​Outgoing President Keith Loades presented with silver mounted caman

On Friday 27th November, Keith Loades hosted the Camanachd Association’s Annual General Meeting in his last act as President. Following this, new President, Steven MacKenzie presented Keith with a silver mounted Caman to mark his  time as President of the Association.

Keith had served as President since 2017 and was in the role for the Camanachd Association’s 125th anniversary in 2018. Guiding the Camanachd Association through challenging times including 2020’s abandoned season, there is little doubt that without his leadership, the Camanachd Association wouldn’t be in such a good place moving into 2021.

Keith Loades and incoming president Steven MacKenzie with the Ken Thomson memorial Caman case – which is to be inscribed with the names of each future president and be stored in the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore.
Camanachd Association CEO, Derek Keir, had this to say on Keith’s premiership:

“Throughout his presidency has overseen more than 1300 senior games of shinty plus hundreds of youth games. It is without doubt one of the best parts of my job that I get to learn from someone with Keith’s knowledge and experience. Furthermore, it is a strength of our association that we have a board and a President that can direct us through challenging times and prepare us through more positive periods.”

Just some of Keith’s achievements during this period are listed below:

– Secured funding from sportscotland to provide Regional Development Officers, National Development Officer, and a CEO to support all our member clubs. Four years’ worth of funding to fund 6 members of Camanachd Association team from 2018 – 2021 (Protecting our sport)

– Established Shinty’s first School of Shinty in Kingussie targeting teenage participants and transforming the engagement and delivery of shinty during curriculum time going from 5 hours per year to 60 hours per year in 2019. (Growing our sport)

– Secured 3-year extension to Mowi sponsorship of the Association leagues and International. (Sustaining our sport)

– Oversaw the establishment of the Shinty Ambassadors Programme delivering opportunity to more than 600 young people. (Targeted interventions to engage more teenagers in our sport)

– Secured sponsorship for the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup extending Tulloch Homes sponsorship to six years. (Sustaining our sport)

– 12% increase in turnover thanks to new partnerships with 16 corporate sponsors and working closely with local authorities and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to secure an additional member of staff focused on raising the profile of our sport and protecting the endangered craft of caman making. (Partnerships to sustain our activity)

– Secured new long-term sponsor for the Highland Industrial Supplies Sutherland Cup

– 33% reduction in Competition expenditure since 2016 due to cost efficiencies and sourcing new and more local providers

– 34% increase in Development expenditure since 2016 providing even more opportunities and support for member clubs

– 28% reduction in general office expenses

– Our sport has continued to progress with total memberships reaching 3637 including club membership and primary school participation.

We all wish Keith the best in his future endeavours and although his term as President has come to an end, his impact on our sport will endure for years to come.

The silver mounted caman was not the only exchange that took place that day. At the same time, Keith presented Steven with the Camanachd Association president’s medal. This medal was donated by Keith Loades and Steven will wear it for the duration of his presidency at which point it will be passed onto the next President.

It is, in essence an adapted Camanachd Cup medal and can be seen above. It’s presentation marks Steven’s election as the new President of the Association as we move onto the next chapter and into an exciting 2021.