Moving forward: AGM ushers in new era for BMC

Posted by Tina Gardner on 28/04/2015
Presidential line-up: Former presidents Rab Carrington (2009-12) and Scott Titt (2012-15) with new BMC president Rehan Siddiqui (2015-18). Photo: James Rowe

Over 100 BMC members, new and old, gathered together at the BMC AGM at Plas y Brenin in north Wales this weekend, where we welcomed in a new president and vice president.

New BMC president Rehan Siddiqui adds to the diversity of our Executive Committee, joining the likes of Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and others to promote inclusivity and diversity in hill walking, climbing and mountaineering, including improved participation amongst women (This Girl Can), older people and those from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities. 

Read the minutes from the AGM

Our new President

The position of prime minister may still be up for grabs but the BMC membership has elected its new president.  On London marathon weekend, the presidential baton was passed on to Rehan Siddiqui who starts his three year expedition as BMC president with immediate effect. 

As an early teenager Rehan began hiking and rock climbing in Saddleworth and the gritstone quarries surrounding Manchester. His current successful business provides civil engineering and industrial rope access services globally.

Rehan is no stranger to the BMC, having been vice president in 2008-11 and he was instrumental in setting up the BMC's Equity Steering Group as its first chair.

Rehan said: "I'm delighted to be BMC president. In particular, I'm looking forward to helping the BMC protect the special nature of British climbing and hill walking whilst at the same time ensuring inclusion and encouraging participation in all aspects of our sport by future generations."

Interview with Rehan coming soon.

Thanks go to our outgoing president Scott Titt for a superb job of overseeing the BMC over the last three years.


"All those in favour"

A flourishing Executive Committee

Nick Kurth has taken up the position of BMC vice president, joining Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Rupert Davies as our three VPs. Nick has been on the hills and crags since school. He finished a full RAF career in 2011 and is an honorary president of the RAF Mountaineering Association (RAFMA) – he still climbs, walks and hill walks with them. Nick was responsible for the highly successful British Services’ Makalu Expedition 2008. Recently, he has been chair of the BMC’s Access Management Group.

Nick said “I’m keen to ensure the BMC continues to add value to its membership. It’s important that the BMC keeps moving in a direction that is inclusive, reflecting the spread of our members and their activities.”

Brian Smith was re-elected as Independent Director and continues as chair of the BMC's new hill walking working group.


Brian Smith (left) and Nick Kurth (right) discussing the value of outdoor recreation with David Rutley MP (centre) at a BMC event in Westminster. Photo: Ben Grubb

Deirdre Collier and Colin Knowles were confirmed as new National Council representatives on the Executive Committee. 

Deirdre has been a BMC volunteer since 2007 and is secretary of the BMC Yorkshire Area. She is also currently club secretary for the Craven Mountaineering Club. Her career in the NHS will support the BMC's aims of encouraging an active nation.

Colin Knowles was a founder member of the Red Rope Club in 1980. Newly retired, he brings expertise from the IT sector. Colin has been involved with the BMC for many years, currently representing the South-West Area. He is also chair of the immensely successful ACT-backed ClimbBristol project.

Full list of BMC Executive Committee.

Discussion and debate

Early risers at the AGM took part in the Open Forum with discussion and debate on a wide range of topics chosen from the floor. This ranged from area structure and the Crag Care Fund to BMC insurance and the mitigation of club risk. The possibility of the BMC producing hill walking guides was discussed, as was continuing to record the definitive history of the BMC, following the book 'The First 50 Years' published in 1997.

Read the minutes from the Open Forum

There was great attendance at the Clubs Seminar, helped somewhat by the lousy weather!  Over 40 people took part in the seminar which involved advice on membership promotion, retention and member support as well as a choice of workshops including a demo of our website tool for clubs.

Auction raises £1000 for Nepal

The terrible news of the Nepal earthquake and avalanche on Everest came on Saturday morning as the AGM was taking place. Alan Hinkes was immediately on hand to help with media enquiries and did a live broadcast for the BBC direct from the AGM.

Saturday evening’s entertainment consisted of a Welsh-themed buffet, late bar and a lively auction compared by Jim Kelly. The auction raised £1,000 which will be donated to a fund to help the Nepal earthquake recovery and mountain communities. Thanks go to Joe Brown and Cotswold Outdoors for their generous gear donations for the auction.

Jim Kelly extracting a ludicrous amount of money for some old rope.

Bob Pettigrew awarded George Band Award

Celebrating the vital contribution of BMC volunteers, the George Band Award for ‘Exceptional Voluntary Contribution to Mountaineering’ was presented to Bob Pettigrew MBE. Bob was recognised for his significant role in the BMC’s work over many years.

BMC CEO Dave Turnbull said: "Bob has been a BMC stalwart and staunch advocate for the freedoms of mountaineers for well over 50 years.  He is one of a rare breed of mountaineers with a virtually unprecedented passion and encyclopedic knowledge of British mountaineering history, its administration and its literature.  Bob has dedicated his life to the mountains and mountaineering."

Thanks to everyone who sent in nominations – we’ll open nominations for the 2016 award in November/December.


Bob Pettigrew (left) honoured for his exceptional voluntary contribution to mountaineering. Photo: James Rowe

Active membership

The Plas y Brenin climbing wall got a lot of love on Saturday due to the bad weather. However, the skies brightened up a bit on Sunday enabling people to explore the hills and crags of North Wales before heading home. 

Thank you to all BMC members who came along and made it such an enjoyable and productive weekend.  It was particularly encouraging to see that around 50 percent of AGM attendees were ‘first timers’ and many under 25s, including UK based members from Canada, Columbia, Italy and Russia.  We're looking forward to returning to Plas y Brenin for our International Meet next week.

Plans are afoot for next year’s AGM.  We’re investigating the possibility of holding the 2016 AGM at Ratho, Edinburgh and aim to include more for young people.

Watch the BMC Portland Festival and AGM 2014 on BMC TV:

Watch what This Girl Can do on BMC TV:

Watch our film about being a woman and a climber by Mina Leslie-Wujastk on BMC TV:

Watch the 2014 BMC Equity Symposium on BMC TV:

Watch 'All in a day's work' a film about the BMC filmed in 2011 on BMC TV:



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