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Alison Brand

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Last updated 21 March 2009

Alison Brand President for 2009/10

My Background:

I was born in Bromley, attended the County Grammar School and was brought-up in an atmosphere of sport and competition, my father being a keen sportsman who taught sport as one of his subjects. Ballet and then hockey were the loves of my youth, but as an adult I have preferred outdoor pursuits such as camping and hill walking and being a Guider for many years enabled me to try my hand at rock-climbing, abseiling and the like, with various degrees of success!

I've been involved with Blackheath Harriers since 1973 and quickly found myself a member of the doughty band of enthusiastic ladies operating under the title of Blackheath Harriers Social Club, lead by the wonderful Brenda Brent. We paid the grand sum of 1.00. per year for the privilege of devoting our spare time - willingly given I might add, raising funds for the Club, to which we could not belong! We had a lot of fun, a great social life and made many good & long-standing friends. Our achievements gave us much satisfaction and I would like to think that all volunteers within this Club could derive pleasure from their efforts.

From then I gradually became immersed in the Club, not wearing the Club vest (although I've washed a few thousand!) but with all of the family active members of either Blackheath Harriers or Bromley Ladies, my fate was sealed and I have been fund-raising, helping, organising or supporting ever since. Even to this day the first dates entered in the family calendar, after birthdays, are the athletic fixtures and social functions of Blackheath and Bromley! - get a life!! And I can tell you that there isn't much I don't know about the minutiae of a javelin thrower's training schedule!

I became a 'season ticket holder' of the Club, watching and supporting Track and Field League matches and Cross Country races all over the UK.

In Colin's Presidential year I had a marvellous time meeting people in all branches of athletics across the country, John Walker and Gordon Pirie being two I particularly remember.

When Blackheath became 'Open' in 1992 it was decided to 'close-down' the Social Club, of which I was then Chairperson, and the residual funds were put towards the cost of the Ladies Shower Room. At this time I became an Associate Member and joined House and Social, a natural progression really, since I had served Cross Country teas and helped behind the bar and kitchen in previous years. Then I became a member of the Wine Committee and with that obviously a 'Wednesday Nighter' and decided to become a Full Member of Blackheath Harriers. Having a voice at the General Committee Meetings was a driving force in that decision - what a surprise! My proudest moment was being made a Vice-President in the year 2000, by P.P. Richard Coles - I had never imagined that I would attain that status!

I have organised the Vice-Presidents' Supper for several years now and although I am no longer an official member of the Wine Committee (thinking I might ease-off my Club commitments for a while!!!), you wouldn't know it since I am still involved on a 'consultancy basis' - so I'm told. And now I've got a 'new job'!!

My Message to you all:

When P.P. Tim Soutar 'phoned and said 'how do you feel about taking over my job?', I didn't have a clue of what he could mean, but once the enormity of the question hit me I was stunned! Sure I was flattered, who wouldn't be, but I needed time to think! In the next 24 hours I experienced confident enthusiasm and total self-doubt in equal measure, however the reassurances of Tim and a certain P. P. whose advice I regularly receive strengthened my resolve and I decided to step up to the plate!

What to say that hasn't already been said - we all know that Blackheath & Bromley Harriers A.C. is a great and marvellous Club, we all want success and that requires an immense amount of continuous effort, certainly from the athletes themselves, but just as much from the invaluable, hard-to-come-by and indispensable volunteers.

I hope to see more people volunteering to help in some way during the coming year.

If more people help then more people benefit and the burden is not so heavy on those who have been generously giving their time for years and sometimes feel 'invisible'.

I also hope that in the coming year we can reorganise in order to build towards more successful senior teams and also continue to support and encourage our already successful younger athletes.

As the Hon. Secretary said in his excellent Annual Report, we're probably in for quite a tough year and I would like to try and generate a greater feeling of CLUB in order to help us through. I know that we will always have to work hard at this - the geography of HQ, Norman Park and Ladywell, plus the many and increasing number of sections in the Club, will always make it so. Therefore I want to encourage more COMMUNICATION! I believe that this can help to bring the Club together as a stronger, closer-knit unit and prevent misunderstandings and missed opportunities. Talk to each other & talk to me! Get in touch with me with ideas, let me know of any problems and if I can't sort it, I will find someone who can!

I will hopefully meet as many of you as possible during the coming months and I wish everyone of you a year of success and achievement.

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