“Thank you for a wonderful year”

words: Jim Auld, SAIF National President
Jim Auld

This is my last column as National President before the AGM in March, and I look back on what has for me been a busy year of travel and attending meetings on behalf of SAIF. I really don’t know where the time has gone. My last duty of 2019 was to attend the Welsh members’ Christmas Dinner at the end of November, just outside Swansea.

The sell-out event was a most enjoyable evening spent in the company of members from throughout Wales and I’m most grateful for all who were so generous in raising over a thousand pounds for my charity Breast Cancer Now. Thank you for your support.

Our Chief Executive Terry Tennens, along with the SAIF Regulatory Task group, is going to have a busy few weeks preparing the responses to the CMA’s research and I would urge you to go to the member’s area of the SAIF website to share your responses.

For me the next few weeks is going to be a whirlwind of finalising arrangements for the AGM and Banquet in Glasgow on 13 to 15 March in the Grand Central Hotel.

We have an excellent Friday afternoon education session in the form of a Mental Health and Care Workshop dealing with suicide. A difficult subject, but one that needs talked about.

Then it is on to a distillery visit in the early evening, followed by dinner. Glasgow is a busy place that weekend as the Glasgow Comedy Festival is on, as well as the Book Festival, Aye Write, so hopefully you will manage to experience some of the culture of the city during the weekend.

It is also with a great deal of sadness I look towards the AGM weekend as you all know one of our stalwarts, Matthew Gallagher, died so suddenly on 29 December at the young age of 46. Matthew was a stalwart of AGMs and it is appropriate on the Friday we should all wear something pink to remember Matthew by, and there will be an opportunity to remember him during the weekend.

There are times that our phone rings and we are told of the death of someone that just completely numbs us, and Matthew’s death was one of those occasions. Dealing with the bereaved on daily basis doesn’t make us immune to our own personal grief.

I was privileged to represent SAIF along with many members at the funeral in Cuckfield on 18 January. It is always difficult to celebrate the life of someone so young but the day of the funeral was bright with blue skies and the beautiful arrangement of sunflowers in the Church just brightened the solemnity of the occasion, while the beautiful singing by the soprano Jo Appleby helped us reflect on Matthew’s life and achievements. It was a sad day but a proud one remembering a friend and colleague.

It is in the days and years that lie ahead that we miss Matthew most, none more so that his father and mother, Pat and Sandy, and we continue to think of them with love and support.

Thank you all for your support in the last year. I wish my successor Mark Porteous all the very best for his year in office and I hope to see you in Glasgow.

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