Trevor Hoey was returned as President for a third consecutive term at the Forth Valley Orienteers Annual General Meeting in Ashfield. Vice President Ross McLennan and secretary Louise Longhurst stood down from the committee after many years of service, and were replaced by Brad Connor and Andy Llewellyn.
The full Executive Committee for 2018 is as follows;
President - Trevor Hoey.
Secretary - Brad Connor.
Treasurer - Dawn Goddard.
Ordinary Members - Hazel Dean, Ben Stansfield, Sarah Tullie and Andy Llewellyn. The committee will fill the vacant post of Vice President from among the elected Ordinary members at its first meeting.
In the absence on business of President Hoey, Ben Stansfield chaired the meeting, which endorsed a new Constitution, in line with current SportScotland guidelines on transparency and Child Protection. It was confirmed that there will be no increase in club fees for the 2019 season, and that map royalties would remain at current levels.
The meeting heard the President's Annual Report, which is reproduced here in full.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, FVO had another very successful year in 2017 in many ways, and there are plenty of exciting things on the horizon too. I cannot be at the AGM this year and really miss the chance to run in proper snow at least once a year, so am somewhat jealous of you all as I sit in 3 hour traffic jams and ‘look forward’ to another 40 minutes on the hotel treadmill later. Many thanks to Ben for chairing the AGM and for presenting the report.
There are many things to highlight, and the full version of the report on the website will have more detail than we can report to the meeting. First of all, many thanks to the Committee for a huge amount of work behind the scenes, dealing with a lot of items that have to be managed to keep the club running but which are inevitably unseen by members. Particular thanks to our retiring committee members Louise and Ross, both of whom have given many years of service to the committee and are integral to the success of the club. We are grateful to have had volunteers to join the committee in their place, and I look forward to the new committee getting down to work shortly.
Membership and Club Development 2017 was a pivotal year in development activities for the club. The recruitment of Chris Smithard as our Club Development Officer means that we are now a small business, and has already provided us with some new ideas and activities. You will have received Chris’ e-mails each week, seen the additional events and training that he has organised, and hopefully had a chance to speak with him in person. In between times, Chris also ran in the World Championships this year and has continued to be one of the UK’s leading competitors, especially in sprint disciplines. We have agreed a plan for club development with Sport Scotland and have some targets to achieve, but Chris will be responsive to what the membership want him to do. He is always looking for feedback on what works (or not) and ideas for expanding the club and allowing all of our members to get more from their orienteering.
Late in 2017 we reached 200 members for the first time, an increase of over 30% in the past year. We are seeing a lot of juniors try orienteering, and some have then joined the club along with their families. Thanks to all involved in arranging beginner’s sessions, providing coaching and just being at events to welcome newcomers. An exciting development is the re-birth of the Stirling University club, supported in particular by Jason, Brad and Sarah. We will keep working with the students to offer more opportunities for them to orienteer and this too will lead to FVO expanding.
Once again our social media presence and media attention has been exemplary thanks to Steve Scott’s tireless work and interest in chasing up obscure results and performances. This is invaluable in raising the profile of the club, and in demonstrating that we are active, successful and locally engaged. Steve’s headlines on his articles make us sound like a combination of Real Madrid and the All Blacks, but maybe that is about right!
Organising events FVO has had a wide range of events in 2017, ranging from small local activities aimed at newcomers through to the Double Dukes weekend last Spring which attracted over 400 runners over two days of top quality competition. We also organised Day 6 of the Scottish 6 Days (thanks to David Nicol, Ben Stansfield, Mark Holliday and their teams of helpers – as ever, it was a smooth operation and everyone got away home nice and early). In the autumn, we hosted a SOUL race in Dunblane that produced good racing on a damp morning and over 80 runners came to the club championships at Duncraggan. We have continued to expand the skills of our volunteers to put on events, including training in course planning (thanks Will) and event safety. It is great to see new planners and organisers coming forward, and the willingness of experienced club members to support and mentor the less experienced. We have seen some innovations in 2017 too – the autumn sprint series was a huge success and Chris’ route analysis was really informative. We had two events on the same time on World Orienteering Day in May, and plan to repeat this in 2018. As someone who orienteered for 25 years before sprint O came along, I am still learning how different it is from the forest and how to make the right route choice decisions and I am sure that others, like me, got a lot out of this series.
