New acting secretary of the British Caving Association starts work

Russell Myers, the new acting secretary of the British Caving Association.

Following the recent resignation of Matt Ewles as Secretary of the British Caving Association, we are very pleased to inform our readers that a keen interim replacement has stepped forward and has asked us to introduce him. Matt has received much praise for his efforts recently to introduce changes to the BCA, and will be a tough act to follow. Russell Myers will be acting as secretary until the upcoming Annual General Meeting later this year, when the position will be filled by the normal process of nominations and election. Russell was an obvious choice for this interim role, as he had already offered to help out the former secretary with a range of administrative tasks. This included proof-reading the new draft BCA website, which he says was a very good way to become familiar with how the BCA is structured and how it operates.

Russell writes:

I am already a week into the job, and it feels like a lifetime but my intention is to be open and transparent in my work for the BCA and keep in touch with UK cavers, not forgetting the miners, and I had better also include the scientists (hope I haven’t forgotten anyone) fraternity. That openness will have its boundaries in discretion and good taste so do not expect warts and all; an acquaintance of mine stated “Everything with good grace,” which is a nice mantra. It has been a steep learning curve so far, in fact, so steep I could do with a fresh set of prusikers, but I’m looking forward to it.

As a display of my openness and transparency, copied below is my first message to the BCA Council sent this morning (23rd May). There is nothing contentious in it, and is more a reflection of the strange times we live in trying to organise a meeting,  and it saves my typing finger on the keyboard explaining how I got here. I have also added a CV of my credentials in support of my nomination for the Secretary’s position when it comes up for election:

“Good Morning Council Member,

You should by now have received Matt Ewles’s final message to you relinquishing his position as BCA Secretary and informing you of myself stepping into the Acting role by agreement with the Chair and Treasurer for the interim period up to the AGM.

About a month or so ago after reading Matt’s resignation post, I realised the Association may have problems recruiting a replacement and found myself in a position to step forward and offer to help. Initially, this was with thoughts of picking up on the “donkey work”, the admin of a Secretary’s role but subsequently with the intention of running for the position at this year’s AGM. I have received a nomination and second from my Club, the Craven Pothole Club, Chair and Secretary, Paul McWhinney and John Helm respectively which has been submitted to the outgoing Secretary together with a “CV ” of my credentials which I attach for your perusal.

Clearly, I am in at the “deep end” but look forward to your support and forbearance whilst I come to terms with the requirements of the position. Matt has briefed me on the essentials and I have an action plan to work from. One priority is to organise a meeting of the Council possibly in June/July which will be “virtual” on a conferencing platform to be decided yet. My own Club have been meeting regularly  in a virtual pub and also convened committee meetings on Zoom. It has worked well with up to 20 of us on occasions although how we manage a larger number will be an interesting test.  I would suggest that for the Council meeting, we agree to refrain from imbibing our favourite tipple as I’ve noticed our meetings get more verbose as the evening goes on, probably because I’m the main culprit and we do need to finish! I’ll keep you informed of developments but any suggestions of how we may facilitate this are more than welcome as I guess it will be a first.

Finally, I would welcome any comments, observations or advice in general, you may wish to give me; the one about being mad has been done!

I’m looking forward to working with you

Kind Regards

Russell Myers

Acting Secretary”

The last paragraph is particularly relevant as I extend that invitation to everyone.

Yours caving forever, Russell

C.V. for Russell Myers in support of his application for the position of Secretary to the British Caving Association

First and foremost I must state that I am a dyed in the wool caver, having discovered caving at 16 years old on a trip down Bar Pot into Gaping Gill with the Craven Pothole Club. Memories of that trip have stayed with me ever since and triggered a lifelong love for adventure and caving in particular. I joined the Craven Pothole Club shortly after that first trip and have remained a member ever since.

During this time, I have caved in most regions of the UK and occasionally ventured further afield to Ireland and the Continent, and would consider myself a competent and experienced caver albeit finding that these days, the caves appear to be shrinking. In addition to caving, I have also rock climbed and mountaineered in both the UK and abroad and have an abiding love for the Isle of Skye and Scottish mountains in general.

I have lived my life on the basis of putting more back in than I take out of whatever activity that may be, including work and play. I was elected to the Craven Pothole Club Committee in 1974, served in various positions until 2002 including Assistant Secretary, Secretary, Chairman and was honoured to be elected President in 2012. These roles have invariably involved administrative duties and over the course of time, I have developed working computer skills to augment them.

I cannot remember the dates but I acted as CPC representative to the Council of Northern Caving Clubs and served as its Chairman during the 1990s. I also represented the CNCC at the NCA for a number of years prior to it evolving into the BCA.

I am widowed, retired from full time work, and have worked in local government and latterly the private sector as a health and safety consultant. I find myself time rich and pleased to be able to offer my skills to the BCA as Secretary for the organisation.

Russell Myers, 13th April 2020

Correspondent: Peter Burgess