Shooting Times talks to BASC council candidate Neil Chalmers
Neil Chalmers, aged 66, is a spoken communications consultant and a retired hotelier and advertising executive. He lives in Kent. He is standing for one of five contested seats in this year’s BASC council elections.
What is your shooting and conservation background?
I have started and run three shoots and syndicates over 30 years in shooting as a hobby sport.
What will you do for BASC and for shooting?
I believe BASC needs a broad base of skills and experience on the council. Before being a hotelier, I was an executive in advertising responsible for political, government and lobbying accounts. Since leaving advertising, I have also run my own spoken communications consultancy. I believe I would contribute a less traditional viewpoint, encouraging positive alternatives to emerge for consideration.
What skills in your working life would you bring to BASC?
For over 20 years, I have been involved with spoken communications-consulting and training. In combination with my experience at Saatchi and Saatchi I have worked with other agencies on accounts, including political – with the Tory Party, governmental – with the Department of Energy, and lobbying – with Eurotunnel. I would therefore bring considerable experience in the strategic presentation of specific policies and plans to the council.
How would you improve BASC?
I believe that the organisation is well run at the moment, however I do feel that I would be able to contribute considerably in terms of time and ability in the increasingly important communications and lobbying areas.
What bad practices in shooting would you tackle?
There is always pressure on commercial shoots to generate satisfactory revenue and profits for their owners. Sometimes, this results in bags becoming over large to balance the number of birds shot to revenues generated, resulting in gameshooting getting a bad name for excessive bags. I believe this is an area that should be carefully reviewed regarding policy and involvement in comment and advice from BASC.
Do you think support for all fieldsports is necessary for a member of BASC council?
Yes, but with the possibility for varying views
How would you encourage new people into the sport and new members to join BASC?
It is vital to encourage young people into shooting, which is a costly sport. The young shooters activities by BASC are already a strong programme, but those who benefit from the sport commercially should be encouraged to do more to help young entrants. BASC must be seen as the organisation which can then co-ordinate and market new and innovative programmes for new young member recruitment
What’s your idea of a perfect shooting/sporting day?
A dry day in December, with a good wind and a touch of frost and a group of friends who have all shot together for some time. A bag of circa 150 birds, with a mix of partridge and pheasant over varied drives in woodland as well as open banks and valleys. Lunch taken after the bag has been achieved in a friendly pub where conversation and essential bragging about that special bird can continue without interruption and having to go out again into the cold and gloom!
What’s your favourite game dish?
A recipe by Bruno Loubet – a fine game chef – pheasant breast stuffed with forcemeat made from the legs, pancetta and the livers, with some sage and thyme to taste, wrapped in pigs cawl, baked in the oven and served with a cream and fois gras sauce. It’s a great favourite from my hotel days!
The 12 candidates standing for the five contested BASC council places are as follows:
In the Northern Irish and Welsh council seats, for which there will be no ballot, the new council members will be Oliver McCullough (Northern Ireland) Jonathan Garton (Wales).
Profiles of those standing will also be sent to BASC members in the March/April issue of the members’ magazine, along with voting forms. The results will be announced at the organisation’s AGM in June.
For more information about the 2015 elections and BASC council, click here.