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From The Chair 2012

Chairman Bob  (March 2012)

The highlight of the past couple of months must be the Club’s victory in the Compass Sport Cup qualifier.  It was nice of the east midland clubs to each turn out too, such that two other west midlands clubs are eligible to join us at the final in Scotland at the end of September.  The Club’s success was due, not in a small way, to the encouragement from our vice-captain Suzanne Humphries who persuaded so many Droobers to run that day on Cannock Chase.

Debbie Morse has also been encouraging our Club members.  Debbie has been organising training/coaching sessions for the OD junior squad.  The turn out at the Warwick University session I went to was excellent.  In particular, there were opportunities for younger members to discuss their route choices after running short courses through the accommodation blocks on the university campus.  There were experienced orienteers on hand to shadow and provide feedback.  Another session during half-term was held one evening after dark at Rough Close. You will see elsewhere that another session is planned for the end of March.  Mel & Barry Elkington and Jill Emmerson are helping Debbie with the courses.

The Club’s development plan is now on the Club website – please take a look and feed back your thoughts to Barry Elkington (author) or myself. 

I am pleased to report that Amy Sarkies has offered to take on a liaison role with schools in the Rugby area.  We are grateful to her for taking this on as Amy’s involvement will relieve pressure from Karin Kirk who, as you know, wants to get absolutely everyone in the county to have a go at orienteering and then join our Club.

The Club dinner was a great success organised by Phil Kirk at Le Bistrot Pierre in Leamington Spa.  Our ‘guest’ speakers were Carolyn & Dave Marr who gave an illustrated account of their walking holiday to Everest base camp.  Carolyn and Riina were applauded for their podium places at the recent Portuguese orienteering multi-day event.  During the evening the Ted Norrish Trophy was awarded to Sue Bicknell to acknowledge her valuable input to the Club over many years. 

Quite recently Sue had the unenviable task of being the one who had to make the decision to cancel two events within six days due to the snow in February.  The Club officers responded quickly to these two set backs and each event was rescheduled within a couple of days to March 18th (Coombe) and April 11th (Borough Hill).

Albeit Oakley Wood being a little worse for wear following intense forestry work prior to Christmas, everyone who came to the Saturday event in January enjoyed the challenge.  Alan Segar’s organised his first event, at Wainbody Wood on a sunny morning attracting about 60 people.  An incident tested Alan, when a runner damaged his ligaments and was immobilised in the woods, but soon the injured party was off to hospital in an ambulance (and later back home).  Newspaper reports the next day of a body being found in Wainbody made Alan check again that everybody who had registered had downloaded.  Yes they had.  It turned out that the body (which had been there for some years) had been found in the woods the other side of the railway. Another spring day for Suzanne Humphries’ event at Everdon Stubbs whereby some of us were persuaded to take part in an anagram course made up from the phrase ‘Octavian Droobers are the best’.

Andy Emmerson and I have spent an evening discussing the Club’s coaching requirements and how to service them.  To assist, we would welcome any ideas that members might have.  There certainly is a need a process to encourage newcomers to progress through to become Club members and competent orienteers.  There is also a requirement to provide the means for improvement to our proficient orienteers.  I feel that the Club should put it’s hand in its pockets and pay the fees for those interested in becoming fully qualified coaches – are you up for the training to be a coach ?

And finally, it has been brought to my attention that two marriages are to take place pretty soon.  Steph Ellis Gray and James Furness.  No ! they are not marrying each other.  So, on behalf of the Club, I’d like to wish Steph and her partner a wonderful day and a long and happy life together.   Likewise to James and his bride.

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Chairman Bob  (January 2012)

Happy New Year !

Octavian Droobers Strategy and Development plan 2012 = Continue to be the most successful orienteering club in Great Britain.

Author of the development plan is Barry Elkington who distributed a copy to each member of the Committee prior to the December committee meeting.  I sat down with Barry early in January to go through the contents in order that the document be re-circulated to the committee in time for the February committee meeting.  There is no great statements of change, indeed much is more of the same with a lookout for ways to improve.  Just some of the topics highlighted are:

“an improved website for newcomers” – a lot of this has been achieved already thanks to the efforts of Alan Segar.

“looking into the possibility of promoting a school league” - indeed maybe more than just the one.

“publicity to target different audiences e.g. running clubs; families; schools; scouts; …..” – a lot of this is already being achieved thanks to the efforts of Karin Kirk.

“improve ability to stage events on more different areas” – identify new areas and those areas no longer in use – train more mappers.

“seek more club members to obtain coaching qualifications” – find a club member to take on career planning for coaches.

“winning” – maintain club team spirit.

On a Monday evening in November John Bowman and I attended an orienteering event safety workshop at Bromsgrove put on by Harlequins’ Jill Clerici.

By coincidence the previous day I had completed my risk assessment for the following Sunday’s event at Hay Wood.  As the discussion went on that evening, I became white and quite shivery.  What would I do on Sunday if this happened ?  What would I do on Sunday if that happened ?!!!   On Sunday all went well – but it made me think a lot.  I’m hoping that we can put on the same workshop for the Club prior to the start of the Wednesday evening events.

As you will be aware the Hay Wood event marked the end of an era as Paul and Elizabeth Furness then moved to Scotland. I said at the time that I will miss them both, and that you will too. It is impossible to try and list the valuable varied contribution the couple have made to orienteering in the Club and also in the West Midlands. Liz and Paul have made a difference.  Paul is currently working on a coaching programme for the Club for 2012 – I am grateful for this as we need a structure to work with whilst the Committee comes to terms with what we are going to do without the two of them.

Either side of Hay Wood event were two excellent Saturday morning events.  One at the War Memorial Park on November 5th was put on by Mike Hampton.  This was a landmark event for Mike - on the weekend of 5th November 1971 Mike attended his first orienteering event. 3185 events later Mike thanked those for coming and helping him celebrate his 40th anniversary in orienteering.  The other event was at Itchington Holt put on by Dave Thacker, another good turnout.  The final Saturday event of the year was staged by Janet Richardson at Brandon Wood.  With parking in a field on Brandon Lane, Janet was able to give everyone a chance to enjoy orienteering through Piles Coppice, often only the longer courses get there. 

Earlier in December it was good to be allowed on the coach to the Yvette Baker Final.  The juniors tried their best on the day and were unable to win, coming a creditable second.  With the spirit amongst the juniors I’m sure the trophy will come back home with us later in the year.  To celebrate a successful 2011 a bowling evening was organised for the juniors just before Christmas by Debbie Morse.  Debbie has coaching planned for the year starting with a session in January using the orienteering maps of the Warwick University campus.

It was a pleasure to meet Paul Okey the Sports Editor from the Leamington Courier who came along to the Christmas party to present the prizes.  Never a week goes by without a mention of the latest Droober success within Paul’s columns.  The evening had a great turn-out.  Table games were thought out and provided by Alan Segar.  Mike Hampton pinned an old map of Bathpool Park on the wall.  Highlight of the evening was John Bowman standing on a chair apparently not knowing his left from his right (you had to be there).  Thanks to Hilary Simpson for masterminding the whole event.

There was also another good turn out to support the Rough Close Christmas Relays put on by the Gardner family, supported by Mel Elkington and Graham Urquhart.  The third good turnout over the festive season on New Year’s Day at Bathpool Park proved that those at the Christmas Party had studied the map.  Andy Emmerson reports elsewhere on the Club’s success that day.

Finally, I have two new heroes.  Dan and Matt Halliday on their epic Coast to Coast Challenge – their effortless run off Cat Bells as shown on TV.  How did James Cracknell describe them ?  – “young whippets” !

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