Our Constitution

Northern Hamster Club Constitution
The title of the organisation shall be the Northern Hamster Club, which may be abbreviated to ‘NORTHERN’.

The objectives of the Club shall be as follows: to encourage the keeping, breeding and exhibiting of all species of hamster to a standard or standards defined by the governing body, National Hamster Council, which may be abbreviated to ‘NHC’; to give particular encouragement to novice breeders; to foster and safeguard the interests of NORTHERN and its members; and to encourage and maintain the qualities of the NHC recognized colours and help develop and establish new varieties of hamster. NORTHERN shall organize activities for the hamster fancy in the Northern Counties of England, the exact area of responsibility to be defined by the NHC.

The NORTHERN shall be affiliated to the NHC, the governing body of the hamster fancy, and the NORTHERN shall adopt and abide by the Rules and Standards of the NHC. Note: If the NORTHERN disaffiliates from NHC, a vote of the full NORTHERN membership is required.

Membership of NORTHERN shall be open to all persons. There shall be seven different types of membership:
a. Adult
b. Partnership (2 or more people)
c. Junior (under 16 years of age)
d. Young Adult (16–18 years of age)
e. Associate (member of another Club affiliated to the NHC)
f. Family
g. School
h. Honorary
Note: NORTHERN shall reserve the right to refuse or suspend without reason membership and active participation in NORTHERN activities, provided that such a decision is taken by a majority vote by the entire Officers of NORTHERN and is in the interests of NORTHERN.

Northern Hamster Club Constitution (Last updated NOV 2022)
a. Subscription rates will be set at the AGM. All subscriptions shall be renewed annually from the month of application. Any person or persons who allow their subscriptions to lapse shall automatically forfeit all rights afforded to NORTHERN members and shall be expected to return immediately any challenge trophies or other NORTHERN property in their possession.
b. Members have the right to cancel their subscription/membership within 14 days of payment being taken. This can be done by contacting the
NORTHERN Secretary.

The Officers of the club shall be Honorary President, Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary / Show Manager (combined post which may be split in to 2 posts: Secretary and Show Manager), Treasurer, Public Relations Officer, Trophy Manager,
and Livestock and Welfare Manager.
In the interest of NORTHERN, a NORTHERN Officer may hold a Committee position in one of the other NHC-affiliated clubs. The Secretary and Treasurer may hold a Committee position in another club, but not the position of Secretary or Treasurer.

The Executive Committee shall consist of the Officers of NORTHERN plus a Committee of not more than 8 Adult, 2 Junior and 2 Young Adult members (ideally at least one of each). Adult members can be co-opted if required. These shall all be elected by a simple majority vote of members present at the AGM.
Note: Junior and Young Adult members are not allowed to hold an Executive Position. Junior members can only vote on items relating to Junior, Novice and Intermediate matters.
1 A Quorum shall consist of at least one third of the total active Committee at the time of calling the meeting, of which at least 2 must be Officers.
2. The business of NORTHERN shall be conducted by the Executive Committee and decisions binding upon NORTHERN shall be decided by a simple majority vote of the Officers and the Chairperson.
3. The Executive Committee may appoint any sub-committee as and when the need arises. The Executive Committee shall have the power to fill any vacancy which may occur during their term of office without consulting with the membership, provided that all such appointments are notified to the membership in the earliest possible issue of the NHC Journal.
4. Executive Committee meetings shall be binding upon NORTHERN members and the Committee shall exercise all powers not specified or limited in this Constitution, but within the scope of the OBJECTIVES clause.
5. No member of NORTHERN shall be elected for any Officer or Committee post for a minimum of 18 months if they have held an Officer or Committee post with any other hamster club/organisation NOT affiliated to the NHC.
6. No member of NORTHERN shall be elected for any Committee post in NORTHERN in their first year of membership.
7. No member of Northern shall be elected for any Officer post in NORTHERN until they have been on the Committee for 1 year.

