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Monday, 01 July 2002 15:00

2002 AGM Minutes

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These are the minutes from the 2002 AGM.

Attendance

Beryl and Eddie Goodall, Linda Kent, Duncan Rowlands, Colin Walls, Mavis Thornton

Apologies

Peter Lloyd, Bob Merry, Les Jones, April Rowlands, Graham Kemp

Matters Arising

  • No photocopier was purchased, we have managed without it
  • There is still a split between the IOMFA

After these points were raised the minutes were signed as a true and correct account of the meeting of 7th April 2001

Correspondence

Bob Merry wrote to the committee to inform them that he had passed his final diploma and is now a BAF Professor. Colin is to write and congratulate Bob on his success and to request that Bob provides photos etc. for the web pages.

Bob also asked if if could dispose of the printer which belonged to the region, as the toner cartridges were getting difficult to obtain and were very expensive. As this printer has no monetary value it was decided to offer it for a nominal fee to anyone who could use it. If there were no offers it was to be scrapped

Chairman's Report

Introduction

This is my first chairman's report after taking over from Peter Lloyd last year.

A report, by its nature, is a record of what has been done in the past. I will be telling you what has happened in the last year, but I also want to look forward to what I would like to see happening in the future.

The Last Year

Reports from the EFU and Regions Committees

Because of recent international succeses the BOA and Sport England are looking a little more kindly on us. The Board has managed to obtain additional funding from a number of sources for both performance and development.

The number of regional development officers is being held at the current level. This is because there was insufficient funding for all of the RDOs that were projected, and because the board wants to look more closely to see how they are working. There is some confusion as to the role of the development officer, they are meant to facilite access to local sports development and sources of funding. They may or may not be coaches, but actually coaching in schools is not part of the RDO role.

The venue for the Winton cup, while good, is becoming more expensive. The entry fee was put up for this year, to make the event self-sufficient.

Child protection is a major issue. If you are involved, as a coach or simply a regular helper and have not done the self-certification then you should do so.

Don't forget the clothing regulation change for 1st January, 2006. Now is the time to start looking at upgrading your equipment.

Fencing Honours and Achievements 2002

The major entry here is the selection of Jon Willis for the World Championships and his 32nd place, and Jayne Crook for her last 64 position in the Junior Worlds. Jayne has also fenced in a junior A grade in Portugal, coming 5th.

Steve Glaister won the Regional Individual foil, the youngest person ever to do so.

Stuart Marshall and Emma Birtles were chosen to fencing at Kenten.

Rowena Kemp was chosen to fence at Bonn and Niehmen.

Husayn Rosowsky, who with his brothers has a foot in both red and white rose counties, is the national U10 boys foil champion

Results

Mens Foil
Nick Dootson, 3rd at Tyneside, 2nd in the Ashton U20
Paul Rigby, 3rd at Shropshire, 5th at Ashton
Chris Kent, 6th at Ashton, 5th at the Public Schools Championships
Steve Glaister, 8th in the U16 boys at the BYC, 1st in the Ashton U20
Ahmed Rosowsky, 3rd in the U14 boys at the BYC
Husayn Rosowsky, 2nd in the U12 boys at the BYC
Phillip Chatterton, 3rd at the Ashton U20
Womens Foil
Charlotte Ramjing, 3rd at Shropshire and Ashton (senior and U20), 1st at Tyneside, 3rd at Merseyside, 1st at Nottingham, 8th at Birmingham, 3rd at Norfolk
Julia Day, 2nd at the Ashton U20, 3rd at Tyneside, 1st at Merseyside, 6th at Leicester
Eve Shepherd, 8th at Leicester
Corrina Slawinski, 8th at Merseyside, 5th at the Ashton U20
Sarah Crook, 3rd in the U16 girls at the BYC
Hannah Burn, 8th in the U14 girls at the BYC
Lara Kerrison, 6th in the U12 girls at the BYC
Rebecca Bartley, 8th in the U12 girls at the BYC
Zoe Hibberd, 3rd (junior) at the Public Schools Championships
Mens Epée
Jon Willis, 1st at Merseyside, 6th at Birmingham, 2nd at Slough, 1st at Shropshire, 1st at Hereford and Worcester, 1st at Ashton, 1st in the Northern Ireland Open
Rob Hewett, 3rd at Nottingham and Ashton
James Thornton, 8th at the U16 boys at the BYC
Hugo Smith, 2nd at Tyneside
Jeff Wood, 8th at Ashton
Ben Thornton, 8th (senior) at the Public Schools Championships
Andrew Hibberd, 3rd (junior) at the Public Schools Championships
Womens Epée
Jayne Crook, 1st in the U18 girls at the BYC, 1st at Aldershot, 2nd at Shropshire and Ashton, 1st at Merseyside
Louise Highton, 1st in the U14 girls at the BYC
Elaine Bennett (née Gill), 1st at Shropshire and Ashton.
Hannah Burn, 3rd in the U14 girls epée at the BYC
Mens Sabre
Mike Swiffin, 5th at Merseyside, 2nd at Nottingham, 6th at Tyneside, 2nd at Ashton
Simon Donald, 7th at Merseyside
Duncan Rowlands, 5th at Ashton
Womens Sabre
Linda Kent, 3rd at Wrexham, 2nd at Ashton, 3rd at Tyneside, 3rd at Merseyside
Yvonne Walls, 1st at Ashton, 5th at Merseyside, 2nd at Nottingham
Emma Birtles, 3rd at Ashton, 3rd at Nottingham
Katie Thornton, 5th at Wrexham
Giselle Cullinane, 2nd at Gent, 3rd at Norfolk, 6th at Amsterdam
Adrienne Tomor, 8th at Essex, 2nd at Merseyside, 3rd at Nottingham
Caroline Keef, 2nd at Ashton, 7th at Tyneside, 3rd at Merseyside

Looking at the results it is obvious we have a number of talented fencers in the region. However, we do lack depth. This was particularly obvious at the Winton Cup, where in some weapons we the number of people we could select from was severely limited.

We should be able to make this up as the youngsters come through, looking at the above results we have a good base. However, we need to ensure that we keep them as they move from cadets and juniors into the seniors.

The Vision for the Future

I am not normally one for "management speak". However, I feel it is important that we consider where we are going in the future, and how the region can help in attaining our goals. I think our "vision statement" is:

More fencing, more places, more quality.

Are we set up to implement the vision statement? I think, at the moment, the answer is probably no.

Constitution

The current constitution is aimed at providing fencing within the region, and as a secondary objective promoting and developing fencing. I believe this is the wrong way around.

As a region we add value by providing "no fear" junior competitions. However, there are sufficient national level competitions for both junior and senior fencers, many would say the calendar is actually too full.

We would be better off therefore by focusing our attention on what we can do to promote and develop fencing. We are making amendments to the constitution. The draft is available here, once any comments have been collated then it will be put to an EGM for approval.

Committee

If we want to develop our sport then there is a lot to do. The regional committee is too small to carry out all the tasks that are needed.

Rather than try to increase the size of the committee and make it unworkable what we have decided to do is to create sub-committees, each focused on individual objectives. This has a number of advantages:

  • The sub-committees are focused on a particular function. They have a constant view of whether they are achieving their aims
  • It brings in new faces to the regional scene. How many new faces do you see on the committee? How many times have you heard that the committee is a coterie responsible only to itself or to particular clubs in the region? Hopefully by involving new people we can avoid this canard.

We have two sub-committees in place so far.

Coach Development Sub-committee

This is led by Ian Manley, they have a development plan in place and have a set of targets for the number of additional BFA qualified coaches at each level they see us being able to create over the next four years.

To achieve these targets they will be commissioning coaching courses. Two have already been run, these have produced 14 Club Leaders. In addition, we have two new county coaches in myself and Martin Roberts.

The commissioning of courses by the sub-committee is not meant to be the only way of producing new and more qualifed coaches within the the region. I know that other BFA coaching sessions have been run which have not been commissioned directly. This is not a problem, I would merely ask that Ian Manley is kept informed of these, so that he can keep his records up to date. After all, any new coaches in the area helps him to achieve his targets!

