May 13, 2008

Ladies Branch AGM

Scotland's women curlers were well represented at the AGM of the Royal Club Ladies' Branch today at Pollokshaws Burgh Halls.

President Patricia Thomson was in the chair. She admitted that it had been a challenging year, but all agree that she has done a sterling job in representing the Ladies' Branch both in committee and at events. She hands over now to Sheila Miller, with Kay Gibb moving up to Vice-president, and Brenda Macintyre, of the Belmaduthy Club, coming on as Junior Vice-president. Sadie Anderson continues as Treasurer.

As has been the format in recent years, much of the meeting was devoted to honouring the winners of the main women's events, both at home and abroad. Eve Muirhead and her junior team, the World Junior Champions, received special gifts, and gave a presentation about their season. Margaret Gibb spoke on behalf of the Kirsty Letton team which won silver in Vierumaki. Gail Munro was asked to speak twice. Firstly she recounted her extremely successful domestic season, with wins for her team(s) in the Mini Tour, Henderson Bishop and Gold League.

Later in the meeting she spoke again, in her position of having been Scotland's skip at the Worlds in Vernon. She avoided any specific mention of the details of the controversy (more of this in a separate post later), but made a special point of thanking Patricia Thomson, her husband and family, the Scottish supporters, and Rhona Martin, the team coach, for their support.

She said, "The last six weeks have been a living nightmare for me." She continued, "I feel let down by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club." She took her seat in to hall to resounding applause from the delegates.

An incoming tour from Sweden will be the highlight of the first week of November. The tour will start in Stranraer and the tourists will play in eight different venues. The details will be posted on the RCCC website.

Guest at the Ladies' Branch AGM was RCCC CEO Colin Grahamslaw who talked positively about a number of successful projects and ongoing initiatives. He gave the name of the person who will be taking over from Duthie Thomson at Cairnie House - Alistair Hibbert, a member of the Bank of Scotland CC, Fife. And Emma Sunderland will take over from Annette Williams when she goes on maternity leave soon.

Another guest, Board Chairman Mike Ferguson, spoke briefly at the end of the two and a half hour meeting, supporting the 'one curler, one vote' proposal that will be in front of the membership at the Royal Club AGM, June 14. He also summarised the ongoing work of the representational review group, on how Scottish rank and file curlers be represented on the governing body. It seems that it is generally agreed that there are too many layers at present. Two proposals are on the table for discussion. One is the status quo.

The other proposal would be for just one committee replacing the current Area Standing Committee and Ladies Standing Committee. Initial feedback suggests that there are many curlers wondering just how the latter option would work in practice. Consultation will continue for at least another year and proposals will not be brought to a vote before the AGM in 2009.

That change will not be an easy thing to achieve was evident when the most applause of the day followed new President Sheila Miller when she vowed to uphold the status of Ladies Branch and 'not to lose any more autonomy'.

We live in interesting times.

Top: L-R Brenda Macintyre, Sadie Anderson, Theresa McDougall (fulfilling her last job for the RCCC as the minutes secretary today), Patricia Thomson, Sheila Miller, Kay Gibb.
Middle: Sheila Miller.
Above: Delegates and guests gather at the beginning of the AGM.
Photos by Bob.

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