BASC AGM Minutes


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.


Previous AGM minutes

Saturday 15 June 2019

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

Lord Dear – President

Peter Glenser – Chairman

Eoghan Cameron – Vice Chairman

Ian Bell – Chief Executive

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

Ian Bell called the meeting to order.

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Louise and Sandra for organising the AGM

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

The Chairman – an absolute pleasure working alongside you

John Thornley – thank you for your clear direction

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


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

The awards were presented in turn. Photographs were taken.

Association Trophies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAVE GOFFIN – BASC Deer Assessor and BASC Trainer

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

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

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

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

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

He is a huge asset to BASC.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would like to finish off with some special thanks:

Bill Harriman for all his support

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

Angela Davies for all her support

Steve Bloomfield for all his support

Louise Murray for all her support and keeping me in check

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

All my fellow Council members

Eoghan Cameron Vice Chair and Oliver McCullough E&F Chair

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

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


The Chairman opened the floor for questions.

Richard Playle – asked the following four questions:

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

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

Would BASC be looking to purchase land?

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

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

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


The Chairman highlighted key features.

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

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

No questions were raised.

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

Proposer was Claire Sadler. Seconder was Martyn Jones.

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

The President declared the outcome.


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

Nominations for Honorary Life Membership this year.

Honorary Life Membership:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Glenser and John Thornley – Vice Presidents

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Chairman asked for a show of hands.

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


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

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


No other business.

The Chairman thanked everyone for the last 10 years.

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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:

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.


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.


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.


Council recommended the reappointment of RSM UK.

The Chairman asked for a show of hands; RSM UK were duly reappointed.


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.

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