The post of Honorary President shall be that of a figurehead and where possible should be held by a person of stature and fame. The post shall be elected by members of the Executive Committee and is not an active role in the running of the club.
The Chairperson shall be responsible for presiding over NORTHERN meetings such as the annual AGM and other Executive Committee Meetings to ensure such meetings are conducted in an orderly fashion. Where appropriate the Chairperson will also be called upon to represent the NORTHERN as its spokesperson.
The Vice-Chairperson shall be responsible for serving the NORTHERN in the absence of the Chairperson.
The Secretary’s duties consist of:
1. Enrolling new members to NORTHERN, renewing existing subscriptions, collecting all such monies and keeping a record of all business conducted by NORTHERN.
2. Keeping a record of the minutes of all NORTHERN meetings.
3. Informing other Officers of NORTHERN and all members of the Executive Committee of matters affecting general business.
4. Supplying the Editor of the NHC Journal with regular monthly news of interest to NORTHERN members for inclusion in the Journal.
5. Supplying each member of NORTHERN with a copy of the current NHC handbook.
6. Ensuring that each NORTHERN member receives a copy of the NORTHERN Constitution on joining or as soon after as possible.
7. Informing all NORTHERN members of any forthcoming General Meetings, including the AGM, at least 35 days before such a meeting.
8. Calling for any items for the Agenda of a General Meeting, and in the case of the AGM, nominations for Officers.
9. Ensuring that every member of the NORTHERN receives a copy of the minutes of any General Meeting, including the AGM, within 60 days of the
meeting. Minutes are to be posted on Northern Hamster Club website.
10. Being responsible for the organization of venues, show secretaries, judges, book and pen stewards for every Show, whether they are arranged at
NORTHERN’s AGM or not.
11. Furnishing each show secretary with the necessary prize cards and stationery for their particular Show.
12. Ensuring that there is a sufficient stock of prize cards and show stationery, and arranging for such items to be printed when required. These items shall be obtained at a reasonable price and quality.
13. Be responsible for organizing Judge Training as laid out in the “Judge Training Procedure for the NORTHERN Members” (Appendix C).
14. The Secretary, where possible, should be one of the 3 NHC Delegates.
Note: If the role is split, the duties of the Secretary will consist of sections 1-9 and the duties of the Show Manager will consist of sections 10-13 as above.

The Treasurer’s duties consist of:
1. Having charge of all monies belonging to NORTHERN, which shall be deposited with a Bank, with the exception of petty cash which the Secretary,
Treasurer or authorized committee member requires for NORTHERN duties. The Bank chosen shall be one in which the Bank charges shall be kept to an absolute minimum.
2. Producing copies of the Annual Audited Account for the AGM, and on request.
3. Giving brief financial statements for the Executive Committee if required.
4. If a Treasurer resigns they shall produce a final statement to the Executive Committee, audited by a duly appointed auditor.
5. All cheques should be signed by two out of three named Officers. Wherever possible, these should be the Treasurer, Secretary and Chairperson.  If two of these signatories occupy the same household then another Officer shall be appointed as the third signatory. For the purposes of telephone and internet banking, authority is delegated to the Treasurer who shall be assigned the role of controlling officer on the account.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO)’s duties consist of:
1. Informing all interested parties within the Northern area of all matters directly involving NORTHERN or the keeping, breeding, exhibiting and
welfare of all species of hamsters.
2. Advising the NORTHERN Secretary of any requests made for information directly involving NORTHERN on keeping, breeding exhibiting, welfare or other related information on all species of hamsters.
3. Providing all show secretaries with any assistance they require in order to obtain the maximum publicity for and from their Show.
4. Issuing press releases to all media in the area of each Show.

