What a weekend!
The annual CTC National Dinner & Awards Presentation was held at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy in Portland, Dorset on Saturday 14 May. More about that later.
The real reason for the weekend was the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and it was extra special this year as the members recently voted in a poll of the club that the CTC will apply for charity status. The law says we need a 75% majority to amend the governing Articles to achieve charitable status. In the last vote on the charity issue out of around 16,000 members voted and more than 12,000 (75.4%) supported the proposal. Unfortunately the required 75% to change the Articles were not achieved at last year's AGM so it is being voted on again this year.
The debate was lively as expected and arguments were heard from both sides. The fact is that 75.4% members indicated in the poll that they WANTED charity status so we really needed the change in the Articles. Voting started and the results came in. More than 88% of members who voted supported the motion to change the Articles and 11% were against. The CTC will now commence the long process of merging the CTC Club and the CTC Trust by applying for charity registration at the Charity Commission.
This is excellent news as it was a long outstanding decision which started about 4yrs ago, long before I became a Councillor. When I walked into the debate, it was clear to me that we had to take the Charity route. To repeat Barry Flood, Councillor for Northern Ireland and the Rest of the World, 'It's a No- Brainer!'
If SUSTRANS can do it (and they have members) and the National Trust can do it (they are a member organisation), then we are right to follow their footsteps and get the organisations merged.
All of the motions were agreed apart from one which caused a lively debate. That was that all voting that was done at National Council should be recorded and also published and the Councillors should be identified who voted for, against and abstained. Currently, that isn't done at Council.
Whilst I have not problem with my vote being recorded, there is a bigger issue at stake here. Comparisons were drawn between the MP's (Westminster) whose votes are recorded and you can check how they voted and National Council. But that is where the similarity stops as Councillors who get elected to National Council are also being registered at Companies House as Non-Executive Directors of the CTC. This is something that very few members are aware of and I am now in a position where my name is registered against three companies as a Non-Executive Director. This place me in a very difficult position as not only am I an elected member, representing the North West contituency, but I am also legally responsible for the health and wellbeing of a big company.
Very recently, the four Directors of the MG company (see Former MG Rover managers barred)
were barred from holding a job as a Director as they didn't make the decisions in favour of the health and wellbeing of the company. So when I vote at National Council, I need to weigh the wishes of the constituency against what evidence is infront of me and whether my vote will have an impact on the CTC. If the CTC plays bankcrupt or gets into trouble, I will be liable as a Director who displayed bad conduct. So if we record votes, you always have to think about this very thin balance and I'm afraid that it will always be in the back of your mind thinking if you should vote to show your solidarity with the members or whether you must vote to make the right decisions for the CTC.
The votes were cast and the motion was not carried which is a big relief. There is already measures in place for knowing how your Councillor voted. Either my members can contact me and ask or if I feel particularly passionate about a specific vote, I can ask that my vote should be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
One of the motions was to promote the removal of barriers on cyclepaths and at other places to enable all cyclists to enjoy an unrestricted ride.
I responded on behalf of Council as I'm the also the Equality Champion. Here I am in action:
After 4 and a half hours the AGM came to an end and we went to get ready for the Awards Dinner.
Kevin Mayne, Chief Executive of CTC was the MC and kicked the Dinner off.
Magnus Backstedt was our special guest for the evening who awarded the prizes. Magnus is the manager for Team UK Youth and winner of Paris-Roubaix, stages in the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia.
We enjoyed our meal, made new friends and spoke to old friends. Great time for catch up.
Then it was time for the awards. The North West scooped the largest section of the awards.
We came home with:
1st Lady in the Tourist Competition - Lowri Evans and Magnus
1st Team in the Tourist Competition - Chester & North wales CTC (Andy Polakowski, David Statham, Lowri Evans, Ifor Jones, Darryl Porrino and Alan Mort)
CTC Volunteer of the Year 2010 (North West) - Janet Gregory and Magnus
as well as runner up for National Volunteer of the year 2010. Well done Janet!
We also scooped:
CTC - Bike Club : Youth Club or Project of the Year 2010
Boathouse Youth (Blackpool) - 1st
Greenbank High School (Southport) - 2nd
CTC Bike Club: Young Volunteer of the Year 2010
Kamila Szewczyk (1st)
Ben Wilson (2nd)
It was a great weekend and event for the North West.