We are proud to introduce the first blog by Mark Pierrepont, the new secretary of the British Greyhound Breeders Forum

The first thing I’d like to say on this blog piece is a thank you to Floyd for allowing both myself and John Marriott the space to put across our viewpoints.  The Greyhound Star is and has been for a very long time the most important piece of greyhound racing media around.  The aim is for myself and John to put a blog out once a month.

There will be months when plenty has been happening on the British breeding front and then there will be other months where there isn’t really a lot to discuss.  Over the course of the year though there will be plenty of interesting discussion raised by myself and John I’m sure.

For those that aren’t aware I took on the role of BGBF Secretary last November whilst I was in attendance at the BGBF AGM.  Stuart Forsdike was stepping down from his position as chairman and with everybody in attendance in agreement , John Marriott took over that role.  This left the secretary role needing filling and since applicants were fairly thin on the ground I volunteered (or was volunteered by Peter Harnden & Jim Hayton!) to carry out the position.

It is a role I will embrace though and one which I will carry out with 100% effort.  One of the main things I wanted to sort out was the introduction of a decent website.
The previous offering was quite simply a shambles and any prospective sponsor of our events that happened to come across it must have been put off immediately.
The updated website which has been completed by Rich Vicary is much more modern looking and i’m sure visitors to the site will find it very pleasing on the eye and easy to navigate.
So thanks to Rich for the very quick and professional job that he’s done.  The website will be updated regularly with all the latest British bred news so do please keep a regular check on it (www.bgbf.co.uk).
At the aforementioned AGM a big complaint of Stuarts was that the chairmans role was taking up far too much of his time.  He had people ringing him up over what were really not important matters at all kinds of hours.
Half an hour here and there might not seem like a lot but when you’re adding it all up , it’s a lot of time out of a day, a week , a month.  I have therefore put in place representatives at all bar a couple of our tracks.
Having these reps in place to answer the odd question here and there is sure to lighten the work load on myself , John and Bob Gilling and this can only lead to the organisation being more productive.  What was also good to see was that a large majority of these track reps were younger people.  It showed me that there is a future for the sport and if you ask , people will come out and help.
I’m hoping to get a few more of the BGBF events sponsored this year.  In 2017 we only had Matthews Plants and Servoca Nursing & Care sponsoring our competitions.
There sponsorship was hugely appreciated and very much needed.  Quite simply if Servoca hadn’t sponsored the British Bred Derby at Towcester , it wouldn’t have taken place.
We need to be a lot more proactive in securing sponsorship of more of our events this year.  This will hopefully lead to BGBF funds being freed up and they can then be used to support our breeders in other ways.  I’ve held very early talks with a couple of potential sponsors already , they were very positive and I’m hopeful that they will get involved.
I’d like to thank Bob Gilling , BGBF Treasurer for all of his help and support since I took up the role.  Bob has been a great help and i’m not sure if people realise quite how much he has done for the sport and continues to do.  I’m not sure I realised quite how much myself until recently but I do now and he deserves recognition for everything he puts in.
Same is to be said for Liz Mort at the Greyhound Stud book , we’d be lost without people like Bob and Liz.
Like I say I do feel that we as a committee need to be much more proactive this year.  It’s tough times for greyhound racing and if we on a British bred level are to be successful then we need to work hard and think outside the box with our initiatives.  Our roles might be voluntary but they need 100% commitment.

We’re not yet in position to make any announcements regarding the British bred calendar for this year however i’d hope to have some positive news over the coming weeks.  I’d also like to try and reward the graders in some way this year.  I’ve heard the argument that nobody breeds to have a grader , this maybe true but the fact is that the majority of dogs do end up being graders and in my view we need to give those dogs and their owners something to run for.  This in turn will help our breeders , if owners know that by by buying a British bred pup , even if it doesn’t turn out as we all hope to be open class , they will still have a decent prize or two to run for on a graded level.

Thanks for reading and hopefully next time I write my blog I will have a little bit more in the way of definite news on a few things.  Do check back here on the Greyhound Star in a couple of weeks time when John Marriott will have his blog out.