CHAIRMAN’S REMARKS – AGM 2017

Well this is my fourth Chairman’s Report to the Claro AGM and I’m delighted to say that once again I can report that the club is in a healthy position. Linda will explain the financial details but that’s only part of it. We’ve been able to sustain our reputation for competently organising a range of challenging Level C (sorry Regional) events, we’ve been active in competing around the region and further afield, we’ve run a regular series of Local events, whether the relaunched Junior League or our Wednesday evening LampOs and spring terrain events, we’ve kept our Weekly newsletter and website up to date. When I say ‘we’ I really mean ‘you’ because without the input from volunteers across the whole club there would be no orienteering and no Claro.

The new Club League was launched, focussing on Claro events rather than a more scattered larger number of events, and I’m pleased to say that not only has that shaken up the leader-board but it’s also led to us having 55 members who’ve scored points. It’s also led to us having 44 members listed in the BOF rankings list; the difference between those two numbers is due to members under 16 not ranking, nor Local (Level D) events counting towards ranking points. Our thanks to Allen Banister for looking after the League.

Our Regional (formerly Level C) events were well-supported even though we used some of our less popular venues for a couple of them. One particular success was the May urban event at Wetherby. A fresh map from Allen, a very experienced planner in Ruth, a very accommodating school assembly area, a qualifying round of the UK Urban League, the day before the popular York city event, decent weather, and a much trickier area than most folks expected, all led to an unqualified triumph. Our thanks to the planners, organisers, controllers, team leaders and particularly to Graham for delivering such a great range of events. Look out next year for the revival of a couple of venues that we’ve not used for a good while too.

Richard Kirk may be quietly spoken but he is clearly very effective in twisting arms to persuade folks to organise our Local events. The autumn and winter LampOs have ranged across most parts of Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon and have also provided good social opportunities as well as an intense 45 minutes of action. We can expect a couple of new areas to be added to the calendar next year. The summer evening competitions using proper O-maps and SI-lite were also well-supported and provided a chance for first-time planners to learn their dark arts. Thanks to all who’ve got involved.

Jemima and her team of helpers organised the Junior League, replacing the former Schools League, using a range of easily-accessible venues around Harrogate and Knaresborough and leading to a modest number of new members progressing on to our bigger events. Richard has done some valiant sowing of seeds with a number of mini-events run for scout and guide units. I’m delighted to say that during the year both Jemima and Richard qualified as Level 2 Orienteering Coaches.

A key part of many of our events is unseen and time-consuming and that’s the SI work. Boxes have to be configured and set for each event and transferred to the right planner at the right time. Particularly during the spring when we have two of our Regional events, a number of SI-based Local events, Junior League, etc, it can get a bit frantic. Only a few people are skilled to do that and to compound matters we currently have a pooling arrangement with Airienteers where we share SI boxes so have to switch them back-and-forth to mesh with their events. Tricky enough when our coordinator and Aire’s lived close to each other but harder now their SI guru lives near Huddersfield. Tim Moon has valiantly kept these plates spinning for many years now but has understandably decided that it’s time to stand down and the new committee will be considering the way forward. We have also decided that we need to be more independent from Aire so will be looking to divide the pooled stock and then buy more SI boxes so that we are self-sufficient for all but our biggest events such as hosting a CompassSport Cup qualifier or Aire’s Dales Weekend.

We are now very close to having two permanent courses up and running in our patch. Richard has patiently worked on reviving the Valley Gardens and Pinewoods course supported by working parties to place posts and templates enabling it to be relaunched recently. Allen and I have worked with the National Trust at Brimham to establish a course there; thankfully the NT rangers did most of the physical work but my thanks to Allen for sorting out the mapping. Most of you know that I struggle with anything resembling technology.

Last February 31 members made their way to a cold and exposed Cringle Moor above Stokesley for the north-eastern qualifier of the CompassSport Cup. The going was ‘soft’ but it seems that the 31 Claros all ran to the top of their game because we found that after many years as runners-up we had actually won the zone qualifier – by just 4 points. So we qualified for the final, now where would that be held? Only 300 miles away in West Devon, bah, and at half-term too so a lot of our able juniors and their families won’t be available. Nevertheless we felt that it was important that we followed through on this since for the vast majority of members this could be a rare opportunity to visit a CSC final. Historians like David Day go misty-eyed at recalling the time when Claro actually won the final and we know that realistically that won’t happen this year, but it won’t stop 16 of us going down to do our best. Thank you to Mike Hind for coordinating the team and thanks to Ruth for sorting accommodation for many of us.

I’ve thanked a lot of people during this report but let me end by thanking somebody who is standing down at this AGM. There’s no doubt that since Vince joined Claro on moving up to Harrogate he’s enabled the club to move forward. He’s done his share as a planner, organiser, or controller, SI man, and latterly delivered an Event Safety Workshop for ‘new’ organisers, but it’s as Secretary that he’s really made a difference. The website has been totally refreshed, Clarion edited until it was overtaken by ‘The Weekly’, our event signage completely renewed, scoring for our league reconfigured, and I won’t begin to think about the amount of work he’s done for YHOA and for JK2016 or the 2017 British Champs. Life in Portugal beckons, with a windsurfer and possibly a bike, but sadly no more running. Many thanks Vince, our best wishes to you and Sandra, with our grateful thanks for all you’ve done.

So, my final Chairman’s Report, but not the end of my orienteering. I may not be able to get to the multi-day events any longer but I still aim to get out as often as I can to more local events. Thank you all for your support over an enjoyable four years.

Stan