Issue 18 Sep-Oct 2008
Back Issues

Words from the Chair

Chairman Jane provides an overview of MAG's progress

Hi all,

Thanks for your continued support.

For me, this past six months has seen a heavy focus on the internal workings of MAG, dealing with the departure of Trevor Baird and appointment of Nich Brown our new General Secretary. This of course included the necessary work to secure the right candidate, with production of a job description, personal specification, advertising, interviewing and then supporting Nich in his induction period. The process couldn't have gone better and Nich has already shown what qualities he can bring to our organisation with his wide experience of working in the motorcycling world. However, before I went completely mad, I decided to redress the balance by spending more time riding my bike and attending MAG events - nothing like reminding yourself of why you're doing it all.

At 2500 numbers were well up at the Into the Valley Rally, held on the grounds of Seldmere House. The MAG stall was busy all weekend with a lot of positive upbeat attitude from those visiting it. We took 120 memberships, a record for this rally.

Behind the scene the wet weather had been so extreme prior to the event that for one minute, Pete Walker considered the possibility of having to cancel the events as we could not get the power or traders on site, eeeek! Thankfully Billy Simpson, life member and stalwart for the past 20 years demonstrated true grit and sorted the problems. The weekend weather was then fine throughout.

Jez Dodington, Southern Regional Rep kindly invited me to be the National Committee observer at their AGM. Groups making up this Region come from Basingstoke, the Isle of Wight, Salisbury and Southampton. It was great to meet such enthusiastic local members many with roles assigned under a well organised teamwork ethic and to see the varied range of activities ranging from political work, bike awareness days and numerous bike shows.

The Region makes four awards, to recognise members' efforts and build a feel good factor. The Regional Group award, the Southern Region award, the Regional Reps Award and the Gareth Award. The Gareth award is made to the member who shows the greatest ineptitude on a motorcycle. This was the most popular award for nominations, with one member nominating himself!

Dashing back to Yorkshire for the Marshals' briefing Pete Walker steered us into shape for the following three events. After that I headed North to Edinburgh, where Scots rep Steve Wykes and his team were hosting the FEMA spring meeting. This year marked FEMA's 20th anniversary. Steve really did us proud, with a visit to the Whisky Heritage trail next to Edinburgh Castle to provide a fitting social element.

It really was stimulating to be part of this meeting of minds, with broad ranging discussions on global issues that will affect motorcycling across Europe.

Next it was back down to Rugby for MAG's Board and National Committee meeting to make a start on the hefty work load for the year ahead.

The summer solstice drew me and over 8000 others to the Farmyard Party for a mixed bag of weather, but I managed to arrive and depart in the dry. The event ran like clockwork offering something for all tastes, with the great diversity of music, comedy, stalls, and food options. This year the growing custom show was run by Blue for Back Street Heroes (thanks Blue). The MAG stand took a record 320 memberships over the weekend which was heartening.

The following weekend I headed off to 'Fun and Frolic's on the Fylde' run by Blackpool MAG and supported by Tony Cox, North West Regional Rep and his team. This was at a new site and the partnership between MAG and the Rugby Union Club went well. I believe the Christmas Party is already booked, I recommend it! There were a great number of clubs there, including people from the Isle of Man and Ireland. I think most of them were Tony's personal friends proving how important personal relations are in our world.

The ride out up and down the Golden Mile on Blackpool's sea front really is a one off. I hadn't done it for a few years - the last time was without helmets - hoorah!

Heart of England Rally and Brum Demo were next, another excellent event. Thanks to Eddie, Debz and the crew for all the hard work including their negotiations with the police who provided us with an escort to the centre of Birmingham and Centenary Square.

About 30 of us set off from the rally site to the meeting point, where we were joined by another 300 bikers who'd ridden down from different parts of the country, just for the ride out.

The safe parking provided was well over subscribed so individuals decided to use their initiative and park right in the centre of Centenary Square. President Mutch and I spoke to the gathering who were most enthusiastic. We even had donations from a couple of the general public who listened to the speeches and wanted to support our cause. The feeling of solidarity shown by those present reassured me of something important. While MAG mostly deals with political issues across tables, as we are consulted these days, it's good to know that should a need for public demonstration arise, there are still many who will respond by turning out on the streets in defence of the freewheeling lifestyle of biking.

Thanks to all the hard work that went into putting on these events. I feel humbled to be part of this community.

Jane Chisholm
Chair MAG UK


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