In recent years, the AGM has attracted mostly only the officers and committee and with very few members. So, it was very good to see some new faces attend this year’s event at the attractive Tudor Hall, in Cuckfield.
Admittedly, this slightly formal gathering might not appear to be the most exciting way to spend an early spring Sunday afternoon, consisting mostly of various reports delivered by members of the committee.
Our Chairman’s evident preference for reports that are as concise as possible meant that the event moved along at a sprightly pace, but with much good humour. Brian and Frankie’s reports were upbeat and each reflected the buoyant state of the Branch.
Our new Treasurer was unable to attend, but Derek, our webmaster, offered his expertise in explaining aspects of the year’s accounts.
Membership numbers are at record numbers. Jean, our Walks Organiser reported the monthly walks are very well attended by large numbers of hounds.
Wearing his webmaster hat, Derek outlined the numerous improvements and changes he had applied to website. The Branch can be proud of having such a professional, attractive and informative website which is constantly updated and
Sue reported details of the rescue hounds that she has successfully homed. She works incredibly hard, travelling many miles for Basset Hound Welfare collecting and delivering her charges. Well done, Sue, and on behalf of the breed a very sincere ‘Thank you’.
I used my short report to thank those members who had submitted such excellent items for publication in Lowdown; I highlighted Russell Owen’s article about the Animals at War Memorial service which won the 2012 Winnie’s Wheelbarrow Trophy; and I paid tribute to Elephant Print Ltd our excellent printers.
After Brian brought the formal meeting to a close, everyone had a chance to mingle and have a chat over tea, coffee and refreshments. It was very good to see some new faces at this year’s AGM.
One aspect which was most welcome was the presence of six Basset Hounds that made up the audience - all behaving impeccably - which were brought along by Sue and member, Phoebe. As Brian aptly remarked, they are a reminder of why we do this.
Why not come along and have your say about the Branch at next year’s AGM?
Following last year’s controversial decision of not awarding Best of Breed to the winning Basset Hound - thus preventing him from competing further in the competition - many regular competitors decided not to attend Crufts 2013.
There is still much disaffection with the treatment by the Kennel Club of the ‘high-profile breeds’ (the Basset Hound being one), which many continue to regard as discriminatory - subjecting only these breed winners to veterinary checks.
The number of entries at Basset Hound classes at all Championship Shows since Crufts 2012 is dramatically down. I have heard several people report that ‘the fun has gone out of it’ and that the atmosphere at the BH ringsides appears a little gloomy.
The high cost of entering these shows, allied to the high cost of fuel, augers badly for an improvement in this position, especially in the current financial climate.
Though competitive dog showing may be in decline, the breed itself seems to be enjoying a small resurgence in popularity following the EDF Energy television advert which stars a tri-colour hound, apparently called Morgan. Shown running and jumping through a series of back gardens in a rush to get home the ad has attracted quite a lot of comment on social networks and in the media.
Though this kind of exposure is not always to be welcomed, I suppose that it underlines the continuing attraction of the advertising industry to our breed. The accompanying up-beat soundtrack, Together We Are Beautiful by Fern Kinney, which was a UK number one single from 1980, will no doubt also benefit in sales.
Mrs Veronica Ross
was elected to the position of Club President at this year’s BHC AGM. She is an honorary member of the South East Branch; at one time serving on the committee and for some years editing its newsletter.
She lives in Cuckfield, West Sussex, and bred using the prefix of Verwood. The presidency has been vacant for a number of years following the death of the distinguished and well-respected hound expert and author, Mr George Johnston.
editor Tony Roberts