by John Thornley. 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 recorded an overwhelming show of hands and that the Annual Report and Audited Accounts were adopted.

8. ELECTIONS

The President opened the elections. Nominations for Honorary Life Membership The Chairman explained that Honorary Life Membership is awarded to 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 for more than 20 years, unquestioned support from all those members who might reasonably be expected to know the nominee to whom the honour should be given. SIR JOHNNY SCOTT: [Proposed by Duncan Thomas; seconded by Dan Reynolds] A person of great integrity, committed to both BASC objectives and the broader protection of country sports and rural life, Sir Johnny has an incredible backlog of achievements and is already a BASC life member. Many will recall his BBC programmes Clarissa and the Countryman and his countryside and game books. Sir Johnny has been and remains a formidable advocate of rural activities. More recently, Sir Johnny has represented BASC North at countless shows and events promoting our work and objectives. Sir Johnny’s broader work can be demonstrated through his current status as: The Chairman asked for a show of hands to elect Sir Johnny Scott to Honorary Life Membership. Carried unanimously. Sir Johnny Scott: It is a terrific honour to receive this. I will always be hugely grateful to BASC for their commitment to ensuring that our conservation and shooting heritage is passed on to the next generation. It has been a privilege to be involved in a small way with that. Not only that; Mr Chairman mentioned the Clarissa and the Countryman programmes. Back in 1997 when Clarissa and I were endeavouring to brow beat the BBC about making programmes about fieldsports in the face of immense political activity, those programmes would never have been made if it hadn’t been for the support of BASC. And for that, I’m immensely grateful. Thank you very much indeed. SEAN ADAMSON – DORSET Wildfowlers’ Association: [Proposed by Nick Horten; seconded by Allen Musselwhite] Sean has served on the committee of Dorset WA for the last 30 years, working on negotiations with the Crown Estate, the RSPB, Natural England, and other agencies and landowners. He’s also been actively involved in voluntary conservation work with the RSPB and the National Trust in relation to various conservation projects. Assisted by BASC, he has helped the club secure important land purchases. Last year, Sean was awarded a BASC trophy in recognition of his work assisting a research project into disturbance at Poole Harbour. The Chairman called for a show of hands for the election of Sean Adamson to Honorary Life Member. This was universally carried and Sean was duly elected. Sean could not attend the AGM; his award will be presented at The Game Fair. MEMBERS OF COUNCIL Peter Glenser asked Graham Bond, the Scrutineer, to report the results of the ballot for election to Council. The Scrutineer reported the results of the elections for 2018 for three National Seats. A total of 2,813 ballot papers were received. In addition, 1,077 persons voted online, giving a total of 3,890 votes. Of those that voted, 2 papers were received after the deadline and therefore not counted, 10 papers were spoilt and 14 were void. This left 3,864 valid voters. The votes from these valid voters were cast as follows, in the order that they appear on the ballot paper:
  • Alasdair Mitchell      2,452
  • Robert Irvine           473
  • John Tumelty           851
  • Carl Woodall           1,361
  • Ray Walters             739
  • Geoffrey Burgess    408
  • David Seager          501
  • Claire Sadler           2,692
  • Duncan Greaves     859
Therefore, Alasdair Mitchell, 2,452, Carl Woodall, 1,361 and Claire Sadler, 2,692 are duly elected. Thank you. The Chairman congratulated the three new members of Council and announced that there would be a Council meeting immediately after the AGM where the new Council members will be welcomed. The Chairman also took the opportunity to thank Duncan Greaves, for his many years of service on Council, where he has served Council well alongside his wider work with BASC concerning shotgun coaching; he has been an invaluable member of Council for three terms. Those who applied for Council and were not elected were thanked for putting themselves forward. WILDLIFE HABITAT TRUST – TRUSTEES 2018-19 The Chairman introduced the nominations for the elections to The Wildlife Habitat Trust, 2018-2019. There is one nomination from our members this year. DAVID STEEL was proposed by Ian Grindy and seconded by Duncan Greaves. The Chairman asked for a show of hands to elect David Steel to The Wildlife Habitat Trust. David Steel was duly elected.

9. APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS FOR 2018/19

Council recommended the reappointment of RSM UK. The Chairman asked for a show of hands; RSM UK were duly reappointed.

10. ANY OTHER BUSINESS BY LEAVE OF THE CHAIR

Richard Plough; Chairman of Essex Joint Council of Wildfowling Clubs and the Dengie Hundred Wildfowling Club and a long-term member of BASC. I am very concerned that BASC is going to renew their working agreement with Natural England at The Game Fair at Ragley Hall in July. At present the problems of consents needed on all designated land is not resolved and has a long way to go. Would it be better to wait until this major problem is resolved properly as can affect all shooters on designated lands. Then, and only then, renew the agreement? Ian Bell: What the partnership does for us, (and it is very similar to the one from last year; it is very broad), is that it guarantees a line of engagement and a commitment to discussing the very problems that you have described. I absolutely recognise that these negotiations are challenging; they are at times slow; but we are absolutely making progress and it is the view of BASC Council and myself and those that negotiate on our behalf, that that agreement with Natural England cements the ability to talk and discuss. Without that agreement we have to then arrange where and how we discuss. If effectively provides the road along which we drive, rather than destination that we get to. There were no more questions. The Chairman thanked Angela Davies, BASC Staff, particularly the admin team, for their efforts in organising the logistical challenge which is the AGM. All were thanked for their attendance.

Present:

Peter Glenser, Chairman Christopher Graffius, Acting Chief Executive Members, supporters and guests of the Association Minute Secretary: Tracy Fredriksen The meeting was called to order and Angela Davies made administrative announcements prior to its commencement.  Those present were informed that the meeting was being recorded to assist in the preparation of the minutes and for a future historic record.  Speakers from the floor were asked to wait for the roving microphone and to give their names.  Supporters were reminded that although they could speak, they had no voting rights.  Luncheon and emergency evacuation procedures were outlined. The Chairman opened the meeting.

1. Apologies for absence

Apologies had been received from Lord Home, Mike Sherman, Conor Sherman, Maverick Sherman, Duncan Greaves, Michael Hardy, Colin Shedden, Sir Malcolm Guthrie, Harry Abbott & Lee Freeston The Acting Chief Executive paid tribute to prominent members of the Association who had passed away in the last 12 months: Colin Foote Harold Hall Gordon Ramsey Emlyn Williams Charles Connell Barry Upton Nick Ansell Dr Albert Witnall, A minute’s silence was observed in their memory.

2. Acting Chief Executive’s Address

Christopher Graffius:   I’m Acting Chief Executive and I have a message which Lord Home, our President, has asked to be read out. Ladies and Gentlemen I much regret that I cannot be with you today. My wife had a back operation last week and, as she is in no position to look after herself, I must be with her. I hope that the meeting will accept my apologies. With regard to the Association’s current difficulties I have decided that a completely separate approach should be made, so I have decided to ask the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct a totally independent enquiry, which no one can influence. I trust that this enquiry will not take long and thereafter we can move on with the proper work of the Association. Lord Home I want to say two things about the message. The first is that I’m sure you will all join me in wishing the Countess of Home the very best and a speedy recovery. The second is that if the Financial Conduct Authority wish to conduct any investigation I will happily open our offices and books, secure in the knowledge that BASC has nothing to hide from our regulatory body. The third thing is I can assure you that the proper work of the Association continues, has not stopped and goes from strength to strength. It’s equally no secret that the organisation is going through a difficult time with regard to its staffing. You all know there’s a limited amount that can be said about that but I can reassure you that decisions have been taken by the democratically elected Council after legal advice and that we are following due process. I am determined that we will do this properly and with justice for all, and while the process continues I know that the staff will continue to deliver the outstanding work for shooting and excellent service to members that makes BASC such a special organisation. But where do you find the inspiration to go on when people are trying to undermine what you’re doing? A few moments ago we ran through the list of those members of the Association who died last year. I find this a moving moment at every AGM and have done so for all of the 15 years I have attended. In the early years I was interested but couldn’t put faces to names and didn’t know any of those mentioned. With time that changed, and I began to be more personally involved because I knew many of those being mentioned – it was no longer an impersonal duty but a very personal moment. We owe so much to those who have gone before us. We owe the very fact that we can still go shooting to our predecessors who fought off the attempts to damage it and ban it and who set the standards and defined the ethics that make our sport sustainable. People like Commander John Anderton, the first Director of BASC, after whom the back building, the converted stables at Marford Mill is named. Without him the Association would never have grown from a file in his briefcase to a national shooting organisation. I was fortunate to have met him before his death and I was very impressed by him. Then there were those such as Edward Parish whose work to ensure that the Wild Birds Protection Act of 1954 did not spell the end for coastal wildfowling and the amended form was by many dubbed as “The Wildfowlers Charter”.  People like John Ruxton, twice Chairman of the Association after whom a room is named at Marford Mill who did so much to ensure the establishment of feral greylag geese round the coast of the UK and influential Presidents of the Association such as The Viscount Arbuthnott and Patrick Lichfield and of course Stanley Duncan himself, without whom none of us would be in this room today. I could go on. We stand in the shoes of those who went before us and they’re pretty big shoes to fill So how are we doing? We shouldn’t let short term storms deflect from the fact that this Association delivered in spades for shooting over the past year. Let’s start with politics.  We ran the largest general election web based campaign BASC has ever run. We identified a majority of MPs who support shooting, the first time we’ve known that for sure in any parliament.  We did the same thing last month for four sets of elections – those in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and for Police and Crime Commissioners – for the latter we identified a majority of PCC’s were committed to efficient firearms licencing and supportive of shooting. For Shooting and Conservation we’ve maintained the size of the magazine while cutting costs and increasing advertising revenue. The Magazine now has a certified ABC figure of 130,522 per issue. The press office has more than doubled the number of press releases issued from 128 in 2014 to 271 in 2015 an increase of 112%.  While our social media direct reach increased by more than 50% to 80,000. Its now more than a 100,000. BASC firearms team, the only one of its kind in the country, does enormously important work helping the members with licensing problems and being a key policy resource for shooting. Last year they dealt with nearly 8,500 queries the largest number since their records began. There’s the business development unit. The BASC vehicles discount scheme saves members money – £2.5 million in 2015. We’ve also launched a finance scheme for gun purchase – so you really can persuade yourself you can afford that Purdey. Our sporting services team introduced and gave shooting opportunities to more than 6,000 people last year. You may not think that Peter Marshall and Duncan Greaves look like missionaries – but they are – for shooting. Last year the wildfowling team helped with negotiations that secured more than 6,000 acres for wildfowling clubs. They also attended meetings with 69 clubs, the largest number ever in a year. 2015 was the year in which we secured support in both the government and the police force for ten year licences. We cemented important links for shooting with government agencies such as signing a partnership agreement with Natural England. This will result in an action plan covering coastal access, general licences and wildfowling consents. All key issues for shooting. We promote game through the Taste of Game Programme. In 2015 we worked with the National Trust to get game into 250 of their restaurants. 17 million people visit National Trust properties and many of these will have seen or tasted game as a result. All of which helps normalise shooting. 2015 also saw the launch of Project Poacher, which includes an easy to use app for recording and reporting poaching incidents. This has been an enormous success and was downloaded 2,500 times. Some forces want to include the app as standard on police phones. This is just a selection of the wonderful work being done at BASC. Behind this are finance and administration teams, the membership department and front of house, plus the offices in regions and countries, all of them achieving the best for shooting. And to top it all, this year on her retirement, Philippa Bursey – who’s in the room today – turned in one of the healthiest looking set of results BASC has ever had, with a record surplus. The staff deserve your appreciation and thanks for their hard work. Why do we do it? That’s an important question if we’re going to understand what makes BASC such a special and remarkable organisation, and one of the world’s most successful shooting organisations. It’s because we’re a cause driven organisation. Many of us are members and we shoot, those who work at BASC and don’t shoot still appreciate the values of the organisation its mission to promote high standards and benefit the public and the country.  And I know that you feel the same way about it too – or you wouldn’t be here. That’s also true of Council – or they wouldn’t be giving their time for free to the Association and the Sport – and I can tell you that the burden can be heavy. Whatever our views, we’re all here for the good of the sport. And together we’re enormously strong and that’s why shooting survives and remains in robust good health in this country. So when the storms come don’t let those who wish us ill or those who want to damage the association, succeed. Internal issues will be sorted out and the Association will emerge stronger and better. We’ve all been here before and this Association’s obituaries have been written on countless occasions. There are those here who remember the hostile takeover bid in 1998 with wildfowlers being bussed in to defeat it. We’ve done it for more than a century – and we will do it successfully for the century to come.

3. Awards and Presentations

The Chairman asked the Chief Executive to announce the presentations of awards. The Stanley Duncan Trophy was 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. On the recommendation of Steve Bloomfield and Lewis Thornley the trophy was presented to David Burchell David Burchell, who has lived at Manor Farm all his life. His father and grandfather farmed the 190 acre farm. David runs a small shoot and manages the wildlife carefully ensuring a reasonable balance. There are three monastic Carp ponds on the farm and David has carefully maintained these over the years along with a passion for maintaining wet meadows for Snipe. David has diversified and runs a forestry business and delivers training in the use of Chainsaws. Fifteen years ago David was successful in becoming a National Forest scheme landowner and in conjunction with BASC ran a series of hugely successful “Game keeping” awareness days where he delivered aspects of the training himself. David’s commitment to conservation on this small farm is inspiring and he often hosts walks around the farm for school children and locals to teach them about the link between shooting and conservation, he has planted a number of special shelter belts and cover crops and maintains his feeders year round which is a huge benefit to a number of species during the “Hungry gap” of January to April. Within the last year David has worked with BASC to pilot a Grey squirrel control method which is gaining wide recognition especially from Red squirrel preservation groups. It is the statistics from David’s work which is showing the benefits of using the BASC control group method and ultimately could provide BASC members with shooting opportunities. David a BASC member and has been a great support to the central team over the years but especially over the last year in helping to prove the relevance of the new BASC scheme. The Ian Richardson Trophy is presented to an individual who, in the opinion of BASC employees, has made a special contribution to BASC in whatever field. On the recommendation of Debbie Collins & Christopher Graffius the trophy was presented to Philip Bowern. Philip a journalist and the Deputy Editor is the head of farming and rural affairs at the Western Morning News – a long established and much respected West Country newspaper. Through his articles on farming, shooting and rural affairs and his introduction of a monthly countryside supplement, Philip has produced a scrupulously balanced view of shooting, but by covering it in such detail he has ensured that shooting’s side of the story, so often ignored, has been widely covered in his region and often picked up and broadcast on a wider stage by the national media. Philip has an excellent relationship with the BASC press office and is an outstanding advocate for rural Britain. Philip has been a BASC member of 10 year’s standing and a keen game and pigeon shot. The Tim Sedgewick Trophy was given by the Chichester Harbour Wildfowlers’ Association and is presented annually to an individual who, in the opinion of council, has contributed markedly to the fortunes of BASC in the preceding 12 months and who is not a member of Council or any advisory committee. On the recommendation of Ian Danby and Paul Williamson and Mark Greenhough the trophy was awarded to Nick Powell. The Wildfowling Liaison Committee suggested a group of wildfowlers to help test and advise BASC on the development of the Green Shoots Mapping and Bag Recording website. The website is of key importance to the future smooth running of Crown Estate leases to affiliated clubs. It provides an efficient and modern method for clubs to gather their bag return data and then inform BASC that their reports to the Crown Estate are ready for submission. These reports on wildfowling activity are a requirement of holding leases from the Crown Estate. We asked the group of wildfowlers to test the site at particular points from November with increasing regularity and complexity through development. One member of the test group is Nick Powell, chairman of the Dyfi Mawddach & Dysynni Wildfowler Association. Nick always responds to requests to test the site and his feedback has been of a very high quality. What separated Nick out for special recognition is the diligence and commitment he has shown to helping BASC create a professional and easy to understand website. Since November Nick has gone the extra mile. During early March Nick drove into Marford Mill to spend half a day with us testing the site and agreeing critical changes. He has spent late nights working through the site and sending clear and thorough word documents of his feedback so we could work on it without delay the next day. Even now he is offering to continue to test the site as we deploy it over to the live site. All Nick’s time and efforts have been given voluntarily and his practical and technical input has been of immense value to BASC. Special Presentations Special Presentations are 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 only criteria is that the service must be of benefit to BASC and merits public recognition. A joint Special Presentation went to Lynn Scholes, Jason Holden, Phil Fairless, Jack Depledge & Liam Cuprit Lynn Scholes [proposed by Duncan Thomas and Steve Bloomfield] Lynn has championed ladies shooting projects in the Northern region and is our most active volunteer. A medical sales manager, Lynn has spent a significant amount of her personal time in driving projects, supporting and planning events. She maintains a high profile in the region. We could not have achieved our current membership engagement levels without her support. Lynn has recently raised in excess of £2300 for Ladies projects in the North. Jason Holden [Proposed by Duncan Thomas and Steve Bloomfield] Jason is our youngshots coordinator for the North West. Jason is a successful flooring sales manager and has spent a significant amount of his own personal time planning shoot days and coordinating youngsters attending the same. Jason has ensured that shooting has been shared out equally and that diverse cross sections of youngsters have shot on many different aspects of shooting fairly. Jason has secured hundreds of shooting opportunities for youngsters and financial donations via our events, resulting in excess of many thousands of pounds. We have taken, over 600 youngsters shooting in the past 18 months and this simply could not have been possible without Jason’s assistance. Phil Fairless [Proposed by Duncan Thomas and Steve Bloomfield] Phil is our youngshots coordinator for the North East. Phil is a retired Police Officer and has extensive shooting contacts and influence in the area. Phil’s enthusiasm for shooting sports and especially youngshots projects is commendable. Phil has arranged for hundreds of youngsters to attend many shooting events and has appeared on TV and in local press promoting same. Phil has raised over £1300 for projects in the North East. Jack Depledge [Proposed by Duncan Thomas and Steve Bloomfield] Jack is a 16yr old Gamekeeping student currently based at Newton Rigg. Jack has made an enormous contribution to youngshots projects and was one of the original BASC youngshots ambassadors a project that has grown exponentially. Jack has a national media profile and has appeared for BASC on national TV including Sky News and Secret Britain absolutely “normalising” shooting sports. Liam Cupit [Proposed by Duncan Thomas and Steve Bloomfield] Liam was not present to receive his award.   Liam is a 20yr old agricultural student with a high profile in the North West Shooting community. Liam is a leading BASC youngshots ambassador and has planned and delivered two significant charities shoots raising over £7000 for Cancer Research and other charities. Ian Venton [Proposed by David Gervers and James Green] Ian has been the club Secretary for Bridgwater Bay Wildfowlers Association for 36 years; prior to this he had sat on the committee for a further 4 years. He has been instrumental in signing up new members to the club (5-10 per year) which has added a significant number of new members to BASC. Ian regularly supports the club and BASC with their presence at the West Country Game Fair and the Bridgwater Bay Wildfowlers Association big bore and black powder day even though he rarely if at all makes use of the club’s shooting. Since the earliest days Ian has helped to negotiate leases with Natural England and the records that he has kept have proven to be an invaluable Ian received an award for long service from BASC in 2000 – since then has continued to support the club helping it to grow from strength to strength and is a vital part of its success. After 40 years of uninterrupted service we would like to recognise this achievement formally. Tony Owens [Proposed by Glynn Evans and Alex Farrell] PC Tony Owens of Cheshire constabulary, in recognition for his work as the prevention lead in the Project Poaching Delivery Group. Tony has done a huge amount of work within the group not only playing a pivotal role in developing the app but also the other wider aspects of Project Poacher such as raising the awareness of poaching not only within his own force but much wider across all the forces in England and Wales. By raising awareness of Police officers they understand the issues around poaching, the links between those who commit it and other rural crime. Tony will shortly be retiring from the Police service and I am sure his work and effort will be missed Aaron Christiansen [Proposed by Glynn Evans and Alex Farrell] Aaron has been nominated in recognition for his work and dedication in developing the poaching app. Aaron, at 15 years of age took on developing the app. in his spare time. Whilst not familiar with the issues of poaching Aaron quickly grasped the concept and was extremely helpful and patient making changes and incorporating updates as needed. It is available across the 3 main operating platforms; Android, Apple and Windows all of which needed specific and extensive work to ensure that the app worked on them. The app takes the user step-by-step through creating a report and allows them to pinpoint their location using the phone’s GPS. This data can be sent to the police together with additional information about the type of incident, vehicles or suspects and any other witnesses; the app also provides extra information about poaching legislation. BASC has subsequently been able to make the app. available for free to download to all. Within 3 months it has been downloaded 1800 times and number reports have been submitted via the app. A number of Police forces are looking to use it a resource to their officer’s electronic equipment.

4. Chairman’s Report

The Acting Chief Executive invited the Chairman to present his report. Peter Glenser: Ladies and Gentlemen Good morning, they say a week is a long time in politics. Well I have been chairman for about three and I now for the first time really appreciate what those words mean– its been eventful to say the least. Many people think it’s impossible for a lawyer to deliver a speech which is short. Well I‘m going to prove them wrong – this one will be. You have heard about our recent difficulties. I am going to echo what Christopher has said. I am limited as to what I can say to ensure the protection of employee rights and that due process is properly followed. That’s immensely frustrating for me and I dare say for you. Council and I are keen to be totally transparent.  I can confirm that the problems are internal and concern staffing issues. I’m grateful to have been elected unanimously by my colleagues on Council with a mandate to sort out those problems which have become apparent over the past few months. I can also confirm that under council’s guidance the correct measures have been taken to resolve matters and that a fuller announcement will be made when possible. We have set in train a totally independent investigation, to be carried out by an HR Consultant, a specialist employment law firm, Chambers O’Neill and they in turn have oversight by an employment law QC called Sean Jones. If the FCA wish to oversee or investigate we would be delighted. Nothing to hide at the Mill. The inclusion of the FCA may suggest that there are financial irregularities – there are not – they happen to be the regulator of societies such as ours. I cannot say more. If you have any questions about this afterwards I can direct them to Andrew O’Neill of Chambers O’Neill who is here. I want to pay tribute to the staff. They have behaved magnificently in difficult times – sometimes very difficult – over a considerable period. Many of them have had to shoulder heavy additional responsibilities over recent weeks. I am humbled by their dedication and proud of that which they have achieved. So why would anyone want to take on the Chairmanship at such a time? The truth is that Council and I are committed to the work BASC does and happily volunteer our time and skills to help the staff do their job and ensure the future of shooting. I mean all Council members – even the three who have recently resigned – because while we may have had differences on how the Association should be governed we all share the same passion for the sport and the desire to see it flourish. My perception is that relationships between council and staff have never been better. We have amassed the most extraordinary set of skills in the organisation. Council itself has never been stronger. We have a remarkable resource in BASC, the only shooting organisation to have the critical mass in terms of resources both human, technical and financial to do the job. Among the staff we have people who are national and even international experts. Global authority. BASC employs people who are committed to the sport and many of them are practitioners. Over decades of careful management we have ensured that the team has the resources to do the job – it’s Council’s role to ensure that this continues and that BASC‘s future is as bright and successful as its past. It was Judge Bishop in the VAT tribunal who, a few years ago, commented that in his opinion shooting would look very different and in some cases might not exist at all if it hadn’t been for BASC. We’re all aware of the threats and challenges which face our sport. There are those who would make shooting a luxury by pricing us out of private firearms ownership. There are forces intent on banning lead ammunition, snares, grouse shooting and pest control.  If these people succeed then the country, our wildlife and our own lives will be immeasurably poorer. BASC is a bulwark against those threats I know that I can count on your support to ensure those threats never become a reality. It is important to remember that we are a membership organisation not a business – and we mustn’t lose touch with the grassroots whether members, staff or volunteers. We mustn’t lose the feel of a membership organisation. There is an old Chinese curse about being born in interesting times. Well these are certainly interesting times to be chairman. But if you look at the front of your pack you will see a slogan. Together. For shooting. For conservation. For the future and you. Not idle words. Whether you are a stalker or a wildfowler, whether you shoot pigeons or partridges, grouse or geese, rabbits or rats, whether you use an airgun, a shotgun, or a rifle, we are your organisation.  Together. For shooting. For conservation. For the future but above all for you. The threats we face are real. They are common to us all in one form or another. United we can deal with them.

5. Questions

The Chairman invited questions from the floor. Questions would be directed to the most appropriate person to answer them. Questioner: BASC is a membership organisation of members. Members haven’t known what is going on and it is causing alarm. Rumours around the mill are alarming and we are hearing unconfirmed stories. Would it be possible to tell our members what you can tell them today? Andrew O’Neill was asked to respond to the question: Chambers O’Neill, a specialist employment law firm have been appointed by the Executive and the Council. However, the appointment is essentially for and on behalf of the members.  We have been appointed to carry out and lead an investigation in conjunction with an external HR consultant and that is what we intend to do.  As we are in the very early stages of the investigation I cannot tell you what those investigation conclusions will be and I cannot go into the detail about where we are in that process. All I can say is that we will be dealing with matters in a thorough and fair way and as quickly as possible. I can’t tell you when the investigation will be concluded. This is because of the steps that have been put in place to ensure the process is thorough and fair. I can confirm there will be oversight by a QC from a barristers chambers in London which specialises in employment law. I am not prepared to give you further details as I don’t want to affect, taint or prejudge the investigation. I ask you to bear with us in order to do this properly. Questioner: you are compounding the difficulties in as much as this is the first AGM I have attended where the President is not here, The Chief Executive is not here and the previous Chairman is not here.  The difficulty of this is, it is compounding the problem of confusion and not knowing. As members of BASC we need up to date information by Tuesday at the latest. Andrew O’Neill responded: I cannot respond to what you have just said, but understand what you have said. Questioner: Has the leaked document effected your investigation in any way Andrew O’Neill responded: I am conducting my investigation in a way that is bordering on rude. Other than my initial meeting with a member of council and the Acting Chief Executive I have made a deliberate effort to stay away from everyone else in the Association, other than those people I am seeing as part of the investigation. In relation to the specific question, I have no involvement other than knowing today, that documentation has been leaked. I am not involved in advising the Association and I have not seen the leak. My role is to get answers to the issues currently facing the Association. Some are historical issues that I will revisit and there are current issues that I need to investigate. But I am not involved in wider issues. Questioner: In the list of obituaries many of those read out were wildfowlers and many wildfowlers are out in force here, today. We regard BASC as our Association. Why has Richard Ali been suspended? A lot of us were pleased to see him after John Swift, to shake things up and to see him suspended casts a problem as he is our figurehead. I know you maybe can’t answer today but if not we would like a response by next Tuesday. The other thing is towards Peter Glenser.  As we had a Vice Chairman, why did he not automatically take up the Chair? The Chairman responded: In Annexe 12 of the rules, governance and operations of the Association specifically allow for a casual appointment and Mike Sherman asked me to stand. In relation to the previous question about whether the Chairman is here or not.  I was elected unanimously, by a quorate body of Council after the last Chairman resigned and until after this meeting when a new Chairman will be elected. Andrew O’Neill responded: Can I ask what the importance of next Tuesday is? Questioner: My view is, it is a few days ahead of today. Andrew O’Neill responded: I need to confirm that it will not be physically possible to speak to all those I need to in a short space of time, I am are going to do this properly and do it right.  Therefore I will not have any further information in such a short space of time.  It is not deliberate or inaction it is simple the fact we are going to do it properly and we are going to do it right. Questioner: Philippa Bursey when she left, left the association in a healthy state, what is the budget spent up to now on the previous report and what is the projection? What was the financial burden of the previous report? Andrew O’Neill responded: Chambers O’Neill charges and the Association are a matter between ourselves, but I have agreed half day rates and day rates which I offer to longstanding clients. These are considerably lower than hourly rates. Acting Chief Executive directed a question to Andrew O’Neill: What has been the Association’s attitude to this with you, from a financial side? Andrew O’Neill responded: Christopher was keen from the outset that costs remain manageable. Our day rate is really quite reasonable. We trade on our name and most of our business is by recommendation because we offer good value. Acting Chief Executive responded: Costs of this nature must be approved by Council.  I have asked Andrew O’Neill to tell me know when we hit the level that must be authorised by Council. This will ensure we keep a tight grip on the costs. With regards to the first report we are still looking into the costs and a ballpark figure is approx. £40,000 Questioner: This is a complex issue and I would like to know a ball park figure.  I think it is going to cost us the best part of 100K? Acting Chief Executive responded: I want to be sure it is brought in as reasonably as possible but must be done right and we have taken measures with this investigation to reduce costs. Questioner: The reason I said Tuesday was I thought it was the earliest and most practical date you could get a message out to its members. Acting Chief Executive responded: On Monday the magazine, which goes to members, will go to print. There will be reference to this in the magazine. We would not normally discuss staffing issues in the magazine but we need to ensure we don’t prejudice people’s rights and get landed with a large legal bill.  Also statements have been made to members, are on the website and those will be reflected in the magazine. Questioner: If BASC is such a super slick well-oiled machine, however did it come to this in the first place? Chairman responded: I think this is why we are having the investigation There were no further questions.

6. Adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2015

The Chairman presented the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2015. The Chairman drew attention to a clean audit and the best results BASC has ever had with just over a £1million surplus which will be reinvested on behalf of the membership to promote and ensure the future of the association and shooting sports. Question from Philippa Bursey: For those of you who don’t know my name is Philippa Bursey, I was the Director of Business Management and I was largely responsible for the preparation of the accounts being laid before this meeting. My question is actually addressed to Jill Jones, as representative of RSM, the auditors. Given the current circumstances in which the Association finds itself, that arisen as consequences of actions, which started to occur before the year and I do appreciate these accounts are now six months old.  Do the auditors have any concerns and do they believe they should be reconsidering their report? And in particular are the contingent liabilities adequately provided for? Angela Davies, BASC Director of Business Management responded: We contacted Roger Davies, the auditor from RSM immediately and I have spoken to him in detail about contingent liabilities provisions and the financial statements laid in front of you.  Roger Davies, our auditor has provided the following letter which I shall read. The preparation of the financial statements of the Association is the responsibility of the Executive & Finance Committee (see page 3 of the financial statements). The 2015 financial statements were approved by this committee on 17th March 2016. Here facts had become known after the financial statement have been issued: I understand financial statements have been published in the BASC magazine. You and I have discussed this, including the potential claims in context of the overall surplus and turnover of BASC and whether this needs to be addressed in the financial statements. I understand that BASC has determined that no amendments to the financial statements was required and RSM is accordingly content not to issue a revised auditor’s report. I hope that this letter clarifies this matter for you but if you require any further information please let me know. R M Davies There were no further question The accounts were proposed and seconded from the floor and agreed on a show of hands. The Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements were duly adopted.

8. Elections

The Chairman asked the Chief Executive to introduce the nominations. There were no nominations for Vice-Presidents this year. Honorary Life Membership: Jim Carpenter [Proposed: Liam Higgins] Jim was first elected onto the Committee in 1964, and then there was a gap from 1972 – 1975 when his work took him to Yorkshire. He served as Chairman from 1965 – 1967. Secretary 1977 – 1985 and Treasurer 1989 – 2015. In between he ran the Clay Pigeon Shooting Section. The periodic renewal of the lease on the South Barrier Bank, at least the last three have been negotiated by Jim almost single handed. The club owes the man an enormous debt and if you agree with me we cannot let his retirement pass unrecognised. The Chairman called for a show of hands and the award was approved Honorary Life Membership: Barry Merrison [Proposed: Graham Crompton-Howe Seconded: Tim Russell] Barry has been a Member of the Humber Wildfowlers for 39 years and Treasurer continually for over 25 of those years. He is a quiet man and slight in stature but one of those people who when given a job just gets on with it in his quiet manner. As Chairman of the Humber Wildfowlers for 20+ years, he not only does the usual Treasurers job of managing the finances of the club but has for the last 10 years or so took taken on part of the Secretaries role arranging meetings and organising our annual wildfowling stand at the Broclesby. At these shows he is there first, helping setting out the stand and is there last, putting things in the trailer. I have worked closely with Barry on:-
  • Our Land Purchase which was done with our neighbouring club and via the WHT.
  • Gaining a significant 6 figure sum as compensation for wind farm cables coming under our land.
  • Now working on another 2 land purchase options.
As a past Vice Chairman of BASC whilst serving my 10 year term one of the greatest pleasures I got was from seeing the people like Barry, who just get on with the job a vital job for both our club and BASC, without seeking any reward or special recognition. I wholeheartedly recommend Barry to receive this award and hope it is received favourably in Council. The Chairman called for a show of hands and the award was approved

8.1  Election of Members of Council

The Chairman invited Jill Jones of RSM, the Scrutineer, to present the results of the elections to Council for 2016.
Ballot papers received 1,856
Online voters 929
Total voters 2,785
Papers received after deadline 4
Papers spoilt 24
Total paper votes 1,828
Total web votes 929
Votes deemed invalid 18
Total valid voters 2,739
In the order they appeared on the ballot paper, the votes from these valid papers were cast as follows:
Kevin Byre 180
Michael Alldis 600
Allan Musslewaite 732
Cara Richardson 1227
Cara Richardson was duly elected to Council. Robin Marshall Ball stood unopposed for the England seat and is elected to Council.

8.2 Wildlife Habitat Trust – trustees for 2015/2016

The Chairman introduced the nominations for the election of trustees for the Wildlife Habitat Trust. Alan Jarrett has been proposed and seconded, was happy for his name to go forward.  The nomination was carried on a show of hands and Alan Jarrett was duly elected. David Steele has been proposed and seconded, was happy for his name to go forward.  The nomination was carried on a show of hands and David Steele was duly elected.

9. Appointment of Auditors for 2015/2016

It was proposed that RSM UK Audit LLP be reappointed as auditors for the year ending December 2016, as recommended by Council.  This was carried unanimously, on a show of hands.

10. Any Other Business by Leave of the Chair

Questioner: I have come a long way today to get some answers but it is obvious that we will not be able to get these answers today. One question concerns why certain staff have resigned, and our ex-Chairman – why is he still a trustee for the WHT when he has resigned as chairman? The Acting Chief Executive responded: The member of staff who resigned handed in a letter of resignation. In terms of the proposal for Alan Jarrett for the Wildlife Habitat Trust this was decided earlier in the year, I have emailed Alan who is shooting in South Africa and put a message on his phone to confirm if he still wanted his name to go forward but no response has been received yet. It would be quite proper for his election to be moved as he has been validly nominated. The Chairman: I would also add that it would be quite wrong for his election not to go forward in the absence of him withdrawing it. It is therefore a valid nomination. Questioner: How will council now go about undertaking business now that some Council Members have resigned? The Chairman responded: We have lost four members of Council (three resigned and one retired) and just elected two. Council ranged between a minimum of ten and maximum of nineteen and we are within those limits. The code of good governance for our type of organisations recommends that smaller Councils are better and provides better governance. There will be another election next year and if required we have the option to Co-opt. There being no further business the Chairman thanked those present for their attendance and declared the meeting closed.

Present:

Peter Glenser, Chairman Christopher Graffius, Acting Chief Executive Members, supporters and guests of the Association Minute Secretary: Tracy Fredriksen The meeting was called to order and Angela Davies made administrative announcements prior to its commencement.  Those present were informed that the meeting was being recorded to assist in the preparation of the minutes and for a future historic record.  Speakers from the floor were asked to wait for the roving microphone and to give their names.  Supporters were reminded that although they could speak, they had no voting rights.  Luncheon and emergency evacuation procedures were outlined. The Chairman opened the meeting.

1. Apologies for absence

Apologies had been received from Lord Home, Mike Sherman, Conor Sherman, Maverick Sherman, Duncan Greaves, Michael Hardy, Colin Shedden, Sir Malcolm Guthrie, Harry Abbott & Lee Freeston The Acting Chief Executive paid tribute to prominent members of the Association who had passed away in the last 12 months: Colin Foote Harold Hall Gordon Ramsey Emlyn Williams Charles Connell Barry Upton Nick Ansell Dr Albert Witnall, A minute’s silence was observed in their memory.

2. Acting Chief Executive’s Address

Christopher Graffius:   I’m Acting Chief Executive and I have a message which Lord Home, our President, has asked to be read out. Ladies and Gentlemen I much regret that I cannot be with you today. My wife had a back operation last week and, as she is in no position to look after herself, I must be with her. I hope that the meeting will accept my apologies. With regard to the Association’s current difficulties I have decided that a completely separate approach should be made, so I have decided to ask the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct a totally independent enquiry, which no one can influence. I trust that this enquiry will not take long and thereafter we can move on with the proper work of the Association. Lord Home I want to say two things about the message. The first is that I’m sure you will all join me in wishing the Countess of Home the very best and a speedy recovery. The second is that if the Financial Conduct Authority wish to conduct any investigation I will happily open our offices and books, secure in the knowledge that BASC has nothing to hide from our regulatory body. The third thing is I can assure you that the proper work of the Association continues, has not stopped and goes from strength to strength. It’s equally no secret that the organisation is going through a difficult time with regard to its staffing. You all know there’s a limited amount that can be said about that but I can reassure you that decisions have been taken by the democratically elected Council after legal advice and that we are following due process. I am determined that we will do this properly and with justice for all, and while the process continues I know that the staff will continue to deliver the outstanding work for shooting and excellent service to members that makes BASC such a special organisation. But where do you find the inspiration to go on when people are trying to undermine what you’re doing? A few moments ago we ran through the list of those members of the Association who died last year. I find this a moving moment at every AGM and have done so for all of the 15 years I have attended. In the early years I was interested but couldn’t put faces to names and didn’t know any of those mentioned. With time that changed, and I began to be more personally involved because I knew many of those being mentioned – it was no longer an impersonal duty but a very personal moment. We owe so much to those who have gone before us. We owe the very fact that we can still go shooting to our predecessors who fought off the attempts to damage it and ban it and who set the standards and defined the ethics that make our sport sustainable. People like Commander John Anderton, the first Director of BASC, after whom the back building, the converted stables at Marford Mill is named. Without him the Association would never have grown from a file in his briefcase to a national shooting organisation. I was fortunate to have met him before his death and I was very impressed by him. Then there were those such as Edward Parish whose work to ensure that the Wild Birds Protection Act of 1954 did not spell the end for coastal wildfowling and the amended form was by many dubbed as “The Wildfowlers Charter”.  People like John Ruxton, twice Chairman of the Association after whom a room is named at Marford Mill who did so much to ensure the establishment of feral greylag geese round the coast of the UK and influential Presidents of the Association such as The Viscount Arbuthnott and Patrick Lichfield and of course Stanley Duncan himself, without whom none of us would be in this room today. I could go on. We stand in the shoes of those who went before us and they’re pretty big shoes to fill So how are we doing? We shouldn’t let short term storms deflect from the fact that this Association delivered in spades for shooting over the past year. Let’s start with politics.  We ran the largest general election web based campaign BASC has ever run. We identified a majority of MPs who support shooting, the first time we’ve known that for sure in any parliament.  We did the same thing last month for four sets of elections – those in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and for Police and Crime Commissioners – for the latter we identified a majority of PCC’s were committed to efficient firearms licencing and supportive of shooting. For Shooting and Conservation we’ve maintained the size of the magazine while cutting costs and increasing advertising revenue. The Magazine now has a certified ABC figure of 130,522 per issue. The press office has more than doubled the number of press releases issued from 128 in 2014 to 271 in 2015 an increase of 112%.  While our social media direct reach increased by more than 50% to 80,000. Its now more than a 100,000. BASC firearms team, the only one of its kind in the country, does enormously important work helping the members with licensing problems and being a key policy resource for shooting. Last year they dealt with nearly 8,500 queries the largest number since their records began. There’s the business development unit. The BASC vehicles discount scheme saves members money – £2.5 million in 2015. We’ve also launched a finance scheme for gun purchase – so you really can persuade yourself you can afford that Purdey. Our sporting services team introduced and gave shooting opportunities to more than 6,000 people last year. You may not think that Peter Marshall and Duncan Greaves look like missionaries – but they are – for shooting. Last year the wildfowling team helped with negotiations that secured more than 6,000 acres for wildfowling clubs. They also attended meetings with 69 clubs, the largest number ever in a year. 2015 was the year in which we secured support in both the government and the police force for ten year licences. We cemented important links for shooting with government agencies such as signing a partnership agreement with Natural England. This will result in an action plan covering coastal access, general licences and wildfowling consents. All key issues for shooting. We promote game through the Taste of Game Programme. In 2015 we worked with the National Trust to get game into 250 of their restaurants. 17 million people visit National Trust properties and many of these will have seen or tasted game as a result. All of which helps normalise shooting. 2015 also saw the launch of Project Poacher, which includes an easy to use app for recording and reporting poaching incidents. This has been an enormous success and was downloaded 2,500 times. Some forces want to include the app as standard on police phones. This is just a selection of the wonderful work being done at BASC. Behind this are finance and administration teams, the membership department and front of house, plus the offices in regions and countries, all of them achieving the best for shooting. And to top it all, this year on her retirement, Philippa Bursey – who’s in the room today – turned in one of the healthiest looking set of results BASC has ever had, with a record surplus. The staff deserve your appreciation and thanks for their hard work. Why do we do it? That’s an important question if we’re going to understand what makes BASC such a special and remarkable organisation, and one of the world’s most successful shooting organisations. It’s because we’re a cause driven organisation. Many of us are members and we shoot, those who work at BASC and don’t shoot still appreciate the values of the organisation its mission to promote high standards and benefit the public and the country.  And I know that you feel the same way about it too – or you wouldn’t be here. That’s also true of Council – or they wouldn’t be giving their time for free to the Association and the Sport – and I can tell you that the burden can be heavy. Whatever our views, we’re all here for the good of the sport. And together we’re enormously strong and that’s why shooting survives and remains in robust good health in this country. So when the storms come don’t let those who wish us ill or those who want to damage the association, succeed. Internal issues will be sorted out and the Association will emerge stronger and better. We’ve all been here before and this Association’s obituaries have been written on countless occasions. There are those here who remember the hostile takeover bid in 1998 with wildfowlers being bussed in to defeat it. We’ve done it for more than a century – and we will do it successfully for the century to come.

3. Awards and Presentations

The Chairman asked the Chief Executive to announce the presentations of awards. The Stanley Duncan Trophy was 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. On the recommendation of Steve Bloomfield and Lewis Thornley the trophy was presented to David Burchell David Burchell, who has lived at Manor Farm all his life. His father and grandfather farmed the 190 acre farm. David runs a small shoot and manages the wildlife carefully ensuring a reasonable balance. There are three monastic Carp ponds on the farm and David has carefully maintained these over the years along with a passion for maintaining wet meadows for Snipe. David has diversified and runs a forestry business and delivers training in the use of Chainsaws. Fifteen years ago David was successful in becoming a National Forest scheme landowner and in conjunction with BASC ran a series of hugely successful “Game keeping” awareness days where he delivered aspects of the training himself. David’s commitment to conservation on this small farm is inspiring and he often hosts walks around the farm for school children and locals to teach them about the link between shooting and conservation, he has planted a number of special shelter belts and cover crops and maintains his feeders year round which is a huge benefit to a number of species during the “Hungry gap” of January to April. Within the last year David has worked with BASC to pilot a Grey squirrel control method which is gaining wide recognition especially from Red squirrel preservation groups. It is the statistics from David’s work which is showing the benefits of using the BASC control group method and ultimately could provide BASC members with shooting opportunities. David a BASC member and has been a great support to the central team over the years but especially over the last year in helping to prove the relevance of the new BASC scheme. The Ian Richardson Trophy is presented to an individual who, in the opinion of BASC employees, has made a special contribution to BASC in whatever field. On the recommendation of Debbie Collins & Christopher Graffius the trophy was presented to Philip Bowern. Philip a journalist and the Deputy Editor is the head of farming and rural affairs at the Western Morning News – a long established and much respected West Country newspaper. Through his articles on farming, shooting and rural affairs and his introduction of a monthly countryside supplement, Philip has produced a scrupulously balanced view of shooting, but by covering it in such detail he has ensured that shooting’s side of the story, so often ignored, has been widely covered in his region and often picked up and broadcast on a wider stage by the national media. Philip has an excellent relationship with the BASC press office and is an outstanding advocate for rural Britain. Philip has been a BASC member of 10 year’s standing and a keen game and pigeon shot. The Tim Sedgewick Trophy was given by the Chichester Harbour Wildfowlers’ Association and is presented annually to an individual who, in the opinion of council, has contributed markedly to the fortunes of BASC in the preceding 12 months and who is not a member of Council or any advisory committee. On the recommendation of Ian Danby and Paul Williamson and Mark Greenhough the trophy was awarded to Nick Powell. The Wildfowling Liaison Committee suggested a group of wildfowlers to help test and advise BASC on the development of the Green Shoots Mapping and Bag Recording website. The website is of key importance to the future smooth running of Crown Estate leases to affiliated clubs. It provides an efficient and modern method for clubs to gather their bag return data and then inform BASC that their reports to the Crown Estate are ready for submission. These reports on wildfowling activity are a requirement of holding leases from the Crown Estate. We asked the group of wildfowlers to test the site at particular points from November with increasing regularity and complexity through development. One member of the test group is Nick Powell, chairman of the Dyfi Mawddach & Dysynni Wildfowler Association. Nick always responds to requests to test the site and his feedback has been of a very high quality. What separated Nick out for special recognition is the diligence and commitment he has shown to helping BASC create a professional and easy to understand website. Since November Nick has gone the extra mile. During early March Nick drove into Marford Mill to spend half a day with us testing the site and agreeing critical changes. He has spent late nights working through the site and sending clear and thorough word documents of his feedback so we could work on it without delay the next day. Even now he is offering to continue to test the site as we deploy it over to the live site. All Nick’s time and efforts have been given voluntarily and his practical and technical input has been of immense value to BASC. Special Presentations Special Presentations are 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 only criteria is that the service must be of benefit to BASC and merits public recognition. A joint Special Presentation went to Lynn Scholes, Jason Holden, Phil Fairless, Jack Depledge & Liam Cuprit Lynn Scholes [proposed by Duncan Thomas and Steve Bloomfield] Lynn has championed ladies shooting projects in the Northern region and is our most active volunteer. A medical sales manager, Lynn has spent a significant amount of her personal time in driving projects, supporting and planning events. She maintains a high profile in the region. We could not have achieved our current membership engagement levels without her support. Lynn has recently raised in excess of £2300 for Ladies projects in the North. Jason Holden [Proposed by Duncan Thomas and Steve Bloomfield] Jason is our youngshots coordinator for the North West. Jason is a successful flooring sales manager and has spent a significant amount of his own personal time planning shoot days and coordinating youngsters attending the same. Jason has ensured that shooting has been shared out equally and that diverse cross sections of youngsters have shot on many different aspects of shooting fairly. Jason has secured hundreds of shooting opportunities for youngsters and financial donations via our events, resulting in excess of many thousands of pounds. We have taken, over 600 youngsters shooting in the past 18 months and this simply could not have been possible without Jason’s assistance. Phil Fairless [Proposed by Duncan Thomas and Steve Bloomfield] Phil is our youngshots coordinator for the North East. Phil is a retired Police Officer and has extensive shooting contacts and influence in the area. Phil’s enthusiasm for shooting sports and especially youngshots projects is commendable. Phil has arranged for hundreds of youngsters to attend many shooting events and has appeared on TV and in local press promoting same. Phil has raised over £1300 for projects in the North East. Jack Depledge [Proposed by Duncan Thomas and Steve Bloomfield] Jack is a 16yr old Gamekeeping student currently based at Newton Rigg. Jack has made an enormous contribution to youngshots projects and was one of the original BASC youngshots ambassadors a project that has grown exponentially. Jack has a national media profile and has appeared for BASC on national TV including Sky News and Secret Britain absolutely “normalising” shooting sports. Liam Cupit [Proposed by Duncan Thomas and Steve Bloomfield] Liam was not present to receive his award.   Liam is a 20yr old agricultural student with a high profile in the North West Shooting community. Liam is a leading BASC youngshots ambassador and has planned and delivered two significant charities shoots raising over £7000 for Cancer Research and other charities. Ian Venton [Proposed by David Gervers and James Green] Ian has been the club Secretary for Bridgwater Bay Wildfowlers Association for 36 years; prior to this he had sat on the committee for a further 4 years. He has been instrumental in signing up new members to the club (5-10 per year) which has added a significant number of new members to BASC. Ian regularly supports the club and BASC with their presence at the West Country Game Fair and the Bridgwater Bay Wildfowlers Association big bore and black powder day even though he rarely if at all makes use of the club’s shooting. Since the earliest days Ian has helped to negotiate leases with Natural England and the records that he has kept have proven to be an invaluable Ian received an award for long service from BASC in 2000 – since then has continued to support the club helping it to grow from strength to strength and is a vital part of its success. After 40 years of uninterrupted service we would like to recognise this achievement formally. Tony Owens [Proposed by Glynn Evans and Alex Farrell] PC Tony Owens of Cheshire constabulary, in recognition for his work as the prevention lead in the Project Poaching Delivery Group. Tony has done a huge amount of work within the group not only playing a pivotal role in developing the app but also the other wider aspects of Project Poacher such as raising the awareness of poaching not only within his own force but much wider across all the forces in England and Wales. By raising awareness of Police officers they understand the issues around poaching, the links between those who commit it and other rural crime. Tony will shortly be retiring from the Police service and I am sure his work and effort will be missed Aaron Christiansen [Proposed by Glynn Evans and Alex Farrell] Aaron has been nominated in recognition for his work and dedication in developing the poaching app. Aaron, at 15 years of age took on developing the app. in his spare time. Whilst not familiar with the issues of poaching Aaron quickly grasped the concept and was extremely helpful and patient making changes and incorporating updates as needed. It is available across the 3 main operating platforms; Android, Apple and Windows all of which needed specific and extensive work to ensure that the app worked on them. The app takes the user step-by-step through creating a report and allows them to pinpoint their location using the phone’s GPS. This data can be sent to the police together with additional information about the type of incident, vehicles or suspects and any other witnesses; the app also provides extra information about poaching legislation. BASC has subsequently been able to make the app. available for free to download to all. Within 3 months it has been downloaded 1800 times and number reports have been submitted via the app. A number of Police forces are looking to use it a resource to their officer’s electronic equipment.

4. Chairman’s Report

The Acting Chief Executive invited the Chairman to present his report. Peter Glenser: Ladies and Gentlemen Good morning, they say a week is a long time in politics. Well I have been chairman for about three and I now for the first time really appreciate what those words mean– its been eventful to say the least. Many people think it’s impossible for a lawyer to deliver a speech which is short. Well I‘m going to prove them wrong – this one will be. You have heard about our recent difficulties. I am going to echo what Christopher has said. I am limited as to what I can say to ensure the protection of employee rights and that due process is properly followed. That’s immensely frustrating for me and I dare say for you. Council and I are keen to be totally transparent.  I can confirm that the problems are internal and concern staffing issues. I’m grateful to have been elected unanimously by my colleagues on Council with a mandate to sort out those problems which have become apparent over the past few months. I can also confirm that under council’s guidance the correct measures have been taken to resolve matters and that a fuller announcement will be made when possible. We have set in train a totally independent investigation, to be carried out by an HR Consultant, a specialist employment law firm, Chambers O’Neill and they in turn have oversight by an employment law QC called Sean Jones. If the FCA wish to oversee or investigate we would be delighted. Nothing to hide at the Mill. The inclusion of the FCA may suggest that there are financial irregularities – there are not – they happen to be the regulator of societies such as ours. I cannot say more. If you have any questions about this afterwards I can direct them to Andrew O’Neill of Chambers O’Neill who is here. I want to pay tribute to the staff. They have behaved magnificently in difficult times – sometimes very difficult – over a considerable period. Many of them have had to shoulder heavy additional responsibilities over recent weeks. I am humbled by their dedication and proud of that which they have achieved. So why would anyone want to take on the Chairmanship at such a time? The truth is that Council and I are committed to the work BASC does and happily volunteer our time and skills to help the staff do their job and ensure the future of shooting. I mean all Council members – even the three who have recently resigned – because while we may have had differences on how the Association should be governed we all share the same passion for the sport and the desire to see it flourish. My perception is that relationships between council and staff have never been better. We have amassed the most extraordinary set of skills in the organisation. Council itself has never been stronger. We have a remarkable resource in BASC, the only shooting organisation to have the critical mass in terms of resources both human, technical and financial to do the job. Among the staff we have people who are national and even international experts. Global authority. BASC employs people who are committed to the sport and many of them are practitioners. Over decades of careful management we have ensured that the team has the resources to do the job – it’s Council’s role to ensure that this continues and that BASC‘s future is as bright and successful as its past. It was Judge Bishop in the VAT tribunal who, a few years ago, commented that in his opinion shooting would look very different and in some cases might not exist at all if it hadn’t been for BASC. We’re all aware of the threats and challenges which face our sport. There are those who would make shooting a luxury by pricing us out of private firearms ownership. There are forces intent on banning lead ammunition, snares, grouse shooting and pest control.  If these people succeed then the country, our wildlife and our own lives will be immeasurably poorer. BASC is a bulwark against those threats I know that I can count on your support to ensure those threats never become a reality. It is important to remember that we are a membership organisation not a business – and we mustn’t lose touch with the grassroots whether members, staff or volunteers. We mustn’t lose the feel of a membership organisation. There is an old Chinese curse about being born in interesting times. Well these are certainly interesting times to be chairman. But if you look at the front of your pack you will see a slogan. Together. For shooting. For conservation. For the future and you. Not idle words. Whether you are a stalker or a wildfowler, whether you shoot pigeons or partridges, grouse or geese, rabbits or rats, whether you use an airgun, a shotgun, or a rifle, we are your organisation.  Together. For shooting. For conservation. For the future but above all for you. The threats we face are real. They are common to us all in one form or another. United we can deal with them.