In 2018 we are organising Stepping into Spring on 10-11 March, the Scottish sprint championships at Stirling University, followed by the Compass Sport cup heat at Beecraigs. Everyone is welcome at either or both events, and thanks to the organisers (Dave Coustick, Matty Smith) and planners (Ross McLennan, Jen Leonard, Mark Johnston) for volunteering. We are also helping with the British Championships at Balmoral in May – FVO’s job is to look after finish and results at the individual event, and we will be arranging teams of helpers in due course.
Further ahead we are the lead club for the Scottish 6-Day 2019 in Strathearn, although the overall co-ordinator is Terry O’Brien (STAG). Several club members have offered to take on roles in the organising team and offers of further help are always welcome. There will be a lot more information to come in due course. Special thanks to Lucy Hensman for designing the logo for the event.
FVO is a remarkably successful club in the forest and urban terrain – look at the BOF rankings and you see that we dominate the top of the tables (4 of the top 7 athletes are currently from FVO), and have top-3 runners in many age classes. Success leads to success, and the inspiration that our top athletes to our juniors in particular is great to see.
The major club competition in the UK is the Compass Sport Cup. We qualified for the final through the heat at Tentsmuir last March and then took a strong team all of the way to Devon for the final in October. Despite this being a long way to travel, foul weather the day before, and other small challenges (ask Angela about her van!) the FVO team performed well and were only narrowly defeated by Bristol OK who were close to home. Rachel Hendrie showed great speed on the uphill run-in to win the Golden Shoe, keeping it in FVO hands after Fanni’s win last year. As ever, thanks to Jon for encouraging people to travel and co-ordinating everything. Yet again our juniors came third in the Jamie Stevenson Trophy –maybe 2018 is our year after several near misses. We retained the Scottish Clubs Championship through individual performances at the Scottish Championships in May. At the major relays across the UK, FVO had a range of success leading to our men’s team coming joint 1st in the UK Relay League:
|1st – Men’s Open||(Chris Smithard/Graham Gristwood/Kris Jones)|
|1st||(Dave Godfree/Mark Nixon/Robert Niewiedziala/Marcus Pinker/Roger Goddard/Ross McLennan/Jegor Kostylev)|
|British Mixed Sprint Relay|
|1st||Fran Brown/Graham Gristwood/Chris Smithard\Fanni Gyurko)|
Moving to individual performances, several FVO athletes achieved success in international races.
|Kris Jones||Sprint relay – 6th|
|Chris Smithard||Sprint - 14th|
|Graham Gristwood||relay – 15th|
|Fanni Gyurko||Long – 29th; Sprint relay - 9th; Relay – 15th|
|European Youth Championships|
|Grace Molloy||Sprint - 56th; Long – 28th; Relay 9th|
|Junior World Championships|
|Grace Molloy||Long – 20th; Middle – 19th; Relay 17th|
|Junior European Cup|
|Grace Molloy||Sprint – 3rd; Long – 3rd; Relay - 14th|
|World Schools Championships|
|Peter Molloy||Long - 3rd; Middle - 8th|
|World Ranking Event (Scottish Six Days)|
|1st||Graham Gristwood (M21E)|
|1st||Fanni Gyurko (W21E)|
In domestic races, individual winners were:
|Long||Euan Patton (M14B)|
|Grace Molloy (W18E)|
|Kirsty Bryan-Jones (W45L)|
|Hazel Dean (W50L)|
|Night||Graham Gristwood (M21)|
|Jon Cross (M50)|
|Sprint||Kris Jones (M21E)|
|Overall||Peter Molloy (M16A)|
|Graham Gristwood (M21E)|
|Fiona Hendrie (W55S)|
|Sprint||Grace Molloy (W18)|
|Peter Molloy (M16)|
|Jason Inman (M45)|
|Night||Will Hensman (M35L)|
|Fraser Purves (M45L)|
|Mark Holliday (M60L)|
|Long||James Hammond (M12A)|
|Ben Parkinson (M18L)|
|Will Hensman (M35L)|
|Dave Godfree (M40L)|
|Jason Inman (M45L)|
|Robert Neil (M60S)|
|Brian Bullen (M65L)|
|Rachel Hendrie (W20S)|
|Fiona Berrow (W21L)|
|Chris Wood (W70S)|
|UK Orienteering League|
|2nd||Lizzie Stansfield (W16)|
|2nd||Fanni Gyurko (W21)|
As always, there were a lot of great performances by people all of the way through the results lists, and notable performances in other events (hill races, mountain Marathons, and for those strange people who lack the imagination to run on terrain, track races and marathons).
