CRSC has a new President. At an upbeat Annual General Meeting on 18 April Roy Paterson was elected unopposed for a two-year term, with Andrew Anderson as Vice-President. Two of the Club’s younger-generation members, Allan Smith and Cameron Shaw, joined the committee. CRSC has had a good year, writes Stuart Craig, and the £25 subscription remains ‘fantastic value’. Below Stuart’s AGM report you will find outgoing President Iain Morgan’s valedictory round-up and Roy Paterson’s inaugural remarks.
Iain Morgan performed his final duty as President by acknowledging the work of all committee members during the year. Personally, I am sorry to see him go: Iain was an excellent President. Stepping into his big shoes now is Roy Paterson. From Roy’s opening address it became clear he also has a vision for CRSC, and his skills and ambition for the Club are already apparent.
Honorary Secretary Eric Schofield was next, and he gave us a short account of the activities of the committee over the previous twelve months. To keep the Club on an even keel it had met five times at various venues — munching its way through buckets of sandwiches in the process. Eric then explained how the recent mailing had been put together, modestly omitting to say that he had done it all himself as some of his little helpers were away on holiday.
And then it was the Treasurer’s turn, and Mr Tomlinson fairly skipped up to the podium, which augured well for the state of the Club’s finances. Billy then commenced his report with a brilliant Scottish football story – surprisingly, one we hadn’t heard before. The laughter subsided but the smiles remained as our Treasurer gave a positive slant to the accounts. Clearly the Club has had a good year, with much income coming from the ‘other activites’ in which we indulge ourselves, none more so than the January 2018 charter of Isle of Arran around her island, which netted a decent return. The good news is that the subscription will remain static at £25 – which we all know is fantastic value.
The election of office-bearers ensued, with Billy and Eric re-elected as Treasurer and Secretary respectively. Also unopposed was Membership Secretary Stuart Craig, despite his appealing glances around the room. Have no fear, I have it on good authority that he loves the job.
Vice-President was next up and there were gasps as Andrew Anderson was proposed. Gasps of delight, that is. Andy will become President in two years’ time – so that will mean four years of his witty banter. I can’t wait!
Five ordinary members of committee were then proposed and selected – meaning that there will be three new faces sitting round the committee table next month (Allan Smith, Cameron Shaw and Andy Anderson, in addition to re-elected committee members Robin Copland, Neil Guthrie and John Newth). Robert Cleary stood down from committee, and the many years of service Robert has given the Club was acknowledged — see Roy Paterson’s tribute below.
There were no questions to be answered nor ‘other’ business to be discussed, suggesting a contented audience. And so we proceeded to the fun part of the evening – a short presentation by John Newth on how the annual CRSC Review is prepared.
John covered the news gathering, the laying-out and the printing aspects of this publication, which in time takes on the character of a historical document. Using some astonishing graphics John explained that, in order to understand unusual and non-timetabled movements of the numerous ferries, one had first to take heed of what each ship was supposed to be doing.
Using speeded-up clips from Marine Traffic sources, and without moving his hands, he showed the passage of the two Islay vessels over the course of a day, and the movement of the four original ‘Loch’ class ferries over a few days. The ships frolicked and capered about the screen like demented flies. Wouldn’t it be fun if the pages of the Review could do that? We were all much the wiser when John sat down.
Deryk Docherty gave the excellent vote of thanks. So it was now all over for another session of CRSC gatherings — and I just can’t wait for the next.
CRSC President’s Report 2017-18 by Iain Morgan
Last year, I started my report by praising the Club’s new website and I think this year I must start by mentioning the January charter of Isle of Arran. This was the first ‘big ship’ charter the Club had arranged for many years and it turned out to be a great success, with approximately 180 people coming along, fulfilling one of the objectives of the Club — to encourage enthusiasts to meet together, sail together and talk together.
At the AGM two years ago when I took up the position of President, I said that one of my aims was to increase the membership. Your committee has, over the last year, considered a New Members Initiative and I am pleased to report that the current membership is 515, an encouraging increase on this time last year. We must continue to seek to attract new members — and the success of the January charter points us in that direction.
At one stage I began to wonder if the summer of 2017 was going to be a summer of non-events. New ships weren’t going to be launched, new terminals weren’t going to be opened etc. But we enthusiasts have learned to be patient and eventually the new Glen Sannox was launched in November 2017 and the new ferry terminal at Brodick was opened in March 2018.
The first Club event of 2017-18 was the Arran/Kintyre excursion on Sunday 21 May. Just over 50 members and friends boarded Caledonian Isles at Ardrossan for her crossing to Brodick and then Lawrence Macduff’s bus from Brodick to Lochranza. Further trips on the new hybrid ferry Catriona and Isle of Arran ensured that we had, as Robin Copland mentioned in his write-up on the website, “a grand day out”.
Evening meetings continued to be held at Jurys Inn in Glasgow, with between 70 and 100 people attending. I know there is some concern about the layout of our meeting room but a more suitable venue that ticks all the boxes is not easy to find.
The first meeting of our winter programme in October was entitled ‘MacBraynes in the 1960s’ and Colin Tucker gave a fascinating talk on the many changes that had taken place in the MacBrayne fleet during this time. As Andrew Clark mentioned in his Vote of Thanks, it was indeed ‘another world’. Later in October, a charter of MV Sileas encouraged some 30 hardy souls to journey to Loch Shiel for what was considered to be another grand (if not damp) day out.