5. Questions

The Chairman invited questions from the floor. Questions would be directed to the most appropriate person to answer them. Questioner: BASC is a membership organisation of members. Members haven’t known what is going on and it is causing alarm. Rumours around the mill are alarming and we are hearing unconfirmed stories. Would it be possible to tell our members what you can tell them today? Andrew O’Neill was asked to respond to the question: Chambers O’Neill, a specialist employment law firm have been appointed by the Executive and the Council. However, the appointment is essentially for and on behalf of the members.  We have been appointed to carry out and lead an investigation in conjunction with an external HR consultant and that is what we intend to do.  As we are in the very early stages of the investigation I cannot tell you what those investigation conclusions will be and I cannot go into the detail about where we are in that process. All I can say is that we will be dealing with matters in a thorough and fair way and as quickly as possible. I can’t tell you when the investigation will be concluded. This is because of the steps that have been put in place to ensure the process is thorough and fair. I can confirm there will be oversight by a QC from a barristers chambers in London which specialises in employment law. I am not prepared to give you further details as I don’t want to affect, taint or prejudge the investigation. I ask you to bear with us in order to do this properly. Questioner: you are compounding the difficulties in as much as this is the first AGM I have attended where the President is not here, The Chief Executive is not here and the previous Chairman is not here.  The difficulty of this is, it is compounding the problem of confusion and not knowing. As members of BASC we need up to date information by Tuesday at the latest. Andrew O’Neill responded: I cannot respond to what you have just said, but understand what you have said. Questioner: Has the leaked document effected your investigation in any way Andrew O’Neill responded: I am conducting my investigation in a way that is bordering on rude. Other than my initial meeting with a member of council and the Acting Chief Executive I have made a deliberate effort to stay away from everyone else in the Association, other than those people I am seeing as part of the investigation. In relation to the specific question, I have no involvement other than knowing today, that documentation has been leaked. I am not involved in advising the Association and I have not seen the leak. My role is to get answers to the issues currently facing the Association. Some are historical issues that I will revisit and there are current issues that I need to investigate. But I am not involved in wider issues. Questioner: In the list of obituaries many of those read out were wildfowlers and many wildfowlers are out in force here, today. We regard BASC as our Association. Why has Richard Ali been suspended? A lot of us were pleased to see him after John Swift, to shake things up and to see him suspended casts a problem as he is our figurehead. I know you maybe can’t answer today but if not we would like a response by next Tuesday. The other thing is towards Peter Glenser.  As we had a Vice Chairman, why did he not automatically take up the Chair? The Chairman responded: In Annexe 12 of the rules, governance and operations of the Association specifically allow for a casual appointment and Mike Sherman asked me to stand. In relation to the previous question about whether the Chairman is here or not.  I was elected unanimously, by a quorate body of Council after the last Chairman resigned and until after this meeting when a new Chairman will be elected. Andrew O’Neill responded: Can I ask what the importance of next Tuesday is? Questioner: My view is, it is a few days ahead of today. Andrew O’Neill responded: I need to confirm that it will not be physically possible to speak to all those I need to in a short space of time, I am are going to do this properly and do it right.  Therefore I will not have any further information in such a short space of time.  It is not deliberate or inaction it is simple the fact we are going to do it properly and we are going to do it right. Questioner: Philippa Bursey when she left, left the association in a healthy state, what is the budget spent up to now on the previous report and what is the projection? What was the financial burden of the previous report? Andrew O’Neill responded: Chambers O’Neill charges and the Association are a matter between ourselves, but I have agreed half day rates and day rates which I offer to longstanding clients. These are considerably lower than hourly rates. Acting Chief Executive directed a question to Andrew O’Neill: What has been the Association’s attitude to this with you, from a financial side? Andrew O’Neill responded: Christopher was keen from the outset that costs remain manageable. Our day rate is really quite reasonable. We trade on our name and most of our business is by recommendation because we offer good value. Acting Chief Executive responded: Costs of this nature must be approved by Council.  I have asked Andrew O’Neill to tell me know when we hit the level that must be authorised by Council. This will ensure we keep a tight grip on the costs. With regards to the first report we are still looking into the costs and a ballpark figure is approx. £40,000 Questioner: This is a complex issue and I would like to know a ball park figure.  I think it is going to cost us the best part of 100K? Acting Chief Executive responded: I want to be sure it is brought in as reasonably as possible but must be done right and we have taken measures with this investigation to reduce costs. Questioner: The reason I said Tuesday was I thought it was the earliest and most practical date you could get a message out to its members. Acting Chief Executive responded: On Monday the magazine, which goes to members, will go to print. There will be reference to this in the magazine. We would not normally discuss staffing issues in the magazine but we need to ensure we don’t prejudice people’s rights and get landed with a large legal bill.  Also statements have been made to members, are on the website and those will be reflected in the magazine. Questioner: If BASC is such a super slick well-oiled machine, however did it come to this in the first place? Chairman responded: I think this is why we are having the investigation There were no further questions.

6. Adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2015

The Chairman presented the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2015. The Chairman drew attention to a clean audit and the best results BASC has ever had with just over a £1million surplus which will be reinvested on behalf of the membership to promote and ensure the future of the association and shooting sports. Question from Philippa Bursey: For those of you who don’t know my name is Philippa Bursey, I was the Director of Business Management and I was largely responsible for the preparation of the accounts being laid before this meeting. My question is actually addressed to Jill Jones, as representative of RSM, the auditors. Given the current circumstances in which the Association finds itself, that arisen as consequences of actions, which started to occur before the year and I do appreciate these accounts are now six months old.  Do the auditors have any concerns and do they believe they should be reconsidering their report? And in particular are the contingent liabilities adequately provided for? Angela Davies, BASC Director of Business Management responded: We contacted Roger Davies, the auditor from RSM immediately and I have spoken to him in detail about contingent liabilities provisions and the financial statements laid in front of you.  Roger Davies, our auditor has provided the following letter which I shall read. The preparation of the financial statements of the Association is the responsibility of the Executive & Finance Committee (see page 3 of the financial statements). The 2015 financial statements were approved by this committee on 17th March 2016. Here facts had become known after the financial statement have been issued: I understand financial statements have been published in the BASC magazine. You and I have discussed this, including the potential claims in context of the overall surplus and turnover of BASC and whether this needs to be addressed in the financial statements. I understand that BASC has determined that no amendments to the financial statements was required and RSM is accordingly content not to issue a revised auditor’s report. I hope that this letter clarifies this matter for you but if you require any further information please let me know. R M Davies There were no further question The accounts were proposed and seconded from the floor and agreed on a show of hands. The Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements were duly adopted.

8. Elections

The Chairman asked the Chief Executive to introduce the nominations. There were no nominations for Vice-Presidents this year. Honorary Life Membership: Jim Carpenter [Proposed: Liam Higgins] Jim was first elected onto the Committee in 1964, and then there was a gap from 1972 – 1975 when his work took him to Yorkshire. He served as Chairman from 1965 – 1967. Secretary 1977 – 1985 and Treasurer 1989 – 2015. In between he ran the Clay Pigeon Shooting Section. The periodic renewal of the lease on the South Barrier Bank, at least the last three have been negotiated by Jim almost single handed. The club owes the man an enormous debt and if you agree with me we cannot let his retirement pass unrecognised. The Chairman called for a show of hands and the award was approved Honorary Life Membership: Barry Merrison [Proposed: Graham Crompton-Howe Seconded: Tim Russell] Barry has been a Member of the Humber Wildfowlers for 39 years and Treasurer continually for over 25 of those years. He is a quiet man and slight in stature but one of those people who when given a job just gets on with it in his quiet manner. As Chairman of the Humber Wildfowlers for 20+ years, he not only does the usual Treasurers job of managing the finances of the club but has for the last 10 years or so took taken on part of the Secretaries role arranging meetings and organising our annual wildfowling stand at the Broclesby. At these shows he is there first, helping setting out the stand and is there last, putting things in the trailer. I have worked closely with Barry on:-
  • Our Land Purchase which was done with our neighbouring club and via the WHT.
  • Gaining a significant 6 figure sum as compensation for wind farm cables coming under our land.
  • Now working on another 2 land purchase options.
As a past Vice Chairman of BASC whilst serving my 10 year term one of the greatest pleasures I got was from seeing the people like Barry, who just get on with the job a vital job for both our club and BASC, without seeking any reward or special recognition. I wholeheartedly recommend Barry to receive this award and hope it is received favourably in Council. The Chairman called for a show of hands and the award was approved

8.1  Election of Members of Council

The Chairman invited Jill Jones of RSM, the Scrutineer, to present the results of the elections to Council for 2016.
Ballot papers received 1,856
Online voters 929
Total voters 2,785
Papers received after deadline 4
Papers spoilt 24
Total paper votes 1,828
Total web votes 929
Votes deemed invalid 18
Total valid voters 2,739
In the order they appeared on the ballot paper, the votes from these valid papers were cast as follows:
Kevin Byre 180
Michael Alldis 600
Allan Musslewaite 732
Cara Richardson 1227
Cara Richardson was duly elected to Council. Robin Marshall Ball stood unopposed for the England seat and is elected to Council.

8.2 Wildlife Habitat Trust – trustees for 2015/2016

The Chairman introduced the nominations for the election of trustees for the Wildlife Habitat Trust. Alan Jarrett has been proposed and seconded, was happy for his name to go forward.  The nomination was carried on a show of hands and Alan Jarrett was duly elected. David Steele has been proposed and seconded, was happy for his name to go forward.  The nomination was carried on a show of hands and David Steele was duly elected.

9. Appointment of Auditors for 2015/2016

It was proposed that RSM UK Audit LLP be reappointed as auditors for the year ending December 2016, as recommended by Council.  This was carried unanimously, on a show of hands.

10. Any Other Business by Leave of the Chair

Questioner: I have come a long way today to get some answers but it is obvious that we will not be able to get these answers today. One question concerns why certain staff have resigned, and our ex-Chairman – why is he still a trustee for the WHT when he has resigned as chairman? The Acting Chief Executive responded: The member of staff who resigned handed in a letter of resignation. In terms of the proposal for Alan Jarrett for the Wildlife Habitat Trust this was decided earlier in the year, I have emailed Alan who is shooting in South Africa and put a message on his phone to confirm if he still wanted his name to go forward but no response has been received yet. It would be quite proper for his election to be moved as he has been validly nominated. The Chairman: I would also add that it would be quite wrong for his election not to go forward in the absence of him withdrawing it. It is therefore a valid nomination. Questioner: How will council now go about undertaking business now that some Council Members have resigned? The Chairman responded: We have lost four members of Council (three resigned and one retired) and just elected two. Council ranged between a minimum of ten and maximum of nineteen and we are within those limits. The code of good governance for our type of organisations recommends that smaller Councils are better and provides better governance. There will be another election next year and if required we have the option to Co-opt. There being no further business the Chairman thanked those present for their attendance and declared the meeting closed.

Present:

Lord Home, President Alan Jarrett, Chairman Members, supporters and guests of the Association Minute Secretary: Philippa Bursey The meeting was called to order and Philippa Bursey made administrative announcements prior to its commencement. Those present were informed that the meeting was being recorded to assist in the preparation of the minutes. Speakers from the floor were asked to wait for the roving microphone and to give their names. Supporters were reminded that although they could speak, they had no voting rights. Luncheon and emergency evacuation procedures were outlined. The President opened the meeting.

1. Apologies for absence

Apologies had been received from Peter Glenser, Neil Griffiths, John Graham, Sir Roger Jones, Martyn Howat, Steve Bloomfield, Gary Ashton, Tommy Mayne, Simon Parrington, Michael Alldis, Oliver McCullough, Ann Mortimer, Jono Garton, Simon Kibble, Terry Gladwell, Martin Salter, John Bridges and Richard Playle. The Chief Executive paid tribute to prominent members of the Association who had passed away in the last 12 months:
  • Robert Horton
  • Michael Booth
  • Doug Conroy
  • John ‘JK’ Kennan
  • Mr Peter J Turner
  • Duke of Wellington
  • Ken Barnes
  • Peter Whitaker
  • Malcolm ‘Mac’ Narborough
  • The 7th Earl of Leicester
  • Geoff Warner
  • Alan ‘Patty’ Patterson
  • Don Ford
A minute’s silence was observed in their memory.

2. President’s Address

Lord Home: Ladies and gentlemen; as you all know we have had two very significant votes in the United Kingdom since we last met – the Scottish referendum and the General Election. It is still very early to tell what the fallout will be from these and I am always chary about forecasting anything; in fact I agree with John Galbraith, the great economist, who said that forecasters fall into two groups – those that don’t know and those that don’t know they don’t know. I am not sure which category the pollsters fall into but I was delighted to see that they got it all wrong at the Election. We can only speculate about the future but there are some certainties – there is going to be a lot of pressure from the minority parties: for constitutional change, for another referendum in Scotland, for more powers for English MPs on English legislation, for proportional representation; to name but a few. With a very small majority in the House of Commons the government is vulnerable to pressure from its own back bench and it would only take four or five recalcitrant MPs to really cause a lot of trouble; and although the House of Commons should be able to get the legislation through, it will be a very different story in our House, in the House of Lords. During the coalition years the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in government just about equalled Labour in opposition and the coalition had to rely on cross-bench peers to get through legislation. Of course, we used to have 40 Liberals on the Conservative side; we now have 40 Liberals against us so, even with cross-bench support, it is going to be hard to get through what the government wants. And we are not very good at coalitions; the last parliament proved how difficult it was; Conservative ideas were often changed at the last minute, or indeed, sometimes, even after the legislation was announced – you no doubt remember things about static caravans and Cornish pasties. As for Politicians as a group: we don’t actually have a collective name for politicians, but we did become known as a “knee-jerk” of politicians, which then became shortened to “jerk” depending on the affiliations of the speaker. But, by reputation, Conservatives are supposed to be more supportive of fieldsports than others so, on that basis, presumably the General Election is good news. Your executive has done a great job getting to know the MPs, even the new ones who have only just joined us, and they believe that over 50% of MPs are in favour of shooting; but that doesn’t actually mean that we can be complacent about it in parliament and there is a small minority, say up to 15%, who actually want either to get rid of shooting completely or, at least, modify it almost out of existence. But the executive also produced some excellent leaflets on how much public support we have for shooting; these we need to influence decision makers. We must use facts and evidence – individually expressed opinions are often interesting but we must back these up with proof. Your Association in the last year has had a lot to do with licensing and with the police; for the police, for somewhat understandable reasons, are finding it easier to say “no” to applications for licenses than to grant them. Earlier this week two delightful policemen came to see me as I wanted to renew my firearms and shotgun certificates; I couldn’t quite see why they wanted to know what my wife’s maiden name was – unless they thought her fellow Welshmen were going to rearm and attack our headquarters at Marford Mill – and then they asked when did I start shooting? They had a thick folder of evidence that I had been shooting for some time, so to say something stupid was quite tempting; then they asked if I was a member of a gun club – it was even more tempting to be frivolous but when I proudly admitted that I was your President, they did stop asking questions about my knowledge of shooting. I know it is as tiresome for them to have to ask these questions as it is for us to have to answer them and, by and large, they do an extremely good job but there is a trend to pass the buck; it is easier to say “no” and let the application go to court and pass the “risk” to the judge. In all geographical areas, BASC has done a great job in the last year but as we are in Scotland and I am unashamedly biased as a Scotsman I do want to commend our Scottish team for the job they have done in opposing the plans of the Scottish government to introduce licenses for airguns and for other matters such as tail docking; it’s an ongoing problem but they are doing a great job and we thank them for it. Last year I spoke about your Council with particular reference to governance and responsibility; that work continues but your Council and executive has also to provide the resources to do the right job, and that Richard and his team have done. They have consistently made relevant and essential points on a whole variety of subjects and these have indeed been noticed; as a result, respect for our organisation has grown enormously in recent years both in parliament – and I often hear complimentary remarks about us in that forum – and in the country and it goes a long way to explaining why our membership has now exceeded the splendid figure of 140,000. And we continue to provide sensible advice to the relevant powers-that-be on the difficult topic of lead shot, but I will leave others to bring you up to date on that. Were it, however, to be banned, costs would force many people to give up shooting as bismuth and other alternatives are incredibly expensive. But talking of costs, your executive has also done a great job on keeping license renewal fees down to an affordable figure. As a gun-owner I am delighted that they are being kept down; as a banker I am rather disappointed as I thought I might get more business from people who had to borrow to pay for the license. There is a story of a young banker who ordered a new suit from his tailor and when it was delivered he found it had no pockets and enquired why? And the tailor responded “But bankers don’t need pockets, when they need money, they put their hands in other people’s pockets”. I trust you all have a very good season when it comes, thank you.

3. Chief Executive’s Address

Richard Ali: My Lord President, honoured guests, members, friends and colleagues. It is my pleasure to report that your team has made good progress on our objective of delivering on the Association’s goals. This has been made easier by having an elected Council that has provided us with the direction, constructive challenge, support and resources that any successful organisation needs. While the first phase of our programme of rapid evolution was focused on organisational readiness, we have now moved firmly into the second phase of performance improvement; and I have high expectations for our team, which is fully committed to delivering on behalf of shooting and conservation. Over the past year we have spent considerable time in making sure we have the capacity and the capability to both promote and defend shooting in every Country and in every region of the UK. Within the Association we have continued with organisational and process improvements. These have ensured we have become far more integrated as an Association, enabling us to be both proactive and evidence based. Not only has this allowed us to work better, it has enabled us to think better. An example of this has been the independently-produced Value of Shooting research, published in conjunction with 15 other organisations less than a year ago. Some may have thought the research was the end of the process, but we always saw it as just the beginning. Since then we have used the information every single day to inform and to educate. We have used the information in new and innovative formats. Our series of infographics have proved indispensable, and we’ve now brought these together in a single publication for policymakers. Over the year we have also worked with the media to highlight the importance of evidence-based policy making, and of better regulation to shooting, and to conservation. I’m not sure very many in shooting knew too much about White Hat Bias. They do now, and our warnings of poor process and incomplete evidence are being taken seriously, especially in relation to lead ammunition, where we have staked out the firm position of no sound evidence, no change. That position is not only vocalised and demonstrated by your Association, it is supported by our sister organisations, with whom we are working more closely than ever on issues of common cause. In this regards I want to pay particular tribute to Sir Barney White-Spunner, Executive Chairman of the Countryside Alliance. For the avoidance of doubt, I am immensely proud of the important work that your Association has done to ensure prejudice and bias doesn’t win the day on lead shot. We will not let our guard drop. We will continue to insist that any review of lead ammunition is conducted on sound evidence and proper process. A major success over the course of the year has been agreement on the new set of firearms fees in line with Treasury Guidelines in Great Britain. I cannot stress enough how much work your Association put into ensuring a fair result. We continue to argue for the same transparent approach to be adopted in Northern Ireland. Across the organisation we are delivering on behalf of shooting. From coaching and training, codes of practice, game and deer management, wildfowling, and firearms to our Taste of Game programme. Over the coming year your Association will continue to both promote and protect shooting and work on behalf of our growing and diverse membership, providing support, opportunities and benefits. Your Association will continue to engage with politicians of all parties, and representative organisations from shooting, conservation and beyond. We will continue to deliver on our objectives, and improve our performance – all of which directly benefit shooting and conservation. Shooting is overwhelmingly a force for good. We will make sure our role in the economy, in conservation and in wellbeing is appreciated, understood and sustained. Together, we are B A S C: For shooting, conservation, the future and for you. Thank you for your continued support.

4. Awards and Presentations

The President asked the Chief Executive to announce the presentation of awards. Ian Richardson Trophy On the recommendation of Christopher Graffius and Steven Moore the trophy was awarded to John Bridges who was not present to receive it: John Bridges, proprietor of the North East Wildlife photo agency, is one of Britain’s finest wildlife photographers and a staunch ally of BASC. The quality of all our publications owes much to the images he provides. They give impact and firmly establish our professional approach to publishing and they powerfully reinforce our image as a serious conservation organisation, enhancing our credibility with other organisations through their quality and accuracy. While other photographers charge for their services, John has supplied BASC with hundreds of striking images, all completely free of charge! Every BASC department that produces material for publication has benefited from John’s work. We use his pictures regularly; he is a principal contributor to Shooting & Conservation and our first choice when looking for excellent photos for other publications. It is not an exaggeration to say that without John’s support we could not produce publications of the high quality that we always seek to achieve. Stanley Duncan Conservation Trophy On the recommendation of Paul Williamson and Mark Greenhough the trophy was awarded to the Westmoreland Wildfowlers Association (WWA), represented by Mark Shaw, the club chairman, and Andy Stott, the secretary: Mark Shaw and Andy Stott both addressed the meeting, thanking their proposers and BASC’s Council for awarding them the trophy and everyone in BASC, in particular the wildfowling team, for all the support they have given to the WWA – they considered the service they receive for their membership fee to be second to none. Mark and Andy gave an illustrated presentation on the work and achievements of the club, emphasising the extent to which communication and co-operation with other stakeholders, in particular tenant farmers, local landowners, their landlords, the Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the statutory agencies have contributed to the WWA’s success. A club of some 130 active members who shoot over and around the River Kent estuary in Cumbria, where conservation plays an important role in the club; it seeks to promote a sustainable and responsible approach to the sport of wildfowling through the provision of sanctuary areas, habitat improvement, supplementary feeding programmes in hard weather, duck rearing and release programmes with over 18,000 ducks released to date and provision of artificial wildfowl nest structures around the estuary. The club has an excellent record of conservation work, carrying out habitat improvement on the vegetation choked Foulshaw saltmarsh, where three flashes were created to make them more attractive to wildfowl, waders and many other non-quarry species e.g Snipe, Redshank, Lapwing and Curlew. Habitat creation on Milnthorpe Marsh for the benefit of winter wildfowl and spring waders. Being a SSSI this involved partnership working with Natural England and the Environment Agency. The club has found that using raised nest structures greatly reduces losses through predation. Nest structures have ranged from wooden nest boxes built by WWA members, to sunken plastic barrel nests, their latest scheme of mallard ‘hen houses’ that have been used very successfully by the Delta Waterfowl (USA) and the Devenish Wildfowlers in Northern Ireland. More recently, building on its achievements – success breeding success – under the guidance of Paul Williamson and with assistance from the WHT, the club bought 27 acres of land at Tarneybank Tarn, near Killington in Cumbria. The land will also be used to train new members and young people in good shooting practice and conservation work. Special Presentations Victoria Knowles-Lack [proposed by Peter Glenser and Mike Sherman] As the founder of the Shotgun and Chelsea Bun Club, Victoria has made a huge contribution to the sport of shooting by encouraging women to pick up a gun. Appealing to novices as well as the more experienced shot, the club allows women the chance to make friends, enjoy clay shooting and eat cake; and with her presence on its show stands and by encouraging Bun Club members to join, Victoria is also a highly valued contributor to BASC. Sarah Troughton [proposed by Colin Shedden] Sarah has been the chair of the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group for the past ten years. During this period the group has developed to become one of the most successful, if not the most successful, private-public sector tourism groups in Scotland. After an initial period of core funding by public sector agencies the group is now self-financing and continues to enjoy the support of Visit Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Natural Heritage, as well the key country sports organisations such as BASC, Association of Deer Management Groups, Rivers and Fisheries Trusts Scotland and Scottish Land and Estates. Country sports are now accepted as mainstream tourism activity. The Group acted as a template for the South West Country Sports Group and other parts of the UK are also hoping to follow this example. The success of the Group in supporting many country sports providers and in maintaining a buoyant market for shooting, stalking and fishing in Scotland is undoubtedly due, to a considerable extent, to Sarah Troughton’s drive, determination and enthusiasm. Sarah has delivered all of this over the years, as well as some funding initiatives, for no personal reward. It is a pleasure for BASC to recognise this important contribution to Scotland’s rural wellbeing today.” Terry Gladwell [proposed by Steve Bloomfield and Simon Reinhold] Terry, who was not present to receive his award, has been a staunch supporter of BASC for many years. Terry has the most incredible collection of Punt Guns and wildfowling firearms, possibly the finest collection in private ownership anywhere in the country. This collection is extremely valuable and some of the guns are irreplaceable (he has the first ever Holland and Holland wildfowling piece which he has bequeathed to them in his will). Despite the value and the logistical nightmare of removing them from his collection and putting them into his car, he is always willing to do this and bring them to BASC events and display them for the pleasure of visiting guests etc. Terry lives near London but never complains about being asked to attend events all over the country despite the long drive. When on stand he sleeps next to his guns for security and, for similar reasons, is unable to participate in social events or meals for fear of his guns being targeted. He is dedicated to his sport of Wildfowling and spends hours answering questions and talking to visitors which adds exceptional value to the credibility of BASC. Sir James Paice [proposed by Christopher Graffius and Simon Clarke] “Jim” Paice has been a member of WAGBI and then BASC since boyhood. A keen game shot he has run his own syndicate in Cambridgeshire. He has worked as a farmer and is every inch a countryman. Elected to parliament as the Conservative MP for South East Cambridgeshire in 1987 he has served as an MP with distinction for twenty-eight years and is now retiring from the Commons. During his time as an MP, Jim Paice has served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Baroness Trumpington and John Gummer at MAFF and then the Department of the Environment. He has been an opposition spokesman on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and was appointed Minister of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2010. As a Minister Sir Jim had the distinction of being one of the few serving in that position who actually knew what he was talking about without a civil servant having to tell him. More importantly, before being appointed Minister of State, Jim acted as Chairman of the All Party Group on Shooting and Conservation, something that must have registered positively with the Prime Minister when he was handing out ministerial office. As Chairman of the All Party Group, Sir Jim worked closely with BASC who provide the secretariat of the group. Sir Jim has always been generous with his time in advising shooting interests when they interact with parliament. He is a Trustee of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. He is one of the few politicians who lists “shooting and conservation” as his recreational interests. Martin Salter [Proposed by Christopher Graffius and Simon Clarke] Martin, who was not present to receive his award, works as the National Campaigns Co-ordinator for the Angling Trust. In this capacity he works closely with BASC. From 1997 to 2010 he was the Labour MP for Reading West and, from 2002, the Labour backbench spokesman on shooting and angling, and works closely with the Association for the benefit of shooting. Martin was instrumental in starting BASC’s Rural Receptions, hosted jointly with angling organisations. The first of these was held at a Labour Party conference. But they are now held annually at each of the three main parties’ conferences. In 2008 Martin was a centenary patron of BASC. Prior to the 2005 General Election Martin produced the Labour Charter on Shooting Sports writing in the Foreword: “As a political party, we want to go much further than merely promising not to restrict shooting. We want to actively encourage people to take up the sports and to develop policies under which they can develop and prosper.” In 2008 Martin, who had participated in parliamentary clay shoots, came rough shooting with BASC staff and potted his first pheasant. Over his time as spokesman for shooting Martin worked with BASC to stop the prohibition of occasional clay shoots, to ensure government support for a new code on snaring, to secure government funds for target shooting, to exempt working dogs from the ban on tail docking, to ensure that young people can continue to shoot airguns on private land where they have permission and secured changes making it easier to control cormorants. In addition with Martin’s help the game licence was scrapped; as was the ban on selling game in the closed season, a ban that predated freezers and refrigeration. Martin continues to work constructively with BASC in his current role with the Angling Trust. Dr Lucy Webster [Proposed by Alan Balfour and Colin Shedden] Dr Webster is chair of the PAW Scotland Science Group and was responsible for developing and using new forensic DNA techniques that have applicability to many areas of wildlife crime, including poaching. Her work assisted with the conviction of a poacher earlier this year. Dr Webster is the Senior Molecular Biologist, Wildlife DNA Forensics at SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture) and specialises in the application of genetic data to wildlife forensics, management and conservation. She has also worked closely with BASC Scotland staff on a number of other poaching and wildlife crime areas.

