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
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 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, 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, who died last December, was a member of the Southport and District Wildfowlers’ Association and a BASC member for over 30 years.3.
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- President, The Union of Country Sports Workers
- President, The Gamekeepers Welfare Trust
- President, The Tay Valley Wildfowlers’ Association
- Vice President, The Heather Trust
- Patron, The Sporting Lucas Terrier Association
- Patron, The Wildlife Ark Trust
- Centenary Patron, British Association for Shooting and Conservation
- Patron, The National Association of Beaters and Pickers Up
- Board member, The European Squirrel Federation.
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.