Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Committee Couple


Samuel Patterson-Fforde and his wife Sabrina called most of the shots at the Vale of Vaysey Riding Club.

There were other members of the Managing Committee, but everyone knew who ran the shows.
Sabrina and Sam were latecomers to the riding club scene, having previously been hunting enthusiasts. “Both Sam and I were mad keen followers of the Belvoir for many years,” Sabrina told the elderly Chairlady, when they first applied to join the Club.

Within three months, they had become so invaluable in stewarding, helping out in the hectic general office and organising events that both were unanimously co-opted onto the Committee.

From then on their friends and family saw even less of the hard-working couple as they devoted even more time to the Club. Fortunately, a large stock of M&S ready-meals and a working knowledge of the microwave meant their children did not starve.

At the next
AGM, the pair were confirmed in office easily, given the votes of friends who had recently joined. These new members were energetic and keen to help out at the Club and would “do anything for dear Sam and Sabs."

Within a year, more chums who “fitted in so nicely” had also been co-opted.

Shortly, as the remaining longer-standing members dropped out following unfortunate disagreements over new policies, the votes of the new Committee members ensured that Sam and Sabrina were elected CEO and Deputy; they were, after all, "doing a grand job."

Naturally, further change came with the new officers. Any concerns raised by members were addressed somewhat tersely by Sam from his new office next to the Committee Room.

Other issues tended to be dealt with by Sabrina, who prided herself on her powers of command after her years in the Wrens. Her anger management had improved markedly following counselling required by the court after an unseemly fracas with some lady bikers in the Trugg & Gussett over a spilled pint of snakebite.

The CEO and Deputy were formidable as they walked around the Club on competition days: Sam relaxed in barbour and wellies and Sabrina clutching a clipboard.

Under their business-like regime, competitions ran on time and fewer complaints were received. The odd dissident may have muttered “Look out it’s the SS”, but quickly backed-off when Sabrina smiled and pointedly inquired if everything was "alright."

Eventually, the Committee decided to cede all its powers to the CEO. It would be much more efficient and less trouble for everyone; and so it proved.


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