5. Chairman’s Report

The President invited the Chairman to present his report. Alan Jarrett: Thank you Lord Home, ladies, gentlemen; good morning everybody. It is an absolute pleasure to be standing here to give the Chairman’s report and also the next agenda item – to move adoption of the accounts. At the risk of making this sound a bit like the Oscars; I should like to thank one or two people, starting with Council members – and the Council elections follow later in the meeting, as you all know – as a number of stalwarts will be leaving Council because they’ve either chosen not to re-stand or because their term of office has ended. In no particular order: Neil Griffiths who has chosen not to re-stand after serving five years, as has Sir Roger Jones and Martyn Howat, who I succeeded as Chairman. Martyn served five years on Council including two as Chairman so he did more than his share during his time on Council. Alisdair Troup has served five years and is re-standing, so we will see in a few minutes how that has gone – good luck with that – and, finally, Lee Freeston who has done two terms of five years and is therefore timed out under our constitution. Lee has done a very long stint, finishing as Chairman of the Executive and Finance Committee which is the third most senior post on Council. So, thank you Lee; thank you to everybody. [The Chairman called upon the meeting to express its thanks to the retiring members of Council] The other person I should like to thank is my Vice-Chairman, Mike Sherman. This is my second spell as Chairman of this Association – something of which I am very proud – and Mike is my third Vice-Chairman and by far and away the best I have worked with, so, thank you for that Mike and for Theresa for keeping him on the straight and narrow; and, as a reward, whilst I am in America on holiday, Mike will be holding the fort at the CLA Game Fair so, thank you for that Mike. The other person that needs mentioning is the Chief Executive, Richard Ali. He talked in his report about the things the Association has done and is doing and I must say, again in terms of history, Richard is the second Chief Executive I have worked with over the years and, again, he is far and away the better. He brings a pro-active approach, reactive when I ask for something to be done – it is normally done yesterday – and is completely trustworthy, in my view; and I think Council colleagues who actually appointed Richard as Chief Executive deserve a special vote of thanks – I don’t think anybody regrets his appointment. I think we are in safe hands in terms of the executive. Now so much of what we do is built on inter-personal skills, and certainly Richard mentioned Sir Barny White-Spunner, and I think I should like to reinforce that; but, not just our working with the Countryside Alliance but with the whole countryside family. And I think it fair to say that BASC has never been held in higher regard amongst the other country sports organisations and organisations like the Moorland Association, which we gave help and assistance to a few months back over moorland issues. I know that they really appreciated our support at that time and I think it bodes well. All of us are working together to protect the countryside and country sports, and we will continue to do that, and continue to do that effectively. I think the other area where we have been held in increasingly high regard is in the sporting press. I am sure that most of us can remember some pretty hairy stories in the Shooting Times and other places, often taking a certain view of BASC because of how it was perceived at the time. BASC is in a different place now; the work of Richard and Christopher and others to make sure we get our positive message across is well received in the shooting media; and if we were to add up the column-inches of positive PR in the sporting press over the past few years it would be a very long list indeed. Going on to look at the impact on politics, which I think is very important. To paraphrase, Richard mentioned earlier the need for an evidence-based approach and that underpins everything we are doing. So, whether that be fighting the airgun licensing proposals here in Scotland or whether it be insuring that the right, unbiased, impartial message is being disseminated on lead ammunition; these are key elements of work for us but, more than that, they point towards a direction of travel for us. We expect a clear, evidence-based response to issues and work hard with politicians to achieve that. One of the things we do is attend the annual party conferences and certainly I, with Richard and Christopher, attended all the main party conferences last year and had discussions with ministers, MPs and aspirant MPs throughout that process; and our rural receptions at each of those conferences were very well attended. A couple of conversations I should like to remind myself of: firstly with Angela Smith, who was at that time the Labour spokesman for shooting, and the conversation I had with her was about our membership and about our expectations as an apolitical organisation. At one point I did say to her “Well, we have 140,000 members, you know, and that is 140,000 voters and their families and their circle of friends; and you need to take care not to upset a million plus people.” Some of the documentation that they produced before the General Election on issues of animal welfare, tangentially, impacting on shooting, were not helpful messages and we know the result of the election; I don’t think that was the only issue in the minds of the public but, certainly, when politicians decide on a particular line of enquiry and action they need to be aware of the strength and influence of the whole of the country sports/countryside family. The next thing I want to mention is the rural reception and the Conservative Annual Conference: we were very privileged to have Secretary of State, Liz Truss, attend and speak and the thing that she said that, certainly, I hang on to, is that under a Conservative majority government, attacks on shooting will be “batted away” – that was the terminology she used so, if necessary, we will remind her of that in future. The final thing I want to refer to is the Association itself and its name. Organisations are only as good as their name – their brand; we are proud of and have worked hard on ours; we are recognised as the largest organisation in our field and our name is of vital importance to us. So, cross-referencing with the work of the Lead Ammunition Group, which all of you will know about from the shooting press; all of you will know that we are very displeased with the partiality of the report and the abuse of process, which all the country sports organisations believe exists. You will also all know that Council took immediate steps to distance itself from the Chairman of the Lead Ammunition Group, for reasons that were set out at the time, and this is where I think the use of modern communications is so important – Council was able to take a decision within 24 hours of a certain event happening that we were displeased with. We severed our links with that individual and, what is more, we told everybody that we’d done that; we did all that we could to say to the wider world “we are not happy with this process because, because, because……” So I must thank Council for such a swift response. The final point I want to make is about defending our name: we’ve reacted very quickly and very positively to those who have sought to misrepresent BASC though social media, through websites. We have taken immediate action against those who have made unpleasant attacks or threats on our staff; when people have tried to misrepresent us or, in fact, on occasions, told downright lies about us, we have reacted very positively and very quickly to defend our name. All I can say is that under my watch, under this current Council, we will continue to ensure that our name is protected and all those that want to come out in public and tell lies about BASC will get some very robust response which, I think, is what you would expect. BASC is an organisation name to be proud of and we will continue to advance the sport and part of that will be defending the BASC brand. Thank you very much.

6. Adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2014

The President invited the Chairman to present the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2014. The Chairman then asked for a proposer and seconder for the adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for 2014. Proposed by Lee Freeston, seconded by John Thornley and agreed unanimously on a show of hands, the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements were duly adopted.

7. Elections

The President asked the Chief Executive to introduce the nominations. There were no nominations for Vice-Presidents this year. There was one nomination for Honorary Life Membership: Tom Brown (proposed by Graeme Dalby, seconded by Donald Muir). Tom is currently the Treasurer of Caerlaverock and District Wildfowlers, Tom has run the Club for more than 20 years, has sat on the Wildfowling Liaison Committee, been involved with the Punt Gunners’ Register for a number of years and represented shooting on the local goose management group on the Solway. The President asked for a show of hands, the award was unanimously approved. 7.1 Election of Members of Council The President invited Jill Jones of Baker Tilly, the Scrutineer, to present the results of the elections to Council for 2015.
Ballot Papers received 2,214
 Online voters 677
 Total voters 2,891
 Papers received after deadline  1
 Papers spoilt 25
 Papers deemed invalid Nil
 Valid paper votes 2,189
 Valid web votes 677
 Total valid voters 2,866
 Number of votes cast 11,881
In the order they appeared on the ballot paper, the votes from these valid papers were cast as follows:
Alisdair Troup  969
Nick Powell 941
Ann Mortimer 1,285
Simon Kibble 908
Sarah Turner 1,224
Peter Pursglove 1,042
Daryn Hufton Rees 462
Neil Chalmers 537
Sally-Anne Cockerill 1,278
Allen Musselwhite 1,024
John Dryden 1,112
Martyn Jones  1,099
The following were duly elected to Council: Ann Mortimer, Sarah Turner, Sally-Anne Cockerill, John Dryden and Martyn Jones. Oliver McCullough stood unopposed for the Northern Ireland seat and Jonathan Garton stood unopposed for the Wales seat; their elections to Council were confirmed on a show of hands. 7.2 Wildlife Habitat Trust – trustees for 2015/2016 The President introduced the nominations for the election of trustees for the Wildlife Habitat Trust. Alan Jarrett, proposed by Mike Sherman and seconded by Lee Freeston, was happy for his name to go forward. The nomination was carried on a show of hands and Alan Jarrett was duly elected. David Steele, proposed by Alan Jarrett, seconded by Ian Grindy, was happy for his name to go forward. The nomination was carried on a show of hands and David Steele was duly elected.

8. Motions for Debate

The President invited the Chief Executive to present the motions for debate. The meeting was advised that all the Motions for Debate [details of which are appended to these minutes] were contained in the copy of Shooting and Conservation that had been provided for all those present; they had all been proposed in the name of Council and did not require individual proposers and seconders to be specified. Given the number and detailed nature of the motions, the meeting was presumed to have read them; no comments were made thereon, nor were any questions asked. The President individually sought the meeting’s approval of each of the motions numbered 1 to 10; in each case approval was confirmed on a show of hands with no member voting against any motion.

9. Appointment of Auditors for 2014/2015

It was proposed that Baker Tilly UK Audit LLP be reappointed as auditors for the year ending December 2014, as recommended by Council. This was carried unanimously, on a show of hands.

10. Any Other Business by Leave of the Chair

Sir Malcolm Guthrie proposed a vote of thanks to the President, which was unanimously approved. There being no further business, the President thanked those present for their attendance and declared the meeting closed. Motion 1  It is proposed that rule 2(f)(i) be amended to increase from £10million to £20million the maximum aggregate sum that can be borrowed or secured from time to time by the Association. Motion 2  It is proposed that a new rule 2(f)(iii) be inserted in the following terms that grants Council the power to: acquire or hire interests in land of any kind (including sporting rights) for the purpose of providing members and the wider community with opportunities to shoot to include land acquisition for the purposes of conservation and land management; and and that the existing rule 2(f)(iii) and any references thereto be renumbered 2(f)(iv). Motion 3  It is proposed that rule 5(d) be amended to delete the words: the day of such that the penultimate sentence of rule f(d) shall become: Save that he shall not vote, the co-opted member shall have the same rights and duties as an elected member and may serve until the commencement of the first meeting of the Council after the Annual General Meeting next following his co-option. Motion 4  It is proposed that the following be appended to rule 5(e)(i): The members of the Executive and Finance Committee shall include at least two members of Council, one of whom shall be appointed Chairman by the Council. Additional members need not be members of the Council but shall be members of this Association. Motion 5  It is proposed that rule 5(e)(iii) be amended to delete the words: and shall not hold office for longer than five years with the option to continue at the discretion of the Council; and to replace them with: and shall hold office for such period as the Council shall from time to time think fit; such that the said rule shall become: 5(e)(iii) the Chairmen of Advisory Committees shall be appointed annually by the Council from its members and shall hold office for such period as the Council shall from time to time think fit; Motion 6  It is proposed that rule 7(g) [which will become 7(i) if Motion 9 below is approved] be amended to insert a recital and to provide for members resident in England to elect one of their number to be a member of Council such that the recital and the first clause of the said rule shall become: 7 (i) Regarding the election of Council members by members resident in different areas of the United Kingdom: (i) subject to Rule 7(i)(iii), the members of this Association resident in each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively that are entitled to attend and vote at an Annual General Meeting shall be entitled to elect one of their number to be a member of Council. In the event only one person is nominated to a vacant country seat no ballot shall be required and the person so nominated shall be offered for election at the Annual General Meeting. If no nominations are received the seat shall remain vacant until the next following Annual General Meeting. Motion 7 It is proposed that rule 14 be amended to delete the words: and shall be attested by the signatures of two members of the Council and the countersignature of the Chief Executive for the time being. and to replace them with and shall be attested by the signatures of the Chief Executive and the Secretary for the time being. Motion 8  It is proposed that the following changes be made to permit the use of electronic communication and voting systems: That a new rule 6(c) be inserted: 6(c) A meeting of the Council may be held either in person or by suitable electronic means agreed by the Council in which all participants may communicate with all the other participants. and that the existing rules 6(c) to 6(f) and any references thereto be renumbered 6(d) to 6(g) accordingly. That the ability to issue notice of meetings by suitable electronic means be introduced and that the right to vote of all members, including those under the age of eighteen years, be affirmed by the deletion of rule 7c and its replacement with: 7(c) Notices – Not less than twenty-eight days’ written notice shall be given of an Annual General Meeting and not less than twenty-one days’ notice shall be given of a Special General Meeting. Any notice to which a member of this Association may be entitled under these Rules shall be sufficiently given if sent through the post to a member’s last known address, or either emailed to an email address provided by a member or sent by electronic means to a mobile telephone number provided by a member, and shall be deemed to have been given on the day of posting or sending of the email or electronic message. The notice shall specify the date, place and time of the General Meeting and in the case of a Special General Meeting the general nature of the business to be transacted at the meeting. Notice of a General Meeting shall be given to such members of this Association as are then entitled to vote at a General Meeting. Accidental omission to give notice of the meeting to or non-receipt of a notice by any member entitled to receive one shall not invalidate the proceedings of the meeting. That the power to run the ballot for Council members by suitable electronic means be introduced by the deletion of rule 7(f) [which will become 7(h) if Motion 9 below is approved] and its replacement with: 7(h) The elected members of Council (referred to in Rule 5(a)(ii)) shall be chosen by ballot. Such a ballot may occur by post (with ballot papers accompanying the notice of meeting at which the election of Council Members forms part of the business to be transacted) or electronically by online voting. Council shall make all appropriate arrangements for conducting the ballot (including the form of ballot paper to be used, if relevant, and the appointment of scrutineers). Council may direct that completed ballot papers be lodged at the offices of the Scrutineer of this Association for the time being or electronic votes be cast no later than seventy-two hours before the time appointed for the meeting. The results of the ballot shall be announced by the Scrutineer at the meeting. Motion 9  It is proposed that the following changes be made to clarify and make corrections to the constitution: Changes in the nature of corrections: i. That the title of the document shall be “Constitution” ii. That in the Introduction it shall be stated that the name of the Association was changed to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) iii. That at the end of rule 2(d)(i) the word “and” be inserted iv. That in rule 3(h) the word “lores” shall be deleted and replaced by the word “lore”. v. That at the end of rule 5(e)(iv) the word “and” be inserted vi. That in rule 7(d) that the word “a” be inserted before the words “General Meeting” That rule 2(f) be amended to include the following wording as a recital to the rule: In furtherance of this Association’s role and objects, the Council have the power to: That the word “and” be deleted from the end of rule 2(f)(ii) and that the following words be appended thereto: in accordance with the limitations of the Acts. such that it shall read: 2(f)(iii) receive monies on deposit from members or others up to a maximum of £400 in accordance with the limitations of the Acts; That rule 3(b) be amended to delete the words: nor be covered by those insurances made available as an automatic right of membership. such that the final sentence of the said rule 3(b) shall become: Supporters may also be admitted but shall not hold a share nor have voting rights. That in place of the word “Subscriptions” the recital to rule 3(f) should become: 3(f) The Council may at its discretion require subscriptions to be paid by members, and if subscriptions are required: That in rule 5(c) the words “whatsoever situated” shall be deleted and replaced by the words “wherever situated” and that for the sake of clarity the rule be subdivided thus: 5(c) The Council shall have absolute discretion in administering, expending and applying or in directing the administration expenditure and application of the funds of this Association for the protection and advancement of the interests of this Association and its members and in a carrying out and furthering the objects of this Association. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing the Council shall have power in the name of this Association or that of a nominee to: (i) invest or lay out the funds of this Association in the acquisition by purchase or otherwise or upon security of such stocks, funds, shares, securities or other investments or such property of whatever nature and wherever situated as the Council shall in its absolute discretion think fit to the intent that the Council shall have the same full and unrestricted power of investing this Association’s funds and transposing investments as if it were an absolute owner beneficially entitled; and (ii) delegate upon such terms with such remuneration as the Council shall in its absolute discretion think fit to professional investment managers the exercise of this power of investment. That in place of the word “Committees” the recital to rule 5(e) should become: 5(e) The Council may delegate its authority to committees to the extent set out in this Rule That rule 5(j)(iv) which be deleted and replaced with: 5(j)(iv) display a copy of the latest balance sheet of the Association and the Auditor’s report thereon in a conspicuous position at its registered office; That rule 7(e)(vii) be represented so as to form three separate rules numbered 7(e)(vii), 7(f) and 7(g); that rules 7(f) to 7(j) should be renumbered 7(h) to 7(l) and that all references to such rules be amended accordingly. 7(e) (vii) such other business as the Council may determine but the general nature of such business must be indicated in the notice convening the Annual General Meeting. 7(f) The business to be transacted at a Special General Meeting shall be strictly limited to the purposes set out in the requisition requiring the convening of the meeting. 7(g) No business shall be transacted at a General Meeting of this Association unless a quorum of members is present. The quorum shall be twenty members of this Association present and entitled to vote. Motion 10  It is proposed that the following changes be made in respect of references to legislation and to the Registrar: That in rules 5(j)(ii) and 8 references to the “Registrar of Friendly Societies”, the “Chief Registrar” and the “Registrar” be replaced with references to the “FCA”. That, save for those within rule 15, references to the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 (“IPSA”) and to the Friendly and Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1968 (“FIPSA”) be replaced by references to the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 (“CCBSA”) and that section references therein be changed thus: i. In rule 3(i)(i) Section 60(1)(a) to(d) of the IPSA will become Section 137(2)(a) to(d) of the CCBSA ii. In rule 3(i)(ii) Section 60(1)(a) to(d) of the IPSA will become Section 137(2)(a) to(d) of the CCBSA iii. In rule 5(k) Section 46(1) of the IPSA will become Section 103(1) of the CCBSA iv. In rule 10(a) Section 7 of the FIPSA will become Section 91 of the CCBSA v. In rule 10(e) Section 6 of the FIPSA will become Section 94 of the CCBSA and the words “in accordance with subsections 2 and 3 of Section 6” will be deleted vi. In rule 10(g) Section 9 of the FIPSA will become Section 87 of the CCBA That rule 9 which refers to Accounts be deleted and be replaced with: 9. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS The financial statements of this Association shall be prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 and shall be audited by the Auditor of this Association and shall be presented at the Annual General Meeting of this Association in each year. That rule 10(a) which applies to the appointment of a sole auditor be deleted and replaced with: 10(a) The Association shall in each year of account appoint one or more qualified auditors who fulfil the requirements of section 91 of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 to audit its financial statements for that year. and that in rules 10(d) and 10(g) the words “accounts and balance sheet” be deleted and replaced by the words “financial statements”. That to reflect the changes that will result from the passing of these motions, rule 15 be deleted and replaced with the following: 15. INTERPRETATION In these Rules unless the context otherwise requires: (i) Words importing the singular shall also import the plural and vice versa. (ii) Words importing the masculine gender shall also import the feminine and vice versa. (iii) The residency of a member shall be determined by reference to their address in the register of members. (iv) “Country seat” means the position occupied on the Council by a person elected pursuant to Rule 7(i)(i). (v) “electronic means” has the meaning given to it in section 148 of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. (vi) “FCA” means the Financial Conduct Authority (or its successor or replacement body acting as the registering authority for societies under the Acts). (vii) “financial statements” includes the accounts and balance sheet. (viii) “in writing” refers to a legible document on paper including a fax message or in electronic form, such as but not limited to email. (ix) “person” shall be deemed to mean an individual, firm, company or an unincorporated association. (x) “The Acts” shall mean the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965, the Friendly and Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1968, and any amendment, modification or re-enactment thereto.

Abbots Well Hotel, Chester on Saturday 14th June 2014

Present:

  • Lord Home, President
  • Martyn Howat, Chairman
  • Members, supporters and guests of the Association
  • Minute Secretary: Rachel Dickinson

The Chief Executive called the meeting to order and asked Philippa Bursey to make administrative announcements prior to the start of the meeting. Those present were informed that the meeting was being recorded to assist in the preparation of the minutes. Speakers from the floor were asked to wait for the roving microphone and to give their names. Supporters were reminded that although they could speak, they had no voting rights. Luncheon and emergency evacuation procedures were outlined.

The President opened the meeting.

1. Apologies for absence

Apologies had been received from Patricia Hannam, Stewart Ogden, Colin Shedden, Alistair Troup, Peter Glenser, Martyn Jones, Mary Eveleigh, Helen Cormack, Dominic Griffith, Gary Ashton, Dr David Stinson, Tommy Mayne, Michael Hardy, Michael Alldis, Arthur Thirlwell [vice-President], Daryn Hufton-Rees and Richard Playle.

The Chief Executive paid tribute to prominent members of the Association who had passed away in the last 12 months:

Robert Chalk, was a longstanding member of Leigh on Sea Wildfowlers Association. Researching, collecting and restoring guns, particularly muzzle loading shotguns and rifles was of great interest to him and he had over 100 in his collection. The “Black Powder Shoot” that he organised annually was eagerly looked forward to by many friends that he introduced to muzzle loaded game shooting. Some 26 acres of land and freshmarsh in nearby Barling, in sight of the churchyard where he lies, has been purchased by Kent Wildfowling & Conservation Association and named “Chalk Marsh” in his memory

Tony Dakin served as Hon Sec under Richard Bream until 1990 when he took over the Chairman’s role from Richard and continued the Hon Sec roll as well. He tirelessly served the Leicestershire Wildfowlers’ Association and made a major contribution in the success of the Priory Water project. He was a great ambassador for country sports and the shooting world has lost a true gentleman. He retired from his roles in 2008 but still played an active role on L.W.A. Council until 2013. He is greatly missed.

James Dorrington was a keen wildfowler and game shot and it was his idea to restore the double Holland and Holland punt gun which is displayed in the Duke of Westminster Hall – unveiled by Lord Home in May 2012. The gun was once owned by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey, the Association’s first President.

Hugh Andrew, a BASC member for over 27 years; Hugh was a born outdoorsman who loved shooting, Hugh discovered coastal wildfowling as a teenager, becoming Fenland Wildfowling Association’s club warden, Hugh also worked as a gamekeeper and later head keeper, remaining a wildfowler at heart Hugh enjoyed a long retirement on the shores of the Montrose Basin.

Brian Platts, shot mostly around the Medway area, where he lived, and was often seen cycling down through Gillingham with gun and dog to the marsh; he was also a longstanding member of North West Kent Woodpigeon Club (affiliated Kent Wildfowling & Conservation Association/BASC).

Peter Du-Casse was a longstanding member of Kent Wildfowling & Conservation Association, an exceptional shot in his younger days who always liked to move with the times, often turning up with the latest in decoys and other equipment, he passed away after a short illness.

Jim Clarke, a well-respected member of the South Essex Wildfowlers and a veteran member of BASC.

James Williams was Chairman of the Somerset Otter Group and had been a member of BASC some 30 years. James was enormously respected throughout the conservation community in the Southwest, and was awarded an MBE in 2013 for his services to conservation. James was a valued BASC volunteer on the River Tone project, and his loss will be felt deeply by both the country sports and conservation communities.

Bill Holland was a long standing member of both Kent Wildfowling & Conservation Association and of Northwest Kent Woodpigeon Shooting Club; he passed away in August after a short illness.

Guy Walsh, a member of Packham, and later Chichester Wildfowlers Association. He was a well-known wildfowler in the south-east.

Ernie Holden was a longstanding member of both Kent Wildfowling & Conservation Association and of Northwest Kent Woodpigeon Shooting Club. A very keen shooter and very active on his own small duck flighting area, often seen on a tractor mowing, or with strimmer in hand clearing the pond area. In latter years always accompanied by his young German Short-haired Pointer (his pride and joy) on the marsh, pigeon or game shooting. He passed away in May after a very short illness.

Tom Wanstall was a very active wildfowler both on the Swale and Medway often encountered at Shellness (his favourite and home marsh) on the Isle of Sheppey.

Hugh van Cutsem was noted as one of the finest shots in the country. His 4,400-acre estate on Norfolk’s Brecklands is known for the excellence of its private wild game shoots, and he also owned a hunting lodge and grouse moor on the North Yorkshire-Cumbrian border. His methods of managing his land — so that game birds proliferate in a habitat teeming with their favourite diet of grubs, insects and seeds, while enjoying protection from foxes, stoats and crows — had remarkable results, including a recovery in the population of English partridge and a boom in the population of the stone curlew, one of Europe’s rarest birds.

Clarissa Dickson Wright, a former barrister; Clarissa became one of Britain’s most famous chefs. Clarissa made many appearances on the BASC stand at game fairs and did a huge amount to promote game cookery.

A few moments of silence were observed in their memory.

2. President’s Address

Lord Home: Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, last year I talked about the BASC family and we are indeed a family still. And we are a growing family, with a membership of over 135,000, which is splendid news; my congratulations to the membership recruitment team who continue to do a great job. But any family must have its rules whether those rules are the law of the land, or voluntary family rules. BASC’s rules cover amongst other things good governance, good behaviour and, indeed, being a good example to other families when have to demonstrate that we are an ethical, efficient but also an effective group.

Under the leadership of Martyn, Richard and the Council, great strides have been made over the last year on governance. I don’t think that everybody necessarily knows that those responsible for governance are also at risk themselves – as I only know too well from being a member of parliament and a banker, probably the two most unpopular groups in the country. Some people in these groups have behaved very badly, others, probably through negligence or ignorance, didn’t really check what the rules were, and we all know what happened after that. I’m sure it would have been very good for the duck population if the parliamentary duck house had been approved but I have to say that I strongly support the veto on it.

As a banker I can be sent to prison for so called “reckless banking”, I don’t quite know what that means but it probably does mean that I can’t authorise my own overdraft, which is probably a very good thing as I would certainly go to jail for doing that. The Council and management, therefore, deserve a big vote of thanks from all of us for it is they that carry the can if anything goes wrong. There are exposed to criticism, or even worse, in public or in private but over the last year they’ve done a splendid job at keeping us on the straight and narrow so my thanks to all Council members and management for that. But a very special “thank you” to Martyn who’s been a superb Chairman of BASC for the last two years; we’re not losing him completely and he will be around for a bit, but he will be taking a well-earned rest from keeping the Council under control. Our loss, but I think it also very bad news for the salmon population on the Tyne as he will have a bit more time to cause mayhem there; but, Martyn thank you very much for your efforts; we are extremely grateful.

