Attended by our Chairman and Standard Bearer Chris, Vice Chair Joy and Secretary Alan (as our Delegate), the Northamptonshire RBL County Conference was held in the Council Chamber of Northamptonshire County Council (pic 1) in Northampton on 11th January 2020. It was opened with the County’s and five Branch Standards (including ours) marching in. They paused in front of the County Chairman Russ Barrie (pic 2) while he gave the exhortation; the County Standard was placed behind him. The Standard Bearers then marched to the rear of the chamber.
In County Chairman Russ Barrie’s address, he referred sadly to the number of Members' funerals he had attended over the last 12 months; he specifically mentioned ‘our’ Russ and Byfield & District Branch in a very complimentary way.
The Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire Mr David Laing said a few words of welcome and then read a letter from HM the Queen giving her good wishes to all attending the Conference (pic 3)
Branches were then asked to present their donations supporting our County to the County’s President Col. John Royle MBE DL (pic 4 - that's our Alan giving him ours). During the day we subsequently learned that those donations totalled £1,020.
The County Treasurer, Mrs Irene Blanchard then presented the County Accounts.
Mr Terry Whenham, representing the Army Benevolent Fund, (now "ABF The Soldiers' Charity") gave a talk about specific Northampton casualties in the first World War, telling us something of their history and where they lived.
Three other talks were given, one by a Mike Barry, Membership Council representative, another Ms. Pat Chadwick, Area Manager, South East Midlands and finally by Giles Coleman, County Fund Raiser, who told us that the County Poppy Appeal this last year (2018/19) had raised £720,000.
Then there were two motions passed that are to be submitted to the RBL's Annual Conference 2020 in Southport in May:
- Build more care homes to incorporate Dementia care capabilities and consider extending existing care homes to give access to dementia care. Proposed by Allan Short and seconded by Ian Byrnes. This was agreed unanimously.
- The RBL Strategy Plan – closing four respite care homes and removing the Handy Van service had been presented as a ‘done deal’ without any discussion with the Membership. The County Executive committee met on 7th December 2019 and decided unanimously that there should be a Resolution a) A vote of no confidence in the Board of Trustees is expressed by this County, and b) that a formal complaint of “Bringing the Legion into disrepute” to be levelled at the Board of Trustees as a corporate body, not individuals. This was also agreed unanimously.
Presentation of 2019 awards. (pic 5): The best War Memorial (external) was Thrapston and the best internal was judged to be Sudborough.
The Lord Lieutenant of the County was shortly to retire from the post, and was presented with a Certificate to mark the occasion (pic6).
Denis Woodbridge is the new County Standard Bearer (pic7), and he was “charged” with this task by the County President.
The Conference closed with the National Anthem.