Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust is now over ten years old. It is a registered industrial and provident society. As such, it has to adhere to certain rules regarding its constitution and administration. It also tries to operate on the basis that it will raise and provide funds for the football club for specific purposes.
A major example of this occurred in the 2013-14 season when the Trust sponsored the home SPFL 2 match against Peterhead at the end of December, 2013. Under the terms of the sponsorship deal, spectators were admitted free of charge but invited to make donations. So as to ensure that the club did not lose out financially, in the first instance, the Trust donated one thousand pounds more than the expected gate receipts.
Later, it approved the club spending the one thousand eight hundred pounds collected from the fans to pay for a block of eighty four new seats in the Main Stand at Shielfield. Thus, as a result, overall, the Trust helped to boost Berwick Rangers’ income from that particular game by almost three thousand pounds.
Membership of the Trust stands at around 240. Despite the harsher economic climate, numbers have remained steady over the last few years. Some members live abroad in countries such as the U.S.A., Spain, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand and Australia. Within the U.K. there is a wide geographical distribution from Aberdeenshire to Southampton and into Wales.
There are members who have never seen Berwick Rangers play and others who, because of their locations, rarely get the chance to do so but being a member of the Trust is a concrete way of supporting and identifying with their favourite club.
As well as members’ subscriptions (adults minimum twenty-four pounds per annum or two pounds per month, juniors five pounds per annum), the Trust holds fund raising events and has also been able to attract some commercial sponsorship. The Yorkshire Building Society backed an exhibition about Berwick Rangers F.C. in Berwick Public Library in the summer of 2013, publicising and promoting Berwick Rangers being another facet of the Trust’s activities.
The present Trust Board is willing to work in tandem with Berwick Rangers Supporters Club as appropriate and would not see this as compromising its independence. Apart from informal liaison between Trust Board members and the football club, there is official representation on the football club board through club vice chairman John Bell. This direct link means that members can ask the Trust Board to raise any matter of interest or concern with the football club as the Trust also exists to give supporters a voice.
The rules allow for a maximum fifteen members of the Trust Board. Currently, the number stands at eleven. They are:
- Chairman: Michael Smyth (Berwick)
- Vice-Chairman: Gordon Dickson (Tweedmouth)
- Secretary: Isla Barber (Peebles)
- Membership Secretary: Bill Purvis (Swinton)
- John Bell (Berwick)
- David Spence (Spittal)
- Ian Beresford (Spittal)
- Ron Kirk (Duns)
- Andrew Neville (Edinburgh)
- Brendan Thorburn (Berwick)
- Gary Smith (Berwick)
- Stuart Lee (Berwick)