If BASC is going to be an example to others, we must make sure that we are efficient for nothing destroys a reputation of an institution quicker than sloppiness or unnecessary mistakes. Accuracy in what we say, do or write is therefore of the greatest importance. Although we are not answerable to a regulator such as the Bank of England, who can enforce efficiency, we must behave as if we were regulated, for we are the equivalent of a very major institution in the eyes of our members and of the public. Demonstrable efficiency, I believe, earns the respect of others and others will listen to what we say on behalf of our members. We’ve been successful in a number of ways over the last year; we’ve secured a sensible settlement on firearms fees, we’ve been able to negotiate good deals on such things as new vehicles and goods from retailers and we’ve made good progress with the political parties, who have all pledged their support for shooting sports. None of these achievements would have happened if we were not respected as a strong and efficient organisation. But there is more to do, we have made a very good start with cooperating with other major trusts and associations and that will continue. We have started the taste of game initiative; food is absolutely essential to shooting and is important link in the defence of shooting in the respect that we only shoot what we can eat – with the possible exception of vermin. I have tried eating some vermin and it’s not a good idea. This initiative is vital if we are to have a mass market for game, but there is an education process required if we are to convince the public that eating game is good for them.

Nor have we forgotten our charitable responsibilities, we are supporting the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution by sponsoring a clay pigeon shoot, which, as Richard has previously mentioned, will celebrate the life of my dear friend and keen shot, the late Hugh van Cutsem who was indeed a brilliant shot and very enthusiastic countryman. What we didn’t mention is that Hugh left behind four real killing-machines in his four sons and I’ve seen more poaching done on my estate by those four than I’ve seen from proper, professional poachers.

We are now in the run up to the Scottish Referendum in September and the General Election next year so politics will play a big part of all our lives in the next coming months. If Scotland achieves independence, it will be interesting to see what attitudes the Scottish government takes to shooting. I hope there won’t be much change, or any change, but I shoot on the border where the River Tweed is a boundary between England and Scotland and I’m waiting to see if my dog is going to be asked to show her passport when she retrieves a pheasant from the other bank; it could be an interesting time between the two countries. But for those of us that are passionately keen to see Scotland remain in the United Kingdom it is encouraging that the polls so far predict a “no” result, but it is far from a certainty and certainly, we Scots cannot afford to be complacent about it. Although I have serious concerns about the future of shooting in Scotland, if all the recommendations released in the land reform paper, issued in Edinburgh last week, were implemented. I do believe that any Scottish government will believe that the benefits of shooting are indeed benefits to the country as a whole but it will be vital to demonstrate, and to press home, the economic arguments that demonstrate the worth of shooting and the fact that a high amount of money goes into Scotland from both England and around the world. So, the next twelve months will be fascinating – will the Middle East implode with Iraq and Syria breaking up, will the Europeans elect an acceptable leader, will Russia back off Ukraine, today’s news is not encouraging. I suppose if there is internal fighting, it will be less shooting of endangered species, but we all pray for peace and stability in what is at the moment a very troubled world.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.

3. Chief Executive’s Address

My Lord President, honoured guests, members, friends and colleagues. A year ago I noted that Council had left me in no doubt about the work that needed to be done and of the help and support it would provide.

I am happy to report that Council has provided me and the BASC staff team with the direction, constructive challenge and support that any successful organisation needs.

For our part, BASC’s staff team has responded by implementing a programme of rapid evolution. This has the objective of ensuring this Association can deliver our members’ priorities, today and well into the future.

To date much of this work has been about making sure we have the right organisational structure – deploying our resources in ways that make the biggest difference – but all has been about BASC being both more effective and more efficient while still providing the best value for money.

We have put more boots on the ground; we have strengthened our management team; we have added to our specialist expertise. It is that specialist expertise which means we are taken seriously by policy makers and by other organisations; whether discussing firearms issues, conservation or shoot management. That expertise is crucially important as we approach the 2015 General Election.

But we have also gone further over the last year as we have used our growing membership to negotiate an unsurpassed insurance package and introduce a raft of tangible benefits that can save our members literally thousands of Pounds.

A year ago I also promised to work co-operatively with other organisations. This we have done and I want to put on record my thanks to every one of our sister organisations for their reciprocity. Indeed, it is in that spirit of co-operation that we are all working together and have commissioned independent consultants to evaluate the benefits of shooting to our economy, our environment and our society. This report is now due to be launched in early July.

At BASC our arguments are backed by solid, scientific evidence and we refuse to countenance any decisions proposed by policy-makers, regulators or others that are not soundly evidence-based. And as we provide clear evidence to support our case we will expect those who seek to restrict any aspect of shooting to do the same. They must back their claims with hard evidence, and this is particularly important in contentious areas such as the use of lead shot.

Let me make BASC’s position on lead totally clear: no sound evidence, no change.

This is a position shared by our sister organisations too.

Over the coming year BASC will continue to both promote and protect shooting and work on behalf of our growing membership.

My team and I will be focused on our performance; how we can be both more effective and more efficient; and how we can build continuous improvement into the core of the Association.

Thank you for your support.

4. Awards and Presentations

The President asked the Chief Executive to announce the presentation of awards.

The Stanley Duncan Conservation Trophy awarded posthumously to James Williams – recommended by Robin Marshall-Ball and James Green, collected by Elizabeth Williams, James’s widow.

Elizabeth Williams: I’m so delighted to be here to receive this award on behalf of James. He would, I think, put it on a par with his MBE that the Queen awarded him last year. It was a year ago this weekend since it was announced. He was then made a fellow of the Linnean Society. He was a great conservationist and a great field sports enthusiast, which I shared with him and shall miss terribly our fishing expeditions and that I didn’t actually have time to do more of the conservation work with him; but, fortunately, his work is going forward and there are all sorts of things happening and so I am very grateful to BASC for awarding this to him.

Special Presentations

Special presentations were awarded by the President to:

Mick Vokes; recommended by Steve Bloomfield and David Ilsley. Mick’s presentation is for his contribution as a volunteer for BASC.

Apologies given from the next three recipients of the special presentations:

Mary Eveleigh; recommended by Bill Harriman and Christopher Graffius.

Helen Cormack; recommended by Bill Harriman and Christopher Graffius.

Dominic Griffith; recommended by John Thornley and Mike Sherman.

5. Chairman’s Report

The President invited the Chairman to report.

My Lord President, Ladies and Gentlemen, first may I thank our President, Lord Home for his continued support and advice over the past year; we are most grateful. Your wise counsel gives us both strength and confidence. Thank you very much.

The past year has been an excellent year for our Association. It has been a year of progress and innovation. We have seen membership grow, our finances are well managed and form a sound footing from which to maintain and progress our strategy. The English regions have been reorganised and been given additional resources so as to enable them to deliver improved services to members at the local level. Our Head Office staff have worked under the excellent leadership of the Executive Team to reorganise so as to provide an even better service to members.

It’s been my proud privilege to have been Chairman of BASC for the last two years. During that time your Council has achieved a huge amount for the benefit of the Association and shooting. We have managed the process of saying goodbye to John Swift, a Chief Executive who had been in post for thirty-five [1] years, and recruiting Richard Ali as our new CEO. We have completed a thorough review of BASC’s governance and made some important but difficult changes. I want to pay tribute to my fellow members of Council for having the determination and the ability to look forwards to where BASC ought to go, rather than backwards to where we’ve been.

I am particularly proud of the fact that we are an Association with aspirations. We aspire to grow, we seek to improve our professionalism, and we have ambitions for providing an ever better service to shooting as a whole. In particular, we put members first, not only in the service we give them but in the member benefits that we are developing, many of which you are benefiting from now. We’ve strengthened decision making, a critical function when shooting faces so many challenges. We’ve strengthened our financial framework, for example by setting a revised policy on reserves. While there is always more to do, you can be confident that the financial foundations are strong and there to be built on. The audited accounts show that the Association is financially healthy and we have taken the opportunity to invest in our professional and forward looking team of staff.

Our staff team has worked tirelessly over the past year to engage with government, whether at Westminster, Stormont, Edinburgh, Cardiff or in Brussels to ensure that sensible policies are promoted for shooting sports. We’ve had some notable successes. Perhaps the most obvious is the work done on firearms fees and, in particular, the lobbying required to stop a fees order being laid without proper consideration. Work is ongoing with the stakeholders and the government to set a fair fee. Your association is at the heart of that work and hopes to be able to report good news in the near future.

In Wales we ensured that Greenland Whitefronted geese stayed on the quarry list by committing to a programme to work with others to protect their habitats and improve breeding success. In Northern Ireland we are working closely with Assembly members from across the political spectrum and have been asked to provide the secretariat to a new all-party group on fieldsports in Stormont. In Edinburgh we continue to make the case against disproportionate regulation, such as the proposed licensing of low-powered airguns. In Brussels we continue to work with FACE on issues such as invasive species, lead ammunition and the Commission’s proposals for reviewing the Firearms Directive.

We have maintained and will continue our robust and clear line on lead ammunition – no clear evidence against lead, then no change. This line currently has the full support of government. We await the report of the Lead Ammunition Group with interest.

Looking forward I am very conscious that next year the AGM will be held just after a general election. The results will be critical for shooting. I am delighted that your Association has brought together a group of 17 shooting organisations to update and expand the PACEC report on the environmental, economic and now the social impact of shooting. This new report will be even more detailed and based on a far larger sample than the report completed in 2006. I note that the results will be available to impress the politicians at the party conferences this year. They will fully demonstrate the substantial contribution shooting makes to our society’s well-being.

Before I close, however, I have a vitally important request to make of you, the membership. BASC has so many great strengths, one of which is our democratic process whereby you the members elect your Council members. Our fully democratic approached is envied and respected by many other organisations. They tell me so. The percentage of our members voting is tiny. By not voting we are much weaker, so I implore you to use your vote, encourage other members to vote and encourage fellow BASC members to stand for election to Council. We need a broader cross section of our membership to be represented. Being on Council is a big commitment, at times very hard work but, I promise you, it’s rewarding to work with fellow Council members for the future of our association and safeguarding of our much love sport; you will not be disappointed I assure you and you will, in fact, have some fun!

In closing I would like to thank Council members for their hard work, forward thinking and determination to safeguard the future of our sport, the executive team, led so effectively and ably by our Chief Executive, Richard Ali, and to the staff for their continuing hard work, diligence and commitment. Lastly, and most importantly, thank you, the members for your continuing support and a very warm welcome to our new members. Without your support none of the excellent work that your association does for shooting would be possible.

When reappointed as your Chairman at this time last year I made it clear to Council that this would be my final year as your Chairman. It has been an honour and privilege to serve you in this role and I thank the entire association for your unfailing support and encouragement. I wish my successor the same good fortune.

Thank you very much.

6. Adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2013

The President invited the Chairman to present the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2013.

Martyn Howat: Before I ask for a seconder for adoption, I would like to comment that I believe that the accounts demonstrate that the finances are well managed that Council has worked extremely hard to ensure that the accounts and finances of the organisation are well managed; that the reserves policy, which I referred to in my speech, is entirely fit for purpose.

The Chairman then asked for a proposer and seconder for the adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for 2013. Martyn Howat proposed and John Thornley seconded the proposal from the floor; agreed unanimously on a show of hands. The Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements were duly adopted.

7. Re-election of the President – The Earl of Home KT CVO CBE

The Chairman asked for a show of hands for the re-election of the President; it was unanimously agreed.

8. Elections

The President asked the CEO to introduce the nominations.

There were no nominations for Vice-Presidents this year.

There was one nomination for Honorary Life Membership; Bob Stead, proposed by Council for Honorary Life Membership. Bob was elected to the Kent Wildfowling and Conservation Association committee in 1988, and became Membership Secretary a year later. He is in his 25th Year as KWCA Membership Secretary.

THE KWCA is the UK’s largest wildfowling club with currently over 500 members. Bob oversees the administration and for all KWCA membership with enquiries being received from across Southern and Eastern England, continental Europe and as far afield as Malta. The KWCA continues to grow and thrive and Bob is at the heart of this growth.

The President asked for a show of hands, unanimously agreed.

Mr Stead was asked to collect his certificate and say a few words.

Bob Stead: Thank you very much for this award. It’s a bit like a ceremony where everybody gets an Oscar, one whereby you thank everybody like the world and his ferret, but this a much greater honour than a silly little Oscar. I can’t do the job on my own however, so I would like to thank members, especially Kent Wildfowling members, the Kent Wildfowlers’ committee along with Mr Jarrett and Mr Thorpe, the young lady who helps me – Amanda – and the BASC membership department, they are first class, they have never let me down and are always on time. I shall treasure this.

8.1 Election of Members of Council

The President invited Jill Jones of Baker Tilly, the Scrutineer, to present the results of the elections to Council for 2014.

  • Ballot Papers received 2059
  • Online voters 855
  • Total voters 2914
  • Papers received after deadline 0
  • Papers spoilt 44
  • Papers deemed invalid 14
  • Valid paper votes 2001
  • Valid web votes 855
  • Total valid voters 2856
  • Number of votes cast 5241

In the order they appeared on the ballot paper, the votes from these valid papers were cast as follows:

  • I Grindy 1,493
  • M Jones 664
  • J Dryden 860
  • P Glenser 1,855
  • D Hufton-Rees 369

The following were duly elected to Council: P Glenser and I Grindy

Alan Balfour stood unopposed for the Scottish seat; his re-election was confirmed on a show of hands.

8.2 Wildlife Habitat Trust – trustees for 2014/2015

The President introduced the nominations for the election of trustees for the Wildlife Habitat Trust.

Alan Jarrett, proposed by Mike Sherman and seconded by Neil Griffiths, was happy for his name to go forward. The nomination was carried on a show of hands and Alan Jarrett was duly elected.

Anthony Holliday, proposed by Thomas Gee, seconded by James Holiday, was happy for his name to go forward. The nomination was carried on a show of hands and Anthony Holliday was duly elected.

9. Motions for Debate

The President invited the CEO to present the motions for debate.

All the Motions for Debate had been proposed in the name of Council and did not require individual proposers and seconders to be specified.

Motion 1

To revise Rule 5(a)(ii) to clarify that where a Council member stands down or is removed during one term of office, that any term for which he or she is re-elected within five years is to be treated as following on from the previous term of office. 

The motion is that the existing Rule 5(a)(ii) be replaced with:

“There shall be not more than nineteen and not less than ten elected members. At each Annual General Meeting of this Association those elected members of the Council who have completed five years’ service shall retire from office with effect from the close of the Meeting but a member so retiring shall be eligible for immediate re-election to the Council for a further term of five years, unless he or she has already served two consecutive terms of office, whatever their duration. A member of Council who has served two consecutive terms of office shall not be eligible for re-election to Council until the Annual General Meeting nearest the fifth anniversary of the end of the second consecutive term. For the purposes of this Rule 5(a)(ii), a term of office that starts before the fifth AGM after the end of his or her previous term of office shall be regarded consecutive upon the previous term of office.”

The President asked for questions and on a show of hands the motion was carried.

Motion 2

Rule 6 concerns the conduct of meetings of Council.

The motion is that a new rule be added as Rule 6(f):

“A Council member shall abide by standards of conduct set out in published rules of governance, operation and procedure decided from time to time by the Council for the time being”.

The President asked for questions and on a show of hands the motion was carried.

Motion 3

Rule 5(i) sets out circumstances in which an elected member of Council shall vacate office.

The motion is that a new rule be added as Rule 5(i)(vi):

“If he is in breach of the provisions of Rule 6(f) and the Council has resolved by a two-thirds majority of all Council members entitled to attend and vote at the meeting at which the resolution is considered that his office shall be vacated”.

The President asked for questions and on a show of hands the motion was carried.

Motion 4

Recognising that an attendance allowance could improve access to Council for a wider range of members, to provide for members of Council to be paid an attendance allowance.

The motion is that the existing Rule 5(f) be removed and replaced with:

“All Honorary Officers and elected members of the Council shall be entitled to reimbursement of their reasonable expenses properly incurred whilst in the course of their duties. The Chairman and Vice Chairman of BASC may be paid an honorarium as determined from time to time by the Council. All other Honorary, elected and co-opted members of Council may be paid an allowance for their attendance at Council meetings. The level of this allowance will not exceed the daily equivalent of the Chairman’s honorarium”

The President asked for questions:

Sir Malcom Guthrie, a former Council member, spoke against the motion. Citing parliamentarians voting on their own remuneration, he questioned how much the allowance would be and how it would be calculated and reviewed; he also enquired what controls would apply. Remarking on both the low turnout in the ballot and at the AGM, he did not believe that paying Council members an attendance allowance would result in the desired changes. In principle he felt the proposal to be wrong.

Responding, the Chairman explained that the proposal had been referred to Association Vice-Presidents who had considered it in principle and advised on the quantum. It would be up to individual Council members to decide whether or not they would claim. While the Chairman acknowledged the competence of current Council members, he pointed out that neither women nor younger people, who are the future of the sport, are represented; the aim is to open Council up to less well-off, working people as well as those who are retired. When asked by Harry Abbott, he confirmed that the amount was linked to the Chairman’s honorarium which is decided by elected Council members.

Harry Abbott, also a former Council member, noted that an adequate number of people had just stood for Council. He felt that becoming a Council member should be an altruistic act for which no more than expenses should be payable. Noting BASC’s dependence on membership subscriptions, he cautioned the wise use of members’ money and the difficulty in recruiting when other organisations appeared to offer insurance at a lower price.

The President asked for any further questions, there were none, and on a show of hands the motion was carried.

Motion 5

To amend Rule 4(a)(iii) to clarify that the Chairman will be appointed for a period of two years subject to removal after a period of one year by a two-thirds majority of all Council members entitled to vote at the first meeting of Council following the AGM.

The motion is that the existing Rule 4(a)(iii) be removed and replaced with:

“A Chairman and Vice Chairman who shall be elected by the Council from their number at the first meeting of the Council following the Annual General Meeting. The Chairman shall be elected for a two-year term and the Vice Chairman for a period of one year. The Chairman may be removed from office after a period of one year by a two-thirds majority of all Council members entitled to vote at the first meeting following the Annual General Meeting. The Council shall also have the power to fill a casual vacancy in the office of Chairman and Vice-Chairman.”

The President asked for questions and on a show of hands the motion was carried.

10. Appointment of Auditors for 2014/2015

It was proposed that Baker Tilly UK Audit LLP be reappointed as auditors for the year ending December 2014, as recommended by Council. This was carried unanimously, on a show of hands.

Any Other Business by Leave of the Chair

Sir Malcolm Guthrie questioned the Association’s position on lead shot and the scientific basis on which the current ban is based; he felt that the Association should be challenging that ban rather than running a compliance campaign.

The Chief Executive explained that the Lead Ammunition Group (“LAG”) has been charged by government to review both all of the current science and associated restrictions on lead; BASC’s position is very straight forward, no sound evidence, no change, and that relates to exactly what the LAG is looking at. It is also looking at the current degree of evidence and therefore he felt it would be wrong to make comment until the LAG has completed its work. With regard to the compliance campaign, which is supported by BASC, the Countryside Alliance, the CLA and every other shooting organisation, he explained that if people do not comply with the law, many of shooting’s detractors will say that shooting cannot be trusted and therefore the only way to achieve compliance with the law, whether it is right or wrong, is the prohibition of lead. Therefore all that BASC and the Countryside Alliance and CLA and the National Gamekeepers organisation and others are seeking to achieve is compliance with the law.

There being no further matters of Any Other Business, the President thanked those present for their attendance and declared the meeting closed.
[1] Secretarial Note: these minutes reflect what was said at the meeting, however, John Swift was an employee of BASC for 41 years for 25 of which he was Chief Executive.

Saturday 8th June 2013 at Abbots well Hotel, Chester

Present:

  • Lord Home, President
  • Martyn Howat, Chairman
  • Members, supporters and guests of the Association
  • Minute Secretary: Amanda Taylor

The Chief Executive called the meeting to order and asked Philippa Bursey to make administrative announcements prior to the start of the meeting.  Those present were informed that the meeting was being recorded to assist in the preparation of the minutes.  Speakers from the floor were asked to wait for the roving microphone and to give their names.  Supporters were reminded that although they could speak, they had no voting rights.  Luncheon and emergency evacuation procedures were outlined.

The President opened the meeting.

1. Apologies for absence

Apologies had been received from Davy Stinson, Noel Hulmston, Tony Laws, Robert Coe(?), John Harradine, David de Gernier, Alisdair Troup, Arthur Thirwell, Peter Wilson MBE, David Gray, Steve Bloomfield, Martyn Parfitt, Sir Roger Jones, Mike Hardy, Alan Balfour, Meurig Rees and Richard Playle.

The Chief Executive paid tribute to prominent members of the Association who had passed away in the last 12 months: Bill Morris, Michael Pass, Bill Eves, Frank Palenski, Dr Keith Tappin, John Couch, Dave Nichols, Professor Geoffrey Matthews, Ken Brereton, George Badkin, and David Trevanion.  A few moments of silence were observed in their memory.

2. President’s Address

Lord Home:  Thank you, Richard, and may I add my own welcome to all of you today.  Thank you very much for coming.

Sometimes this part of the country isn’t very easy to get to, except perhaps if you are coming from London or Bangor, when the train seems to work.  I forget which Archbishop of Canterbury it was who when asked whether he would go to heaven, he said, “I don’t mind where I go, provided I don’t have to change at Crewe”.

Today marks the end of one long chapter in our history and the beginning of a new one.  With the possible exception of God and Allah, we all get older, and the time has finally come for John Swift to retire and to hand over to Richard Ali.  It is very hard to find appropriate words and enough superlatives to describe what a fantastic job John has done for BASC and for our membership.  One obvious but huge achievement was to ensure that BASC has survived through some very difficult times, and not only has it survived but membership now stands at a record level.  That means that John not only had the right ideas to encourage the shooting fraternity to join the Association, but he also chose a group of executives who have worked with and for him for the benefit of our 130,000 members.

Picking people is a great art.  In America we have seen several Presidents, such as Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and George Bush Jnr, none of whom would be God’s candidate for Mensa, but they chose very good people to work with them and America prospered during their tenure of office.  I don’t know if John ever tried to become a member of Mensa and had he done so, he would no doubt have sailed through, but throughout that time John, through leadership and example and the ability to attract the right people has meant that the Association has gone from strength to strength.  I don’t believe there is any greater tribute that one could give to anyone.

I was lucky enough to be brought up in a shooting family.  With a father and four uncles, all of whom shot very well, one learned to be very quick or else whatever one was shooting at was dead before one lifted one’s gun.  I have to say this was a cause of some frustration at the age of 15 and led to some friction.  I soon learned, however, that shooting families teach each other a great deal.  Safety, politeness, a love of the countryside, and an understanding of animals and birds are but a few examples.  We in the BASC are a family; our membership is a family.  We don’t always agree, arguments do happen and will continue to happen, but we must always remember that we are not perfect and must learn from others in the same way as we can teach them, and we can learn and teach each other.

Your executive has done a great deal to bring together shooting associations, and this will help co-operation with such bodies as the Shoot Summit, the British Shooting Sports Council and the Standing Conference on Country Sports.  All of these are bodies which can help us and we can help and teach them.  We do actually have two common enemies.  Obviously, the League Against Cruel Sports but also Brussels.  We need to work with them, we need to teach them and we need to learn from other organisations, for even everyone in BASC cannot be experts in everything.  I was delighted to hear that Richard has already set up of meetings with Barney White‑Spunner of the Countryside Alliance and a dialogue is starting with GWCT.

Richard comes from a different background to John and has spent time in the commercial world.  I am very pleased that he has, for he will bring to us an even greater degree of discipline and corporate governance than we have had possibly in the past.  I have been associated with several different organisations which were run by enthusiastic amateurs and that, ladies and gentlemen, is unacceptable in this age of professionalism and – that awful word – transparency.  We have to run ourselves with due regard both to our staff and our members, and we have to be sure that we are financially able to look after both of their interests.  If anything happened to the Association, we have to make sure that these people are protected.  Transparency and accountability are two very tiresome buzz words but we have to live with them, we have to comply with them, and I know that Richard will be addressing both.  Richard, we wish you the very best of luck for the future.

I mentioned earlier that we live in a difficult environment.  Both in the UK and beyond our shores, there are some warning lights and some difficult times ahead.  We have seen the horrors of Syria, with so many people killed and the use of chemical and other weapons.  I came back from Singapore on Wednesday, where the worries about North Korea are considerable, and the hope is that it is only posturing but it could get worse, for they have a very young and inexperienced leader.  The problems of the Euro still face us, and here the Coalition have found a considerable number of banana skins (or perhaps I should say Cornish pasties) on which to slip.  I don’t think that the media or indeed some Conservative Members of Parliament realise quite how difficult it is to run a coalition, and David Cameron is finding it, obviously, extremely hard so to do.  Sadly, the Coalition is not like the family that I was talking to you about before, but it is a marriage which knows is going to lead to divorce, and that can’t be satisfactory.  I have to say I would really prefer that that divorce came sooner rather than later, and I have encouraged the Prime Minister to engineer a defeat in Parliament by coming up with some proposals which the Liberal Party can’t accept, and that would lead to a defeat in a vote, would lead to a vote of confidence on the same issue, and that would inevitably lead to a General Election.  At least then we would know where we were going, because at present we seem to be living in rather a vacuum.

We don’t know what will happen to a lot of issues currently facing the Association, what any new government would think about lead shot, snares, pest control and new diseases.  These are all factors which we have yet to face.  They are challenges and I am sure Richard and his team will take them on with complete confidence.  I trust that they won’t have the same problem as the man accused of poaching in Pakistan, who appeared in court and said to the Judge, “I am innocent, as God is my witness”, to which the Judge dryly replied, “Shouldn’t you be represented by somebody better known in this country?”

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.

3. Outgoing Chief Executive’s and Incoming Chief Executive’s Address

John Swift:  My Lord President, dear friends, good morning.  I must say, it’s been a great relief not to have to organise this Annual General Meeting and to prepare all the paperwork.

When I was talking with Martyn Howat at the beginning of the year, I suggested, and he kindly agreed, that I might say a few words in reflection on the past 25 years. But before I do that it should not be forgotten that I have been Chief Executive during nine out of the past 12 months as well.

First however I thank the Council and Chairman for a magnificent reception in London at the Naval and Military Club on Thursday last.  Thank you for that, because it too marked a changing of the guard. It was an opportunity to see many old friends who have made BASC what it is today. It was a special pleasure to meet up again with Mary Anderton and Dr Pamela Harrison.  I was phoned the other day by Brian

Hughes who was Bill Harriman’s predecessor as Director of Firearms. He made the point that “We all stand on somebody else’s shoulders and try and do just a bit better”. I certainly stood on John Anderton’s shoulders and Jeffery Harrison’s shoulders – and the shoulders of many others.

I say again, as I said on Thursday evening, how much I owe to my wife, Liz and the family. They have supported me through the 25 years and longer. Some moments have been a bit tricky but, nonetheless, we are here and all much stronger as a result.

A special and generous presentation was made on Thursday to mark my 25 years as Chief Executive and it should be recorded at this AGM.  Nigel Brown was the Association’s Honorary Legal Adviser more years ago than I care to remember. He is also the author of “London Gunmakers” published by Christie’s Books. He has presented us with a historically significant George Daw patent double barrel hammer shotgun from the 1860s. This was the first British design to use centrefire tubed cartridge ammunition similar to todays.  I hope that it will find its way to be mounted alongside the Lancaster 14 bore in the Duke of Westminster Hall, which Nigel Brown presented to honour John Anderton.

