Following my Presidents Report presented and accepted at the AGM I also shared a personal reflection which I share with all of you now.
When I took over as President in November 2021, shortly after James Newman’s double “Nul Points”, I could never have imagined or foreseen the Baptism of fire that Turin was in terms of the organisation we needed to put in, how the club would grow in size so quickly, the challenges not just in Eurovision but the wars outside that we see in member countries that take part in the contest or ever think in my wildest dreams that just 18 months later that we would be hosting a contest here in the UK and the efforts that would require. The amount of work and time that this has took has taken its toll. Not just on my work commitments which have increased, and my personal life, but sadly also on my health.
Unfortunately and rather embarrassingly some members are aware that I was taken unwell during the First Semi Final at the Arena in May and attended hospital and thank you to those who reached out showing concern. Although I carried on, taking part in the EuroFerry the next morning, as soon as Eurovision ended I was straight back into hospital. Before Eurovision and since I have been undergoing several assessments and the outcome of which now results in me needing to prioritise treatment which will take time.
This means I have reluctantly but under health advice accepted that I need to prioritise getting better and therefore I will step down from my role as President today and the President’s role will go up for election alongside the other vacant positions when nominations are sought, and the election begins shortly.
In stepping down now, and doing a managed handover when Sweden are hosting and the membership has stabilised, I hope will give the incoming President the abilty to step into the role fully supported, and give the committee the time and space to focus on those outstanding priorities.
I ask that you can forgive me for not being able to fulfil my full term and final year as President. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the support that the vast majority of members have shown me, thank you to those who have challenged me with their own ideas, and I hope that you can be proud of the achievements of the club over the past two years which has resulted in us hosting one of the best Eurovision’s many can remember. While I always welcome robust debate, I would challenge a few of our members just to consider what they say, how they say it and the power or impact of those remarks, comments, or questions on our well-being when we are quite simply trying our best and taking into account a lot of the work that goes unseen. We are not perfect but we always have the best intentions and the good of the club at the heart of what we do. I reiterate my thanks to the committee, to Simon in particular for the tireless work he has done and to everyone across the OGAE family. Once I have handed over to the new President I will take a step back and focus on getting better, but if sought for any advice or guidance, will help in any way and will always fly the flag for the biggest and best Contest, fan club and Eurovision family in the world.
I´m truly Sorry once again but thank you for this privilege, it’s been an honour to serve as your President.