The November meeting found our Honorary Secretary, Eric Schofield, giving the second part of his talk on ‘Taking Passage to Arran’. On this occasion he concentrated on the CalMac era, with special emphasis on the much loved car ferry Glen Sannox.
December brought a variety of speakers for our Members’ Night. Roy Paterson efficiently organised nine speakers who, as might have been expected, gave us an extremely wide-ranging set of presentations.
As with the January meeting the previous year, the New Year opened with a double-bill. Robert Cleary and John Beveridge spoke to us about Maid of the Loch. Each brought a different perspective, with Robert focusing on her period in service up to 1981 and John concentrating on what has happened since then and what the future holds.
Our Wednesday meeting at Jurys Inn that week was quickly followed on the Saturday by our charter of Isle of Arran from Ardrossan, sailing round Arran in a clockwise direction. The weather was not as kind to us as it had been on our New Year excursion to Brodick the previous year, but the charter was a great success, with 180 members and friends enjoying a great day out.
For the February meeting we welcomed Captain Lewis Mackenzie, one of CalMac’s most experienced masters. Lewis was a most engaging speaker and his talk, entitled ‘A View from the Bridge’, was illustrated with many interesting shots, with a special emphasis on the building and handover of Loch Seaforth.
The March meeting began with a very pleasant task and that was to award Honorary Membership of the Club to Douglas McGowan and Terry Sylvester. In the event, Terry was unable to attend the meeting but Douglas read out a letter from him instead. We were then treated to a well illustrated presentation by Paul Semple, appropriately entitled ‘From Waverley to Schiller’. This took us on a journey from the Clyde to the Swiss lakes and the paddle steamers there.
I am grateful to my Vice-President, Rob Beale, for his support during the year. Sadly I have to report that, due to family commitments, he has felt unable to take up the role of President at the AGM in April 2018. I know this was a tough decision for him but it is clear that his family commitments must take priority. Honorary Secretary Eric Schofield and Honorary Treasurer Billy Tomlinson have also done sterling work for the Club, as has Stuart Craig, Membership Secretary, and I am most grateful to them too.
The Club’s management committee met on five occasions during the year and their support, too, has been invaluable to me. We have discussed such diverse topics as the venue and starting time of monthly meetings, a New Members Initiative, archive storage, cruising opportunities, a donation to Maid of the Loch, the size of the Calendar — not forgetting the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
In keeping with the aims of the Club, your committee felt it entirely appropriate to help to support Maid of the Loch’s reintroduction into service and have recently decided to donate £1,500 to what I hope you will agree is this very worthy cause.
Finally, it has been an honour and a privilege to have been the Club’s President for the last two years. I thank you for giving me the opportunity and, more importantly, thank you too for supporting the Club events which have been organised.
Roy Paterson’s opening remarks as CRSC President:
It is an honour to accept this prestigious Badge of Office. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have the privilege of being elected President of the Clyde River Steamer Club.
Iain, at your election as President two years ago, you said your aim was not only to leave the organisation in a better state than you found it but also to increase the membership. I think we can all agree that you have achieved both goals.
One of your successes has been the launch of a New Members Initiative. This includes the possibility of CalMac organising an exhibition and our willingness to assist with it; having an occasional CRSC presence on one of the ferries to publicise the Club to the travelling public; and encouraging younger people to join this Club and get involved in its activities. Not many members know that Iain’s home is in Solihull in England. After many Club and committee meetings, including this evening, Iain makes his way to Central Station and jumps on a sleeper back home. That is dedication to the job.
Iain, you are to be admired for the way in which you took committee matters in your stride and handled everything for the benefit of the Club. Members of the Clyde River Steamer Club, can I ask you all to give a hearty round of appreciation to Iain for what he has done these last two years.
So what does the future hold for CRSC?
One thing that is absolutely apparent is that we need younger members if our Club is to continue to exist, at least in its present form.
The biggest asset we have is you the membership, because without members we don’t have a Club. I would ask all the Club’s supporters to spread the word of how enjoyable Clyde cruising can be, in summer and in winter, and also how rewarding our winter meetings are, whether it is an evening of nostalgia, a focus on present day vessels, or a look into the future. There is something for everyone.
I believe another major asset is our archive. At the moment very few members have seen it, let alone know what we have. We need to bring it out so that it is seen and not hidden away. I strongly believe that our assets, used correctly, can make CRSC stronger and more versatile.
I would like to reiterate what the Chairman of our sister club, the PSPS, recently said, because we evidently have a similar outlook to the future: we need a permanent static attraction that utilises the CRSC and PSPS archives, telling the story of the River Clyde and its steamers. TS Queen Mary may provide an opportunity for us to do this.
I will try in my time as President to follow Iain’s example of bringing new growth by way of younger members to the Club.
Roy also paid tribute to Robert Cleary, who has retired from the Club’s management committee after more than three decades, serving variously as President (twice), magazine and Review editor, and ordinary committee member:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Robert who has served as President on two separate occasions — in 1976-7 and 2004-5 — and recently made clear his intention to step down from his post as an elected member of the Club’s management committee.
Robert, I don’t know if you have added up how long you have served on committee, but I believe it comes to a whopping 37 years. During this time you have only once had a short break from the committee, which was in early 1990s. You were also magazine and Review editor from 1981 to 1990.
Robert, you have given your total commitment to this Club.
As the new President, I for one will miss the wealth of experience you have given this Club over the years. Can I ask all members to show their appreciation to Robert for his outstanding record of service?
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The first meeting of the 2018-19 winter session is on Wednesday 10 October at 7.30pm at Jurys Inn, Jamaica Street, Glasgow.