His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, has praised BASC for its work to promote shooting and conservation over the last hundred years. He was speaking at the BASC Centenary Reception, held at Coutts and Co in London.
In his opening address BASC President, The Earl of Home spoke of the century of commitment that the Association had made to maintain shooting sports, but he also highlighted the importance conservation played both to the sport and to the countryside.
“We have the word conservation in our title and we therefore must do everything we can to ensure the survival of the right habitat so that all types of wildlife can continue to survive, and that doesn’t matter whether they’re game birds, fish, flora, fauna amphibians or insects”
BASC’s patron for the last 41 years has been Prince Phillip, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. He began his speech by thanking Coutts for allowing BASC to use their London HQ for the reception. He then went on to say that he’d been “enormously impressed” by what had been achieved first by WAGBI, and then by BASC over the last century: “It’s not as if it’s just been one problem that can be tackled and solved just like that, but problems change every year. As the whole of the farming has changed, so the challenges to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation have also changed, and it means they have got to readjust all the time to new challenges and situations.”
HRH Prince Phillip ended his speech by paying tribute to BASC: “There is no question in my mind that this organisation has done a huge amount for the conservation of nature and for keeping up the morale of people who like shooting and who like taking part in country sports, so all I can do is congratulate them again on having done so much wonderful work over the last hundred years and hope they’ll do even better in the future”.
BASC Chief Executive John Swift thanked his Royal Highness for both his support and advice over the years: “I know that all our members appreciate the support that you give, they do value it, and they are hugely proud of the fact that you are our patron. Speaking on behalf of the council of BASC and the staff, this centenary has been a magnificent occasion to reinforce our commitment collectively to shooting and conservation.”
John Swift described the Patrons Reception at Coutts as a milestone event in the history of the Association and went on to pay tribute to members and all those who had made the Association the success that it is. He singled out Stanley Duncan who founded the Association in 1908 and the Associations first Chief Executive John Anderton: “It may seem a paradox to talk about shooting in the same breath as conservation, even more so perhaps to create a communications centre in this time of economic uncertainty. But now is precisely the time when we can and must seize the opportunity to provide our sport with the communications tools, to do the job which I hope everyone will support.”
The new communications centre is the focus of the centenary appeal, and the strength of donations from members and supporters means construction will get underway in 2009.