The Trophy Manager’s duties consist of:
1. Arranging the awards, in whatever form the Committee and membership deem appropriate, for all NORTHERN shows. For normal shows these will be in the form of rosettes and prize cards. The cards will be printed by the holder of the Northern Printer unless it is requested that the Trophy Manager prints these at cost. The Trophy manager will ensure these are available in good time for each show regardless of whether they are attending or not.
2. Arranging safe storage for any trophies belonging to the NORTHERN that are not in use.
3. If the NORTHERN Committee and membership chooses to award annual awards in some form, as decided at the AGM, the Trophy Manager will be responsible for all decisions regarding individual prizes subject to the members’ decisions regarding timing, frequency and budget. The Trophy
manager will give due consideration to members’ suggestions on award type, however the final decision rests with the Trophy Manager.
4. Announcing the awards at shows. Should they not be in attendance then the awards will be announced by another committee member.
5. Choosing and ordering of all awards or prizes, including pet classes. Monies will be reimbursed by the Treasurer on presentation of the invoices, or
invoices will be paid by direct payment via the NORTHERN account.

The Livestock and Welfare Manager’s duties consist of:
1. Keeping a record of all animals present at each NORTHERN event.
2. Organising & supervising the rehoming of all hamsters for and on behalf of NORTHERN. None of these shall be rehomed without the permission and approval of the Livestock and Welfare Manager.
3. The Livestock and Welfare Manager shall have the right to refuse the rehoming of a hamster if in their opinion the animal falls short of accepted
Club standards. Additionally, they may limit the number of hamsters offered for rehoming.
4. Keeping full and accurate record of all hamsters rehomed for each year. All monies applicable to the Club from such rehomed hamsters shall be passed to the Treasurer.
5. Keeping up to date with legislation regarding the keeping, breeding, exhibiting and rehoming of all hamster species, and informing the NORTHERN of any changes or potential changes to the laws and their impact on NORTHERN and its members.
6. Informing all interested NORTHERN members on all matters directly involving welfare of all species of hamsters.
7. Holding responsibility for organising & supervising the welfare of all hamsters for and on behalf of NORTHERN at NORTHERN events. No hamster in addition to those for re-homing or entered in the show may be at a NORTHERN event without the permission and approval of the Welfare
8. If the Livestock and Welfare Manager is not present at a show, the Show Manager is to select a Committee Member to step in on the day.

The NORTHERN shall provide three Delegates. Where possible one shall be NORTHERN Secretary and the others shall be elected from the Executive Committee.

These may be called through the Secretary by the Executive Committee or by a written request to the Secretary of not less than eight adult members of NORTHERN. Notice of such a GM shall be published by the Secretary in the NHC Journal to provide 35 days’ notice between the date of the dispatch of the journal to the members and the date of the meeting. Each adult member shall be allowed one vote. Memberships that include more than one adult member shall be entitled to two votes only.

The AGM shall be held at a date and venue to be decided by the Executive Committee, not more than 14 months after that last AGM unless extraordinary circumstances dictate otherwise. The Secretary and Treasurer shall submit an audited financial balance sheet. The AGM shall elect the Club’s Officers, Executive Committee and NHC Delegates. The Secretary shall ensure that every member of NORTHERN shall receive a copy of the Minutes of the AGM within 60 days of the meeting.

These may be called through the Secretary by the Executive Committee in extreme emergencies. The Notice of such an EGM shall be sent by the Secretary to members. 14 days’ notice must be provided between the date of the dispatch and the date of the meeting. Each adult member shall be allowed one vote. Memberships that include more than one adult member shall be entitled to two votes only.

a. Nominations for Officers, Executive Committee and NHC Delegates shall be received by the NORTHERN Secretary on or before the date of the AGM. All such nominations must be accompanied by a statement from the proposed stating that they are willing to accept office if elected. All Officers, Executive Committee members and NHC Delegates shall be elected by a simple majority vote. The Officers of NORTHERN plus the NHC Delegates shall be elected bi-annually, maximum of 26 months. The Committee members only shall be elected annually, maximum of 14 months.
b. No member of NORTHERN shall be elected for any committee post in NORTHERN in their first year of membership. No NORTHERN member shall be elected for any officer post in NORTHERN until they have been on the committee for at least one year.
c. No member will be allowed to stand for any position on the Committee unless they are proposed and seconded by different memberships.

