Saturday, June 18, 2011

Royal Club AGM

I attended the Royal Club AGM today at the Dewar's Centre in Perth. In the photo above is (L-R) Willie Nicoll (Royal Club Chairman), CEO Bruce Crawford and President Robbie Scott (whose tenure in that post finished today). It was Bruce's first AGM since taking up office in October last year.

I don't remember how many AGMs I've sat through over the years. There's been a few! I do remember my first, at Falkirk way back in 1963 when, as a member of the Bill Horton team with David Horton and Martin Bryden, I got the opportunity to meet Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who presented us with the TB Murray trophy. It was a big day for four schoolboys!

I doubt if any subsequent AGM has been as exciting for me. Some have been interesting and encouraging, but many have been uninspiring, depressing, interminably long, sometimes confrontational, or just plain uncomfortable!

Today's saw a new adjective having to be used to describe the AGM - record breaking. So slick and uncontroversial were the proceedings that it was all over in little more than 60 minutes. Of course these days members can vote online in advance of the meeting (if votes are required - and indeed there was little voting required today). Much of what needed to happen today was well planned beforehand. Of the 150 or so members (out of some 13,000) who turned up today, many had already voted online. Of those who did not attend, more than 600 had cast their vote in this way either directly or by proxy.

What was there to vote on? There were three 'Special Resolutions'. The first involved proposals by the Board of Directors to amend the Memorandum and Articles of Association. Housekeeping changes, and this was passed by a large majority.

The second was really to put the efforts of the committee which has been looking at the RCCC rulebook over this last year into effect. And that too was passed overwhelmingly.

The third resolution had been raised by Loch Leven CC and involved trying to legislate against players damaging the ice, slow play and sweeping issues in games when umpires are not present. Whereas the issues raised by Loch Leven CC concern many of us in our club play (whatever did happen to good etiquette?), legislation in the form proposed seemed to me to be unwarranted, and unenforceable, and this indeed was the view of the majority. So this resolution was not approved.

There was no need for voting in the election of Royal Club President. Pat Edington (on the left) is now our President, and Bill Duncan, the Vice-president.

Willie Nicoll was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for another three years. There was no nomination for the vacant director's post, Jeanette Johnston having served two terms. I gather the Board plans to co-opt an additional director in due course.

Of course an AGM is not just about elections. It is good to see the politics of our sport 'in action', and it is just great to meet up with old friends, and generally pick up on some of things that are ongoing in the off season. On each of our seats in the tent erected in the bowling hall was a donation form to encourage us to give generously towards the restoration of Charles Lees's painting of the Grand Match. Have you done so yet? The fund does need your donation, see here.

If I can just select a few other things that I found interesting, without trying to be comprehensive. After last year's lack of clarity on how the Royal Club was looking after the memorabilia in its care, I was pleased to learn that a group of five interested members, headed up by Robbie Scott, had visited the secure storage facility where these items are now held, and a start made to preparing a database of all that we have. I look forward to hearing in the future that this job has been completed.

The Four Nations competition was mentioned on a number of occasions, but looking forward it was made clear that participation is open now to all members of the Royal Club. So if you would like the chance to represent Scotland when the competition is held at Greenacres next season, hosted by the Welsh Curling Association, get your name in NOW. You can download an application form from this page.

It was also announced that one of the Club's plans for next season is to produce a monthly magazine, in electronic format, to fill the gap left by the Scottish Curler. More details when I learn more about this.

Robin Niven spoke on behalf of the Kinross Curling Trust about developments of the new facility which will incorporate the Royal Club's offices, and a small curling museum as well as six sheets of ice. £10,000 is the rental figure for the ground per annum. Ayr's Neil Beattie raised the issue of Kinross being the wrong place for such a facility, and tried to establish what support there was in the room for his views. Willie Nicoll made it clear that this was all old hat, and that there had been a bid process in which the Kinross location was the winner (now several years ago), and expressed the Royal Club's support of the project. But I am sure I'm not the only one who has been put off by the delays in making the National Curling Centre a reality, and I can only hope that something will happen (soon) to rekindle my enthusiasm for it.

Murrayfield Curling Rink, June 9, 2012, will be the next AGM, if I've noted the date correctly. I wonder what adjective will be used a year hence! Meanwhile a full season of curling lies ahead for us all to enjoy.

The new Royal Club Board. Back L-R: Bruce Crawford, Pat Edington, Trevor Dodds and Bob Kelly. Front: Anne Malcolm, Willie Nicoll and Kay Gibb.

A quick mention of Claire McLaren, the Ladies' Branch President, here with the Royal Club President, Pat Edington.

Last but not least, Eve Muirhead represented her team which won the World Junior Championship and collected the winners' banner from World Curling Federation President, Kate Caithness.

Photos © Skip Cottage