Proposal for changes to constitution
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The following changes have been proposed by the ABU Council. A vote will be held at the forthcoming AGM, for which a two-thirds majority is required for approval.
In simple terms, we are removing the requirement for National and Local Match secretaries to be specified at an AGM as this is restrictive on who can combine duties and in any case neither posts are office bearers. They are no different from eg. master point secretary or league secretary.
The change from no longer automatically giving all our assets to the SBU in the event of our dissolution is pretty much self explanatory.
Section 6, Paragraph 1b
At present reads:
Match Secretary (National), Match Secretary (Local) and additional members of Council not exceeding nine in number.
Additional members of Council not exceeding ten in number.
Also, the paragraph below at present reads:
The offices of District Secretary and Treasurer may be conjoined as also may be conjoined the functions of Match Secretary (National) and Match Secretary (Local).
The offices of District Secretary and Treasurer may be conjoined.
Paragraph 12 at present reads:
DISSOLUTION In the event of the Ayrshire District being wound up, funds remaining after all debts have been paid shall be transferred to the SBU for the benefit of bridge in Scotland.
In the event of the Ayrshire District being wound up, funds and assets
remaining after all debts have been paid shall be transferred to third parties
provided that such bodies are charitable or directly associated with Scottish
bridge and non-profit making. No assets (including cash) can be transferred to
any ABU member (including members of Council) or any third party profit making
The president and vice-president shall have responsibility for managing the
process. The decision on which bodies will receive the transferred assets
shall be determined by the ABU members, at a General Meeting.
Chairman's Update - 19/01
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We are well into 2019 and 2 more Ayrshire competitions have been completed recently. Congratulations to the Ayrshire Pairs winners, Maureen Rennie and Matthew Pumphrey. The winners, plus 2nd placed Margaret Brown and Sandy Martin will be invited to represent the District in the Spence Cup in May, which this year will be hosted by Ayrshire. And a splendid win in the Ayrshire Individual for Ian Short - well done indeed.
The Festive Funday was held just after Christmas, raising £263, which is being split between The Samaritans charity and support for the Scottish Ladies China funding appeal. Many thanks to Maureen and Sharon for organising this.
A Council meeting was held at the beginning of the month. Mike Reekie was voted on to Council to fill one of our 3 vacancies and his help will be invaluable in the busy months to come, I'm sure.
There were several interesting items on the agenda. Director fees were discussed. I suggested that a playing director should not get as much as a non playing director and felt that £32 for a 24 board session when one is playing is too much. Indeed, I have been gladly directing the Winter Friday afternoon sessions myself for nothing. However, Council took the opposing view and felt that the inconvenience of directing warranted it. Thus, the Winter Friday and Summer Competition will continue with a volunteer playing director, maybe attracting a nominal fee and other competitions will attract the full rate. Movement and rules directing will be split to reduce the burden on one person where appropriate.
We also discussed the appropriateness of bringing pets into the centre, following an enquiry from a member. Council was nearly unanimous that, other than guide dogs, this was not allowed.
Support (or lack of) for Ayrshire competitions was back on the agenda. The Ayrshire Pairs semi finals were cancelled of course, and several other dropouts meant that there were only 6 tables for the final. The Tourney Cup has only 2 heats and Doon Club, which holds one heat indicated that they would not hold a heat if visitors were allowed. We clearly need to look at the viability of these competitions for next year. Almost certainly, the Ayrshire pairs will be reduced from 3 rounds to just one qualifying round and a final. The Tourney Cup may well end up as a one-off teams of 4 event, open to Ayrshire members only of course. I will be looking to forming a sub-committee to come up with a plan for next season that might encourage members to participate. This will involve finding out what members actually want. I sense that many people are satisfied just playing in their club environment and don't want to play in more competitive events. Whether this is because they feel intimidated playing against better standard players or just don't want to play at weekends, I'm not entirely sure. As always, if you have any constructive comments, please let somebody on the Council know. Anybody for a Mixed Pairs or a Mens / Ladies only event?
A couple of possible amendments to our Constitution were proposed.
Firstly, the need to specify National Tournaments and Local Tournaments conveners when electing a Council. This has been restrictive in who can do what on the Council, particularly the ability to merge one of these tasks with an Office Bearing responsibility. These jobs have been carried out by Office Bearers consistently over the past few years, so it makes sense to drop the restriction.
Secondly, is the slightly controversial entry that says that the SBU get all of the District assets (this would include the building) should the ABU cease to exist. With decreasing numbers across the Districts, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the SBU might decide that Ayrshire should be amalgamated with another District at some time in the future. We are looking at a proposal to change this clause to something that gives District members the opportunity to convene a Special Meeting to decide what happens with our assets. These amendments will have to be proposed at the AGM with a two thirds majority in favour in order for the Constitution to be changed. Again, if anybody wishes to pass an opinion in the meantime, please get in touch.
Finally, it is looking increasingly likely that the SBU will be pulling the plug on its contract with the Peebles Hydro to run its thrice annual Congresses; falling numbers and increased charges being to blame. I would like to see a future Congress being held a bit closer to us West Coast folks. I suspect though that it will be very difficult to find an alternative venue that ticks all the boxes, but the SBU Council is very open to ideas on how to move this issue forward. I will be pleased to pass on any thoughts.
Chairman's Update - Christmas
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It has been a hectic couple of months since my last update. A Peebles Congress, 2 National League weekends, various Gold Cup matches and organising our Red Point Swiss Pairs have kept me very busy.
On the local front, the leagues are well under way and attendances at the Centre based clubs have been holding up well, particularly the afternoon clubs. We have had great turnouts at the Improver Fridays and I would like to thank the willing volunteers who have given up their time to help. Also, thanks to all those who stayed behind after last Friday afternoon to assist in putting up a few Christmas decorations.
On the negative side has been the poor take-up for the Ayrshire Pairs, where the semi finals have been cancelled due to lack of numbers wanting to play. The leagues, Ayrshire Cup, Tourney Cup, simultaneous pairs etc have all suffered downturns over the last 5 to 10 years and maybe the Council needs to have a look at whether a complete revamp of some of these is required to reflect the changing needs of our members. We are not alone in Ayrshire. Our neighbours in the South and West Districts have been equally affected with many of their competitions disappearing or being cancelled.
Sorry also to say that we have lost another member from the Council. Charlie Rennie has decided to step down as premises manager due to a change of circumstances. This has resulted in the Hall duties being split further. Maureen Rennie will take responsibility for the cleaner. Ian Burn has offered to keep the centre supplies up to date and will do this outwith the Council. We have one new volunteer to be elected to the Council in the New Year and would like to hear of anybody else who might be willing to lend a hand. In particular, somebody with a few handyman skills to help with odd jobs would be very welcome. There is no need for such a person to be part of the Council, nor to have to attend meetings, so if that has put you off in the past, now is the time to get in touch.
We had a National win in the Bowman. Congratulations to Eddie McGeough and Angela Knox. Also the Diamond Trophy winners came from the Ayrshire heat, so well done to Jim McMenemy and Bobby Moore.
I just have time to mention that daughter of mine. Yvonne has just spent 3 weeks sailing across the Atlantic in a small boat with 4 other bridge enthusiasts. They have just reached Barbados and first item on the agenda after arriving was to visit the local bridge club. And what is the name of the town where they docked? Why, Bridgetown of course!
Anyway, as we approach the year end our thoughts now turn towards Christmas parties, having a well earned break and recharging our batteries ready for 2019. I would like to wish all of you and your families a very happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.
Chairman's Update 08/10
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Well, the new season is now well under way and it has been a hectic couple of months since the last report. There were over 50 people at the Chairman v Vice Chairman afternoon a week ago. Prizes from the summer competitions were handed out and a cheque for £720 was handed over to "Friends of The Ayrshire Hospice". A pleasant afternoon of friendly bridge was followed by a tasty spread. I hope everyone that attended had an enjoyable afternoon. Particular thanks to Alison Hughes for her hard work in organising this.
The previous day, there were around 50 people attending the first of this season's improver Friday sessions, revolving around weak 2 bids. Again, a successful afternoon. Thanks to Maureen for generating the numbers for this.
