12th October 2014
All resolutions passed as Development Director provides progress report
Yesterday, 11th October 2014, saw British Fencing hold its 2014 Annual General Meeting at the headquarters of the British Olympic Association.
Chair of the Board, David Teasdale opened proceedings with an introduction and welcome to the two newly elected Board Directors, Caryl Oliver and Brian Speight as well as the newly appointed independent Director, Gill Palmer. He went on to announce the formation of the new Honours Committee which will be chaired by President, Hilary Philbin, before the minutes of the 2013 AGM were approved. With no “matters arising” the meeting swiftly moved on to an update on the national governing body’s finances.
Director, John Troiano, spoke of the “poisoned chalice” that was last year’s update on matters surrounding finance but commented on the “privilege” that he felt presenting this year’s update. Last year the Board of British Fencing set themselves the target of breaking even within two years in profit terms. After a detailed presentation, John said that the organisation had reached break even within just one year. He noted that this had been a team effort and acknowledged the contribution of the Executive especially Peter King, the previous CEO, Penny Moseley, and David Moseley, as well as the whole Board under David Teasdale's leadership.
With expert help from Director, Tom Cadman, David Teasdale then went on to preside over the acceptance of all Resolutions before closing the formal part of the meeting with some thanks of his own, including to each of his fellow Board Directors, to Georgina Usher and her staff, to partners Beazley, Sport England, UK Sport and to all the volunteers, coaches and clubs that make our sport work.
A short lunch break followed, after which Georgina Usher presented an in-depth overview of “Membership Business” highlighting the need to create a sustainable sport and engendering a realistic expectation of what services British Fencing can provide on an extremely limited budget. This was followed by an update from Development Director, Gabby Williams, who has only been in post since 1st September 2014. Her presentation focused on the need for the sport to deliver a strategy that is “insight led” and can measure the impact that new projects have on participation. The strategy ultimately needs to increase participation in order to continue to receive funding from Sport England to help grow the sport. An interesting debate followed which yet again demonstrated the passion within our community for our sport.
David Teasdale closed the meeting mentioning two very special individuals. Shuna Body was recognised for all her hard work whilst at the helm of the BDFA culminating in her MBE award earlier this year. A “This is Your Life” moment followed recognising the significant contribution made to the sport by former Editor of The Sword magazine, Malcolm Fare. A fitting and touching standing ovation followed after which the forever humble Malcolm gave a short speech thanking everyone for their support and wishing his successor the best of luck.
Summing up the meeting, David Teasdale said; "This was a British Fencing AGM which did its job - passed some important business, noted and approved the structure of the Board and enjoyed a lively discussion on growing the sport. I'm grateful for outstanding contributions from John Troiano, Georgina Usher and Gabby Williams. The Board will take careful note of the discussion in its strategy review."