The National Flying Club held their Management Committee meeting on the 5th of October which began with a minute’s silence in respect of the passing of our Patron HM the Queen. This was followed by a grievance appeal under RPRA rule 168 submitted by Mr M Williams against his disqualification from the Tarbes Grand National result due to his failure to comply with NFC racing rule 26. Mr Williams was given the floor to make his case then asked to leave the room whilst the committee deliberated and came to their decision to uphold the disqualification with regret, as it was clearly breaking the rule. The Chairman then asked Mr Williams to return to the meeting to inform him of the committee decision and his right appeal to the RPRA Northeast Region, if he should choose to do so. 

The meeting continued with the agenda and in short, the following positive decisions were put into place to ensure all our members that the National Flying Club is “back in business” with regard to channel racing and the traditional race program was confirmed for 2023. Eight marking stations will now be operating as normal with the vet fees paid by the club and with no added increase to the birdage fees. The committee felt that this confident move towards normality for the next season would give those who are yet to apply for their CPH number from DEFRA the required motivation to do so. The marking stations which will be open are Congleton, Sheffield, Alverley, Bristol, Kingseighton, Saffron Walden, Steventon and Southampton, which would all have to be finished by 1pm at the latest to allow for the required paperwork by the vet to be completed in time for the ferry crossing to France. 

This is one more positive step for those of us who wish to compete in National racing from France, as it gives the added convenience of closer marking stations, costs fixed at 2020 prices, confidence to those who may have been undecided up until now, and at last the future is looking a lot brighter. The DEFRA requirements are nothing to worry about at all and we would implore you to ignore the gossip banded about on social media and seek out the facts. Ask your section representative if you are unclear about anything, they are there to help.

As you may already be aware I have taken a new role in the RPRA and have now resigned my position of Press Officer and committee member, and once the new press officer has taken over all correspondence should be directed to him or her. I must apologise for not compiling the section reports for the young bird and old hens race, as the postal strikes caused delays to the final result and the death Queen Elizabeth meant I could not complete the season before my new responsibilities took over and as the Queen was patron of the NFC, we were invited to send a delegate to attend the state the funeral, of which past president and long standing committee member Mr John Edwards was honoured to be asked to do. He gave his thanks to the committee and recounted the experience at the meeting which was very interesting to hear. Long live King Charles and our most prestigious National Flying Club, a club his ancestors have valued for over 120 years. 

As your press officer I have really enjoyed my time with the National Flying Club, the experiences I have had with the members and committee has added quality to my life, your committee are a real credit to the NFC and I have been enriched by their wisdom. I also thank all those NFC winners who have allowed me into their homes to publicise theirsuccesses. I have made some strong and lasting friendships which I truly value and I shall now endeavour to continue to represent the whole membership of the RPRA to the best of my abilities. I am sure there will be many more highs and lows to navigate in the future and I thank all those who have congratulated me and offered me their support. 

Chris Sutton