The Council held a meeting on Saturday. The main discussion revolved around the slightly thorny issue of the cost of board dealing. The ABU has already spent £600 this financial year, a huge amount that I am determined to reduce. I have 8 volunteers so far willing to deal some boards for the centre based clubs on a regular basis for free. Kilwinning BC have already agreed to make up boards for themselves now and we are more than happy for them to use the ABU dealing machine. This immediately saves the ABU c.£130 p.a. A member each from Doon and Afton have offered to deal their own set before the club meets, which leaves around 6-8 sets per week for the other clubs and leagues etc. I am hopeful that my team of volunteers can cope comfortably with this task, which will be on a trial basis initially. If successful, this will potentially save another £1,000 to £1,200 p.a, money which I am sure can be put to good use for everybodys' benefit. Bigger events such as the Swiss Pairs or congresses need considerable time preparing for, so dealing for these will continue to be paid at the previous rate of £3 per set.
Sadly, our 2 existing paid dealers have decided not to come with us on this new journey. Margaret Little resigned from the Council about a month ago and Alison Tudor resigned at the end of the meeting. I would like to thank them for their work on the Council.
Another saving is being made at the Winter Friday competition. With us no longer having a dedicated host and me being able to direct and play most weeks, there will be no need for a director fee. This should save us about another £600 or so over the winter.
Our premises manager, Charlie Rennie has been busy looking into the possibility of another fridge. However, it seem that all fridges of the type that we have at the centre generate a fair amount of noise. We discussed the possibility of installing a water cooler and having a smaller fridge in the kitchen, but in the end rejected this idea, as the kitchen is already quite cramped, so will carry on with the existing appliance for now.
The Council also talked about the discourteous parking in the centre car park. It seems to have become the norm for certain drivers to park at the front entrance, thus narrowing the gap for other cars to get in, even when there are still numerous spaces further in. We agreed that we need to try to encourage more considerate parking as many people tend to ignore notices. Hopefully, all members will try to help out with this by having a gentle word with those who are not parking appropriately.
It has been an exciting time for me bridgewise. I played in the Adamson Cup for the first time, representing Riggs BC with Eddie McGeough and the two Presidents managed to win on the last board by bidding to a good 6NT against the 2nd placed pair, Jim and Alison Tudor. Yesterday, the winners went head to head in the Quarter Final of the Scottish Cup in Dundee. Pleased to say that my team (McGinley) beat Eddie's mostly Aberdeen quartet by 52 IMPs, so a first ever semi-final for me awaits.
This all pales into insignificance of course when compared to the achievement of my daughter, who now has a silver medal at World level! The Wiseman family is very proud and I hope Ayrshire members generally are pleased to see that one of their own has progressed so far.
Back to local events, congratulations to Agnes Lamont and Margaret Little, who have won the Ronnie Alexander Bronze Pairs for the third time.
We are now approaching a particularly busy few weeks of bridge, with many local and national competitions in the diary. The Ayrshire Pairs heats are prominent this month - I must say that I was very disappointed to hear that one of our Council members was quoted a visitor fee of £5 (on top of table money) in order to play in the Savoy BC heat. This does not seem to be in the spirit of the competition at all.
Anyway, whichever events you decide to partake in, I wish you every success and hope to play against many of you along the way.
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A small tribute to Jim Wilcox from Anne Braid.
Jim started to play bridge regularly in 1972, when he and his wife Pat were founder members of the Ayr Caledonian Club. He became an accomplished player, reaching the level of life master but as a natural organiser he was also quickly attracted into bridge administration both at the district and national levels.
He was appointed Treasurer of the SBU in 1993. When the then Secretary, Tom Workman, took on the Presidency in 1996 Jim combined the two jobs, handing back the secretaryship to Tom in 1997. He was elected President of the Union in 2000-01. After his year as Past President he again took on the post of Secretary, a job he fulfilled with his customary efficiency and good humour. He retired from Council in 2003, but did not lose interest.
He attended the European Bridge League Tournament Director Course in 1996, and was the second Scottish Director, after Russell McClymont, to achieve a pass mark. He was a popular director at many national events and congresses, and ran the Scottish Hilton Breaks for many years.
Jim served on the Laws and Ethics Committee for many years, the ideal member of a disciplinary panel because of his natural sympathy and ability to listen.
In Ayrshire, Jim was a two time President, an active council member for many years and a competition director including running the Ayrshire Congress.
His health has suffered in the last few years, but he retained his interest in bridge affairs.
An old-school gentleman with an endearing sense of humour, a man whose presence was always welcome.
He will be much missed.