Neither do I want to neglect our colleagues in the Academy. I would particularly like to congratulate Bob Merry on getting his Diploma and becoming a full professor.

Referee Development Sub-committee

Mark Thompson is in charge of this. So far it has run a couple of seminars. We haven't yet got a plan for the number and qualifications of new referees in the region, but I am hoping this can be put in place in the coming year.

With the reorganisation of the gradings for referees and new syllabuses there is an opportunity for us to produce new referees at all weapons. The major barrier to this is the number of examiners we have. Again this is something that the sub-committee needs to look to in the next year.

Torch Trust Grant

One of the things that Linda Kent has done recently is to obtain a grant from the Torch Trust that will allow us to train 16-21 year olds as club leaders and referees. The amount is small and will be used on a "first come, first served basis". We will be looking to see how this can be spent fairly shortly.

Future Diversification

You will note that the two areas I haven't talked about are youth and general fencer development.

I am conscious that we actually do much better than many other regions in providing schools level competitions. These keep the interest of young fencers and help them continue in the sport.

Could we do more? Yes, we could. We will be looking at what we can provide at this level. The probability is that we will be setting up another sub-group to look after their interests

General fencer development is a trickier topic. To be blunt about it, it is very difficult to get fencers to training sessions. Whether this is because of apathy, a full calendar, or the distances people have to travel in a long, thin region I am unsure. What I suspect we may do is to work with Yorkshire, who have a reasonable training program in place at Sheffield, but have equal difficulties in getting people along. We could offer reciprocal training facilities at a site on our side of the border.

Regional Development Officer

One of the things that should help us in pursuing our aims is the presence of a BFA funded regional development officer. Natalie Kiss was appointed to the post last October and has helped a number of clubs to apply for "Awards for All" grants.

She has since been busy looking at establishing school clubs around the Bury area and for determining a good location for the establishment of a fencing centre in the North-West.

I would hope that in the future she can work with both the regional committee and its sub-committees to further our aims and to liaise with local governmental and other organisations.

The British Fencing Centre North-West

As I said, we now have a British Fencing Centre in the North-West. This has been established at Broad Oak School in Bury. So far it is being used for elite training sessions on Tuesday evenings, for coaching courses, and for the regional championships

There have been problems with the management of the centre, but hopefully with the help of Penny Spink these have now been resolved. We should be able to move ahead with a separate management committee for the centre and establish a programme for its activities.

Regionalisation

All that we have been doing is consonant with what is happening in sport generally. While Kate Hoey was minister there was a move to centralise everything, with governing bodies receiving funding. Now that Richard Caborne is in place regionalisation is the keyword. Sports England will be dismantled later this year and funding will increasingly come from regional sources.

This could give us access to additional funding, providing we play by the rules. The region will work with sports development officers at a regional level. The emphasis here has got to be good communication and strong partnerships.

At this level we need to show that we are working together. Sport England is very good at picking up evidence of stresses and infighting within a sport. This obviously is reflected in their willingness to work with a sport.

At the club level you need to engage with your own local sports development officers. To quote a sports development officer who came on the coaching course I ran "If you offer free or low cost taster sessions we will bite your hand off!". They will take your whole arm if you target particular groups, such as ethnic minorities, women or deprived neighbourhoods. I know that some clubs are fairly small, use this kind of session to increase your membership and hence your viability. We do this at Tameside and have generated enormous interests.

One of the other things you need to do is to publicise your results. This is one of the other criteria that Sport England use in looking at grant applications. If you don't have a publicity officer on your committee, then consider appointing one. If you have a significant result (like Jon Willis coming 32nd at the Worlds) then let the regional know, we might be able to apply more pressure to the bigger publications.

