It was strange having the club annual general meeting over Zoom last Wednesday, but it reflected what has been a strange year. It would have been easy to postpone or cancel this year’s AGM, but it reflects the enthusiasm and energy of our committee and wider membership that it went ahead in spite of the restrictions. And it was great that over 25 members tuned in to hear the reports, elect officials for next year, and lay down plans for the future.
Chairman Darren Colville welcomed everyone, and shared some reflections on the last 12 months. The season started with preparations for the Simon Brien Tour of Ards. Unfortunately it was cancelled, and we also lost the Town Centre Races and Tour of Strangford. But we were able to run the Champion of Champions 25, and George Peden breaking Chris Boardman’s 27 year old course and event record with a scarcely believable time of 49:29 was a highlight for many.
Open racing was also curtailed, but Ards CC were well represented when some racing resumed in July. Darren picked out Karl Rocket’s fourth Ulster road race championship as a particular highlight. The club also managed to run six club races, and the new pre-registration process worked so well it may be continued next year. We also became briefly fascinated with another type of cycling challenge – Everesting – with Stuart Millar, Peter McLean and Alastair Martin all picking up this strangely lockdown style gauntlet.
Darren thanked everyone who had helped out this year, including the committee, time keepers, marshals, media and clothing coordinator. He also flagged our club sponsors Boyd Rice Solicitors and UPS Newtownards, the former offering preferential rates to club members.
Looking forward, Darren was pleased to report that a start has been made on the club four year plan. The Racing Team is up and running, and investigations have started on grants, and on the club brand. Of particular importance this year has been the work of the Mental Health sub committee (John Rafferty, Heather Hamilton, Gideon Burrows and Ronnie Martin). Heather highlighted that they would welcome any new members, especially as Gideon is moving away.
Secretary Deidre Murray added some more detail. Club membership was down slightly from last year’s 75th anniversary record at 142. The percentage of women was steady at 22%, and youth remained at a lamentable 2%. Club runs were very badly affected by the restrictions, although two Saturday runs have now restarted using a first come first served booking system on Facebook.
Treasurer Barry Mitchell also reported a quieter year, with bank transactions down from 518 last year to 224 this year. The club aims to use it’s funds sensibly to support riders and events. Given the limited opportunities this year, the club finances are in good shape and there is no need to raise membership fees. It was therefore agreed these should remain unchanged at £15 for seniors, £5 for underage and £1 for non-cycling. We’ll be publishing more details shortly about how to apply for next year’s licence. Please note, if you are making a payment to the club, if possible please use an electronic bank transfer rather than a cheque as this saves us money. And include a couple of words giving the reason for the payment. Barry thanked Richard Hanna for auditing the club accounts, and everyone for their help and support.
The Racing Team
Chris White reported on the Racing Team. They ran several training sessions through the winter, but unfortunately the racing season was delayed. In the limited events that were run, Ards CC were well represented, and Chris highlighted strong performances from John Rafferty, Ivan Robinson, Peter McLean, Stuart Miller, Steve Core and the Rocket brothers Karl, Jamie and Jake, amongst others. Chris encourage more females to consider racing next year. He closed by thanking all those who have helped support the racing team this year.
Election of Officials
- President – James McFarlane. James said he hoped to be more active going forward as he recovers from a spell of bad health.
- Chairman – Darren Colville
- Secretary – Stephen Beattie. (Deirdre stood down. Darren thanked her for her hard work and diligence over the last four years. Much appreciated – you will be missed.)
- Treasurer – Barry Mitchell
- Child Protection Officer – David McNally
- Committee Members –Chris White, Dean Bradley, Anthony Day, Mark Watson (new), Brian Craig (new), Liz Armstrong. (Gareth Murray, Sean Hardon and Christine Devenny stood down, and we thanked them, and all the others, for their work).
- Time Keepers – Darren Colville, Gavin McBride, Paul Robinson, Bernard McCloskey, Steve Core.
- Auditor – Richard Hanna
- Kit Officer– Gavin McBride.
Any Other Business
Zoom made it a little more difficult than usual to raise and discuss new ideas and issues. The following were raised.
- Due to the lack of a club BBQ or Harrison’s scone run this year, the committee decided to get buffs for all members. These will be distributed over the next few weeks.
- Dany Blondell thanked the club for their ongoing support of the Belgian project, and assured the meeting that he would continue to promote his beloved home club whenever possible next year.
- The meeting congratulated Richard on generating enough power on his rollers to drive his computer, although some felt that the John McEnroe headband was a step too far.
At this point, the chairman took the wise decision to draw the meeting to a close. Stay safe, and hopefully we’ll see each other on the road soon.