I said at the outset of my year in office that it was both an honour and a privilege to serve as president of the Glasgow High School Club. I am pleased to report, at the end of my term, that it has also been a considerable pleasure to participate in the many and varied activities associated with the post and I would wish to highlight a few of these.
The main 'physical' achievement of the past year has been the completion and coming into use of the new sporting facilities: the international standard water-based hockey pitch, facilitating skill development at all levels; the high calibre rugby pitch, allowing greater access by senior and junior rugby sections; a new artificial cricket wicket; and a versatile artificial surface, enabling a variety of off grass activities to be carried out by sporting sections and the school. The completion of these additional facilities, together with the well thought-out and professional maintenance programme has raised the standard at Old Anniesland to a level which can truly be described as among the very best in the country. I know that all of the sporting sections appreciate having 'OA' as their home base and I would wish to commend the work of Estates Manager Keith Hodgson, Estates Convenor Barrie Gray and Head Groundsman David Miller and his team. The school has shown great foresight in providing the substantial funding required to carry out this ambitious programme of work.
The various sports sections all continue to thrive. GHK Ladies and Men's hockey sections, GHK Cricket Club, and both Glasgow Hawks and GHK Rugby all have healthy and, in most cases, growing memberships. GHK Rugby has, again, had a most successful season, winning promotion as league champions for the second year in a row, now plying their trade in National League Two, where they currently sit in one of the two promotion places.
Although we were disappointed to lose the GHK Triathlon Club from Old Anniesland, we quite appreciate their reasons for moving to a facility that could better accommodate their disciplines.
We had a successful dinner where we were well entertained by main speakers Donald Wilson, Chair of Kelvinside Academy's Board of Governors and former GHK rugby player and Allan Snedden, parent of three current High School pupils. The Rector, John O'Neill, ably assisted by School Captains Stephanie Wood and Jamie Miller, reported on some of the many highlights of the school year, with many truly remarkable achievements by pupils across a rich variety of disciplines. Although the number attending was slightly down on the past few years it is to be hoped that next year's fortieth anniversary of the opening of the school at Old Anniesland – yes, it really has been that long – will provide an opportunity for a reinvigoration of the dinner. My thanks are due to Dinner Convener Kerr Docherty, who has intimated his intention to stand down after a very successful spell in the role, and also to Karen MacDonald and James Brechany of the School Development Office for all their hard work in organising the dinner.
The core work of maintaining and developing the facilities at Old Anniesland and looking after the affairs of the club falls to the Committee. I cannot praise their work highly enough. They are dedicated, selfless and good humoured in representing the interests of the various sections and the Club itself. I thank them for the patience and cooperation they have afforded me in the past twelve months and trust they will continue to serve as diligently in the future. I especially thank those who have given sage advice and offered wise counsel to me. I would also wish to remark upon what I regard as a very strong and close relationship between the Club and the School. The rector, John O'Neill has continued to be extremely supportive and I would also wish to acknowledge the backing in various matters provided by the School's Board of Governors.
In times when it is not always easy to find people to fulfill key voluntary roles within organisations, I am delighted to report that Forbes Dunlop will take over as president of the Club at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting and that Craig Macdonald has agreed to serve as his Vice President. I wish them both well and trust that they will enjoy their terms in office as much as I have.