11.   SHOWS
a. Major Shows shall be defined at the AGM. Other Shows and Displays may be arranged by consultation with the Executive Committee. NORTHERN shall ensure that all Shows are run in accordance with the NHC Rules and any accepted Standards.
b. Entry into the Pet Class shall be open to non-members. NORTHERN members who have entered up to three hamsters in the Main Classes may also show hamsters in the Pet Class. Other small furry animals may also be shown in the Pet Class.  All entrants must be present at the show.
c. Dogs may only be brought into show venues if they are confined to a suitable cage or carrier and may only be removed for walking and feeding (outside thevenue).  The NORTHERN reserves the right to refuse entry to any dog at its discretion.

12.   JUDGES
a. Judges for NORTHERN Shows must have either completed NORTHERN Training Procedures, as set out in the document ‘Judge Training Procedure for NORTHERN Members’ (see Appendix C), or be a recognised judge or any other NHC affiliated Club.
b. Judges can claim expenses for the day.

NORTHERN shall support the formation of Hamster Circles, which will operate within the NORTHERN and its Constitution.  These Hamster Circles shall be solely responsible for all their financial affairs.

Complaints will be dealt with using the NORTHERN Complaints procedure (see Appendix B), copies of which can be obtained from the Secretary or Chairperson.

Any exhibitor with a contagious disease in their Hamstery must refrain from showing any hamster species that may be affected by the disease, until they have a letter or certificate of clearance from a vet.

a. NORTHERN may only be dissolved by a unanimous vote of the full entire committee and all its members.
b. Upon dissolution, the assets of NORTHERN, after clearance of all of NORTHERN debts, shall be distributed among the NORTHERN fully paid-up


