I am happy to be able to report that we had a successful AGM in Bern on 16 May (see report) in an attractive setting and at an attractive price. This was made possible by the generosity of our main sponsor, Peritus, whose contribution paid for the room and for the aperitif.
Moreover, there have been some notable happenings since that meeting!
First the good news – your Council has been able to co-opt Michael Bruce onto Council and Michael has agreed to take on the position of Regional Chairman Romandie West. We are grateful to Michael and wish him well in the exercise of this function. Michael thus joins the Councillors co-opted during the past year (Deborah Gorsatt, Robert Dean, Graham Robertson and John Spicer) who have since been formally elected at the AGM.
We are increasingly using e-mail to remind members of events at both the National and Regional level. E-Mail reminders have been a significant factor in getting last-minute registrations for events. Less good is the fact that a number of you will have received unauthorized and unsolicited e-mails recently. The latest of these contained erroneous information about the QBP in Romandie West. Official reminder e-mails for events should only come from our Secretary or from your own Regional Chairman (in exceptional cases from the Regional Chairman’s deputy). E-mails from other sources should be ignored.
This Spring has turned out to be quite eventful! It began with terrible weather which disrupted even the Swiss Railways, and, incidentally, put our Secretary out of action for a couple of days when her house was flooded. Then came the adorable new Princess Charlotte to delight the heart of Royalists (which, I think, BRA members mainly are!) and finally came the unexpected victory of David Cameron and his Tories in the UK Elections. Whether you support that party or not, I think we should all be grateful that a decisive majority has been achieved and that the UK will no longer be governed by a coalition.
The result of the election means that a referendum on continuing UK membership of the EU will now take place in 2017. If you left the UK less than 15 years ago, you can now register to vote from Switzerland by electronic means. Details are on our website.
The Winter Weekend in which a number of members participated failed to take place this year and this event has now been definitely dropped, with the result that there are now just three National events per year, the AGM, the Winter Lunch and the Golf Challenge.
A negative point for the Winter Lunch at the Olympic Museum was that since we were only using half the room, we were unable to use their sound system, and we received several complaints that some speakers were not clearly heard. We hope we have remedied that situation by purchasing our own system, which we used at the AGM. It is not yet perfect but it was relatively inexpensive and should pay its way in future. It will also be available for Regional events provided that we can solve the logistics of getting it from one place to another without incurring unreasonable expense!
Your Council also decided to spend some of your money supporting a really Swiss undertaking – namely Solar Impulse. We spent CHF 200 sponsoring one of the 10’728 Solar cells (no. 4024) on this revolutionary airplane which any day now will undertake its biggest challenge yet – crossing the Pacific. Our cell on their website bears the BRA logo and we cannot do other than wish the pilots a successful crossing from Nagasaki once the weather situation becomes favourable!
Recently we realized that our printed documentation (thanks to the ever-attentive Jo Brown!) was out-of-date, especially considering the changes in membership requirements. There is now a new Membership Application form, and we have also developed a Sponsorship Application Form which we hope members will distribute to any small firms who might be interested in advertising on our website. Finally, we have developed a Poster – this is rather special as it has a blank centrepiece which will enable our Regional Chairmen and their aides, to insert a flyer with details of the next local event. We would like you to help find local businesses, preferably ones that have potential members amongst their clientele, to put these posters in their window as a permanent feature – contact your Regional Chairman with details.
We have continued to subsidize events. In fact most Regional events are self-supporting and do not require subsidies, but we no longer expect them to make a profit! The result of our attempt to give you better value for your subscription money has been to reduce our reserves from CHF 39’202 to CHF 31’486. This sum remains significantly in excess of our requisite reserves which we currently estimate at less than CHF 12’000!