I am particularly pleased also to see my long-serving and long-suffering personal assistant, Sheila Potter, here today. I am only now discovering now how difficult it is to run one’s own life.  Sheila, we thank you very much.  I could not have done the Chief Executive’s job without your painstaking support. And I know Tracy Fredriksen will do exactly the same for Richard as we go forward.  So thank you.

Thursday was about people and friends of the WAGBI-BASC family.  Today is a business day.  It’s about discharge of responsibility, transparency and accountability.  It is the moment for me to sign-off and for Richard Ali to sign in – of formal handover to Richard.

I am proud to be handing over an excellent organisation, in good heart, with a clear sense of purpose, as well as a strong financial balance sheet and rising membership.  Go for it, Richard and good luck!

In the next few minutes, with your indulgence, I shall first say a word or two about the year since last June. It has been a challenging time for all my colleagues.  I shall then reflect on some thoughts covering the 25-year perspective.

So the year to date: it is obviously a pleasure to be able to sign off, I hope you will agree, another good set of figures for the year ended 2012. But I can say without shadow of doubt that it was a tough time.  Change is always tough, and I give full tribute to all my colleagues who have made it a success.

I reflect back on the President’s words to me when we started discussing my retirement and the search for a successor. He said, “John, you will learn to understand that when you’re retiring, nobody is in the least bit interested in what you’ve got to say.”  That was when you were retiring, Sir, and I see six years later you are still in post: but I respect that you are subject to higher authority.

Whether you are interested or not I would like to pay tribute to Jane Harris’s memory and contribution.  Jane was our Head of HR. She gallantly kept going through her battle with cancer but sadly died during the course of the year.  Her assistants, Debbie Owen and Joanne Ford, who throughout worked with and supported her, did a marvellous job at a time when huge change was going on in our organisation.

I would like to thank Philippa Bursey, the Director of Business Management, without sparing her blushes.  Philippa is one of those people for whom nothing is ever too much trouble.  If anyone has a problem Philippa will put in the hours and the miles to solve it. I know that your office light does not turn off until very late in the evening. Many people in this room could not have done what they did without what you have done for them.

I also thank Christopher Graffius, Director of Communications. Christopher is one of those people who will pick up the phone to anyone, and if they won’t pick up the phone, or if they slam the door in his face, he comes in through the window.  If you want something done, Christopher will do it. And probably if you don’t want something done he will also do it – if he thinks it’s necessary.

I cannot mention everybody but take this opportunity to thank Tim Russell, Director of Conservation, who has been a great support during the course of the year. He has managed a diverse portfolio of responsibilities, taken on a number of special tasks with success, proved to be a brutal negotiator for members’ interests – underneath his deceptively calm exterior – and displays professional care for all.

John Harradine, Director of Research, who I know is not here today, is another with whom I have worked for many years. During the past year he has contributed a huge amount on the lead shot and ammunition issue.  By his rigour and integrity he has made himself distrusted by vested interests on both sides of the argument! This is completely wrong and unfair but goes with being a senior member of the BASC staff.  John is a very fine and knowledgeable person, along with Matt Ellis, who has been supporting him.

Steve Bloomfield, Director of the English Regions, is not here either.  Steve has stepped up to the plate and helped us achieve better direction and strength into the English regions where there is now a new young team of professionals.  And I pay tribute also to Dr Colin Shedden, with whom I have worked for many, many years up in Scotland; and I’m delighted to see that Tommy Mayne has at last turned round the membership direction of travel in Northern Ireland; he also has been doing a first-class job.

David Ilsley, Head of Membership Marketing, has provided the energy and drive behind our membership recruitment. His enthusiasm is infectious and he has been an indispensable part of the team – not least because if there is a bit of argument going you can be confident that David is in there sorting it out.  Thank you very much for that, David.

And of course there is the back office: the often unsung heroes behind those who are in the frontline. But there is one special person who I want to name and it’s you, John Walkman. Thank you for helping to keep us all safe; and thank you for doing all those small things which have been so helpful and important.

What are the achievement highlights of the year?  Apart from keeping the organisation going forward while waiting for change, we produced good figures in terms of finance and membership. We saw continuing growth in output and quality from the Communications team. We drove forward in the English regions. Tommy turned Northern Ireland membership around. We have done a lot with IT and developing IT applications across the organisation. We started that process of governance reform in accordance with the Sport and Recreation Alliance Voluntary Code of Good Governance. We drove forward on the conservation front with Greenshoots mapping going from strength to strength. We have set some challenging ambitions with “best practice”, and are welcoming a wider constituency of people into shooting sports.

What are my reflections on the past 25 years?

When we started all that time ago, the organisation was arguably insolvent. The John Anderton Building had been commissioned and we had red figures from wall to wall.  Simon (Cussons), you were the Chairman at the time and I can remember you joking that there’s nothing like knocking your head against an overdraft ceiling to make people focus on economy.  Together in 1988 we set out to get some capital background into the organisation and it took until about 1994 to get the organisation into a satisfactorily healthier financial position.

Of course, I think – and I say this with the Auditor, Jill Jones, sitting over there – that the organisation is much wealthier than the book value. That is not just in terms of goodwill from 130,000 members but also, for example, that there is an underwriter prepared to support the Association to the tune of at least £10 million, on the table, to cover just one event of negligence. The commercial value of Shooting & Conservation Britain’s largest circulation shooting title doesn’t appear on the books either. Our country shows and events have significant brand value and turnover. It is vital never to forget that the organisation is worth a huge amount more than appears on the books.

Over the past 25 years we have seen membership growth against benchmark figures: magazines and benchmark organisations have been struggling, doing everything they possibly can to attract membership through cut-price deals and so on. BASC has not followed suit and membership has gone on increasing.  It’s a bit like a tree: the rings are a bit wider some years and a bit narrower in others.

We have done a huge amount to bring young people into shooting sports.  The numbers of Young Shots events around the country is now significant.  More women are coming into shooting; lady gamekeepers are not uncommon. People from all backgrounds and walks of life, that wouldn’t have expected to come into shooting before, can now do so. This is all about diversity and being welcoming: rather than relying on the historically traditional areas of support.

We have also widened and deepened the professional expertise in the organisation.  The expertise in the firearms team nowadays is huge and second to none thanks in no small measure to Bill Harriman, Director of Firearms. The expertise in Glynn Evans’s team, in gamekeeping and game, is huge; Alan McCormick’s deer stalking – across the countries and the regions, on the Council – if you look at it, the expertise is wide and deep right across the organisation.

I am particularly proud that we have maintained a whole-UK operation.  A number of organisations either weren’t whole-UK or started to split up and go their separate ways. In contrast we have built an organisation with enough joint between the carriages to allow national ambitions and expectations to have their play. This means that decisions are taken close to the people they affect; but it also maintains a cohesion which has served the organisation and our cause well. It helps hugely to have a whole-UK operation.

We have been through a technology revolution.  Some of my staff colleagues will remind me that I once said “These mobile telephones will never catch on,” as I turned down an application from somebody who wanted one.  We did actually have computers before 25 years ago, but we have been through that whole process and are now market leaders.  25 years ago we wouldn’t have guessed we would be where we are now.

We have constructed and built a Communications Centre which is state of the art and I pay tribute to Robert Irvine’s professional support and as Chairman during that project.

We have been unfazed by some pretty scurrilous and disreputable competition for our members. The organisation has shown itself to be mature and grown up enough to keep its eyes in its own boat, to use a competitive rowing phrase. We have stuck to core principles and values and they have served us well.

One of the things that I set out to ensure, again thanks to Simon Cussons, throughout the 25 years have been five strategic objectives.

All-party support is the first. We have set out to win friends and understanding.  We made the organisation “part of the solution not a problem”.  We have encouraged people to place one foot in our camp in the hope that the other one will follow soon after.  We have not set out to caricature as enemies those with whom we may disagree. If you invent or manufacture enemies they eventually become real ones. Our goal has been that of bringing people into understanding of our sport.

Our second strategic objective has been to ensure a balance of opinion in the media. One will never achieve total support and a fair balance is sufficient. Simon Clarke, Head of Press and Media has brought real professionalism to our efforts.

Our third objective was to ensure opportunity for people to go shooting. We have continued successfully through Firearms, Bill; through your work in land management, Tim, and through maintaining sustainable harvestable quarry to make sure people have had access to shooting.

Fourthly we have striven for high standards. I hope that the Association will continue to show zero tolerance for those who do not obey the law or our codes of practice. It is easy to wobble off this principle and some organisations have.

Lastly the fifth and I put it last – last but not least – is the strong voice for shooting. Strength of voice comes last, after all the other things that we do.  It is the actions that speak louder than words. It does not come first.

We have faced many controversial issues during the 25 years, and I shall mention just a few of them.

The first was “big bags”.  Some of us will remember that very large bags became a problem as the result of city money coming into the sport. Under Jack Carter’s leadership we took this on and were immediately, and quite wrongly, accused by vested interests of trying to impose bag limits. I make no apology for having started that argument and having helped to drive down the tendency for very large bags to be accepted as part of the sporting ethos. They are not. And while the public will in the main accept and tolerate the principle of hunting, they will not do so if we show blatant disregard for the fact that we are harvesting a living quarry. We place ourselves on the wrong side of public understanding.  Of course, there are many different arguments but we can say with confidence that expectations on bags have come down.

We had to deal with lead shot ammunition from those very early days.  I have been working with lead for 40 years. All I would say on this occasion is that shooting sports must think very carefully about what their right course of action is.

I continue as Chairman of the DEFRA FSA Lead Ammunition Group so I am careful what I say, but if you try to defend lead on the grounds that it is “just another metal” and moreover kid yourself that it’s not a potential problem, you are not doing your case any favours.  Lead is a nasty poison.  Shooting needs to think very carefully about the impacts of using a poisonous substance in recreational activity, and where that could lead in the future.

Then we had all that stuff in the early 1990s about the loss of the bird pest schedule, Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the 1981 Act, and the introduction of licences and derogations.  We were instrumental in finding that solution which provides the foundation for pest control to this day. The lesson there, my Lord President, was that Brussels, as you say, had to be watched like a hawk; but with goodwill and some fairly complicated deals it was possible to make sure we can carry out what you want to do. The fact is that we could be successful because of co-operation and understanding across a wide spectrum of stakeholder interests.

We of course had that deeply misconceived “pest control day” some 10 years later. It kicked off with a crazy scheme to give prizes for killing the most pests in a day; including seagulls off chimney pots in Brighton. A stated goal was to get a mention in the Guinness Book of Records. Jeffrey Olstead, who was then running our press office, is not here today, but he said some rather intemperate things and that caused a bit of a row. BASC was once again pilloried once again, this time of being against pigeon shooting.

We had “the merger debate” on and off over the years.  I remember being approached back in 1994 by Charles Goodson-Wickes, then chairman of the BFSS, and Lord Peel who was chairman of GCT to that end. Peter Misselbrook who was BASC chairman and I put in a lot of hours to develop a detailed workable plan and I can say it now: I believe that our proposals might well have brought the two organisations together; but they were rejected by the fox hunting interest. It was not to be.

The Hunting Acting followed in 2004. We turned out and supported the hunting fraternity at every event, rally and march. I spoke at every one of them in support of hunting.  But that did not stop the hunting world turning on BASC for winning the amendments which made sure that shooting and gundog work were protected.  Christopher was the author of that success.

Then we had “laying cages”.  Do you remember that?  This again is about commercialisation, standards and values in sport.  To my mind it doesn’t matter whether an activity is big and financially based, so long as it is open, clean, transparent and well managed.  Your game farm can be very big and so long as it is run properly and openly, that is fine.  The problem at the start of the laying cages argument, which involved a new technique, was the prevalence of appalling standards. BASC did shooting a good favour by taking that issue on with the inevitable flak from the vested interests once again. But your sport is stronger for our having taken on that challenge.

What were the missed opportunities during those 25 years?  The only bit that I really failed on big time was to fail to achieve 200,000 members.  That cost me an eye-wateringly expensive lunch with Jonathan Young, who had told me that I wouldn’t do it. In hindsight 200,000 members was never on the cards.  It would take a real change in the weather, such as compulsion to be a member, or statutory tests to shoot. Those are routes down which the sport probably doesn’t have to go if it makes self-regulation work.

The loss of pistol shooting and hand guns was a huge missed opportunity.  There was a moment in the House of Lords, my Lord President, when the shooting world had come together to move amendments to the Government Bill allowing their “disassembly”; in other words storing key components in separate secure places. Our supportive peers were signed up to moving the amendment on disassembly. It would have enabled hand guns to continue in safe use. It was a matter of huge regret that Lord Kimble went directly from that meeting to the floor of the House and undertook that he would support the government and would not be moving any amendments. As chairman of the Firearms Consultative Committee the game was up. That was the moment when handguns were lost.  That was a massive missed opportunity.  Such is politics. Do you remember that, Bill?

So the future?

By 2050 there will be another 2 billion people in the world.  Climate change, whatever clever words Matt Ridley uses, will have profoundly unpredictable effects.  There will be huge competition for rural land space as food production intensifies. Our sport depends on rural land space and what people do with it.

Climate change and rising sea levels will alter the coasts and wildlife distribution and migration. This will happen during the working lives of some people in this room – during the same timescale I have been working with the Association, 40 years – the mere blink of an eye.

There will be huge challenges.  It is absolutely right that the organisation should have a kick up the bottom by the new Chief Executive.

But I do hope with all my heart that the Association continues to see itself as part of the solution and doesn’t regress as one or two other organisations have, to opposing change at every turn. This was never the ethos of Stanley Duncan, Jeffery Harrison or John Anderton.

I hope that BASC remains a constructive, forward looking and inspirational organisation. How often have I heard it said “BASC is an organisation that you can do business with” – that tells the truth – is prepared to take on the difficult issues, even if it costs a few bruises on the way.

My Lord President, thank you for allowing me to take up your time.  I thank you all for your friendship during the time that I have been with you.

As I emailed Richard when I first was allowed his email address, I said, “If you have half as much fun doing the job as I have had, you won’t have made a mistake.”

Richard Ali:  My Lord President, members, friends, and colleagues, firstly, I would like to add my thanks to John Swift and to Liz for their magnificent service to the Association over all these years.  I would also like to say a personal thank you for the absolutely wonderful six weeks we spent together for an induction period for someone that hadn’t shot for 20 years.  It was first-rate and thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for that.

I agree with the President’s view: shooting is a family, and I would like to thank all of you for welcoming me into that that family.  It really feels like coming home.  Thank you.

I would also like to thank Council, BASC members and BASC staff.  Council has left me in no doubt about the work that needs to be done and the help and support that they will provide.  Members have been uniformly welcoming as I have met them around the country, and I have been travelling around the country; my wife will testify to that.  Their passion for the sport is absolutely inspiring.  Our staff are exceptional and I’m looking forward to working with them to achieve the Association’s objectives.

So to the work.  The next stage of the job is to ensure that we can continue to both defend and promote shooting in what we all know is a rapidly changing world.  We’re going through a media revolution; political change – Lord Home – can be swift.  New issues, new evidence and new threats will need to be confronted, dealt with and managed, and I’m looking forward to working with all of you to meet all these challenges, but also to seize new opportunities.

I want to leave you in no doubt of our priorities for the Association.  I want to see this Association as one which puts its members first.  You are all at the heart of what we do every single day.  I want to work co-operatively with others because I believe that increases our strength.  I want to see a world-class organisation, one that is recognised for its authority, its expertise, its credibility and its evidence base.

Thank you all.

4.  Awards and Presentations

The President asked the Chief Executive to announce the presentation of awards.

The Ian Richardson Trophy

The Ian Richardson Trophy is awarded annually to the person who, in the view of BASC employees, has done the most for the Association in recent years.

James Reynolds, aged 17 at the time, set up a successful petition and Facebook campaign and helped gather the support of over 12,000 shooters across the UK against WH Smith’s decision to stop children from buying shooting magazines.

The trophy was awarded to James Reynolds by the President.

The Tim Sedgwick Trophy

The Tim Sedgwick Trophy is presented to a person who, in the opinion of Council, has contributed markedly to the fortunes of BASC and who is not a Council member or a member of an advisory committee.

David Gray is a retired wildfowler who recognised the importance of shooting groups buying land for shooting and conservation and suggested a fund to help in this regard, which had led to the creation of the Wildlife Habitat Trust.

As he was not able to be present at the meeting, the trophy had been presented to David by the WHT trustees on 21 May.

The Stanley Duncan Conservation Trophy

The Stanley Duncan Conservation Trophy was awarded to Rockland Wildfowlers Club.  The trophy was presented to Malcolm Huggins, Chairman, and Charles Dowding, Treasurer, Rockland Wildfowlers, by the President.

Malcolm Huggins gave an illustrated presentation on the conservation work of the club on their recently purchased marshland at Rockland Broad.

Special Presentations

Special presentations were awarded by the President to:

Des Green

Des has been invaluable to the deer stalking membership, having been involved with the stalking scheme at King’s Forest for the last 8 years, conducting deer stalking outings and ensuring members obtain the maximum benefit and enjoyment from them.  He has been a BASC member for almost 25 years.

Bruce and Elaine Marks

Bruce and Elaine have been demonstrating best practice with their working ferrets in professional pest control at BASC events since 2005.  Their ferret section on the Young Shots days is memorable for a lot of youngsters, who are riveted by Bruce and Elaine’s first-class communication skills.

Tim Callaway

Tim, an invaluable supporter of BASC, has worked as a volunteer at numerous shows and events throughout the Midlands region.  Hard-working and dependable, Tim has been an asset to the Midlands region for almost a decade.

David Conway and Jim Spalding

David and Jim were nominated for completing the work started by James Dorrington to restore the Payne-Gallwey Holland & Holland punt gun, currently on display in the Duke of Westminster Hall.

Bill Harriman gave a brief talk on the history of the gun and its link to BASC.

Helen and Steve Crick

Helen and Steve put on scurries for the Midlands and Welsh regions and organise teams of volunteers to assist.  Helen has also helped at Crufts for the past three years and this year ran the invitation scurry for BASC.

Doug Conroy and Roger Evans

Doug Conroy and Roger Evans are members of the Pembrokeshire Wildfowlers’ Association and were nominated for their hard work and commitment to wildfowling and their longstanding committee membership.  Doug has been a BASC member for over 29 years and Roger Evans for over 25 years.

5. Chairman’s Report

The President invited the Chairman to report.

The Chairman presented longstanding Council member and previous Chairman Robert Irvine with a decanter to mark his retirement.

Martyn Howat:  My Lord President, ladies and gentlemen, firstly, my Lord President, can I thank you for your service and support to the Association again over the past year.  We welcome your sage advice, we welcome your calm counsel to the Association, and we are very grateful for your support.

The last year, ladies and gentlemen, has been an exciting and indeed remarkable one for your Association.  I will attempt to give you a view of some of the significant developments which have taken place.

Firstly, however, I want to say a huge thank you to our retiring Chief Executive, John Swift, who you all know so well.  Secondly, I want to give a warm welcome to our new Chief Executive, Richard Ali.

Back to John for a moment, if I may.  We heard a lot from John in his address earlier but I will try and summarise a few more thoughts about John Swift and his contribution to our Association.  John has led BASC, the largest and arguably the most successful voluntary shooting organisation, since 1988.  It is probably the most remarkable and successful shooting association anywhere in the world.  He has made an outstanding, significant and distinctive contribution to shooting, rural life, and conservation on a national and indeed international scale.  He has spent a lot of time in Europe, he knows the Europeans, with the legislation coming from Europe, with so much control coming from Europe, John’s knowledge and expertise in that area has been second to none.

His work has required vision, moral courage, hard work, leadership – often lonely, John, but honestly you weren’t ever alone; we were all there behind you.

Going back to his beginnings, John joined WAGBI in 1972 as a Conservation Officer.  He was an adviser to the EC on the Birds Directive.  We have heard about general licences.  On a European level he played a key role as ambassador for the high standards promoted by BASC.  Under his leadership BASC has become a respected force in conservation.  Make no mistake: the blend of conservation and shooting is our strength.  He has developed close and highly effective working relationships with agencies and political parties, and I’ve seen much of that.  He has launched Greenshoots, and we’ve heard of Greenshoots, an increasingly important product that links shooting and conservation, and if you haven’t looked at it yourselves, I encourage you to do so.  It is a wonderfully powerful tool and it is helpful in the management of shoots on all sorts of levels, not just on wildlife.  You can even put your drives on there and your stands on there and where your feeders are and so forth.  It’s really great.

Codes of practice: John was responsible for codes of practice, for deer stalking qualifications, the Deer Initiative; all created under John.  Collaborative working with other field sports organisations and rural bodies – not always an easy job, that.  It’s not always easy working with other organisations.  I liked your analogy of one foot in and then see if the other one follows.  It doesn’t always but sometimes getting that first foot in is a really difficult job.

John of course oversaw the construction of the communications building, which we all celebrate so much.

Judge Bishopp said of BASC: “In my judgment, it is an inescapable conclusion that, without BASC’s campaigning, advisory, educational and land management activities, sporting shooting in the United Kingdom in all its forms would be of materially poorer quality, and in some forms would not exist at all.”

One of John’s greatest achievements, in my view, however, is the staff.  He has been responsible for building a remarkable staff base.  We have about 115 staff.  In amongst those 115 people we have a tremendous knowledge of sporting shooting and the range of skills required to run an Association like ours.  To my mind, they are our greatest asset.

We don’t say farewell to John entirely, of course.  He is going to continue his work as Chairman of the Lead Ammunition Group, work for BASC on FACE, and he will be in the wings to help and advise, and become sage-like into the future.  I very much hope, however, you find some time to enjoy your newfound freedom, shooting, of course, and also I know your passion for diving.  Thank you, John, from us all.  We wish you well.

Now I come to John’s successor, Richard Ali.  First, Richard, I have to tell you one thing.  We expect no less from you.  Richard comes to us from a solid rural, business and food background.  He has a great deal of experience of leading associations and is highly skilled and experienced in the political arena.  He comes to us with clear leadership qualities.  He was the unanimous choice of Council from a very strong field indeed.

Richard has hit the ground running, and I have to tell you he’s hit quite a few clays.  I also have to tell you I asked him earlier today how well he slept last night and he said, “I kept waking up, and then when I was asleep I was dreaming about clays.”  So you can tell he is truly becoming one of us!  The only comment I would make, Richard, is there are other things that young men should dream about however.

One of his recent achievements has been that he went and addressed the National Gamekeepers Organisation.  Any members of the National Gamekeepers Organisation in the audience?  Thank you, so I know how hostile or not my audience might be.  They are a fairly eclectic mix of people and they were absolutely enthralled by his presentation and hearing what he had to say, and he went a long way to forming new alliances and friendships there.  Well done.

As Richard has said himself, he has been around all of the offices and so forth, both in the English regions, the five English offices, and also in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and that has been really supportive to the staff and very informative for him in discovering what they do and what their needs and issues are.  We know that Richard is going to take BASC from strength to strength, building on John’s solid foundations.  BASC did well to attract somebody of Richard’s calibre.  You are most welcome, Richard, and we look forward to working with you, and wish you every success.

Now I want to say something about staff.  I wish to pay tribute to the staff of the Association.  Their skills are outstanding, their commitment enormous, the efforts they make on our behalf have helped us to enjoy the sport we love so much, and I know you will want to join me in saying thanks to each and every one of them for all that they have done for us over the past year.

Over the past year I too have visited the far-flung BASC country and regional offices.  Some of these, I have to tell you, are tucked away in dark forests or in and around bustling cities.  Like Marford Mill, they are staffed by committed, skilled, highly motivated people.  They work right at the coalface, serving members’ needs and providing services such as events, attending shows, arranging training for members and the like.  In the country offices they add to all of this by working closely with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies to real effect.  They are doing a fantastic job and they deserve our recognition and thanks also.

Now a few words about BASC Council.  As your Chairman, I have been determined to ensure that John’s achievements are built on.  We have firm foundations, deep roots, and we must take care to maintain that history, but also move the Association on into the future and be appropriate for today.  We are incredibly fortunate to have the support of a dedicated team of Council members.  They’re all volunteers, who form a body of expertise on all aspects of sporting shooting.  They are passionate about the sport, equally passionate about BASC as an organisation, and it has truly been a privilege to act as their Chairman for the past year.  We have worked as a team, and dealt with complex issues in a highly strategic fashion, reaching consensus, and that has been incredibly rewarding.

Working with Council’s advice and support, we aim to work with like-minded organisations for the benefit of shooting.  This approach is already bearing fruit, as you have heard from others.  Through co-operation on shared principles, we are much stronger.  We aim to ensure that the BASC brand is fit for purpose – it is a very powerful brand, the BASC brand, and don’t ever under-value it.  It is well known and well respected.  We want to ensure that BASC benefits its members, who are the lifeblood of the Association.  We need to build on the expertise and the professionalism of the staff.  I would like to thank Council for their tireless efforts.  They deserve our recognition too.

Remember that Council members change, and there are normally new members joining each year, and we will be going through the election process in a moment.  You elect them.  Please be prepared to stand yourself or encourage others to stand, and make sure that you vote.  Not enough of our members take advantage of their rights in this respect.

The past year your Association has consolidated our all-party work.  Only a couple of weeks ago, at a meeting with a senior government minister, he said to me, “BASC is well thought of in Westminster.”  I wonder how many organisations like BASC are well thought of in Westminster.  That is a tremendous credit.  We have taken MPs shooting and taken shooting to Parliament in the form of the shooting simulator.  We challenged the MCZ proposals in England, with particular regard to the reference areas, and those have now been dropped.  We have continued to fight the airgun legislation in Scotland, where the timetable for restrictions has now been abandoned.  We have mobilised the shooting family to oppose WH Smith’s attempt to treat shooting magazines as pornography – and well done on that petition.  My only feedback to you is, I signed up to that straight away and now I get petitions on everything.

We’ve kept hooded crows on general licences when NE sought to remove them without consultation.  We have persuaded Royal Mail to drop their proposals to ban the carriage of firearms.  Currently we’re working on the challenging proposals from Europe on firearms and alien species.

The future.  The work of BASC doesn’t end.  It never will, of course.  We face a challenging few years where issues such as lead, rear and release, disturbance and alien species will all affect shooting.  Remember our position on lead is clear: no proven, sound scientific evidence against lead, then no change.  We face political change; our all-party stance has never been so important.  Together we face those changes and continue BASC’s work, ensuring a solid future for sustainable shooting.  With over 130,000 members, we are strong but we are never complacent.

Thank you to all our volunteers, be they trainers, or members who help out at shows and events.  They contribute an enormous amount to the Association and we are indebted to them for their contribution.

Thank you to all of you for attending today’s AGM, for your support in the past and for your support into the future.  Enjoy your sport and good shooting to you all.  Thank you very much indeed.

The President offered members the opportunity to ask questions of the Chairman.  There were none.

6. Adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2012

The President invited the Chairman to present the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2012.

