Good news over 'dog centre' lifts the members' mood
The buildings at the NAC which will form the basis of the new 33,000 sq.ft. show centre
The centre which will be a timeshare project for the the NAC and the Kennel Club would grant both parties a totally remodelled building with new indoor facilities, meeting room, kitchen and outdoor rings. Car parking adjacent to the centre would also be part of the deal.Kennel Club chairman Mr Ronnie Irving explained that the club had benefitted in April this year from the sale of the insurance company Pet Partners which had been acquired by the Swedish based group Agria.
From this the club had had a windfall of £1.23m and that the club had wanted to put this good use.
The whole concept of the educational trust as charity was to protect the capital from tax liabilities and for the trust to manage the funds in principle with the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) which owns the site. The KC would have first call on the weekends at the new centre 30 times per year and it would also be free mid week for shows and other educational purposes.
It was stressed that the KC was not going to get into the management of such a building and that this would left with the RASE.
Talking to the proposal the members expressed very positive views about the whole concept with only one who was concerned that show exhibitors would not enjoy going back to the same venue week by week.
The KC would not force clubs and societies to use the place and they would still have a free rein to go wherever they pleased. All the KC was concerned about was the simple fact that dog friendly venues were hard to find and here was a golden opportunity for the KC to work with a like minded operation to encourage the use of upgraded facilities which would lie idle for the majority of the year. Standard commercial rents would apply to the venue to ensure that the project was self-funding to satisfy the demands of the Charity Commission.
Members from the celtic fringes wanted to know if there was similar plans for Wales and Scotland. Whilst this wasn't on the table at the moment it had not been dismissed as it was felt that a 'wait and see' approach to its overall success was essential.
Exactly 253 members attended this year's meeting - the first in the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair and the second time it had been used by the KC for a general meeting. The six existing vice presidents in the shape of HSH Princess Antoinette of Monaco, the Duke of Wellington, the Earl of Buchan, Mr J P C James and Mr L Pagliero were returned.
Speaking to item 5 on the agenda the chairman said it gave him pleasure to front the general committee wish that Brigadier R John Clifford be elected a Honorary Life Member of the KC. As well as being a member for 40 years he had been key committee man serving on the general and disciplinary committees. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour.
This year saw nine vacancies for members of the general committee with seven existing members restanding. Back in the hot seats in the boardroom will be Mrs Ann Arch, Mr Ellis Hulme, Mr Gerald King, Dr Mason Minns, Mr Alan Rountree, Mrs Gill Simpson and Mr Terry Thorn. New to the committee this year are Mr Maurice Cooke and Mr Jeff Horswell.Speaking of the club's activities over the last six months the chairman gave an encouraging view of the registration and transfer acitivities for the year so far. At the same time he signalled caution as he predicted a slow down in the growth of last few years.
He also spoke of the rapid development of the online registration service and indicated that some 15% of all registrations are now submitted this way. He also made special mention of the Accredited Breeders Scheme pointing out that some form of self regulation was far better than anything that may be imposed on us by the EC via DEFRA as the regulations that govern the care of companion animals come into focus of groups which may seek to regulate breeders in the future. Paying tribute to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust he pointed out the KC was able to donate £300,000 to the trust in 2006 and that in turn through it good housekeeping it had been able to disburse £450,000 in grants to projects which would benefit dogs.
As is the custom at general meetings the members learned that the membership now stands at 1026 paying plus 56 honorary and honorary life members.
Although the Crufts committee chairman Mr Terry Thorn was at the meeting, vice chairman Mr Eric Smethurst gave members a detailed view of the successful 2007 show which had broken many records.Minor tweaking of the KC A42 rule following with a comprehensive explanation from Mrs Irene Terry as to the subtleties of it all. This was followed by a similar detailed oration from the dyas from Mr Norman Ziman who this year did not seek re-election to the general committee because of business commitments. He thanked everyone for their kind words and said how much he had enjoyed serving the members.
His job on the day though was to talk members through the reasons behind the changes to KC rule A6a which concerned the ability of trustees and members of the general committee members to deal with amounts in excess of £100,000 on behalf of the members.
Excitement does come easy to any Kennel Club AGMs but the 72 minute meeting was closed by the chairman to a spontaneous round of applause. Has the world of dogs finally found a home of its own?