GBGB Practitioner director candidate – owners representative Bob Boswell
I am delighted to have been selected by the GBGB as an Owner deemed suitable to possibly represent all Greyhound Owners on the board of the GBGB.
Many owners will know me by sight if not by name. For nearly twenty years I have represented owners through the chairmanship of both firstly the Wimbledon Greyhound Owners Association and latterly the Hove Greyhound Owners Association. I have a track record of representing all owners from the lowest grader to open class Greyhounds.
I have vast experience of negotiations with promoters and track management and developed excellent working partnerships at both Wimbledon and Hove, raising the profile of owners.
I have a very good relationship with all the forms of greyhound media both written and TV, and have always promoted greyhound racing in a positive light whenever I have been in the media. I believe that I am well liked and respected by this part of the greyhound industry and would be able to develop positive ideas for the benefit of greyhound racing and owners.
I am passionate about Greyhound Welfare and have worked very closely with Wimbledon Retired Greyhounds (Hersham Hounds) throughout my time at Wimbledon. I have collected at twenty Greyhound Derby’s to raise many thousands of pounds for Wimbledon, not to mention standing on Street corners in many Surrey towns shaking a bucket.
I am also a Trustee of Brighton and Hove Retired Greyhounds. And I would like to lead on encouraging more owners to become involved in greyhound welfare and Retired Greyhounds and their life after the track.
I have three Retired Greyhounds at home, two of which are ex racers of mine. I often take my Retired Greyhounds to race nights and introduce the dogs to racegoers. People are genuinely fascinated to meet the dogs that they have come to watch, seeing that they are gentle and charismatic, and asleep most of the time!
By having the dogs at race meetings has a two-fold benefit, people get engaged in conversation and can develop a desire to enter Greyhound ownership, but also see what great pets they make and can generate either future volunteer walkers or rehoming’s, and people can see there is a positive post racing future.
With ten Owners expressing an interest in becoming the Owners Representative on the Board this clearly shows that there is a good number of people who have a passion for greyhound racing and ownership and want to be part of shaping its future. If I were elected I would certainly be looking to use people with certain knowledge and expertise to serve on sub committees of The GBGB and certainly using Paul Emphreson in looking at the commerciality of owning a greyhound and the other areas that he has expressed an expertise in.
I do not envisage representing owners on the GBGB Board as being an "easy ride" full engagement and support of all owners will not be easy.
I have over the last eighteen months been a regular attendee at meetings of the Federation of British Greyhound Owners. Through attendance at the FBGOA meetings it has given me a small insight in to the workings of the GBGB Board and sub committees, the complexities and personalities, and if elected I would not be going in totally blind.
I am also encouraged by the appointment of Peter Harnden as the Trainers Representative on the Board, I believe that there is much common ground between owners and trainers, and that in working collaboratively we could achieve a great deal.
In terms of priorities obviously prize money is top of the agenda, as this lies at the heart of pump priming the whole industry, from trainers, kennel hands to greyhound ownership and ultimately retirement and greyhound welfare. I would also be looking to work with the supporters of Greyhound Racing, in both the lower and upper houses of Parliament, and certainly setting up a meeting with Lord Lipsey to discuss the betting levy, which he has agreed to mediate on.
We live in a digital age and I would like to explore video conferencing and telephone meetings as a method of engaging with owners from areas outside of London. I also have excellent contacts in the North East and the Midlands and it would be easy for me to visit such areas if necessary to meet with owners. I have also spoken to the Greyhound Star and would look to using their online platform as another method of communication with owners.
Again, it will not be easy but I would like set up a recognised organisation in every area or track to represent owners. I believe there is funding and a will to achieve this at the GBGB.
My first introduction to greyhound racing was as a Boxing Day tradition with my grandfather, I then used to go to Catford with my father and a further tradition was established of drinking Bovril whilst watching the dogs in the open kennel before going out over the bridge to the traps.
I continued to go to Catford throughout my teens and in my twenties and always enjoyed a night at the dogs. In my forties, I got my first Retired Greyhound and it was through Harry that I first started to visit the kennels at Hersham and met Norah McEllistrim who bought my first dog, and the rest as they say, is history.
I have loved every moment with each and every Greyhound I have owned and their unique characters. One of the best I owned was Pigalle Star who had a defeat of the late great Jimmy Lollie on her CV.