1. The Northern Hamster Club recognises each Northern Hamster Club membership or Associate membership as a single entry, referred to in this
document as a ‘member’.
2. The Northern Hamster Club recognises that livestock that are not entered into the show (both main or pet class) nor into rehoming shall be referred to in this document as ‘welfare entry’.
3. Only members may rehome hamsters at Northern Hamster Club events, although members may not rehome animals at the first show they attend.
4. The Northern Hamster Club retains the right to refuse any hamster for rehoming or any welfare entry from any member/public at any of their events.The decision of the Northern Hamster Club Livestock Manager, Welfare Officer or either of their appointed deputies, is final.
5. The Livestock Manager is the person whom the Northern Hamster Club has designated its responsibility for the welfare of all hamsters being rehomed, by whatever means at its events.  For this reason, they or their appointed deputy must be informed of any animals that are being rehomed directly by members at events, in addition to the animals being offered for rehoming via the Club.
6. The Welfare Officer is the person whom the Northern Hamster Club has designated its responsibility for the welfare of all livestock at its events. The Show Secretary for that event and the Livestock Manager shall liaise with the Welfare Officer at Northern Hamster Club events to ensure animal welfare legislation is upheld.
7. It is the responsibility of each member to inform the Livestock Manager or their deputy about any hamsters the member intends to offer for rehoming at a Northern Hamster Club event.  The member is responsible for ensuring that the information is received before the agreed closing date for that event.  The Livestock Manager will supply the member with booking forms if required. The information required for each pen of animals the member intends to offer is as follows: species, description, sex, date of birth or age, number of individuals.
8. The information required for a welfare entry is as follows: species, description, sex, age, number of individuals. This information must be supplied to the Welfare Officer or their deputy for each Northern Hamster Club event. The person bringing the welfare entry is responsible for ensuring that the
information is received before the agreed closing date for that event.
9. At each event, hamsters for rehoming will only be accepted from members who are regular attendees at shows.
10. At Northern Hamster Club events, a hamster may only be confined to a container that is adequately ventilated and at a minimum, allows it space to stand up and sit on its haunches in a normal position, turn around comfortably and lie at full length.
11. Pens for animals offered for rehoming at Northern Hamster Club events and pens for welfare entry (while meeting these standards and allowing for sufficient space for the number of animals they contain) must not exceed a base size of 15” by 12” (35cm by 30cm).  If constructed of plastic, pens must include at least one transparent side to enable the hamster(s) to be examined by prospective new owners without being disturbed.
12. Every container containing hamster(s) must be supplied with sufficient of the following for the needs of the hamster(s): a suitable absorbent substrate, appropriate hard food, and piece(s) of moisture-containing fruit or vegetable.
13. When hamsters are being rehomed through the Northern Hamster Club, the member rehoming the hamster is responsible for providing a pet carrier for the animal to be transported to its new home in. Carriers should be of a suitable size and strength to allow the hamster enough space to move around but not allow it to escape during the trip home. The Livestock Manager will have the right to refuse rehoming hamsters if they feel the containers provided by the member rehoming the hamsters are not fit for purpose.
14. Hamsters offered for rehoming at Northern Hamster Club events must be between five weeks and ten months of age, fully weaned and in good health. Each animal must be accompanied by two documents: a rehoming record to be retained by the club and an individual record to be given to the new owner. Both documents must state the name and contact details of the member who is rehoming the animal, together with species, sex, description and date of birth or approximate age of the hamster.  The hamster and the documents will be checked by the Livestock Manager or deputy before the animal is offered for rehoming.
15. Each pen of hamsters offered for rehoming must contain only animals of a single sex and species.  Where individuals in a single pen have different birth dates, the animals must be clearly distinguishable.
16. Hamsters offered for rehoming at Northern Hamster Club events must meet all of the above criteria.  ‘Young’ (five weeks to three months old) hamsters offered for rehoming must:
a. Be a maximum of three months of age.
b. Be of a recognised species of hamster (not a cross species or hybrid) and have, as far as can be determined, no other species in their ancestry. Where there is uncertainty, the breeder must be prepared to vouch for the animal’s ancestry and the opinion of a suitably qualified judge should be sought.  If after discussion with the judge the breeder, the Livestock Manager or their deputy still has reasonable doubt as to the ancestry of the animal(s), they should refuse to offer the animal(s)
for rehoming.
c. Be free from actual or suspected hereditary disease or deformity.
d. Be free from physical injury or deformity.
e. Be accompanied by a birth certificate or pedigree detailing the ancestry of the animal (where known) to at least two generations ie. parents and
17. Animals failing to meet the required criteria for rehoming may still be offered for rehoming at the discretion of the Livestock Manager or their deputy.  In this eventuality, the new owner will be required to make a minimum donation set by the person offering the hamster for rehome to club funds (which may be collected to be handed over annually to a charity nominated by the NORTHERN membership).  The minimum value of the donation required for rehomed hamsters will be set by the Northern Hamster Club Committee and reviewed annually.
18. The number of hamsters for rehoming on each day of an event may not exceed twenty per member.  At the discretion of the Livestock Manager or
their deputy, the member may bring a maximum of three ‘older’ (three to ten months old) additional hamsters for rehoming.  Either of these quotas may be increased at the discretion of the Livestock Manager or their deputy for any individual event.
19. The rehoming fee will be set by the person rehoming the hamster and 20% of the rehoming fee is to be allocated to the Northern Hamster Club and the remainder is to be allocated to the member rehoming the hamster. All pens must be clearly labelled with the rehoming fee for the animal or animals in it. The hamster rehoming fee for ‘young’ hamsters will be set at a suggested minimum of £20 per hamster. This fee will be reviewed annually by the Committee.
20. Where ‘private’ rehoming of hamsters takes place at a Northern Hamster Club show venue, the vendor must donate 20% of the proceeds received to the Northern Hamster Club by way of a facilitation fee.

