Who looks after all the TRF money?

Who looks after the TRF money
John-Gardner-Title-01
John:

Well if we go back a bit. I'm 66 now, I'm retired. I've been riding motorcycles non stop since 1964 and I got quite interested in green lanes in the late sixties really which was before the TRF was set up in 1970. To cut a long story short in 1973 I bought my first new bike which was a Bultaco Alpina and shortly after that I joined the Lancashire group of the TRF.  I was elected as Chairman of Lancashire TRF group about 25 years ago.

John-Gardner-05

John's first new bike, the Bultaco Alpina

Skip forwards a few years and I was at a TRF meeting where the treasurer was standing down and there was nobody who wanted to take his place so I stood up and said "OK I'll do it". I think this was probably late nineties and I was treasurer for a number of years and then when I stood down and Arnold Brewer  became our treasurer.

That continued until we became a Ltd company and we had an AGM  and someone said, we really need a Finance Director who is independent of Arnold because Arnold is a paid employee.

I had retired from being treasurer of the TRF many years before that and had no intention of getting involved again but after about three or four people had said to me "would you do it John?" I said "OK then if nobody else will do it I'll be finance director." I have been ever since.

It must have been about five or six years ago I guess. So that's how I became TRF finance director after having been treasurer for many years before that.

John:

Now that we have Arnold, our acting treasurer, we work very closely with each other and also other directors to ensure that the TRF is kept liquid and we don't suddenly run out of money.

Really it's to steer us on a financially sound route.

John:

It can be challenging if you have got a number of legal claims or court cases on the go where even if you win it still costs you money, but when you lose it costs you shed loads. My role is the stewardship of the finances of our members who have made donations into the fighting fund to give us the ability to continue with our primary aim which is the conservation of green roads.

John-Gardner-02

John's earlier days, before his attitude towards protective gear improved

John:

It's difficult to say really. There's probably an hour or two of emails  most days, and then we have our directors conference calls or meetings. I would say something in the order of ten to fifteen hours per week, but it can vary. It's not too much, it's not like a full time job.

John:

Really I get the satisfaction of knowing that the TRF is financially sound and able to continue for the  foreseeable future.

The directors don't take a fee. I get some of my expenses paid if I put a claim in but it's about getting satisfaction in knowing that it's a club, a fellowship, and you're putting your skills into actually helping the fellowship to continue.

John:

Well, clearly our supreme court case which we announced last month must be a highlight, but I think if you look at the lanes that we've saved over the years they also must be a highlight. It is like pushing water up hill, the minute you stop it runs away form you.

John:

Yes, I have indicated that I am going to be standing down at the next AGM. We have a TRF member that has shown an interest in taking over this role which is great.

I am very happy that we have members getting involved in the club that are considerably younger than myself, both as directors and contractors. That's where the TRF has struggled in the past, it's been the older guys that have been running things and the younger members haven't really come through.

We have been an ageing population. That's changing which has to be good for the club.

John:

Certainly someone who has the ethos of the TRF at heart. Who knows where we are coming from. It's helpful if they are familiar with numbers and can read accounts, Arnold appreciates having a fellow accountant working with him because we talk the same language. But having said that, it doesn't need to be an accountant, but someone that has been involved in running the finances of organisations is helpful.

John:

Yes, you're working with other people. Going back to  when I was treasurer I was physically getting all the invoices, writing the cheques out and physically doing all of that side of things.  That is now done by Arnold at Oxford Accountancy because that's what he does, he looks after accounts for a number of businesses, the TRF is just one of them but more importantly he is one of our members and understands what we are trying to achieve.

John:

Well clearly the Trail Riders Fellowship has  been in existence for over forty years, I would like to see that it continues in existence with legitimate green lanes to ride and that we have a continuity plan that takes us well in to the next decade and the decades beyond that. A major milestone will be January 1st 2026 by when all the lanes we ride as of right will need to be fully recorded.

John-Gardner-Title-02

Would you like to be a TRF director? We are currently looking for skilled and energetic members to take up posts across the organisation.

Get in touch with John for more information and be part of the TRF's future.