Aug 24, 2011

Chairmans Chunk - Summer 2011

I must apologise for the spring issue of Open House not being produced. As I explained in the last issue, we expected the spring issue to be produced a little later than usual but hoped it would be with you all by mid May. Unfortunately my mother died on April 23rd after a short bout of illness and though I managed to continue with the You’ve Been Nabbed 20 rally, I couldn’t find the motivation to produce the Open House, or to think of anything else to be honest. I’m still dealing with the grief of losing the best mother a man could have and no doubt I will continue dealing with it for some time to come but I do take some solace in knowing that she had lived long enough to see the NABD grow into something we were both very proud of. In the early days of the association, before we had an official office, my mum was often the initial friendly voice on the other end of the phone when people were contacting the NABD for help and I know she took great pride in what the NABD has achieved over the past twenty years. (Not to mention being somewhat relieved at it having had something of a calming effect on her previously oftenwayward youngest son since he became the chairman of it).

Then on the 27th of May my friend Mike Lever, known to many as “Doctor Mikey” died suddenly and very unexpectedly. I’m sure many of you who have attended the main NABD events will remember the big shambling yeti-like creature with the obscenely gaudy Hawaiian shirts and the seemingly inexhaustible supply of cynicism? Well that was Mikey, and although his long scruffy grey hair and shaggy grey beard made him look quite ancient, in truth he was only in his mid 40’s and his death was a great shock to all of us.

After all of this, it has been something of a trial trying to get my ‘mojo’ back, but the NABD roller coaster never stops for long and things are beginning to get back to their customary state of frantic activity. I must thank the rest of the national committee and particularly the ladies in the office for giving me a little breathing space over the last couple of months. It’s always good to know that when times are tough there are people you will carry some of the weight for you.

I am still hoping that we will have four issues of Open House this year but I think the only way to achieve this is for me to produce the next issue (Autumn) as usual for publication in October, then to put together a special 20th Anniversary supplement featuring a look at the last 20 years of the NABD. I will aim to get that out in December so you all have something to read when the TV is featuring the usual non-stop stream of fatuous nonsense over Christmas.

In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying the beginning of a summer that many pundits predict will be “the hottest summer since 1976”… Now wouldn’t that be nice?

OK let’s get down to business…

You’ve Been Nabbed 20 Rally
Our national rally in May was once again an overwhelming success. Tickets sold out in advance for the third year in a row and the weather was once again kind to us for the time of year. We had made some significant changes to the layout of the site this year and I’m pleased to say that it paid off handsomely making the event much easier to marshal and improving the effectiveness of our security vastly. We had made a conscious decision not to increase prices this year despite the hike in the rate of VAT and the general rise in the cost of everything under the sun. This decision was reached after long discussions and a lot of soul searching because the profits from this event finance many of the NABD’s core costs so any fall in profits is felt quite keenly. However, we thought it best not to add to the financial burden that most people have been under lately and we also wanted to reaffirm the NABD’s dedication to never treating our fellow bikers as “cash cows”. The You’ve Been Nabbed rally has earned the reputation of being “the best value-formoney event on the British rally calendar” and even when we have to increase the prices in 2012 this will still be very-much the case.

I will try to feature a fuller report on the You’ve Been Nabbed 20 event in a future issue of Open House. YBN 20 Raffle Winners We had some lovely baskets of mixed prizes in the raffle at the You’ve Been Nabbed rally this year, and we sold lots of tickets and raised lots of funds, but the odd thing is we are still waiting for them to be claimed! This is despite the winning numbers being read-out by the DJ’s in each marquee on several occasions throughout the Saturday night and the tickets being displayed on the NABD stall until Sunday afternoon!
If you bought raffle tickets and have been clever enough to keep them, go dig them out, you may be a winner. And if you buy tickets in future but are worried about how you will get the prizes home, don’t worry, we’ll get them too you!

The winning tickets were all pink and they were in the following order: 1st Prize 227: 2nd Prize 831: 3rd Prize 512. If you have one of these, please contact the NABD office. If they are not claimed they will be re-raffled.

Nabdonia Rally
This is an unusual event for us in many ways. It is held at the Swallow Falls hotel complex near Betwsy Coed on the edge of the Snowdonia national park in North Wales. People have the choice of camping, rooming in the Youth Hostel or staying in the hotel itself. It has purposely been planned as a small event that has the feel of a weekend party rather than a full-blown rally and the entertainment is in a function room attached to the hotel so the weather is less of a concern than at traditional rallies.

This year’s event (just last weekend as I write this) was an excellent party with as fun-loving a crowd as you could wish for. The entertainment was top quality and some of us had a lovely run out to Conwy on Saturday afternoon through the gorgeous welsh countryside in beautiful sunshine while others wandered into Betwsy Coed to sample the welcome in a few local pubs. I thoroughly recommend this little event, particularly for those folk who aren’t keen on the big rallies or just need their psychic batteries recharging now and then.

