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New Convener for Scotland as Crawford goes


Robert Crawford - did not seek re-election to the post of convener
and is no longer on the Executive Council

AFTER MONTHS of wrangling within the Scottish Kennel Club’s Executive Council the club has announced it has a new convener in Mrs Anne Macdonald, a SKC council member since 1989.
Mr Robert Crawford, whose resignation from the ‘chair’ had been called for by the SKC members at a Special General Meeting in February, did not allow his name to go forward at the first meeting of the new SKC Executive Council last week.

The Executive Council met for the first time last week after the Annual General Meeting on March 25th. The SKC has seen two previous Special General Meetings, one in January and one in February both of which had been openly hostile to the Convener and Vice Convener for the way in which the club had been run by the Executive Council since the wholesale loss of the Secretary General, Assistant Secretary and three members of staff at the club’s head office between September and December last year.

In a press release dated 1st April 2004 the Scottish Kennel Club said, ‘Following the Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Kennel Club held on Thursday 25th March 2004 the Executive Council, in line with normal procedure, held the first meeting of the new Executive Council on Wednesday 31st March 2004.

‘Prior to the commencement of the meeting Mr Robert Crawford, the Convener for the past four years, took the opportunity to address the Council Members. During his brief address Mr Crawford stated: ‘I have decided that I will not allow my name to be put forward as Convener. However, that puts the onus firmly on your shoulders to elect someone who will have the best chance of uniting this Executive Council. There is no point electing someone from one faction or the other as that will not have the desired effect of unity nor be acceptable to the Kennel Club. At this stage, unity is paramount.’

‘The Council Meeting then convened with the first order of business being the election of a Convener for the following year. Mrs E. Anne Macdonald was elected to this position. Miss E.M.Christabel Holmes was elected as Vice convener.


Anne Macdonald, the new Convener of the Scottish Kennel Club

‘Further business from the meeting saw the co-option of Miss Sheila G. Stoddart onto the Council to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Mrs Cathy Ryan. The appointment of Mr Brian M. Marshall as Club Treasurer was confirmed and the appointment of Mr Willy Campbell as Show Manager was also confirmed.

‘We can only hope that these appointments will put an end to the unrest of the past few months and allow the Scottish Kennel Club to move forward.’


Mrs Eleanor Bothwell - beaten in a vote for Vice Convener

OUR DOGS understands that the former convener Mr Crawford resigned from the Executive Council at the end of the meeting whilst the former vice convener Mrs Eleanor Bothwell remains a member but was beaten in a vote for vice convener.

Mr Crawford is still a trustee of the Scottish Kennel Club.

The SKC has suffered a double blow last November when OUR DOGS exclusively revealed the resignation of its Secretary General Mr Allan Sim and his wife, Anna Fox who supervised the the running of the Edinburgh office on a day to day basis.

Mr Sim, a managing partner of johnston Smillie the Edinburgh based accountants, had been with the Scottish Kennel Club for 26 years and Anna Fox had had 23 years experience of canine matters north of the Border.


Mr Allan Sim whose firm Johnston-Smillie reported to the the SKC and its members up to the AGM on March 25th. He was Secretary General of the SKC for 26 years

Mr Sim’s resignation followed that of Anna Fox who was surprised and upset to receive an e-mail at the SKC office from a group of Executive Council members questioning the attitude and unhelpful approach of staff in the SKC office.

Mr Sim’s letter of resignation was sent following a meeting of the Executive in Edinburgh on Saturday November 8th.

Back in June 1977 Mr Sim was elected as his company’s representative and as secretary general and treasurer of the SKC, succeeding Mr WNKM (Bill) Crawford (no relation to Robert Crawford) who had been in the post since 1946. The club deemed it appropriate that a professional accountant looks after the club’s affairs many years ago and history records that the SKC has had only 13 secretaries in just over 122 years.

Mr Crawford, who became convener in April 2000 after the retirement of Dr Arthur Sneeden, is a former senior executive with the Royal Bank of Scotland and had been keen to stamp his ‘style’ on all matters related to the SKC.

Speaking of the future in 2002 Mr Crawford commented:- ‘Clearly, there is a need to promote canine activities in order to retain our existing customers and attract new ones.

The Kennel Club has taken some much needed steps towards this and no doubt more initiatives will be forthcoming.

