It has now been my privilege to hold the office of Chairman of the Kennel Club for nine years. For some time I have privately been considering how long to continue in the post, and in March of this year I finally took the decision to relinquish the position. As a consequence of this I now wish to announce that I will not be seeking re-election as Chairman on June 7, which is the date on which the General Committee is due to elect its Chairman and Vice Chairman. I will also, in due course, retire as a Trustee of the Kennel Club and therefore as a Member of the General Committee. I will of course retain my Membership of the Club and will be happy, on an ad hoc basis, to help the Club in any way that it feels that I can be of assistance.
The Kennel Club has been through a difficult period over the last few years but I feel that it is now in a strong position to move forward under different leadership. When I took over as Chairman I said that I would ‘not continue in the post for ever’ and that it would be time for me to go when a fresh eye and new leadership would be beneficial. I believe that time has now arrived and that it is therefore appropriate to move on and for me simply to return to the occasional judging appointment and to enjoying showing our dogs.
The Kennel Club’s position on Health and Welfare has never been stronger with the Kennel Club Dog Health Group up and running, the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust in full swing and the Accredited Breeder Scheme working well; the on-line Registration, Transfer and Petlog systems are operating successfully and the Kennel Club website contains a wealth of helpful information for breeders and for prospective and current dog owners; the Club’s financial position was strong enough last year to have a healthy surplus even after donating a total of nearly £800K to the KC Charitable Trust and to the KC Educational Trust for the benefit of dogs and dog people; this year’s budget also looks sound; we now have the Kennel Club Educational Trust’s Building at Stoneleigh being extensively used by the world of dogs; Crufts and Discover Dogs have been an agreed success and are likely to continue as such; though the economic climate is not good and registrations are slightly down in the first part of this year, the demand for pedigree dogs continues apace; shows are bound to suffer from fuel and travel costs in the medium term, but hopefully the longer term future of most of the societies is still very sound.
Finally, and probably most importantly, I believe that the range of skills and the abilities of both the General Committee and the Staff of the Kennel Club have never been stronger and more diverse and that the Club, under that leadership, will have a very sound future ahead of it. I would particularly like to thank both the Committee and the Staff for the very strong support they have provided to me over the last nine years. Without that support, I would undoubtedly have decided to bring my tenure to an end several years earlier!
I wish the Club every possible success for the future.