I have just attended the UUP AGM weekend. This incorporated a pre-AGM dinner on the Friday Night, with the main event happening on the Saturday Morning.
The dinner was on Friday 26 March, and the AGM on 27 March, in the Conference centre at the Kings Hall Complex.
Me and Joan Elliott
I was almost not going to go, but practically at the last minute, and after chatting to Danny Kinahan, i decided to dander along to the dinner event. I have to say, I was glad I went. It really was a great night, with a lovely five course meal, a few songs from Ross Hussey and Danny Kennedy MLA (both Conservative and Unionist Candidates in the forthcoming General Election) Some beautiful reels from two pipers (sorry can't remember where they were from) including Killaloe (a beautiful rousing tune normally associated with the Royal Irish). I also got to catch up with a lot of good friends like Joan Elliott, a wonderful woman from Banbridge (who's daughter is the recently elected Craigavon Councillor Jo-Anne Dobson), Bill Manwaring, Roberta Dunlop, even got a chat with Burkes Corner. Mike Nesbitt compered the evening.
Top Right across :- David Campbell UUP Chairman; Ross Hussey, West Tyrone Candidate; Pipers; 'Flash' Harry Hamilton belting out the likes of 'One Vision' (or should that be Fried Chicken?), 'We are the Champions', 'Breakthrough', 'I want to break free', and 'We will rock you'.
The start of his set was a bit stilted - not his performance but the audience - a lot of people politely listened unsure how to react. I could see some foot tapping, as people desperately wanted to get up and dance, but at the same time did not want to look like prats in front of the Party Leader!
But by the end of the night the floor was full of people having a great time.
The AGM itself was to the point, quick and well run. A lot of great chats with friends, and making new friends, and sensing the mood of the UUP as the General Election approaches.
The general mood seemed to be very positive even with the lateness of choices for candidates, and South Antrim still to be confirmed. A lot of the party faithful seemed to be looking forward to the fight ahead.
Most of the posts were filled unanimously. The one piece of open competition was for Chairman, Tim Lemon was up against incumbent David Campbell, and though David won out it was a close one. Tim looks to be a Chairman in the making. Maybe next year, Tim.
General Election and Council Election candidates
Only time will tell now as to whether or not some of those same candidates will return to tnext year's UUP AGM as elected representatives.