‘My own view is that a more fundamental review of the show scene is necessary to ensure its survival and its development. Nowadays, there are a multitude of activities competing for our attention. Activities that are simple to take part in and just as enjoyable as showing dogs. So, our competition is not amongst our own clubs and societies but is with those other activities.

‘I believe that we need to move from being a rule-bound, regulation-driven activity where people can be fined for inadvertently falling foul of an administrative requirement to being truly customer-focused.

‘So, whilst ensuring that we adhere to and apply current Rules and Policies, Scottish Kennel Club will also lobby to achieve change, where it is appropriate. There should be debate on such issues as benching at shows, fines for late licence applications, fines for administrative errors etc. We should be concentrating on how to make dog shows a fun place to be and come back to.’

It is thought that some of these comments were viewed seriously in Clarges Street and that these lead to an uncomfortable meeting with The Kennel Club chairman Mr Ronnie Irving and Chief Executive Mrs rosemary Smart in April 2003.

The surprise resignations came only a short time after the opening of the new SKC offices in Eskmills Park, Musselburgh east of Edinburgh after they sought temporary accommodation there. Over Christmas and the New Year holiday in 1999 the city centre based office in Brunswick Road, a former bank building, suffered serious and extensive flooding after the flat above had a pipe burst. The office was purchased by the club in 1988 and had been its administrative base for 12 years.

In March 2002 members were asked to vote on an amendment to the club’s constitution which allowed the executive to spend over £237,000 on the Eskmills Park premises.

The loss of the secretary General and also several members of the office staff in Edinburgh came at time when the club was hoping to move forward into this century and maintain its relative independence from Clarges Street.

It also robbed the SKC of a hard working member of its show team who was responsible for liaising with the Royal Highland Showground authorities and then being involved in the show planning from year to year.

Mr Sim also advised the Executive Council on financial matters and was involved in the implementation of complex Health and Safety Regulations which shows now have to acknowledge as part of their duty of care to exhibitors and third party insurance liabilities.

Mr Sim continued to represent his firm and honour its responsibilities to the SKC right up to the last AGM at which he spoke to the 2003 accounts.

A member of the Kennel Club since 1979 Mr Sim is Vice Chairman of the KC Show Executive, representing the KCLC Shows Council and six months ago was re-elected to the Council for a further three year term.

Increasingly alarmed about what they read in OUR DOGS SKC members eventually called for a Special General Meeting on January 9th. Held in Glasgow 300 members experienced a bawdy and at times acrimonious meeting which saw a dispute about an independent chairman, the public resignation of a senior vice president Mr Roy Ellison and use of a very expensive minute-taker at a time when the SKC effectively had no experienced full time staff. In terms of costs the meeting left the SKC £3690 poorer.

As the meeting closed the executive was presented with a call for a second SGM which called for the resignation of the Convener and Vice Convener because of the mismanagement of club’s affairs. This was held on February 17th. at Stirling and attracted 280 members as well as Mrs Caroline Kisko, Secretary of the Kennel Club as an observer for the second time in two months.

A protracted meeting saw the ‘no confidence’ vote carried by 128 to 86 but the convener who chaired the evening and the vice convener remained, closing the meeting without comment. This meeting cost the SKC £1104. Even at the AGM reported at length in last week’s issue there was still no change and as the Executive Council met last week there was talk of yet another SGM called for the removal of the whole council.

Members of the new council now face the SKC show in five weeks time, an industrial tribunal alleging constructive dismissal from a former employee and chance to rally behind the new order.

OUR DOGS understands that the former convener Mr Crawford resigned from the Executive Council at the end of the meeting whilst the former vice convener Mrs Eleanor Bothwell remains a member but was beaten in a vote for vice convener.

Mr Crawford is still a trustee of the Scottish Kennel Club.

The SKC has suffered a double blow last November when OUR DOGS exclusively revealed the resignation of its Secretary General Mr Allan Sim and his wife, Anna Fox who supervised the the running of the Edinburgh office on a day to day basis.

Mr Sim, a managing partner of johnston Smillie the Edinburgh based accountants, had been with the Scottish Kennel Club for 26 years and Anna Fox had had 23 years experience of canine matters north of the Border.

Mr Sim’s resignation followed that of Anna Fox who was surprised and upset to receive an e-mail at the SKC office from a group of Executive Council members questioning the attitude and unhelpful approach of staff in the SKC office.

Mr Sim’s letter of resignation was sent following a meeting of the Executive in Edinburgh on Saturday November 8th.

