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Members vote to abolish bi-annual meetings but membership nomination plan fails

THE AGM of Kennel Club members held last week at the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair saw the painless abolition of the regular bi-annual meetings of the Kennel Club each November but a proposed change in the procedure to nominate people to membership fell at the last hurdle failing to get the required two-thirds majority for a constitutional rule change.

The meeting, which was attended by 229 of the club's 1136 members, commenced on time with few stragglers late on parade.

The minutes of the what was to become the last ever bi-annual general meeting were quickly approved without any matters arising.

Patricia SuttonChairman Mr Ronnie Irving spoke briefly about the new show centre at Stoneleigh and brought members up to date with building work progress also explaining that the centre should be finished by August with the probability of open days around City of Birmingham show time.

All existing vice presidents were re-elected and all seven retiring general committee members were re-elected for three years in the shape of Mrs A Bliss, Mr S Croxford, Prof S Dean, Mrs E Macdonald, Mrs M Purnell-Carpenter, Mr E Smethurst and Mr Keith Young. Newly elected to the committee were Miss Patricia Sutton (3yrs) the daughter of the late Group Captain 'Beefy' Sutton & Mrs Catherine Sutton and Richmond secretary Dr Ron James (2yrs). Miss Sutton was recently co-opted the KC Judges Training Board.

In his report to the members chairman Mr Ronnie Irving said the activities of the club had been successful and that it remained on a sound financial footing as the balance sheet reproduced here shows.

Dr Ron JamesSpeaking to the issue of membership number Mr Irving said that the club had a total of 1136 members with this figure including 58 honorary and honorary life members. Earlier in the meeting we had heard that sadly 12 members had passed away since the last meeting in November, one of whom was Lt Cmdr John Williams a former secretary of the Kennel Club from 1971 to 1979.

Speaking for the first time at an AGM as chairman of Crufts Committee Mr Eric Smethurst paid tribute to the past chairman Mr Terry Thorn for his hard work and to his committee and the Kennel Club staff who had worked hard to make the show a great success.

In many ways, he said, the show was a victim of its own success and the committee had to acknowledge that the layout of the show and the position of certain arenas and trade stands had had an impact on crowd safety. The committee was taking stock of this and suggestions from the NEC and Arena staff to help overcome this at future shows said Mr Smethurst.

The issue of a bi-annual general meeting had troubled the general committee for some time. With the increasing absence of formal business recent years some meetings had lasted barely 30 minutes. With this and the cost of staging such events in Mayfair and catering costs at the clubhouse it was felt, said Mr Mike Townsend proposing the change to the constitution, that one meeting a year was sufficient and that the mechanism was still there for a Special General Meeting if it was required. The proposed change was carried by the necessary majority.
Addressing the meeting in his new role as chairman of the Disciplinary Sub Committee Mr Bill King proposed a tidying up of the current A25 rule which enables the general committee to make enquiries into alleged breaches of regulations and to impose fines. Similarly Mr Stan Ford proposed a name change to the Working Trials, Obedience and Agility Sub Committee to 'Activities Sub Committee'. Both were passed with out discussion.

Leaving the best to the last vice chairman Mr Bill Hardaway was left to propose changes to the way in which members were elected to the Kennel Club. In a three part proposal it was accepted that Liaison Council Associates with over five years of continuous service should follow Kennel Club Associates in their route to membership without a proposer and seconder. Secondly the maximum number of overseas member was raised to 100 from 50.

It was the third and final part of item 14 that brought several member to their hind legs. Currently a member can only propose two candidates per year. The change suggested that this remained in place but that in addition they could 'second' two candidates as well. Some members were concerned that it might encourage loading or cliques who could then influence voting, others felt that some of the unwritten rules were being ignored and that the existing framework was sufficient.

Asking members to vote on the matter after several comments from the floor the chairman could not be sure that the show of hands was sufficient to enforce a rule change so a paper vote was called for from the chair. After several minutes the tellers came back in to the theatre and part three of the proposal was lost.

There being no notice of further general business the meeting was closed at 12.33pm.