Issue 17 Jul-Aug 2008
Back Issues

Word from the Chair

Chairman Jane provides an overview of MAG's progress

At last the summer weather seems to have reached the northern parts of Yorkshire. It seems almost unbelievable that only recently we were still in the middle of snow and hail storms.

This year marks the 35th since the formation of MAG as an organisation. Society has changed in so many ways with the development of I.T. which affects our whole communications systems. The threats to the future of motorcycling are still there, but less obvious and more surreptitious in manner.

Our style in protecting and advancing riders rights has also had to evolve so that we can be effective. However the fundamental principle underlying our organisation 'Freedom of choice' has not changed since the day we were formed. When you read the hand written minutes of the first ever MAG meeting, or attend an Activist Training weekend or sit around a bonfire late into the night at a bike rally, the common ground unites us all. Differences stemming from our various walks of life are put to one side. A rare thing indeed in today's society.

The AGC held at Bromsgrove this year was one of mixed emotion for me. We said goodbye to Trevor Baird, who had been with us for many years. From the ranks of individual members Trevor became a Regional Rep for Northern Ireland before taking full time employment as Public Affairs Director and finally as General Secretary for MAG UK.

Trevor and I have worked closely together for many years, in particular the last two in my position of Chair. His support, understanding and consistency have helped make MAG what it is today and he will be missed.

Trevor's replacement is Nich Brown, who has now started work at our Rugby HQ. The calibre of applications was very high, reflecting I believe, the esteem in which MAG is held these days.

Nich has been a MAG member since 1988 when he organised a demonstration against 'Leg Protectors' at the local DfT offices during a visit by Peter Bottomley. Prior to 2001 he held several posts within MAG, namely: Bristol Rep; Avon County Rep for four local groups; Reps Training tutor; FEM/FEMA delegate MAG (UK) Board member; AGC Chair and Vice Chair. Professional positions he has held: Senior Road Safety Officer for Avon Council; Cycling and Pedestrian Officer for Bath and east Somerset Council; and Director of Research and Statistical Services for the Motorcycle Industry Association. Nich is also an Honourary Fellow of the Institute of Highways Incorporated Engineers. Nick's selection from among a group of applicants was unanimous and we believe that not only does Nich have a full understanding of the workings of our organisation but he can also bring a perspective to MAG from his recent work experience. We feel that this appointment will really take us into a new era and an exciting year ahead. Conference is a time of reflection and gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the work of unsung heroes within our ranks.

The Freedom Award was awarded to Trevor Baird from the National Committee, The Richard Tegg Award was given to Steve Travis from Yorkshire, The Honourary Life Membership was given to Clare Quartermaine from Huddersfield, The Media Award to Brian Tarbox of MCM, Certificates of Merit to Jez Dodington from Southampton and Alan Thornton from the Isle of Wight and the Chairman's award went to Trevor Baird. Can I thank you all for your continued support over the years.

Out and about on the ground, the Yorkshire Pudding Rally has had to move location. Yet again the greed of land owners and caretakers got the better of us with the demand that we pay a 200% increase in site fees. Worse still they wanted to limit the numbers attending. We had a look at six other sites before deciding on a new location some ten miles south of the original site. This is a place of equal beauty and similar facilities. The event takes place on the first weekend of August, is one of the more popular Yorkshire events and is pre book only. Tickets are selling fast and last year we sold out months before the event. Online bookings can be made at www.yorkshirepuddingrally.co.uk or free phone 0800 988 3199.

We have a new event in Yorkshire - The Ganton Gathering which is to be held on the old site of the badgers Bash on July 18-20. This has been set up to raise funds for The MAG Foundation, so if you fancy marshaling or just coming along to support, look up www.gantongathering.com , same phone numbers as above.

The next Yorkshire event for your diary is of course the Farmyard Party on June 20-22. This is set in the grounds of a stately home, Duncombe Park, at Helmsley. See www.farmyardparty.com , again same phone number.

Finally great news on the support being given to us by affiliated clubs around the country. We are now approaching 160, which is an all time record in MAG's history and 43 of those are new to us since June last year. Thanks to you who help us to continue in our efforts.

Hoorah! Onwards and upwards.

Jane Chisholm
Chair MAG UK

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