To All members, Branches and the Regimental Association Family
We have managed to get through the past twelve months without the support of the former Regimental Headquarter offices at Customs House and the Wardrobe or their hard working staff, ensuring that at branch level life has managed to continue without too much disruption. That we have done so bears testament to the endeavours of the branch officers throughout the association.
The major impact has been on support provided to branches for events outside of the local branches. As we explained in the first Newssheet and at the 2017 and 2018 AGMs, the Regimental Trustees wish to have within each of the three constituent counties, a County Chairman, a County Secretary working with the Association Secretary and Chairman for events within each county or national events. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite achieved that objective.
The Back Badge Service followed by the lunch at Dr Fosters was a great success due in the main to the efforts of Len Keeling and Rob Dixon. I know that some members were disappointed the evening event that had been replaced, but the increase in figures attending suggests that the new format drew greater support.
The Somerset Branch held a marvellous Imjin lunch at the Taunton Rugby Club Hospitality Suite, brining not only association members from all our regiments together but even attracted two former Royal Marines. Well done Phil Miller and glad to see your remarkable recovery.
The Devizes Service and Lunch welcomed a slight increase in numbers attending , but we would like to get closer to the pre 2016 attendance if we can. The Salisbury Reunion had an evening event on the Saturday followed by the traditional Service and lunch on the Sunday. Figures for the Saturday would lead one to suggest the next Salisbury event will become a one day event. The success of these Wiltshire events being attributed to the great teamwork of John Venus David Fielding.
Reading held a small evening event on the Saturday with main Maiwand Service on the Sunday and again there was an increase in attendance for the latter. The burden of the organisational load falling to Peter Richens and Ray Povey. The Association is very grateful for the support offered by Headquarter Company of 7 Rifles
Norman Minty runs the Ferozeshah Reunion in Devizes on a largely self-funding basis and yet again has an increase in number attending.
So as with the branch events, the county reunions seem to be well attended. Where we may have to get better is co-ordinating and disseminating information on the events to members who do not use email or the internet, so that numbers are maintained or increase.
An area which the loss of the Regimental Offices impacted markedly on was for national events such as the Westminster Garden of Remembrance and the Remembrance London Cenotaph March Past. We managed to get some tickets for both events thanks to the support from Mike Motum and Debbie Hards at the Rifles Taunton Office. For 2019 the Association Secretary will have the job of bidding for tickets and that is usually initiated as early as April. So, if members do wish to take part in these London events please communicate your intention to Mike Godwin.
Now to follow up on some points coming out of the Association 2018 AGM:
Len Whittle raised the matter of the £100 Association grant to Branches. For transparency branches are meant to submit that audited/independently examined accounts to the Treasurer (currently Mike Motum) and in return they will receive their £100 grant. Most people are aware that trying to get volunteers to take up branch officers post is like looking for Hen’s teeth. If for any reason your accounts have not been completed or checked please contact either me, the Secretary or the Treasurer so that we can close the loop and get your branch the £100 annual grant.
There was a question on whether the Trustees Investment Portfolios, ringfenced and held within the Rifles Trust Portfolio, was regularly scrutinised for its performance levels. This matter was raised by the Chairman at the Regimental Trustees, held after the AGM. He can report that the Rifles Trustees, not only review the performance of the Investment Advisers on a regular basis but when they conduct a review, they have several firms pitching, for the Portfolio, so they not only have comparisons but are able to change advisors if it is felt the trust would benefit.
Previous AGMs have sought to hear that the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum have produced and have had approved by the Trustee a Five Year Business plan. I can report that at the Regimental Trustees the SOGM Trustees produced a comprehensive Business Plan for the next 5 years, which the Trustees have approved. The Business Plan is “Business in Confidence” though the SOGM Trustees have acknowledged that the members should be able to have sight of it. Any member wishing to see it should contact the Chairman, who holds a copy.
Whilst about Museums members should be aware the Museum in Salisbury has a new Assistant Curator, Bethany Joyce and that when the Museums reopens in February there will be a new Manager/Curator at the helm. The caterers, Alison and Malcolm Letherbarrow, who have provided such quality catering in Bernières for the past 18 years have called “Time” and the Wardrobe Management team are actively seeking a replacement caterer.
Before I close Stephen Oxlade has asked me to remind all Association members to make a note in your diaries that the National Armed Forces Weekend 2019 will take place in Salisbury on the weekend of 28-30 June. In outline the programme is 28th June 2019 - Friday PM - Hudson's Field, Salisbury 18.00 hrs BBQ for Armed Forces Personnel and families (ticketed) and open to the public, food supplied from food stalls/ beer tents etc. Live entertainment and a concert, until approx. 21.00 hrs.
29th June 2019 - Saturday All Day - parade in Salisbury 10.00-10.45 hrs approx., then to Hudson’s Field from 12.00 for events, stands, displays, gala dinner from 18.30 and evening concert, 22.00 hrs close.
30th June 2019 - Sunday PM - Veterans and Youth Event 14.00-18.00 hrs at Hudson’s Field for events, stands, displays and a Guinness Book of Records attempt at the largest crowd poppy by all present.
Finally, I wish to pay tribute to Mike Godwin, the Association Secretary, who has worked tirelessly getting to grips with the tasks previously done by Lesley Bradshaw and Sue Nelmes ensuring that the Association runs as smoothly as possible. Communications is the key to our future survival so please keep Mike informed of any changes to your contact details.
Seasons Greetings to you and your families, wherever you and they may be.