Autumn Nabd’ness Rally
Our autumn event is set for the weekend of September 9th – 11th at the same sate as last year on the Airfield at Enstone near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire. This event is not as large as You’ve Been Nabbed but we are hoping it will build to that size over the next few years. As with You’ve Been Nabbed this event features a wide range of musical entertainment, a top quality stand-up comedy show, a real ale bar, a family marquee and an adults only marquee and a custom bike & trike show sponsored by 100% Biker magazine. Last year we had about 1,200 people attending and it would be very gratifying if we could push that over 1,500 this year. As we have lots of room and a substantial amount of ‘hard standing’ we do not have any restrictions on cars, vans or even caravans (though there is a cost attached to vehicle passes for anybody coming in cars etc unless they have a blue “disabled parking” badge.

Last year’s event was an absolute joy and we are aiming to make this year’s even better. Tickets are on sale now so get them while they’re hot and join us for the best autumn party of the year. I have included a report on last year’s most excellent event in this issue, reprinted with the kind permission of BSH magazine and the author of the report. Hopefully it will serve to encourage many of you to give it a try.

Sponsor a Barrel of Ale at Autumn Nabd’ness
Following on from the success of this new aspect of sponsorship at You’ve Been Nabbed 20, we have decided to offer the same option at Autumn Nabd’ness in our hugely popular Real Ale Marquee. For a mere £75.00 sponsors can have their name on a barrel of ale, they will also be included in the sponsors list and receive a laminated Certificate of Sponsorship from the NABD. If you are in a club, why not propose that they sponsor a barrel? If you are self-employed and you pay tax, why not sponsor a barrel yourself? Promotional expenses and charitable donations can all be written off against tax. If you work for a company, why not talk to your boss about it? It’s very good publicity and it has to feel better than handing your money over to the Tax Man!

There are full details in this issue, but if I’ve already convinced you; e-mail or telephone 0844 415 4849 and we will let you have a simple form to fill in. Help the NABD celebrate its twentieth anniversary by sponsoring a barrel of real ale at Autumn Nabd’ness! (There is a fullpage advert/application form in this magazine, but don’t tear it out, just phone or e-mail the office if you want one).

Nabbed By The Trossachs
As you may have guessed by now our event in Scotland will not be happening this year. Over the previous four years the event has consistently lost money and although Gren Russell (National Rep’s Liaison) did his best to rescue it last year, once again it proved to be a financial flop. However this doesn’t mean we have given-up on staging it again, it just means that Gren has gone back to the drawing board.

He has recently spent a few days scouting more practical venues on his way to the Alba West show and he has come back with some very promising possibilities. I feel confident that next year we will be staging a “Nabbed By The Trossachs” rally that will finally meet our standards of quality and make a profit for the NABD funds. I will keep you informed of developments as they occur.

Committee Changes
There has been just one change in the national posts recently and I’m pleased to say it is a most welcome one. The vacant Learner/Loaner post has been filled by David Silburn who has for some time been a very active and successful NABD representative in Staffordshire. In keeping with his proactive style of working Dave has already drawn-up new publicity postersto advertise this core service of the NABD and is displaying adapted learner/loaner machines at events whenever possible. There is a twopage spread on the learner/loaner scheme in this issue of Open House and I have the feeling it will go from strength to strength with Dave in the driving seat.

20th Anniversary Patch
In addition to the two stunning new “NABD 20th Anniversary” T-shirt designs we launched in the last issue of Open House, we now have the all new “NABD 20th Anniversary” patch on sale. A mere snip at £3.50 (including P&P) every NABD member and supporter should show their pride in our great association by wearing one of these patches. There is an advert and more info elsewhere in this issue.

There is also a full page advert featuring the two unique 20th Anniversary t-shirt designs, so get them while they’re hot! (They do look excellent too; I’ve bought myself three so far).

New NABD Trikes
Both of the new adapted trikes commissioned by the NABD are now fully functioning and available for use in assessments. This new scheme should be of huge benefit to large numbers of disabled people and we will be doing our best to ensure that as many people as possible get the chance to have an assessment on one or both of them before laying out money on trikes of their own. There is a full two-page spread further on in this magazine giving full details of this scheme and featuring photos of these two very sexy and eminently practical machines.

I suppose it had to happen sometime? Our 2011 Annual General Meeting didn’t attract enough people to make what the call a “Quorum” therefore the meeting had to be suspended until we can reconvene it at a time & place where we can get a quorum of members to attend. In the case of the NABD, the minimum people we need for a quorum is just twenty-five… That’s 25! Just twenty bloody five! I know that most member think of the AGM as a boring meeting, and to be honest so do I, but the law says we must have one and we have to have at least 25 people present. Sooooooo… Hopefully there will be a small flyer enclosed with this magazine, giving details of where and when the AGM will be reconvened and I would ask any member who can make it, to come along even if you are only interested in a few pints and a natter afterwards. I take a certain amount of comfort in knowing that the only times over the past twenty years that we have had any sizeable attendance at an AGM is when there has been dissatisfaction amongst the membership. I can only infer from the past eight-year’s low attendances that you are all extremely happy with the way the association is being managed?

Well I think that’s my lot for now? I’m off on the BSH Faro trip tomorrow and I’m looking forward to a change of scenery and a catch-up with some old friends in Spain and Portugal. Hopefully by the time I get back you will all have received this magazine and that “Hottest summer since 1976” will have arrived.

Hasta luego mis amigos!