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I N F C a G M 2018-13-03-18

INFC Annual General Meeting in Lisburn


A smaller than usual number of members attended the 68th AGM of the INFC held on Saturday 10th March in the Lagan Valley Leisureplex in Lisburn. The meeting had been put back for one week due to the severe weather condition over that weekend across Ireland.


Chairman Len McCavery welcomed the members and firstly asked them to stand and observe a moments silence for the members and relatives who had passed away since the previous AGM, included were Past President Lyndin Boyle Committee member George Gaw, Bobby Smyth, Joe Adamson, Brian Hogg, George Barr and Angus Houston. Apologies were received from D Mawhinney, R Johnston, N Lusty, J Albert, S Thompson, J Hughes, D Black, J Doheny and SG Briggs.


He then invited the secretary Trevor Topping to read the minutes of the previous AGM which were then approved. Next item was the Secretary Report of 2017.


Secretary’s Report for the 2017 season.


On behalf of all the members I thank the following sponsors for the 2017 season Bamford’s Top Flight, Frazers Animal Feeds, H. Beattie & Son and Sawyers & Co. Estate Agents, also to the BHW with a discount on publishing rates for race results. The sponsorship special prizes are greatly appreciated by all the club members.


The club had a difficult seasons racing with the weather playing a big part in all the races. The Saint Allouestre King’s Cup was due to the efforts of the race advisors and convoyer, the most successful race of the season. I congratulate all national and prize winners during the 2017 season. Thanks, must go to the efforts of race advisors David Black, Tom Marshall and Noel Shiels who had poor weather to deal with and had to make some very difficult decisions.


Ronnie Johnston arranged the annual prize distribution to a very high standard once again in December. The awards were presented by our retiring treasurer after 30 years of service, Mr David Mawhinney, assisted by Mrs Pamela Mawhinney.


I wish to thank the committees of the East Down Combine and Ulster Federation for assistance with transport during the 2017 season. On behalf of the members I wish to thank all of those committee members and club members who helped at the race markings, clock settings and checking’s and also the race controllers. Thanks also to Jim McCrory INFC Convoyer, Vincent, Danny and Brian McCrory for their great work and assistance in transporting the pigeons along with Paddy Cullen.


I personally thank the officials, committee members, press officers and any members who helped me during the past season.  I also wish to pay tribute to the late Lyndon Boyle and the late George Gaw who served on the management committee of the INFC faithfully for many years.


Just before I finish a lot has been published in the fancy press about the poor races and that the INFC has experienced over recent years, please remember the committee serve the members and change can be brought about by the members not by articles in the fancy press. Just one more point to consider, what would our forefathers have done?


The 2018 season is fast approaching, and I appeal for help at the marking centre if only for a few hours as those members of the committee who faithfully attend the race marking are struggling to cope.  Remember the single bird challenge entries have to be returned before 17th March. I hope we all have a successful 2018 season.


The Convoyers race reports were on the table for inspection and next item was the passing of accounts. Annual Accounts: No questions had been asked prior to the meeting regarding the annual accounts and Auditor Ron McKelvey presented the Auditors report to the members. With an upgrade to the computer programme it saved a bit of money on the Auditor fees.  Monies paid out to the membership amounted to a massive £118,060 which included £3,300 in free nominations and there were 6,807 birds entered in the six races. The Irish National Flying Clubs accounts were in a very healthy state and the Auditor thanked Trevor for his assistance in the preparation of the accounts.


Election of Officers: All offices were declared vacant and Life Vice President Eugene Fitzgerald conducted the election.


Officers for 2018 are: Patron Ronnie Johnston, President David Black, Senior Vice-President Clifford Browne, Junior Vice-President Wesley Sawyers, Chairman Leonard McCavery, Secretary Trevor Topping, Treasurer vacant, Auditor Ron McKelvey, Press Officer Willie Reynolds.  Race advisors - Peter McKeown, David Black Tom Marshall.


INFC Management Committee 2018:


RPRA representatives:  N. Lewis Doagh, C O’Hare Ballyholland, W Reynolds Ballymena, E McGimpsey Ards, P Simth Dublin, D Suitters Doagh, R Duddy Ballyclare, C Lyons Hills & Maze, T Griffiths Eastway, A Thompson Ballyclare, A Larkin Wilton Cross, J Serplus Laurelvale, G McDowell Kells, P Dunlop Edgarstown.


RPRA Appeals Committee: W Knowles Kingsmoss, J Brown Blackwatertown, J Burrows Eastway.


IHU representatives:  L McCavery Annalong,  B Marshall Newtownbreda, P O’Neill Grosvenor, B McLoughlin Annalong, D Walton Skerries, A Kelly Skerries, R Topping Ballynahinch, M Irvine Downpatrick, J Hand Skerries, D Coleman Castlebellingham, R Trimble Ballylesson, B O’Leary Cork T Marshall Newtownbreda, D Caskey Bangor, P McKeown Dundalk.


IHU Appeals Committee: J Albert Ballylesson, H Patton Belmont, M Roche Blanchardstown.


Motions: The single item on the agenda was to change the YB Grand Nat from Penzance to Bude, although the proposer Noel Lusty was absent the fact the meeting date was changed at short notice the motion was allowed to go forward. Opinions were expressed on both points and when put to the vote the members were reluctant to change, for Bude 12, against Bude 23. Most of the older members remember Bude was flown before, and I checked back the records, races were before my time racing. Bude was flown in 1963 and the winners were a top Ballymena loft of Gray & Lowry, I think they finished 3rd as well winning velocity was 1006. 1964 was Milford Haven won by Smyth Bros of Ballymena velocity 1284, it was Bude again in 1965 won by E Herron & Son Holywood velocity 879, then Cork in 1966 won by J & W Machie of Belfast just over a mile a minute. Penzance was first flown in 1976 and was won in Mid Antrim yet again, Campbell & Francey were to dominate for many seasons in Harryville.


The Agreed race programme for 2018 is as follows, venue for the YB Grand Nat will be Penzance. Tuesday 29th May - Skibbereen Old Bird Inland, marking (Monday); Wednesday 13th June - Sennen Cove Yearling, marking (Monday); Friday 6th July - St. Allouestre Grand Nat King’s Cup, marking (Tuesday); Friday 13th July - Brest Friendship National, marking (Tuesday); Wednesday 5th September - Penzance Young Bird Grand Nat, marking (Monday); Saturday 22nd September - Skibbereen Young Bird Inland, marking (Thursday). Annual Dinner & Prize Presentation Stormont Hotel in Belfast on Friday 23rd November 2018.


At the committee meeting that followed it was agreed Single Bird Challenge to have 10 prizes on a reducing percentage, the entry fee this year is £5.00 and deadline for entries to David Black is 17th March 2018. This year the Single Bird Challenge in the Kings Cup will have an entry fee of £5.00. Birds to be nominated by 17th March 2018 and the Entry Form and £5 fee to be sent to Mr David Black, 11 Drumiller Hill, Dromore, Co Down, BT25 1EP. New Member Application form and Single Bird Challenge form are available to download on the website

The race planned from Ypres is not going to be easily arranged and there may not be a lot of interest and could prove expensive to enter. The committee will make a final decision at the race marking for the Old Bird Skibbereen. It was approved the secretary purchase a new printer. At this meeting I was selected as Press Officer which will be my third time in office, Adie has agreed to give me a hand and we look forward to covering all the latest news and race reports over the season.

Willie Reynolds Press Officer.