In Conclusion

I hope that we are doing the right things at the regional level:

  • We are producing more coaches. This in turn means that we can train more people. We are starting to increase the level of coaching, which should mean that the quality of fencing in the region goes up.
  • We are actively looking at what we can do for youth development. We want to get more youngsters involved, and keep them involved.
  • We are looking at what can be done for fencer development, at all three weapons. The aim here is again, to increase the quality of fencing within the region.

Hopefully if we have got things right then in future years we will be able to get ourselves back in the 1st Division of the Winton and stay there!

Finally, we need to know if you think we are doing things right. The old paper-based distribution list has gone, it has been replaced with an email based list. This allows two-way communication. If you have an issue that someone else in the region can help with, then mail the list. If you want the regional committee to take up something on your behalf then mail the committee members. Please take time to look at the Web page, and don't be afraid to submit material. It is your showcase, please use it.

Secretary's Report

Over the past year quite a lot has happened in the region.

Development

The Centre of Excellence has been moved to Broad Oak High School thanks to the good offices of Natalia Kiss who was appointed our Regional Development Officer, and renamed as the British Fencing Centre North West. It continues to attract fencers from throughout the region, and has been used by fencers who did not travel to Hyde. The number remains small (around 10 - 15 for each session), but I believe that it was never the sections intention to increase numbers at the expense of quality coaching and the standard of fencer attending. I feel that for us to have an impact at a higher level we must look for quality at this session, and use a different vehicle to increase numbers and participation.

Funding

On behalf of BFNWR Colin & I have put a proposal to the Awards for All body, which is mainly concerned with development of fencers, referees, and coaches in the region. We are lacking numbers in all these areas, and a number of our very good and committed coaches are - shall we say - not in the first flush of youth, so we need to anticipate this situation before retirement of the coaches becomes a reality. I have also applied for monies for an armourers course. We are awaiting for the decision of Awards for All. If it does not prove favourable I will ask for feedback and apply again.

On behalf of BFNWR I have been successful in the application for a bursary from the 'Torch Trophy Trust' in the amount of £350.00. This is awarded for the running of two courses (one for referees and one for club coaches). It is intended that young people shall have priority i.e. 16 - 22 years old, and that it should be free of charge to them. If there is not enough uptake it shall be offered throughout the region to all comers. Initial response has been good, especially from Morecambe Young Blades who need (in view of circumstances) to have Club Leaders in place fairly soon.

Communication

The e-mail service has gone from strength to strength, with Colin and myself performing a pincer movement on competitors at local competitions, and a pro-active policy of requesting e-mail addresses. This has also worked well with the young fencers who as always seem the most comfortable with new technologies.

Cadet Winton

I had the opportunity to chaperone our Cadet Winton Squad this year who covered themselves with glory. Well Done! They were a credit to the section, a credit to their parents and most of all a credit to themselves.

I would just like to thank my fellow committee members for their help, good sense, support, and sheer hard work. Especially I would like to thank Peter Lloyd for all his work for BFNWR, and on a personal level I consider that the youth competitions in (which are the crowning glory of the section) would not have been the success that they are without his commitment and enthusiasm.

Treasurer's Report

Part Year from November 2001 to 31 March 2002

Income
Fencing Centre Fees £1136.00  
Youth Competition Entry Fees £906.00  
Senior Competition Entry Fees and Refereshment Sales £481.39  
Cadet Winton Fees £1200.00  
Bank Interest £0.63    
Total Income   £3,742.02
Expenditure
Activities    
Fencing Centre Hall Hire £275.00  
Fencing Centre Coaching Fees £1015.00  
British Youth Entry Fees £471.00  
British Youth Referee Levy £100.00  
Senior Competition Hall Hire £50.00  
Senior Winton Entry Fee £210.00  
Cadet Winton Entry Fee £80.00  
Cadet Winton Accommodation £960.00  
Cadet Winton Minibus Hire £168.43  
Subtotal   £3489.43
Administration    
Stationery £15.78  
Postage £57.81  
Photocopying £3.49  
Web Site Registration £6.79  
Subtotal   £83.87
Total Expenditure   £3,573.30
Net Surplus (Deficit)   £150.72

