WEST SURREY DA ANNUAL REPORT 1999 - 2000

Previous report . Next report

This report will deal with the salient events and issues that arose during the year.

Officers and other officials

        President . . . . .  Harold Coleman
  Chairman . . . . .  Rico Signore
  Secretary . . . . .  Don Jones
  Treasurer . . . . .  Chas Benzing
  Runs Sec . . . . .  Roger Philo
  Others . . . . .  Jim Cheatham, Rory Fenner, Tom Hargreaves, Trevor Strudwick, and Jean Tedder.
 
  Non-Committee Offices:
  Magazine Editor . . . . .  Geoff Smith (Senior) - co-opted to the Committee.
  Archivist . . . . .  Keith Chesterton
  Membership Sec . . . . .  Trevor Strudwick
  Auditor . . . . .  Roly Masset
  Vice-Presidents . . . . .  George Alesbury, Ken Bolingbroke (deceased), Les Houlton, Harry Statham and Les Warner.

Awards 1999-2000

Benstead Cup     Clive Richardson
Benstead Cup Runner Up     Tom Hargreaves
Ladies Benstead Shield     Marguerite Statham
Bernard Howell Trophy - Highest Placed Veteran     Don Jones
Bill Inder Trophy - Sunday Attendance Competition     Clive Richardson
Junior Attendance Cup     Not Awarded
Junior Benstead Cup     Matthew Juden
George Alesbury Tankard - Midweek Wayfarers Attendance Competition     Rico Signore
The Bert Bartholomew 100 mile Trophy     Bill Thompson
The Keith Parfitt Pot     Matthew Juden

DA Medals

Gold Clive Richardson, Trevor Strudwick
Silver Phil Hampton, Tom Hargreaves, Robert Simpson, Harry Statham
Bronze     Chris Boggon, Peter Callaghan, Harold Coleman, Don Jones, Bill Mann, John Pugh, Rico Signore

Millennium Rally

The high point of the year for the DA was expected to be the Southern Counties' Millennium Rally which the West Surrey DA was commissioned to organise and run.  To this end, the grounds and facilities of Merrist Wood College were booked for the period 26-29 May, the late spring Bank Holiday.  Comprehensive arrangements were put in hand to cater for upwards of 200 people, living in tents, camper vans, and off-site accommodation.  Rides were organised both on and off road over a range of distances, including some Audax events.  Top quality entertainment was booked.  However, by the beginning of May, firm bookings numbered only 17 against a break-even of 150.  At that point over £800 had been spent, but the need to pay out a further £2000 was imminent.  The Committee decided it would be imprudent to spend such large sums with little chance of recovering them from participants, and the decision to cancel the event was taken.  Later, the money spent by the DA on the event was recovered from the CTC.  Causes of the failure almost certainly include the venue;  the price (it was about 10% more expensive than the previous year's event) and the Birthday Rides also being held in the south - at Canterbury - a few weeks later.  Also the dreadful April weather must have taken its toll.

Events and Riding Groups

The DA continued to provide 4 separate rides on most Sundays (Hardriders, Intermediates, Guildford and Godalming Wayfarers, and Woking Wayfarers), and 2 on Wednesdays (Midweek Wayfarers).  The total average participation remained stubbornly low at about 50 souls from a DA population of 1000.  However, around 20 people on average attended the Wednesday rides, meaning that only an average of about 30 per week came out for all 4 Sunday rides combined.

The turnout of W Surrey DA members for the Benstead Cup events was also disappointing.  The usually most popular event, the early season 50 mile reliability ride attracted only 17 entrants, and two other events (the South Downs 200 km run on the doomed Merrist Wood weekend and the Tricyclathon) fared no better, although the Stonehenge 200 km event (coupled with the Danebury 150 km and Clover-Leaf rides), the Tour of the Hills and the Rough Stuff rides continued to attract widespread interest outside the DA with entrants numbering 150, 100 and 60 respectively.  The away rides continued to be supported by the small but stalwart group of members who consistently hoist the flag of the West Surrey DA to the top or near the top of the Audax and DATC league tables.  But in view of the general lack of interest in the Events the late season 100/75 mile reliability ride was cancelled.  Attempts to resurrect the Sunday Junior Rides failed when the new runs leaders evaporated.

Regenerating the DA

In view of this gloomy picture, made worse by the attendance of only about 20 people at the annual dinner and prizegiving, an effort to increase the active numbers of DA members was undertaken by the new Committee immediately after taking office in late 1999.  The Committee wrote to each member of the DA inviting them to join the rides or help out at the Millennium Rally.  Of the 1000 people contacted, around 20 replied, but no more than 2 additional regular riders could be attributed to this initiative.

The age profile of the DA active members is skewed heavily to the 60+ end of the spectrum, with the vast majority of the Committee for the year being in that age bracket too.  Within the Committee the consensus emerged that way should be given to a younger cadre to see it it can alter the fortunes of the DA.  Therefore, all the officers of the 1999 - 2000 Committee stood aside, and at the time of going to press, the signs are good that a younger Committee will be in place next season.

Obituary

It was with great sadness that we heard that two of our stalwart DA members, George Porter and Ken Bolingbroke, a VP, had passed away after serious illnesses.  They remain often in our thoughts:  they were smashing blokes.


. Previous report . Next report . Reports index . Archives . W. Surrey DA History & Archives home page .

Web page by Chris Jeggo.  Last revised:  16 September 2009.       Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional