FHC Annual Meeting April 19, 2017

 by Beth Sutton, Photos by Martha Drum

The Hunt Club membership gathered for their annual meeting last night at the Club House in Free Union with a full representation of both members and staff to review committee reports and to elect new Board members and officers for the upcoming year. The meeting was called to order by President Mark Thompson at 7 pm, and following the presentation of committee reports and discussion of new and old business, the meeting was adjourned. After the meeting we had  a convivial social gathering over a delicious pot luck feast and open bar. It has been a wonderful year for the club, with excellent hunting, a full social calendar and a host of horse activities. Most of all we celebrated another year of strong leadership, camaraderie and friendship that come from many hours put in both in sport and volunteer activities. The club is in great shape financially, and our staff-both professional and honorary- continue to improve our pack and provide excellent sport. Here are a few highlights from the evening (Minutes from the meeting will be posted in the Members Section when they are available):

Mark Thompson reported that the past year has been very successful and that we are on good footing financially. He extended sincere thanks and praise to the many volunteers who provide the energy behind all of our horse activities and social events throughout the year. He praised our professional staff: huntsman Matthew Cook, Tom McCauley our kennel man, and Grady Collier, his assistant,for the excellent work they do maintaining our superb pack of hounds and providing such great sport. We are lucky to have great volunteer support staff from our honorary whippers in Deborah Wray, Carolyn Chapman and Tom Bishop, and look forward to bringing on Tiffany Snell to add to the team. Our road whips Brian Barquin, B.J.Korol, and the Cuthberts work hard keeping our hounds safe, as well as giving opportunity for foot followers to share some of the action.

While challenges continue as the membership numbers fluctuate, he encouraged members to encourage new members and to cultivate potential new members. Our dues are the essential source of annual income, supplemented by income from special events like the Hunt Ball and the horse activities. Additional support comes from the sale of our tax credits. Treasurer Tom Bishop presented the budget for 2017-2018, Ken Chapman reported on the current state of repairs to the clubhouse and the kennels. Beth Sutton reported on a productive year for FHC communications, with many new articles published in magazines, increased traffic on our website, a growing subscription to our FHC Facebook group, and growing numbers of sponsors that add to our annual income, with thanks to Stephanie Guerlain for her invaluable input on maintaining data for activities, and contacts for participants both in and beyond our club.Kip Holloway reported on a very successful year for the Horse activities committee, looking forward to the upcoming season with 13 events planned, including three Hunter Pace events, two major hunter shows, multiple jumper derbies, events and horse trials as well as the annual Foxhunting Clinic held each year at Millington.Kay Butterfield reported that plans are under way for Walk and Talks for this summer,and looks forward to additional help in leadership thanks to Carter McNeely,Martha Drum and Liz King.(See events calendar for upcoming events). Martha Drum reported on membership and increasing opportunities for our juniors, Dale Dealtrey reported on Social events on behalf of Chairman Stacey Stinchfield, who was unable to attend the meeting. Ann Horner reported on Special Events, especially a very successfull Hunt ball this year, held at the Boar's head in march. She gave special thanks to Carolyn Chapman for chairing the event, and to Evelyn Cowles who headed up a fantastic auction. Pat Butterfield reported that hunting was great this year with hounds going out 70 times, and with a number of new entry in our pack this year. He announced plan to enter a large number of hounds in this years Virginia Hound Show at Morven on May 27th, and he invited everyone to come out for that fun event, as well as the Puppy Show, Sunday May 21st at the club. There will be a junior handler division this year, as well as participation from the Farmington Beagles, and a fun social event and pot luck following the show, at the clubhouse.

The election of new Board members  and officers was put forward with unanimous support: Robin Ellis, Helen Hilliard and Jeb Cuthbert are our new board members replacing out going members Ebeth Brann, Robin Lundgren and Carolyn Chapman. We reelected officers Mark Thompson, President, Nancy Howell Honorary Secretary, and Kip Holloway Vice President, Tom Bishop, Treasurer.. Special awards were presented: Julian Beckwith Award for outstanding volunteer service from a member who has contibuted greatly to the club: Stephen Bickers, for his wonderful work for so many years on the successfully organized and well attended horse shows. B.J. Korol awarded the Jill Summers "Best Turned out" award for the year to Junior Emma Bittle, and the newly established Kim Morton "Foxhunting Spirit" award went to Jennifer Campbell. A special surprise was presented by Mary Buford and Fred Hitz, a stunning silver tray, from the family collection, to be used and enjoyed at FHC. Thanks everyone for another great year!

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Mark Thompson presented the Julian Beckwith award to Stephen Bickers
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Joy Crompton and Shawnee Baker present the Kim Morton Foxhunting Spirit award to Jennifer Campbell

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Mary Buford Hitz presented a silver tray from her family collection to President Mark Thompson, for FHC


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