This procedure can be used by any Member of the Club in connection with any genuine complaint regarding all aspects of the running of the Club.  It may not be used for the settling of personal differences or personality clashes which may occur from time to time.
1. A minor complaint should be dealt with as soon as is practicable. This action should prevent a minor complaint becoming a major complaint.
2. Any minor complaint must be made as soon as possible to a Member of the Committee or Show Secretary so that immediate action can be taken if
required.  Depending on the nature of the complaint, the Show Secretary will draw to the attention the nature of the complaint to a Member of the
Committee who is not involved in the complaint.  The complaint can then be addressed and rectified to the satisfaction of all concerned.
3. If the complaint cannot be dealt with to the satisfaction of all concerned, a complaint form shall be requested by the complainant.  Upon receipt all
sections of the form shall be completed and sent to the Club Secretary (or other Officer of the Committee when a complaint is made involving the Club Secretary) within 28 days of the incident taking place, for further investigation by the Committee.  If due to circumstances it is not possible to meet the required quorum the investigation will be sent to the National Hamster Council
for investigation.  The Committee will look at the complaint within 60 days of receipt to see whether the complaint is valid and further action is necessary. If further action is necessary the Committee will take whatever action is required to investigate the complaint and resolve it by whatever actions are necessary.  It will be expected that the person who the complaint is made against will be asked for any information regarding the complaint.  At the end of all investigations regarding a complaint the outcome will be final.  Any person involved will be able to appeal to the National Hamster Council as per the appeals section of the Council Handbook.  Any appeal shall be lodged within 28 days of an outcome.
4. If the complaint is of a very serious nature and the investigating Committee feels that they must recommend a Member’s membership should be
terminated, the Committee shall have the right to suspend a Member until a general meeting open to all Members is called to discuss the termination of membership only.  This general meeting shall be called by the Committee to take place no more than three months after the date of suspension or at any general meeting that is due to take place within the three-month deadline.
5. The name of the person making the complaint will not purposely be divulged to the person who the complaint has been made against until the complaint has been decided valid. However, the Committee cannot be held responsible if that information is accidently given or discovered some other way.
6. It the complaint is to be investigated by the Committee, the person making the complaint will be informed and asked to pay the sum of £10.00.  This money will be refunded in full if the complaint was proved valid.  All securities and monies shall be withheld until all appeals have be heard and resolved.  If the Committee does not feel that the complaint was valid then the money shall be used to help pay any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the Club in calling such a meeting.
7. The names of all concerned will be made available to the National Hamster Council if requested and if any person who is suspended or membership terminated their details will be made available to any Secretary of any Club affiliate to the National Hamster Council.

1. No Member or Associate Member of the Northern Hamster Club can commence training as a Club Judge until they have had one year’s
continuous membership of the Northern Hamster Club.
2. Any Member wishing to become a Club Judge must be proposed and seconded by two different qualified Judges of the Northern Hamster Club.
3. The Member’s proposal is then forwarded to the Show Manager.  At the next Committee Meeting of the Northern Hamster Club the Show Manager will recommend whether the Member commences training or has it deferred to a later date.  The Member is to be informed of the Committee’s decision within fourteen days.
4. Once accepted into the training program each applicant will be issued with all documents detailing what is required of them to become a Northern Hamster Club Judge.  All other relevant Judges are to be informed so that they may help with the commencement and organisation of the training program.
5. All applicants are required to complete the following:
* Pen Steward at three Shows and obtain signature of the Judge*
* Book Steward at three Shows and obtain signature of the Judge*
* Judge at three Shows under three qualified Club Judges* who will each have a minimum of two years’ experience.  It is up to the individual
Judge Trainer whether they Book Steward or merely observe the trainee.
* Show secretary at one show
* Where possible 3 different Judges
6. On completion of training all documents are to be verified with the Show Manager and all Judges involved in the training.
7. At the next Committee Meeting of the Northern Hamster Club the Show Manager will recommend whether the trainee was successful and becomes a Club Judge or if additional training is required.
8. Where possible all training will be completed within two years of the commencement date.
9. Any Member under the age of 18 may enter into the training program and become a qualified Club Judge, but they must have a qualified Judge over 18 years old as Book Steward.
10. Qualified Judges with the required experience will be asked to do Judge Training. It shall be left to the individual Judge to decide whether they wish to join the training program.
11. All decisions of the Northern Hamster Club are final.