This account has been prepared using a receipts basis of accounting

Youth Coordinator

NW Junior Series

The Junior Series year runs from January to December and therefore does not coordinate with the AGM report year. However numbers at all events have held up over the last twelve months, including the smaller épée and sabre competitions. The importance of the Series as an affordable, pragmatic introduction to compethive fencing has been demonstrated in two ways this year. We are unusual if not unique in the NW in having such accessible competitions, resulting in a request from North East Region to accept their beginner youth épéeists in our competitions. Although originated to promote NW fencers it was accepted that where only small numbers are involved, entries from outside the Region would enhance levels of experience for our fencers and add valuable revenue. However I recommend that this does not create a blanket precedent, especially at foil, as we should be carettil not to lose the essential NW ethos nor reduce the element of encouragement that follows success even in limited access competition.

The second demonstration of importance came when Jon Willis achieved 32nd place at the Senior World Épée Championships; Jon's first ever competition was at the pilot NWJS event held at Staleybridge in September 1994! It was good to see Jon refereeing at the recent foil competition hosted by Stockport Youth Fencers and being introduced as a role model and inspiration to the generation following him.

The Series has now been 'adopted' by BFNWR but although inspired by the then Regional Committee, it was 'owned' by the initiating / participating clubs. Throughout my time as coordinator it has been my policy to continue this feeling of ownership and to keep faith with the 'pioneers' by consulting with all participating clubs on all matters pertaining to the Series. I do feel that consultation has been important in maintaining commitment by the clubs, has been integral to the success and establishment of the Series and I hope that my successor as Coordinator continues with the policy. I have ex{joyed my time as Series Coordinator, wish the Series well and look forward to attending many more competitions with my fencers but as a simple Indian not Chief!

Cheshire Schools Fencing Association.

Although not an organ of BFNWR we are indebted to CSFA for the competitions they make available to NW youth fencers. It is through them and our NWJS that our Region is so richly provided with local youth competition. It is perhaps not realised that in most Regions they have no progression between club fencing and BYC or Leon Paul competitions, a huge and daunting leap. Our appreciation should be recorded and conveyed to CSFA.

Cadet Winton Cup.

Our best result for many years, certainly in the eight years I have been Coordinator. A true team effort saw NW placed second. I anticipate that Duncan Rowlands will make detailed report as Team Manager but it is appropriate that the result is also recorded here.

Honours.

My participation on the open circuit has been reduced this year thus I am sure that the following is incomplete and hope will be added to at the AGM.

BYC Girls UI8 Epée
Jayne Crook (Stockport)
Youth Home Junior Quadrilangular International
Rowena Kemp (Morecambe Young Blades) - Wales Ul 8 girls epée Cerys Lloyd (Wirral) - Wales UlS girls foil.

Finally my thanks to all who have supported me during my time as Youth Coordinator and my good wishes to my successor.

Team Captain/Points Coordinator

The Cadet Winton Team did very well - coming second and pushing the South West into third place. The Senior Winton team were relegated to the second division, though they did come in 6th place and were in reach of staying up in the first division. It is likely that we shall go up again this year, and then may even stay up due to the improving quality of the team overall.

Election of Presidents and Vice-Presidents

All were elected if they wished to stand

Election of Officials

President Leslie Jones Proposed M H Roberts Seconded G Cullinane
Chairperson Colin Walls Proposed M H Roberts Seconded G Cullinane
Secretary Linda Kent Proposed M H Roberts Seconded G Cullinane
Treasurer Duncan Rowlands Proposed M Thornton Seconded L Kent
Committee Member H de Silva Proposed ? Albert Seconded J CrookshanK
4 votes agains, 2 abstentions

Jayne Law Memorial Award

There was only one nomination for the award this year, and this is to go to Katie Thornton for all her hard work at MYB

Any Other Business

  1. Peter Lloyd to be thanked for all his hard work as Chairman and Youth Coordinator
  2. Bela Kopetka to be asked to come to the NW and hold an epée training day
  3. Eddie Goodall suggested that it may be a good idea to approach unaffiliated clubs in the region to join the BFA
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