Dear Members and Friends of the British Business Club Düsseldorf
May I wish a very warm welcome to the British Business Club Düsseldorf (BBCD) website to all members, friends, sponsors and other visitors. You can find out a lot about our club by exploring our website, viewing our club brochure and seeing what events we are planning and those that we have held. Nearly all of our events are open to non-members. If you are a non-member and wish to go on our mailing list for news and events, just drop us a line on the enquiry form at the bottom of our website.
I am glad to say that we had 41 attendees at the AGM on 24 April, divided just about equally between Brits and non-Brits, and well over the 30 needed for the quorum. It was good to have such a high turn-out, as there were a lot of important issues on the agenda. The club is growing and recent and pending applications will take the membership to over 150. I presented my chairman's report at the event, which you can view here.
There was a spirited debate and discussion about the current club constitution, which I hope we can progress in order to prepare a new draft constitution to be voted on at the next AGM or at an extraordinary general meeting. If any members who did not make it the AGM would like to make their views known, the committee would be happy to hear from them.
I do feel it is important that our non-British, associate members are not made to feel "second class" members, as they add diversity, contribute a great deal to the club and do a lot of work on the committee, particularly over this last year. We have to be as inclusive and non-discriminatory as we can be and one way of doing this would be to allow non-Brits to be elected to any committee post, except for the chairmanship. It has been very difficult for me to get a new committee together for the new club year. My task would have been made easier if we had made these rule changes already. We have up to a year for the debate to continue. Hopefully, we can come to a better understanding of everyone's viewpoints and reach some common ground and consensus by the end of the process.
The club voted unanimously in favour of Ian Mackenzie's proposal to make Alan Rowlands an honorary member of the club. This was in recognition of all his hard work for the club and its members, both as a past committee member and through his responsibilities for passports at the British Consulate General. Alan also continued to be a club member for seven years after he left Düsseldorf and went to Vienna. Alan is now back living in Düsseldorf again and we hope to see him at many of our events this coming year. This is the first time the club has conferred honorary membership on a member, as far as we know, except for the roles of President and Vice-President.
The club also voted unanimously to invite Oberbürgermeister Thomas Geisel to become the club's vice-president.
The following new committee was voted in at the AGM:
Chairman: Brian Hicks
Vice-Chairman: Vincent McCue
Secretary: Avril Peters
Social Secretary: Justine Cross
In addition, Paul Stheeman will formally be co-opted again as treasurer and Geoffrey Catlin as a committee member.
There were a lot of good suggestions made at the AGM about how we could improve the club, which the new committee will be digesting and discussing in the coming weeks and months. There was also discussion about what charities the club supports and I will come back to this topic again shortly.
The club membership fees will remain unchanged for the coming year, namely EUR 50 for the first year of membership and EUR 70 for all subsequent years. It is clear that the average of age of our members, and the committee, is quite high, as with many clubs, although it is good to see that we have had several younger members join this past year. We do need to make efforts to attract more younger members, so anything you can do in this respect would be much appreciated.
Our members have been kindly invited by the British Women's Club Düsseldorf to join them to watch the Wedding of Prince Henry of Wales and Miss Meghan Markle on wide-screen TV at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Düsseldorf on Saturday 19 May. Please mention that you are a BBCD member if you wish to attend. If you want to bring some friends and go as a group (8-10), you can also have your own table. The British Women's Club have also negotiated a special rate, if you wish to stay overnight at the hotel.
Club cricket practice starts on Wednesday the 2nd of May at the Engländerwiese in Nordpark from 7.00 o´clock in the evening onwards. Subject to reasonable weather it will be continued on every Wednesday after that. The annual cricket match against Christ Church will be held on Saturday 7th of July and we could do with some more players to strengthen the team, both men and ladies, as we have lost this encounter the last few times. If you want more details please contact Ian Mackenzie (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Louisa (email@example.com).
British in Germany (BiG) is conducting a survey about freedom of movement in Europe, in which you might be interested in participating:
The organisation has also just published its latest newsletter.
We look forward to another flourishing year for the club.
Best regards from Benrath
Brian R Hicks
British Business Club Düsseldorf