With a new four-year plan now funded and three new staff in post, BMC President Scott Titt invited those attending the annual general meeting to consider what the long-term future might hold – and what members want from the organisation. Past servants Gordon Adshead and Mark Alderson were honoured for their contribution with the George Band Award, and Malcolm Baxter was elected as an Honorary Member.
Titt told the BMC’s Open Forum that ‘protecting climbing grounds will be a bigger part of our work than ever,’ but asked members how they wanted to see the organisation develop in the longer term.
Several club representatives expressed concern about ageing club memberships, and Trevor Smith of the South Devon Mountaineering Club asked whether the BMC was focussing too much on individual memberships and not helping clubs enough to recruit new blood. He said that his club had built its membership from 35 to over 200 by recruiting at walls.
Scott Titt said that the BMC’s Sport England bid was designed to keep younger people trying climbing and hill walking doing these activities into adulthood. He pointed out that around 6,000 members of student clubs don’t go on to join senior clubs. He added that three new regional officers, who were introduced to the meeting, would focus on this area and in persuading wall climbers to develop an interest in outdoor climbing. He also welcomed the appointment of a new hill-walking officer.
Nick Bond told the meeting that a growing number of wall climbers were perfectly happy only climbing indoors and that they shouldn’t be considered as not getting into the sport ‘properly’. Dave Turnbull said that the BMC continues to support the NICAS scheme, and the new equivalent in bouldering.
There was some criticism of the BMC’s communications effort, prompted by one club member reporting he regularly encountered climbers and hill walkers who weren’t aware of the BMC and its work. Dave Turnbull pointed out the huge growth in the BMC’s social media presence.
There was an unanimous vote in favour of Malcolm Baxter's election as an Honorary Member. Baxter contributed for many years to the BMC guidebooks programme, writing, researching and checking texts, but most memorably contributing hundreds of crag drawings. He also acted as an access rep and was involved in securing Hobson Moor Quarry for climbing.
Following the AGM, there was equally unanimous praise for Gordon Adshead and Mark Alderson, who shared the third George Band Award. Adshead, who served two terms as BMC Treasurer, was thanked for reorganising the BMC’s finances when they were in crisis. Graham Richmond, chair of the Finance Committee said: ‘Without him the BMC would have been in very serious trouble.’
Mark Alderson was honoured for his contribution to competition climbing in the UK. Mark has been an integral part of the competitions structure in the UK for many years, responsible for the scoring, rules and technical administration at all national and international events, as well as the rules for the BMC Youth Climbing Series and the Leading Ladder.
Download the 2013 National Forum summary
Download the 2013 BMC AGM minutes
Download the new Memorandum and Articles of Association
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