The choice for FVO Athlete of the Year for 2017 was again difficult, but Graham Gristwood once again excelled, dominating UK competitions and achieving his best ever long distance international result at the World Cup final, along with qualifying for the GB team at the World mountain running championships.
Planning for the future
The Treasurer’s report shows that we continue to have a very healthy overall financial position. We need to remember that the club has to progressively take over the funding for the Development Officer over the next few years. However, we will be investing in new and replacement equipment (look out for our brand new gazebo – guaranteed not to blow away), including a plan to purchase some GPS trackers to aid in coaching and route analysis.
Our programme for new and updated maps continues, and the Stepping into Spring weekend will be using updated maps both days. Our permanent courses have been refreshed – the re-opening of South Achray last year was especially well attended. Thanks again to Geoffrey Hensman for supporting our training and events through map printing.
To help with our planning, the committee also has a development group where ideas are discussed and priorities agreed. We are also looking further ahead and have some ideas that will be developed in the near future.
As we note every year, there are very many people who have contributed to FVO’s successes, both as athletes and volunteers. Many contributions can go unnoticed and it is a good time to thank everyone for their volunteering, however minor the role may have appeared at the time it will have contributed to the club’s success. We also continue to contribute widely to the sport – for example, Brian Bullen and Steve Nicholson are involved in planning and controlling of the British Champs in 2018, Ross MacLennan is on the SOA Board, and Ted Finch controlled the excellent Northern Championships event in the Lake District in 2017 and also was IOF event advisor at the Scottish 6 Days (a job that involved buying aliens as well as checking control sites).
The 2018 season is already underway and soon we have the Scottish Night Championships at Pollok Park, then our Stepping into Spring weekend, the Scottish Spring, JK, British and Scottish Championships, Harvester Relay, and a possible FVO entry to the world-famous Jukola relay in Finland in June. In the autumn a club weekend is being planned on Strathspey as we prepare for the CompassSport Cup final.
The two awards that we make to recognise external and club member’s support of FVO are made this year to:
2017 Friend of FVO Andy Llewellyn (NOC) for planning the Double Dukes long distance race and SOL at the Trossachs. Andy offered to do this before we asked, and before most of us knew that he was living in Scotland! He then got on and did the job expertly, working around poor weather and work commitments, producing excellent courses that tested all of us on what turned out to be a glorious spring day (although don’t ask the organising team about the state of the car park 48 hours earlier). Andy has now joined FVO, and we look forward to his further involvement with the club.
2017 Jim Heardman Trophy Louise Longhurst for outstanding work on the committee and as club secretary. Louise has done so much for the club – from the regular social events that everyone knows about and instigating the Tuesday evening girls’ run through to the many small tasks that clubs of this type have to deal with (apologising to Portaloo(c) for violating their trademark on our website must have been a particular highpoint!). Louise is unfailingly enthusiastic, sets an example for all of us to follow, and offers reasoned, cautionary advice when the committee or club members get somewhat over-enthusiastic. Of course, Louise will still be involved with the club after she steps down from the committee, but this is a highly appropriate time to recognise her contributions.
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