The Chairman asked for a proposer and seconder for the adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for 2012.  Robert Irvine proposed and John Thornley seconded the proposal from the floor.  Agreed unanimously on a show of hands.  The Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements were duly adopted.

7. Elections

Honorary Life Membership

Peter Wilson

Peter Wilson is the current world record holder for the double trap event, and was a member of the British team for the 2012 summer Olympics.  He was the youngest competitor in the men’s double trap event, where he won the gold medal.  He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2013 New Year’s Honours for his services to shooting.

Michael Alldis

Michael, a former BASC Council member, has made his facilities at the EssexShootingSchool available to BASC free of charge, enabling the Association to host a wide range of courses from there for Young Shots Days to Ladies Days through to DSC1 courses.  Michael is also a former director of the CPSA.

By a show of hands, Peter Wilson and Michael Alldis were awarded Honorary Life Membership.

Election of Members of Council

The President invited Jill Jones of Baker Tilly, the Scrutineer, to present the results of the elections to Council for 2013.

  • Ballot Papers received – 2012
  • Online voters – 460
  • Total voters – 2472
  • Papers received after deadline – 2
  • Papers spoilt – 58
  • Papers for checking and validating – 2412
  • Papers deemed void – 6
  • Number of valid papers – 2406
  • Valid votes – 4154

The votes from these valid papers were cast as follows in the order they appeared on the ballot paper:

  • M Parfitt – 1,334
  • J Graham –  1,475
  • D Greaves – 1,345

The following were duly elected to Council: J Graham and D Greaves.

Wildlife Habitat Trust – trustees for 2013/2014

The President introduced the nominations for the election of trustees for the Wildlife Habitat Trust.

Alan Jarrett, proposed by Lee Freeston, seconded by Mike Sherman, was happy for his name to go forward.  The nomination was carried by a show of hands and Alan Jarrett was duly elected.

Anthony Holliday, proposed by Thomas Gee, seconded by Matthew Cutting, was happy for his name to go forward.  The nomination was carried by a show of hands and Anthony Holliday was duly elected.

8. Appointment of Auditors for 2013/2014

It was proposed that Baker Tilly UK Audit LLP be reappointed as auditors for the year ending December 2013, as recommended by Council.  Carried unanimously on a show of hands.

9.   Any Other Business by Leave of the Chair 

There being no matters of Any Other Business raised, the President thanked those present for their attendance and declared the meeting closed at 12.20 p.m.

 

Saturday 9th June 2012 At Holt Lodge Hotel, Wrexham

Confirmed Minutes Of Meeting Present: 
  • Lord Home, President
  • Robert Irvine, Chairman
  • Members, Supporters and Guests of the Association
Minute Secretary:
  • Diane McKenzie-Hodkinson
The Chief Executive called the meeting to order and asked Philippa Bursey to make administrative announcements prior to the start of the meeting. Those present were informed that the proceedings were being tape recorded solely for the purposes of assisting with the preparation of minutes.  Speakers were requested to provide their names when speaking from the floor. Luncheon and fire and emergency arrangements were detailed.  Supporter members and guests were reminded that while they were most welcome to speak, they do not hold voting rights.] The President, Lord Home opened the meeting.

1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence had been received from David Wilmot-Smith, Graeme Dalby, Martyn Parfitt, Mike Hardy, Sir Roger Jones, Peter Glenser, Ben T Ford, Glynn Cook, Claire Zambuni and Michael Alldis. The Chief Executive paid tribute to prominent members who had passed away during the last twelve months; Ronald James “Jim” Deterding, Sir Patrick Lawrence CBE, DL, Bob Temple, John Humphreys, Bill Sanders, Michael Roberts and Vernon Bath, Sid Wright, Gordon Powell and Laurence Thompson. Members stood in remembrance of these and other “absent friends”.

2. President’s Address

The President gave his address: “Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, May I start by wishing our Patron, The Duke of Edinburgh, on behalf of all the members of the Association a very rapid recovery and wish him a very happy birthday tomorrow. (Note: the Patron had been taken ill during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations). Last year I said to you that we were travelling down a political road full of potholes.  Sadly, despite a mild winter, the potholes have become bigger and more have appeared.  The so-called “Arab Spring” became summer, autumn and winter and the recent atrocities in Syria show that the world’s troubles are far from over.  The crisis in the Eurozone is incredibly serious and could have a very traumatic outcome for all of us; and the Coalition Government has found many banana skins on which to slip. We have had more expense scandals and petrol panics.  We have had the granny tax, the caravan tax and the pasty tax along with several other U-turns.  I cannot quite understand why a pasty kept hot attracts tax while a cold one doesn’t. If there are any Cornishmen or ladies in the audience, please can they enlighten us as to the ambient temperature of a pasty. This somewhat reminds me of the time that God spoke to Moses and said he had good and bad news.  The Good News was that he would bring a plague of locusts to Egypt and would later part the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape.  The Bad News was that Moses had to do an Environmental Impact Study first. So although these changes are very helpful if you happen to be a static caravan owner or a pasty maker, the accusation is that the Coalition is worrying about domestic trivia while the world is on the point of melt-down. If the Coalition is fiddling while Rome (or rather Athens) burns, your Association has stuck steadfastly to its main priorities.  We recognise that a strong and unified voice for shooting is needed and I believe the message is getting across as demonstrated by the fact that for the first months of this year both recruitment and retention figures are ahead of the 5-year average and the budget. In addition your executive has been successful in acquiring sponsorship inter alia from such well-known companies as Honda, Eley and Bushwear. Other people recognise that we are doing good things. We have recently had meetings with both the comparatively new head of the Countryside Alliance, Barney White-Spunner.  We are also working closely with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.  Cooperation with these and other interested groups are vital as we must present a unified front. We have also helped wildfowling members, such as on the Dyfi estuary, where their sport has been threatened.  We helped to protect one member, who believed he may have shot the Emperor Stag in the West Country.  I have to say that I would not have called it an Emperor, for, compared with some of those in the Thetford Forest or the Western Isles, it certainly wouldn’t be rated higher than an Earl at best.  The press need further education. (I forget who when talking of the BBC said that “The Evening News is where they begin with “Good Evening” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t”.) You have already heard some of the good news: the financial strengths of the Association and support from sponsors and members being but two.  On the bad news side apart from the economic woes, there is still the threat from Brussels on the topic of lead shot.  You would have thought that they had bigger things to worry about with the Euro in chaos but “no”, they are still debating the desirability of banning lead shot.  I am not going to go into detail now as John Swift is right up-to-date.  Suffice it to say, if we are going to have to use Bismuth at over a £1 a cartridge, I certainly won’t be firing optimistic barrels at a high pigeon!  If the ban ever happens, I fear it may put off a lot of people, particularly young shots, who simply couldn’t afford to shoot. One threat which has receded is the threat to charities The “C” in our name is for Conservation and there are many charities concerned with conservation of the rural way of life.  Several of these are supported by very wealthy people and the charities could have suffered badly had the Chancellor persisted in the proposed cap on charitable giving.  Making the rich pay tax and encouraging giving to charity are two totally different things and to attempt to somehow combine the two was misguided. Our politicians have got a lot wrong – but not as badly as the one who was very late at the local vicar’s retirement party.  To fill in time the vicar spoke about the first time when he took confession. He listened to the person admitting to taking drugs, stealing a television set and embezzling from his employer whilst having an affair with his wife.  As he sat down, the politician arrived and starting by saying “I’ll never forget the first day our priest arrived.  I had the honour to be the first person to go to him for confession”. For the future the new film studio in the Duke of Edinburgh Building has enabled us to launch effective public video news and films such as Introduction to Game Shooting and an introduction to Wildfowling.  The money which many of you produced so generously for this media centre is being put to very good use. The next two years are not going to be easy for anyone given the current economic climate – but I hope that you all have a very enjoyable season this year. Thank you.

3. Awards and Presentations

The President asked the Chief Executive to announce the presentation of awards. The Ian Richardson Trophy The Ian Richardson trophy is awarded annually to the person who, in the view of BASC employees, has “done the most for the Association in recent years”. Laurie Campbell was nominated in recognition of the high quality images he has generously provided in support of BASC publications. The Trophy was awarded to Laurie Campbell by the President. The Tim Sedgwick Trophy The Tim Sedgwick Trophy is presented to a person who, in the opinion of Council, has “contributed markedly to the fortunes of BASC in the preceding 12 months and who is not a BASC Council member or member of an advisory committee”. Will and Debbie Oakley of Willo Game were nominated for their generous support over the past 6 years in providing a “Taste of Game” to tens of thousands at various events throughout the country. The Trophy was awarded to Will and Debbie Oakley by the President. The Stanley Duncan Conservation Trophy The Stanley Duncan Conservation Trophy is awarded to a club, member or group of members, who in the opinion of Council, has “contributed markedly to the fortunes of BASC in the field of conservation in the preceding 12 months”. The Barton on Humber Wildfowlers Club was nominated for their remarkable project near Horkstow, involving land purchased with the assistance of the WHT.  Ken Allan, Chairman, received the trophy on behalf of the club and Roy Hodsdon gave a presentation on the conservation work involved. A runner up, David Jones, received a Certificate of Merit for his work on Grey Partridge conservation at the Hale Marshes, Merseyside. Special Presentations Special presentations were awarded by the President to: Kelvin Pettitt Kelvin has been a volunteer and BASC shotgun coach for over 3 decades particularly supportive of BASC’s Young Shots programme. Tom Wylie Over the last 15 years Tom has made an important contribution to the BASC Research team’s work programmes.  Tom served on BASC’s Council and in 2012 he donated his library of 100 books and 80 technical papers on all aspects of shooting to BASC. James Young James generously donated copies of ‘Gamekeeper and Countryside Journals’ dated around the turn of the century to BASC. Paul Shaw Paul has been an indispensible and trusted volunteer of very special calibre for more than ten years at many shows and events.

4. Chairman’s Report

The President invited the Chairman to report. “My Lord President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Before I go into a formal presentation of my report I would like to quote from Shakespeare’s Henry V because I think it epitomises what we do and why we do it.  “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers”. For us in the sport, shooting is not just a sport, it is actually a passionate endeavour. BASC gives a strong and unified voice for shooting, and throughout this past year we have done that against a background of economic recession and tragic shooting incidents (Note. The Chairman was referring to a shooting at Peterlee). We managed again to turn a very healthy surplus of £870,673. This included a legacy of £137,026 income from bequests.  That is a fantastic job and I think everybody that did that has to be complimented.  So well done and keep it up.  By doing that it allows us to carry forward and do more for the sport and I hope that it long continues. I also thank our sponsors and staff. We also ensure that we work with others and likeminded organisations in all the political party sectors as well. We lobbied on all the topics that might have affected our sport. At the heart of shooting we keep high standards and I think it is widely recognised, in this year in particular as well, that we are coming from a background history that BASC is recognised as the leading UK and indeed European authority in providing the standards in shooting. We are not just looked on as the benchmark organisation, we are looked up to, to provide the lead, and that’s actually a hard thing to follow and it is a hard thing to maintain, and we do that through rigour, rigour in what we do, how we do it, and why we do it, and again our staff have to be complimented for doing that. Again, if we didn’t have the opportunity to go shooting, our passion would be useless.  We have to be able to go out and do it.  And that took numerous forms. We have a Firearms Department here that is second to none. We also have good conservation work through the Green Shoots programme. Wildlife Habitat Trust has been doing a fantastic job in actually providing funds and advice to clubs and individuals to actually secure what they have got, to improve what they have got and to help and get more. We also have been promoting bigger tourism projects, we have one running in Scotland which has been running for several years, and we have now got secured external funding and we are directing one in the South West based down in Taunton.  That is actually kick-starting other regions. We also try and ensure we have a balanced comment in the media and as we saw through the clip, we took the step, 6 – 7 years ago to create the Duke of Edinburgh building which is essentially providing additional accommodation for the media group and re-arranging all the other sections in the Association.  This last year, year and a half it is plain to see that that was a wise decision.  Yes, there was a lot of money invested on behalf of the members, yes there is a lot of equipment that went into it, but now that is actually starting to take effect. We were getting the message out. I would just like to thank each and every one of you, that’s staff and members for what you have done, and what you continue to do. Thank you very much indeed. The Chairman offered members the opportunity to ask questions. Questions Richard Playle, Chairman of Essex Joint Council of Wildfowling Clubs thanked the Chairman for his end of year report, but asked why there was no mention of land acquisition? The Chairman replied that this issue continues to be discussed actively in Council meetings: but it is important to prepare properly and with care.

5. Adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December 2011

The President invited the Chairman to present the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December 2011. The Chairman asked for comments or questions from the floor: there were none. The Chairman proposed the adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for 2011 and Alan Jarrett seconded the proposal from the floor. All present agreed on show of hands. The Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements were duly adopted.

6. Elections

The President called upon the Chief Executive to introduce the results of the elections. 6.1. President         The Chief Executive introduced Council’s nomination of Lord Home for re-election as President of BASC. The Chairman temporarily took the chair and formally moved the re-election of Lord Home as President for a further two years (Note: until the close of the AGM in June 2014). The President resumed the chairmanship of the meeting. By a show of hands Lord Home was unanimously re-elected as President. 6.2. Vice-President Paul Walkden – proposed by John Dryden and Lee Freeston For his considerable support of BASC and the Wildlife Habitat Trust. By a show of hands Paul Walkden was elected as a Vice-President. 6.3. Honorary Life Membership Nicholas Horten Nick has been involved in club management for the last 40 years, joining Langston Wildfowlers Association in 1971.  Since1979 Nick has been Secretary or Chairman of Langston Wildfowlers, Chichester Wildfowlers, Three Harbours Joint Council, and Solent Wildfowling Forum.  . Keith Scott Keith has served as Secretary or Chairman of the Northumberland & Durham Wildfowlers Association since 1984.  He was Chairman of the Northumberland Wildfowl Panel (11 years), chaired the Lindisfarne Wildfowl Management Committee (13 years), and served on the Wildfowling Liaison Committee (17 years. By a show of hands Nicholas Horten and Keith Scott were awarded Honorary Life Membership.   6.4. Members of Council The President invited Jill Jones (of Baker Tilly), the Scrutineer to present the results of the elections to Council for 2012.
National Election Totals
Ballot papers received 2,030
On-line voters 935
Total voters 2,625
Number of papers received after the deadline 3
Number of spoilt papers 44
Number of papers for checking and validating 2,578
Number of papers deemed void 10
Number of valid papers 2,568 (6,543 valid votes)
The votes from these valid papers were cast as follows in order they appear on the ballot paper;
National election candidates Number of votes
Michael Hardy 1,382
John Graham 1,100
Martyn Parfitt 1,084
John Thornley 1,600
Alan Jarrett 1,377
Therefore the following are duly elected to Council: John Thornley Michael Hardy Alan Jarrett 6.5. Wildlife Habitat Trust – Trustees for 2012/2013 The President introduced the nominations for the election of Trustees for the Wildlife Habitat Trust. Alan Jarrett had been proposed by D N Thorpe and seconded by R S Stead, and was happy for his name to go forward. The nomination was carried by show of hands and Alan Jarrett was duly elected. Anthony Holliday had been proposed by James R S Holliday and seconded by Tom Gee, and was happy for his name to go forward. The nomination was carried by show of hands and Anthony Holliday was duly elected. Tim Russell gave a presentation on the “25 years of the Wildlife Habitat Trust” highlighting the importance of supporting flyway projects in the Baltic countries.

7. Appointment of Auditors for 2012/2013

It was proposed that Baker Tilly UK Audit LLP be re-appointed as Auditors for the year ending December 2012 as recommended by Council. By a show of hands all agreed. Baker Tilly UK was duly re-appointed as Auditors to the Association.

8. Any Other Business by Leave of the Chair

Question:  Richard Playle asked Martyn Howat, BASC Council member, how he reconciled BASC and his previous employment with English Nature, and as to whether he considered it a conflict of interest with the shooting community that he Chaired the Hen Harrier Working Group for Natural England? Answer:  Martyn Howat responded that he had been appointed Chairman of the Hen Harrier Working Group by the Chair of English Nature (as it then was). He has been a shooting man since the age of 16 and furthermore is a longstanding wildfowler. He supports the wellbeing of shooting and the standards it should meet. He considered his acceptance of this high-level, sensitive and prominent role as serving the wellbeing of shooting interests. Question:  David Seager asked 2 questions. 1.  Shooting and Conservation magazine.  He used to leave his copy of the magazine at the doctors, dentists etc to encourage people to see a different view of shooting.  But he has ceased to do so because the articles by ‘Mayfair Lady’ are a bit inappropriate, as they do not encourage people into shooting, 2. Whilst in full of admiration for the WHT, he asked has BASC Council thought of buying land, retaining the sporting rights and then selling the land on? The Chief Executive responded to both questions 1.  Shooting and Conservation magazine.  He endeavoured to reassure Mr Seager that Head office goes to considerable lengths in taking great care to police the subconscious messages we are sending out to the public at large, as well as to members and the shooting community who are the primary audiences. But he argued that shooting is not only to be undertaken seriously but kept in mind that it is fun and encompasses a broad church – and he argued that we should not take ourselves too seriously. 2.   On the question of purchasing land and enabling people to have access to shooting, the Chief Executive reminded Mr Seager that WHT does give out loans for this purpose. Related discussions are currently taking place about what more can be done. Council is looking at viable options that will give value in the long term – and they will be discussed again at the July Council meeting. Alan Jarrett said his views on land purchase were well known (that he was strongly in favour). However caution was advised by Alan Jarrett on buying land and retaining the shooting rights, because the land moves out of your control once sold on. He explained that it was safest to buy land and sell it on again in designated areas such SSSIs, as then the ability of an incoming owner to ruin the land for shooting was much reduced. Lord Home thanked everyone present for attending the meeting.
Present:
  • Lord Home, President
  • Robert Irvine, Chairman
  • Members, Supporters and Guests of the Association
Minute Secretary:
  • Diane McKenzie
The Chief Executive called the meeting to order and asked the IPS Secretary to make some administrative announcements prior to the start of the meeting. The IPS Secretary informed members that the proceedings were being tape recorded for the purposes of assisting with the preparation of the Minutes.  Speakers were requested to provide their names when speaking from the floor, and luncheon, fire and emergency arrangements were detailed.  Supporter members and guests were reminded that while they were most welcome to attend and speak, they do not hold voting rights. The meeting was also being filmed.  The film would be available on the BASC website. The President, Lord Home then opened the meeting.

1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence had been received from Gareth Owen, Eric Begbie, Michael Jones, Paul Bendel, Martyn Howat, Colin Shedden, Tommy Mayne, Arthur Thirwell, Simon Parrington, Mr B T Ford DL, Mr R Playle (who, as Chairman also gave apologies on behalf of Dengie Hundred Wildfowling Club and the Essex Joint Council) and Graham Downing. The Chief Executive paid tribute to members who had passed away during the last twelve months; Paddy Bailie, Sam Jennett, Cliff Boardman, Monty Christopher, H R G Robinson, John Seago, Leonard F Hurdle, John Treasure, Major Harry Schulman MBE TD, J Douglas C Barr, Michael “Spike” Cartledge, Tony Waller, Brian Maclean, Malcolm Lyell, Paul Larkin, Dr Jimmy Dunne, Ian Hesketh and David Myles. The Chief Executive requested all present to stand for a moment to remember those lost.

2. President’s Address

“Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, May I start by wishing our Patron, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh a very Happy Birthday.  Some of us met him last year when he kindly came to open our new Communications Centre when he was on tremendous form.  On most occasions when a friend has a 90th birthday one wishes him a long and happy retirement, but I don’t think that our Patron will ever retire and we hope he doesn’t.  Nevertheless I will send him our very best wishes. This time last year I talked about the warnings given by David Cameron of a tough economic road ahead.   It is indeed a road full of potholes that we are now travelling on.  Whereas the previous government was probably not going to make enough cuts to keep the international markets quiet, it is arguable that this government has gone too far, too fast and the private sector has not yet regained the confidence to pick up what the public sector has shed.  In Parliament we receive a lot of letters from people who have views and one of my colleagues received a particularly abusive and vitriolic letter from a constituent. He sent back a copy saying “I think you should know that some idiot is using your name and writing-paper”.  He heard nothing more. It is tough now for people who have been made redundant and for those leaving school or university.  Your Association is well aware of the problem and is looking to help members in this position with the Jobseekers Concession renewal rate which is less than half the full rate.  So far shooting has weathered the recession and your Association is in good financial shape.  We will continue to exercise careful cost control whilst at the same time seeking to maintain and indeed develop the services we offer. A lot of school leavers are now trying to get further education and there are many conferences on how to help them.  One young man was going to such a gathering by car but got lost in South Manchester.  He asked an elderly policeman “How do I get to Salford University?” the answer was “By working very hard”. Another result of the recession is that there is a cut back in companies taking commercial shoots, where bigger bags are the order of the day.  My own experience in Scotland has been fortunate in that we are almost fully let but there is a marked increase in the demand for rough days, during which 50/60 head with 5/6 varieties might be acquired. Of greater import are the costs of shooting for 2 reasons. It is too early to tell what the price of feed might be next season but the extraordinary weather, both drought and floods which have affected the South of England, parts of Europe and Australia, could push up the price of wheat and other corns.  Inflation is already twice the target of the Bank of England and the time will come when the Bank will have to put up rates, although probably not much this year.  A rise in due course is inevitable. The second reason is the cost of fuel.  I returned yesterday from the Middle East, where the potential for trouble is very much there.  At present the Gulf States are fairly quiet whilst we continue to read horror stories about what is happening in Syria and the Yemen.  Whilst all may be calm in the Gulf, we are approaching the Muslim fasting of Ramadan, when all the locals are in a bad temper as they eat all night and work in the day.  That fact coupled with the heat could mean that tempers will explode, although the optimists maintain that it will be too hot for the demonstrators to take to the streets.  If that is so, perhaps global warming has some merit. Stability in Saudi Arabia is the key to the oil price and with the 3 top people in the Kingdom all in their 80s, the West is naturally a little concerned that something could go wrong there. Libya is frankly a side show if one looks at the availability of crude oil and Saudi Arabia can easily make up for any loss of crude from Tripoli.  One can debate the rights and wrongs of NATO’s involvement in Libya for days but if we went into Libya for humanitarian reasons to protect half a million people in Benghazi, why did we not go into Iraq to prevent a million Marsh Arabs being murdered by Saddam or into Rwanda and Burundi where a million people died in unspeakable circumstances? If there is trouble in the Gulf, the price of oil could easily get to $200 a barrel and we can only pray that the problems are contained.  Talking of prayer, there was the occasion when a bishop went to preach in a village and found that the congregation was just 7 people.  “Did you not tell people that I was coming?”  he asked the vicar.  “No, but I am afraid that the news must have leaked out!” On the Domestic political front, your Association has been very involved with both the Government and Opposition to help with their enquiries following the horrible mass killing in West Cumbria just before the AGM last year.  We expect announcements imminently. The coalition is going through a sticky period particularly since the Liberal Party did so badly in the local elections.  In the Lords they have decided to show that they have a mind of their own and as a result have put down or supported motions proposed by the Opposition or Crossbench, which meant that the Government has been defeated from time to time. When Scottish devolution was first proposed, I was assured by the then Secretary of State, Donald Dewar, that a system would be devised that would ensure that the SNP could never get an overall majority.  Subsequent Secretaries of State gave similar assurances.  How wrong can one be?   The new SNP are, we understand, supportive of shooting and 40% of MSPs are on record as supporters of our sport.  They are, however, pretty anti-landlord and it remains to be seen whether that antipathy is translated in anything damaging to shooting. As you will hear later, your Association faces the future with quiet confidence”.

3. Awards and Presentations

The President asked the Chief Executive to announce the presentation of awards. The Ian Richardson Trophy This trophy is awarded to the person who, in the view of BASC employees has done the most for the Association in recent years.  Peter Coe of MediaSpeak had been nominated by Bill Harriman, Simon Clarke and Mike Eveleigh in recognition of the high profile media training given over the last 10 years to BASC staff, which assisted greatly them when crucial issues had arisen, such as the Cumbria shootings. The Trophy was awarded to Peter Coe of MediaSpeak. The Tim Sedgwick Trophy This trophy is presented to an individual who in the opinion of Council has contributed markedly to the fortunes of BASC in the preceding 12 months, who is not a BASC Council member or member of an advisory committee. Andrew Hitchmough is the barrister who represented BASC in its final VAT tribunal.  The Chief Executive extended thanks as BASC had just received a cheque for a £500,000 VAT refund. The Trophy was awarded to Andrew Hitchmough of Pump Court Tax Chambers Special Presentations Special presentations were awarded to: Reg and Shirley Grainger –  proposed by William Heal and Peter Marshall Reg and Shirley have been BASC members for 28 and 24 years respectively, and on behalf of the Association have organised gundog events, Taste of Game dinners, quiz nights and clay shooting days.  Reg became a shotgun coach in 2001 and is now an Assessor. Shirley has been Gundog Advisor for the Eastern region for the past 10 years. Bill Sanders of Air Arms proposed by Mike Montgomery and Jeffrey Olstead Bill is Sales Manager of Air Arms.  He organises Air Arms’ support for our Young Shots’ programme by providing rifles, he equips and advises CCF cadet rifle training, supports the British Olympic shooting team, Paralympics and Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and Help for Heroes. Paul Sadler – proposed by Lin Oxley and Steve Bloomfield Paul is always willing to help at any event in the midland region he is asked to, working on the membership stand, sleeping on site in the car or a tent! Terence Hopkins – proposed by Glynn Cook and Meurig Rees A member for 43 years of Carmarthenshire Wildfowlers Association, being on the committee for 32 years, and for the past 21 years club secretary. Paul Bendel of Baker Tilly – proposed by Philippa Bursey and John Swift Paul was the instructing accountant working on BASC’s VAT and key to the lodging of the appeal to the High Court which ultimately led to our success in Tribunal.

