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Helen is the new President

Friday 20 November 2015

At last night's Annual General Meeting, Helen James was elected the new President of Cardiff AAC, following Bernie Plain who had completed  his two year term.

Speaking after her election, Helen said that, having joined the club when she was 15, she could never have expected, one day, to be its President. She regarded it as a great honour.

Helen is only the second woman, after Kay James, to be President.

Helen has subsequently written,

I am very honoured and proud to be the new President of Cardiff AAC and my thanks go to Bernie Plain who has passed the baton on to me. Bernie has done a fantastic job over the last two years and I can only hope to continue his good work. I would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the significant contribution made by Graham Webb as he retires from his role as Chairman of the club.

Thank you also to all of the volunteers in every capacity who generously donate their time to make our club as successful as it is today. Without you we would not have a club.

At this point I wish to express my deep sadness at the passing of Dave Hawthorn who was a wonderful, lovely man and contributed so much to the club. I along with the club offer heart felt condolences to Enfys, Catrin and Daniel at this sad time.

For those that do not know me from the old days, here is a brief history of my time with the club…

Sport was always in the blood. My grandfather William O'Donnell was a 200 & 400 yard Welsh Champion who competed with Ted Hopkins, a former Club President. Incidentally, the President's Cardiff AAC club chain (that was presented to me by Bernie) was given to the club by Ted's wife when he passed away in 1976. Ted was a great man who helped and advised me as a young athlete.

My history with Cardiff AAC dates back to when I was a 14 year-old athlete. I joined the club back in 1970 after returning from New Zealand where I discovered I could run after winning the Auckland School Championships. I went on to have some success, including the Senior Welsh 100m title. I also held the 60m indoor Welsh record and represented Wales at senior level. Unfortunately my athletics career was cut short due to injury.

I was reintroduced to athletics through my children and immediately became involved. As well as coaching I have held a number of roles over the years including team manager and more recently club press officer.

I have experienced several successes over the years I have been with the club, including winning Sport Wales Coach of the Year, receiving life membership of Cardiff AAC and a meritorious award from Welsh Athletics. I have coached over 100 athletes to Welsh titles. However, the most satisfaction is seeing the athletes improve and develop as people and to think that in some way I have helped give them confidence to reach their goals and instill in them that anything is possible.

Cardiff AAC has been a huge part of my life and I hope that I can help further the club’s success.

Helen James, Cardiff AAC President.

After asking for a minute's silence in memory of Dave Hawthorn, Bernie Plain, chairing the meeting, thanked all those who contribute so much, including the team managers, coaches, fellow officers and many others. He especially thanked Kath Elias for her many years as membership secretary and Graham Webb for his term as chairman.

Amongst other remarks, Bernie mentioned the success of the Academy and congratulated those involved.

Other elections made at the AGM were as follows.

Patron: The Lord Mayor

Chairman: Bernie Plain
General Secretary: Ann Cooper
Treasurer: Steve Davies
Membership Secretary: Boudewyn Ligthart
Chairman of the Track & Field Committee: Andrew Seary
Secretary of the Track & Field Committee: Ruth Wright
Coaching Coordinator: Gwyn Jones
Members elected: Huw Phillips, Garry Jones & Tim Fry.

Additional appointments to the general committee wil be made at its next meeting.