Back in June 1977 Mr Sim was elected as his company’s representative and as secretary general and treasurer of the SKC, succeeding Mr WNKM (Bill) Crawford (no relation to Robert Crawford) who had been in the post since 1946. The club deemed it appropriate that a professional accountant looks after the club’s affairs many years ago and history records that the SKC has had only 13 secretaries in just over 122 years.

Mr Crawford, who became convener in April 2000 after the retirement of Dr Arthur Sneeden, is a former senior executive with the Royal Bank of Scotland and had been keen to stamp his ‘style’ on all matters related to the SKC.

Speaking of the future in 2002 Mr Crawford commented:- ‘Clearly, there is a need to promote canine activities in order to retain our existing customers and attract new ones.

The Kennel Club has taken some much needed steps towards this and no doubt more initiatives will be forthcoming.

‘My own view is that a more fundamental review of the show scene is necessary to ensure its survival and its development. Nowadays, there are a multitude of activities competing for our attention. Activities that are simple to take part in and just as enjoyable as showing dogs. So, our competition is not amongst our own clubs and societies but is with those other activities.
‘I believe that we need to move from being a rule-bound, regulation-driven activity where people can be fined for inadvertently falling foul of an administrative requirement to being truly customer-focused.

‘So, whilst ensuring that we adhere to and apply current Rules and Policies, Scottish Kennel Club will also lobby to achieve change, where it is appropriate. There should be debate on such issues as benching at shows, fines for late licence applications, fines for administrative errors etc. We should be concentrating on how to make dog shows a fun place to be and come back to.’

It is thought that some of these comments were viewed seriously in Clarges Street and that these lead to an uncomfortable meeting with The Kennel Club chairman Mr Ronnie Irving and Chief Executive Mrs rosemary Smart in April 2003.

The surprise resignations came only a short time after the opening of the new SKC offices in Eskmills Park, Musselburgh east of Edinburgh after they sought temporary accommodation there. Over Christmas and the New Year holiday in 1999 the city centre based office in Brunswick Road, a former bank building, suffered serious and extensive flooding after the flat above had a pipe burst. The office was purchased by the club in 1988 and had been its administrative base for 12 years.

In March 2002 members were asked to vote on an amendment to the club’s constitution which allowed the executive to spend over £237,000 on the Eskmills Park premises.

The loss of the secretary General and also several members of the office staff in Edinburgh came at time when the club was hoping to move forward into this century and maintain its relative independence from Clarges Street.

It also robbed the SKC of a hard working member of its show team who was responsible for liaising with the Royal Highland Showground authorities and then being involved in the show planning from year to year.

Mr Sim also advised the Executive Council on financial matters and was involved in the implementation of complex Health and Safety Regulations which shows now have to acknowledge as part of their duty of care to exhibitors and third party insurance liabilities.

Mr Sim continued to represent his firm and honour its responsibilities to the SKC right up to the last AGM at which he spoke to the 2003 accounts.

A member of the Kennel Club since 1979 Mr Sim is Vice Chairman of the KC Show Executive, representing the KCLC Shows Council and six months ago was re-elected to the Council for a further three year term.

Increasingly alarmed about what they read in OUR DOGS SKC members eventually called for a Special General Meeting on January 9th. Held in Glasgow 300 members experienced a bawdy and at times acrimonious meeting which saw a dispute about an independent chairman, the public resignation of a senior vice president Mr Roy Ellison and use of a very expensive minute-taker at a time when the SKC effectively had no experienced full time staff. In terms of costs the meeting left the SKC £3690 poorer.

As the meeting closed the executive was presented with a call for a second SGM which called for the resignation of the Convener and Vice Convener because of the mismanagement of club’s affairs. This was held on February 17th. at Stirling and attracted 280 members as well as Mrs Caroline Kisko, Secretary of the Kennel Club as an observer for the second time in two months.

A protracted meeting saw the ‘no confidence’ vote carried by 128 to 86 but the convener who chaired the evening and the vice convener remained, closing the meeting without comment. This meeting cost the SKC £1104. Even at the AGM reported at length in last week’s issue there was still no change and as the Executive Council met last week there was talk of yet another SGM called for the removal of the whole council.

Members of the new council now face the SKC show in five weeks time, an industrial tribunal alleging constructive dismissal from a former employee and chance to rally behind the new order.