4. Chairman’s Report

The President invited the Chairman to present his report. “Good Morning My Lord President, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. I’m told that in China to say “May you live in interesting times”, is actually to curse the person you’re speaking to. Well, over the course of the last year I think we have confounded the curse. We lived through interesting times, a general election, elections in the devolved countries, a coalition government, political scrutiny of firearms controls, an economic crisis and a VAT tribunal. We emerged having met the challenges, stronger and fitter. We were tested and we were not found wanting. Single Incident Mass Killings have the potential to seriously damage our sport. The tragedies at Hungerford in 1986 and Dunblane in 1996 both led to restrictive legislation. The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 banned semi-automatic centre-fire rifles and restricted the magazine capacity of shotguns to two cartridges. The legislation in 1996 banned the private ownership of handguns. Therefore, it could be expected that the horrific murders in Whitehaven and West Cumbria in June 2010, a few days before the last AGM, would also lead to severe penalties for the law abiding shooting community. At present, that does not look like being the case. While we are far from complacent, all the signs suggest that for the first time government will behave sensibly and constructively following the reviews of firearms law over the past year. This is despite the calls to further restrict shooting sports, to ban the storage of guns at home, to stop young people applying for certificates, to tag medical records and to put shotguns on section 1 certificates. Much of the credit for that is down to your Association. There were those who publicly attacked Council’s decision to build the new Duke of Edinburgh Building. They said that a new Communications facility would be a white elephant. They didn’t say that after Cumbria. Your Association mounted a comprehensive media and political campaign with its nerve centre in the new building. The Home Office and the Shadow Home Affairs team were contacted and briefed within hours of the tragedy. BASC spokesmen used ‘state of the art’ broadcasting and film facilities to instil facts, logic and sound reason into the debate. Our expert firearms and political staff engaged with the process, briefing MPs and giving written and oral evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee review of firearms control. This is precisely the work that BASC is here to do – as the constitution has it: to act as a representative national body for all sporting shooting and to promote and safeguard sporting shooting. Last year saw the continuation of what has been widely described as the worst economic depression since the 1920’s.  We’ve all seen the effects: growing unemployment, government cuts, company failures, rising costs and falling pay. In the face of this challenge a major concern for your Council has been to assist those members who are finding economic conditions particularly tough. We have continued the Jobseekers Concession Rate for those on jobseekers allowance or pension credit. In the spring we introduced phased direct debit to allow members to spread the cost of their subscription. In addition, Council has introduced the Members of Her Majesty Forces concession rate. This demonstrates our appreciation and support for our service men and women who are laying their lives on the line for us in the conflicts that our country is engaged in. Against this background, it is worth noting that in a year of such financial challenge, careful control of costs and development of income sources apart from subscriptions have allowed the Association to deliver yet another surplus amounting to £684,000. Such a good result is, in part, down to the refund of VAT in the wake of our successful appeal against Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. It’s worth remembering that our case was based on the fact that BASC’s contribution is essential to British shooting sports. In the words of Judge Bishopp  “In my judgement it is an inescapable conclusion that, without its campaigning, advisory, educational and land management activities, sporting shooting in the United Kingdom, in all its forms, would be of materially poorer quality, and in some forms might not exist at all.”  This is a splendid endorsement of the excellent work your Association does. In terms of developing alternative sources of income we have been particularly successful in developing sponsorship. For example Honda is now supporting the work of our Gamekeeping team. Our coaching programmes and clay lines at game fairs, a major operational cost, now have three sponsors. They are Eley Hawke for cartridges, Browning International for shotguns and Promatic for traps. This ensures that we be able to offer a better service and experience at less cost. Development of sponsorship for BASC activities is set to continue to grow. Young people are the future of our sport. Many of them do not have the opportunities that we had as children. Many are deprived of contact with the countryside. This year we will be launching an appeal for a fund to assist BASC to help young people understand the countryside and grow into shooting sports. In partnership with the Countryside Foundation for Education we will be taking our message to children in the inner city and in the classroom. I hope this will have your support. In this context, I wish to pay tribute to the generosity of BASC members who, in tough times, contributed over 50% of the cost of the new building. They have my sincere thanks. Without this contribution from members prepared to contribute a little more than their subscription we would not be so financially secure or have the resources to deliver the excellent services and representation that BASC is noted for. BASC is also developing its technological capacity. For many of us the rapid growth of computer technology and applications can be off-putting and we can feel left behind by the speed of change. That isn’t an option for your Association. The new building has allowed us to enter the video age with a fully equipped editing suite that began, last year, to produce BASC films and video press releases. We now have a fully equipped and soundproofed radio studio that allows us to give studio quality interviews. Our website – already the most comprehensive online resource for shooting in the UK – goes through a constant process of updating and development. It is beginning to make a financial contribution through advertising and sponsorship. We’ve also entered the world of social networking. If you’re a Facebook fan or avid “tweeter”, you can follow the Association on the BASC Twitter site and Facebook page. I’m told that our Royal Patron, Prince Philip takes a keen interest in new technology. As Chairman, I was proud to welcome him to the Mill, in November, to open the new building. Prince Philip has taken a keen interest in the growth and work of the Association since the 1950’s. He is enormously knowledgeable about shooting sports and conservation, and we have been fortunate to have the benefit of his experience and advice. I was particularly glad that he gave the time to join members and staff for lunch at the Mill. Looking forwards, I believe that conditions will remain challenging. Government spending is set to fall dramatically over the next four years. This will have a major impact on the capacity and resources of the government departments we deal with and the agencies which deliver policy on the ground. Both have a major impact on shooting. I believe that it is important that we recognise the opportunities as well as the threats that are likely to materialise. For example, as job cuts take effect in government agencies, so the private sector will be required to take up the strain. This may have many and lasting effects for shooting. An example is that recreational stalkers may be required to take a greater responsibility for achieving effective deer management in the future. Government may depend more on stakeholder advice as the number of departmental staff fall. Our marketplace, like many others, will continue to come under economic pressure. Members will continue to see impacts on their employment and incomes. Supporting businesses will continue to find the market hard.  This climate of austerity means that BASC must work smarter and deliver added value if we are to continue to maintain support for our members and deliver effective representation. Council and staff are well aware of this and have been preparing and providing for the future.  I would like to thank my fellow members of Council for their commitment to the Association. I would also like to commend the Association’s staff for their work. We are fortunate to have their expertise and dedication. Despite the challenges ahead I am confident that the resilience of shooting sports will win through. We continue to maintain all-party support. In trying circumstances our membership levels are holding up well. Our finances are strong. Shooting is our passion as well as our recreation. The joy of good company and good sport keeps us coming back for more, whatever the pressures. As I look forward, in my opinion, despite the fact that we live in interesting times, the future for shooting sports and for this Association are bright and full of promise. The Chairman offered members the opportunity to ask questions; there were none. The Chairman then introduced a short video and message from Andy Marsh of DCC, who leads for ACPO on firearms licensing matters.  Andy Marsh introduced himself as the new Chairman of the ACPO Firearms and Explosives Licensing Working Group, following a good handover from Adrian Whiting the previous Chairman, and gave his apologies for not being present at the AGM. Andy Marsh commented that BASC has a growing membership, and during the firearms licensing process safety needs to be balanced, there is a need to minimise bureaucracy during renewal processes, but he does think changes will be necessary and looks forward to working with BASC. The Chairman summed up that this is one of the key agencies that interacts with our Association and it is good to see the police are taking note and moving forward with regard to proposed legislation. “This is how your Council works with the staff.  People on the ground do not see this.  It is good our Association gets recognition”. The Chairman asked for comments from the floor; there were none.

5. ADOPTION OF THE ANNUAL REPORT AND AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31ST DECEMBER 2010

The President invited the Chairman to present the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December 2010. The Chairman highlighted that BASC is working under FRS regulations, i.e., changing the way the accounts are represented.   There will be more notes with the Accounts.  The healthy balance is not just because of the VAT refund, but over the past couple of years staff have been working well within our means.  Previous years have been re-stated because of the VAT refund. The Chairman asked for any comments or questions from the floor; there were none. The Chairman then proposed the adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for 2010.  Peter Glenser seconded the proposal. All present agreed by a show of hands. The Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements were duly adopted.

6. Elections

The President called upon the Chief Executive to introduce the results of the elections. a. Honorary Life Membership Peter Chomiak – proposed by Glynn Cook and Steve Bloomfield Peter has been a member of North Worcestershire Wildfowling and Rough Shooting Club for over 40 years, serving as secretary and wildfowling permit secretary since he was 22 years old, and secretary to the Dyfi Wildfowl Management Panel for over 20 years.  Peter is very supportive of the Midland region and Wales. Michael Jones – proposed by Glynn Cook and Meurig Rees Michael has been a member of the Carmarthenshire Wildfowlers Association for 43 years, serving as a committee member for 32 years, and secretary for the last 21 years.  He has been involved in various Crown and Ministry of Defence leases for wildfowling, and helped at BASC Young Shots activity days, game fairs and events. Eric Begbieproposed by David de Gernier and William McIntosh Eric has given long service to wildfowling in Scotland.  He was a member of Eden Wildfowlers Association for 31 years, holding offices of chairman, secretary and treasurer.  He has served on BASC’s Wildfowling Liaison Committee and was elected to BASC Council in 1987 and 2005.  Eric also edited the third edition of The New Wildfowler and donated his royalties to the Wildlife Habitat Trust. The Chief Executive read out a message from Eric as he was unable to be present:- “It is with deep humility that I accept this honour.  As a membership organisation BASC has a duty to carry out the wishes of its members, the two do not always sit side by side”. By a show of hands Peter Chomiak, Michael Jones and Eric Begbie were awarded Honorary Life Membership.   b.   Members of Council The President invited Jill Jones (of Baker Tilly), the Scrutineer to present the results of the elections to Council for 2011.
National Election

Totals

Ballot papers received

2,215

On-line voters

490

Total voters

2,705

Number of papers received after the deadline

2

Number of spoilt papers

44

Number of papers for checking and validating

2,659

Number of papers deemed void

11

Number of valid papers

2,648

The votes from these valid papers were cast as follows in order they appear on the ballot paper;
National election candidates

Number of votes

S Ogden

972

M Sherman

987

R Garner Williams

492

H Abbott

463

A Jarrett

940

G Owen

365

C Zambuni

1,229

C Allan

372

P Culley

1,003

Therefore the following are duly elected to Council: Michael Sherman Claire Zambuni Paul Culley c. Wildlife Habitat Trust – Trustees for 2011/2012 The President introduced the nominations for the election of Trustees for the Wildlife Habitat Trust. Alan Jarrett had been proposed by D N Thorpe and seconded by R S Stead, and was happy for his name to go forward. The nomination was carried by show of hands and Alan Jarrett was duly elected. Anthony Holliday had been proposed by Graham Downing and seconded by Tom Gee, and was happy for his name to go forward. The nomination was carried by show of hands and Anthony Holliday was duly elected.

7. Appointment of Auditors for 2011/2012

The President proposed that Baker Tilly UK Audit LLP be re-appointed as Auditors for the year ending December 2011 as recommended by Council. Peter Glenser proposed the motion and Alan Balfour seconded.   By a show of hands all agreed. The motion was carried and Baker Tilly UK was duly re-appointed as Auditors to the Association.

8. Any Other Business by Leave of the Chair

There was no other business.
Present:        
  • Lord Home, President
  • Robert Irvine, Chairman
  • Members, supporters and guests of the Association
Minute Secretary:     
  • Amanda Forshaw
The Chief Executive called the meeting to order and invited the IPS Secretary to make some administrative announcements prior to the start of the meeting. The IPS Secretary informed members that the proceedings were being tape recorded for the purposes of assisting with the preparation of the Minutes.  Speakers were requested to provide their names when speaking from the floor, and luncheon, fire and emergency arrangements were detailed.  Supporters and guests were reminded that while they were most welcome to attend and speak they do not hold voting rights. The President, Lord Home, then opened the meeting. 1. Apologies for Absence. Apologies for absence were received from Paul Culley, Glynn Cook, Jonathan Davies, Stewart Ogden, Gareth Owen, Mr. C. Sutcliffe, John Thornley, Steve Willis, Simon Parrington, Richard Playle, Graham Suggett, Julien Pursglove, Stuart Waugh and Brian Paxton. The Chief Executive paid tribute to a number of prominent friends who had passed away during the last twelve months.  In particular, Colin Barwell, Egon Anheuser, Sylvia Myles, John Balfour, Lord Buxton, Peter Salisbury, Major John Rippingall, Andrew Meek, Brian McPhee, Sidney Seeney, Liam Nelson, Professor Heribert Kalchreuter Sheila Fenwick, John Brough, Bob Neal The Chief Executive requested a moment’s standing silence in memory of past members and absent friends. 2. President’s Address  “Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, Since we last met it has been a fascinating year,  Thinking back to last June, we all thought that the Conservative Party would win the majority when it came to the election, and that the world would be moving out of a recession, albeit fairly slowly.  We now fast forward to last month.  We found that May was perhaps the most fascinating of all that we have recently lived through.  Three events unfolded which will have a lasting, profound effect, I think, on all our lives.  BP’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the full exposure of the Euro to all its problems, and the formation of a coalition government.  And in the last week we have all witnessed with horror the tragedy in Cumbria, and for that, may I please ask you again to stand for a minute to remember the horrible events that we all had to witness. To comment on some of these, albeit briefly, talk of BP’s demise is, I think, wildly premature and although the cost of the clear up is huge and getting forever bigger, I firmly believe that BP will survive.  The problems for many people, indeed some in this room, is that BP may have to cut or forego a dividend and in a crisis both pension funds and individuals invested in what they thought was quality with a good dividend, but have only to find that a third of the value has been cut off with the possibility of no income at all.  Although we have to wait to see what David Cameron says to the President this afternoon – although I don’t think he’ll tell us exactly. When one adds to that the problems of the Euro you can very quickly become gloomier still.  The media and so called experts in the United States in particular are forecasting the complete demise of the Euro or at least that Greece should leave the Euro zone and that is certainly on the cards, although there is no mechanism for them so to do.  But again, we in the UK will actually be affected, although not directly, with over half of British exports going to the Euro zone, and if the Euro zone has no money, then that obviously will affect us.  The austerity packages already announced in Germany and elsewhere will certainly lead to a reduction in the export of British goods and therefore a lack of profitability of British companies. As your President is a part-time politician in the House of Lords, I think you would expect me to comment briefly on the political scene.  Views on the coalition vary enormously.  For those on the right wing of the Conservative Party it’s an out and out disaster.  For those on the left it’s the dawn of a wonderful new day and a new start in the political scene all over again.  Time will tell, but already accusations are being levelled at the Conservatives for not holding out longer against the Liberals when it became clear pretty quickly that the arithmetic of a Lib-Lab Pact wouldn’t work, and the accusations were that had they waited fewer concessions to the Liberals would have had to be made.  The formation of the coalition did, however, remove uncertainty and I think it is probably quite true that the remarks of the Governor of the Bank of England, saying that stability was needed in a hurry, did influence that decision.  Will the coalition survive?  I think it probably will.  At least, that is, until the Liberal Party have gained a commitment towards proportional representation.  I am cynical enough, I am afraid, to believe that politicians love the thought of power and it will take time for them to realise that most of them don’t have any power at all and that actual power is vested in a very small handful of people. But looking to the future, the Liberal Party, as currently constituted, is closer to New Labour than it is to the Conservatives, and with proportional representation the likelihood of a permanent Lib-Lab coalition is more likely than the current coalition.  One of the commitments which the Conservatives gave to the Liberals was the abolition of the House of Lords, and we have indeed been told by our leaders to vote for our own demise, so I now have a little sympathy for turkeys who have to vote for Christmas! But closer to our hearts, as I have just touched on, were the unspeakable and appalling events in Cumbria and our deepest sympathies must go to the families who are most affected and will have to live with this all their lives.  We have had similar tragedies before – in Hungerford and in Dunblane, very close to here.  I know Dunblane very well as it was in my father’s constituency and I’m sure that everybody there will remember all too clearly for all time, the horrors that hit with that school disaster.  After Dunblane the Government, and in particular Michael Howard, acted far too quickly, and their reaction was indeed “knee jerk”.  It’s inevitable that questions about all types of firearms will be asked and the media will try and stir it up again and your Executive in the BASC will be working very hard to try and ensure that we can avoid unnecessary legislation which politicians might have to apply without really thinking through what they are doing.  It is naturally very early days to find out what the Government’s attitude to field sports really is, but the early indications are, I think, fairly encouraging.  We are facing some very interesting issues and one is about the size of cages for rearing, the other is the issue of lead shot and I am sure that your Executives will be prepared to answer questions from the floor on that. We have also had a very busy year within the BASC.  Naturally there will be a learning curve as to how to influence the coalition in Westminster to achieve what we want for our members and we have already, as many of you here know, had some experience of dealing with coalitions here in Scotland.  In fact after the election we identified over 250 MP’s who were actively supporting shooting according to the current Codes of Practice.  I think that’s a good start because a lot of people are obviously still feeling their way. Also, in Scotland, we were able to resist mandatory testing for deer stalkers and the Scottish Government accepted BASC’s contention that their evidence was flawed.  We also had a record year for recruitment and I think that is a great credit to our marketers, because one thing that people do at times of recession is to cut back on memberships of Associations and Societies. We have also finished the new Duke of Edinburgh Communications Centre, although we still need some more money to equip the thing properly and so we will continue to solicit help from our membership and others so that we really do have a state of the art centre for that. Despite all my doom and gloom, I think we can face the future with cautious optimism, but we can expect a very unpleasant budget in ten days time and we have already been warned by David that it is going to affect us all.  Quite how badly, time will tell.  But I don’t think it will be quite as bad as the words on a church notice board which read “The subject of Sunday’s sermon is ‘what is hell’ – come early and hear the choir practice”. Thank you very much.” 3. Awards & Presentations The President called upon the Chief Executive to announce the presentation of awards:- The Stanley Duncan Conservation Trophy The trophy is awarded annually to the member or group of members who, in the opinion of Council, have contributed most during the preceding twelve months to the cause of conservation.  The trophy was awarded to:- Gerald Grey. Gerald Grey provided a short presentation on his work with the grey partridge and stone curlew. The Ian Richardson Trophy The trophy is awarded to the person who, in the view of the employees, has done most for the Association in recent years.  The trophy was awarded to:- Andrew Johnston of Quiller Publishing. The Tim Sedgwick Trophy The Tim Sedgwick Trophy was awarded to Dennis Hails. Special Presentations Special presentations were made to: Barrie Morton Tay Valley Wildfowlers Association Jack Stewart Allan Murray and Bob Temple Alan & Caroline Wykes Douglas Barr. Dave Cunnah David Mills People who will receive their awards at other events were: Wendy & Bob Pittaway in recognition of the invaluable help they have provided with BASC gundog events and game and country fairs over the past twenty years. Samantha Williams and Matt Carter to recognise their work on Facebook. Professor Norman and Mrs Iris Towe in recognition of the support they have given to BASC at Young Shots days, game fairs and many other training days. Jim Oliver to recognise more than thirty years as a BASC volunteer at shows and events Sheila and Trevor Gussey to recognise the help and support of Trevor as an active gundog volunteer for more than fifteen years, and Sheila, who retired from her South West secretarial job on a Friday and took up the position of National Gundog Coordinator on the following Monday. R.B. Alexander in recognition of more than twenty seven years services as treasurer of the Angelsey Wildfowling Club. 4. Chairman’s Report The President called upon the Chairman, Robert Irvine, to present his report. “Good Morning My Lord President, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentleman, The events that have recently taken place in West Cumbria have left us all shocked and saddened by the loss of so many innocent lives.  I am sure that you will join me in extending our sympathy to those who have suffered as a result.  This human tragedy has come unfortunately at the end of a turbulent year, which has seen our countryside affected by the natural forces of flood, fire and frost.  Snow, ice and volcanoes wreaked havoc in the countryside while recession, unprecedented debt and a change of government have tested the country.  Here in Scotland the snow and ice was the worst that has been seen for many years.  But the Scots, in their inimitable fashion, have dealt with it in a calm and sensible way that sets a good example for the rest of us.  Despite these natural and man-made disasters, I am pleased to say that BASC has emerged from another year in good heart. We are back in Scotland again for our AGM this year, and we have to extend our thanks for being hosted by Colin, the Director, at the back, his staff and the members of the Scottish Committee.  I think you will join me in saying that it is a superb venue, a very good location, and I, on your behalf, would like to extend our gratitude to them for hosting and all of the work that they have done in helping the staff at Marford Mill to set this up.  So thank you very much indeed. Throughout the natural and human turbulence of the past year BASC has progressed steadily.  It has been a year of consolidation.  We have finished construction and fit out of the new Communications Centre and thankfully have received formal approval for it to be named the Duke of Edinburgh building.  This is a tremendous achievement and equips us well to meet the challenges that face us now and into the future.  Our membership levels have held firm, as alluded to by the President.  I herald this because the country has been passing through one of the worst recessions in living memory.  It has been a difficult time and we have tried to accommodate members’ difficulties with initiatives such as the one for those on Job Seekers Allowance and the Young Shots category. The election has brought us an unfamiliar result and will test us as we try to build relationships with a government that is in turn only just getting to know itself how it will work in future.  It is too early to say how stable this coalition will be and indeed how supportive its attitude towards shooting will be in communicating our message in the year to come.  Devolution continues to present opportunities and challenges, with the frequent prospect of three or indeed four versions of legislation being developed to address similar issues within each of the four home countries.  Civil servants, politicians, stakeholders and pressure groups are all alert to precedents being set in one country or another and will try and use these to their advantage and have their own agendas, whether it is snaring in one country, or dog control in another.  The devolution process has placed significant demands on the Association and BASC is committed to ensuring proper resources are available and deployed in each country in order that those in the country can engage properly to defend our sport in those situations that have been set up. Beyond engagement and influencing a process, it is a vital function of effective communication.  We have numerous audiences to address to ensure our message gets through.  BASC’s own membership has many sectors whether identified by discipline, such as wildfowling, game shooting, stalking, or indeed by country.  We all have the political audience and all of the related organisations within our sector, such as Scottish National Heritage or the Gun Trade, or even RSPB, and we have the general public. Whilst each of the home countries takes the lead in delivery of BASC policy and its own operations, the Head office Departments provide a tremendous resource to support our work in the countries, and to ensure continuity and consistency of message.  Our Research, Shooting Standards, Conservation & Land Management, Firearms, Deer, Wildfowling, Game Shooting and Gamekeeping Teams all contribute massively to the reputation that our members in all countries of BASC enjoy and utilise to great effect in the protection and promotion of sporting shooting. A few moments ago I made reference to the cold temperatures we experienced this winter.  The hard weather situation, with voluntary restraint and statutory restrictions is a very good example of the integration of all parts of the Association working together in pursuit of a common objective of ensuring responsible shooting and making that message known to the general public.  The recent events in Cumbria should not undermine or make us doubt our commitment towards the pursuance of our sport in all its various forms.  Rest assured that your Association will do all in its power to protect and promote this ancient sport now and into the future. We reach this Annual General Meeting in a healthy position, with strong membership, significant infrastructure and resources and with good financial reserves.  We are well placed to meet future challenges but we are not complacent.  The situation in which we find ourselves is not accidental but reflects the individual and collective decisions of tens of thousands of members to invest in the biggest shooting association to represent them, to promote and protect our sport and to ensure the three essentials – something to shoot with, something to shoot at and somewhere to shoot.  These remain to so many people as possible and we will leave a good legacy for our children in the future as we have received from our forefathers. I would like to thank you on behalf of Council members for your support in the past and for your continued support into the future for the work that we do.  I look forward to meeting the new members after the election details are announced, in their task ahead of them for the next five years and I thank those Members that continue on in their role on Council and thank you again. Thank you very much indeed members.” There were no questions. 5. Adoption of the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ending 31st December, 2009. The President invited the Chairman, Robert Irvine, to present the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December, 2009. The Annual Report or the Audited Financial Statements and both reports were duly adopted. 6. Elections The President called upon the Chief Executive to introduce the results of the elections of Honorary Life Members. (a) Vice Presidents By a show of hands Andrew Macfarlane and Martin Salter were elected as Vice Presidents. (b)  Honorary Life Membership By a show of hands Honorary Life Membership was awarded to Graham Crompton-Howe. (c)  Members of Council The President invited Jill Jones, Scrutineer, to present the results on the elections to Council for 2010. Jill Jones reported as follows:
National Election

Totals

Ballot papers received

1,665

On-line voters

250

Total voters

1,915

Number of papers received after the deadline

0

Number of spoiled papers

21

Number of papers for checking and validating

1,894

Number of papers deemed void

15

Number of valid papers

1,879

The votes from these valid papers where cast as follows in order they appear on the ballot paper:
National election candidates

Number of votes

J Davies

598

A Troup

705

S Willis

605

N Griffiths

794

C Allan

626

J Pursglove

588

M Howat

904

L Freeston

1,229

H Abbot

665

D de Gernier

690

Therefore the following are duly elected:
L Freeston M Howat N Griffiths Alisdair Troup David de Gernier
The result of the Wales election to Council 2010 is as follows:
Wales Election

Totals

Ballot papers received

626

On-line voters

16

Total voters

624

Number of papers received after the deadline

0

Number of spoiled papers

13

Number of papers for checking and validating

629

Number of papers deemed void

6

Number deemed eligible as voters were not resident in Wales

441

Number of valid papers

182

The votes from these valid papers where cast as follows in order they appear on the ballot paper:
Wales election candidates

Number of votes

Sir R Jones

139

G Owen

43

Therefore R Jones was duly elected to Council. (a) Wildlife Habitat Trust – Trustees for 2010/2011 The President introduced the nominations for the election of Trustees for the Wildlife Habitat Trust. Alan Jarrett had been proposed and seconded and was happy for his name to go forward. The nomination was carried and Alan Jarrett was duly elected. Anthony Holliday had been proposed and seconded and was happy for his name to go forward. The nomination was carried and Anthony Holliday was duly elected. 7. Appointment of Auditors Appointment of Auditors for 2010/2011 The President proposed that Baker Tilly UK Audit LLP be re-appointed as auditors for the year ending December 2010. The motion was carried and Baker Tilly UK was duly re-appointed as auditors. 8. Motions for Debate The Chief Executive introduced a motion for debate proposed by Steven Latham: It is proposed that the Association’s Rules be amended to enable the membership who have access to the internet to be able to vote online on any issues normally dealt with by a show of hands in person at the AGM, in effect giving the wider membership the chance to vote when unable to be present in person. Noting that Richard Williams who had seconded the motion could not be present and drawing parallels with the position of other members, Steven Latham expressed surprise that such as large organisation could be controlled by the small number of people able to be present at the AGM; it was his hope that his motion would enable greater member participation. In responding, the Chief Executive pointed out that the motion itself would not constitute a rule change; it was an intentional motion that sought to get the rules changed to give effect to on-line voting. He expressed sympathy with the concept and while he recognised the general trend towards electronic voting in organisations like BASC, as presented the motion would disenfranchise those without internet access. Having regard to this as well as all the cost and administrative implications it was a matter that should be addressed with great care. Accordingly, he suggested that the motion be withdrawn since it dealt with only one of a number of governance changes to which BASC’s Council had been giving consideration in recent times. The Chairman also suggested that the motion be withdrawn; he emphasised the work being undertaken by Council behind the scenes to ensure that the association is structured and operating in the most appropriate manner. From the floor, noting the small number who vote in Council ballots, a more general need to engage the interest of members in the running of their association was highlighted. Noting that Council is currently considering a number of governance changes and that the matters covered by the motion will be taken into account as part of that process, the Proposer withdrew the motion. 9. Any Other Business by Leave of the Chairman (i) Whilst the Association was commended for its statement on lead shot, the importance of securing robust evidence regarding the effects of lead was stressed, and the Chief Executive was invited to comment on the issue. It was noted that the Association will oppose any unwarranted restrictions on lead ammunition and does not believe that the case has yet been made for changes in the law. Council has agreed that any restriction must be based on evidence pertinent to the United Kingdom which has been subject to peer review and that all stakeholder interests must be involved in that process. (ii) The Chairman of the Scottish Committee extended thanks to the President for his support over the past twelve months and for presiding over the 2010 AGM.