January 2020

January 2020

Minutes of the Branch Meeting on 6th January 2020 In Byfield Village Hall’s Meeting Room

A. CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS: Chris welcomed everyone at the dawn of a new decade. Hew then particularly welcomed Giles, our County Fundraiser, and Major Tom, who, although not a Member of our branch had agreed to become our new Poppy Appeal Organiser.

A.1 Presentation of PAO Certificate:  Giles then presented John R with a Certificate of Recognition for his 12 increasingly successful years as Byfield and District PAO and gave him a badge commemorating that service to the RBL. 

A.2 Giles then made arrangements direct with Maj. Tom for his induction into the role of PAO. Although John will step down in March, he will still be available to assist Maj. Tom as required. 

A.3. Chris then introduced Bert Manton, from Woodford Halse, who had laid-out 40 strange “country bygone” objects for us all to identify as part of his presentation, which then took place before the meeting started. Points were awarded! Two for a correct identification and one for something close. Joy scored highest, 16, in recognition of which Bert presented her with a bottle of wine. 


B.1 Christmas Dinner: Some 17 Members and spouses attended. The food at The Plough in Upper Boddington was excellent and the service good. Some felt it was a little cramped however but others said it was intimate and cosy. A good time was had by all. 

B.2 Christmas Card Competition: This was completed very satisfactorily; the children from five of the six junior schools in our District (one other school couldn’t enter because of other pressures) enjoyed it and the staff were very supportive; 125 individual entries were received. John and Terry presented prizes for two age groups per school at all the end of term assemblies. 

B.2.1 It was felt that the competition for the forthcoming year should be different, using unused poppies to make a form of display for Remembrancetide, possibly using the silhouettes provided for the Centennial celebrations as a base. Alan has four of those at home and Terry one. From his old stock, John will provide the poppies to each school entering (see also F.3 later herein). Target date for the launch of this will be June 2020, i.e. towards the end of the summer term for entry by next half-term in October. 

B.3 RBLR Run to Galanos House: Terry, Vernon and Alan went with a boot-full of presents! Thanks to all those who generously contributed. Alan ensured that Joanne Wilson, the manager at Galanos House understood that we were representing the Byfield and District Branch and were in support of but not part of the Riders Branch, who always organise the event. We learnt that a new Dementia care wing will be finished for the establishment by the spring and that a café and shop will be included as well. Members are encouraged to use that latter facility and to meet the residents.

B.4 Richard Buck Concert: This really was an excellent concert, with Richard on Trombone, supported by two young ladies, one on Trumpet and the other on French horn. Quite unexpectedly, Richard announced that he was dedicating the concert to Russ, quite moving. We await the results of the retiring collection. 

Secretary’s Note:  The retiring collection realised £210 for the Branch. 

B.5 Training Courses: No details have been received yet about the courses due to be held in Aylesbury. 

B.6 Exclusion of civilians from the Cenotaph march past: Nothing further has been heard on this. 

B.7 Future Outings: A number were discussed…

              Battle Back Centre: Free but invitation needs to be organised; 76 miles each way.

              National Memorial Arboretum: Car park £3 Free entry but Donation of £5 suggested;  61 miles.

              Hook Norton Brewery: £15 entry but £12.50 for “Seniors”; 16 miles.

              Midland Air Museum: £7.75 but £7.25 for “Seniors”; 17 miles.

              Silverstone Museum: £25 but “Seniors” £20; 16 miles

              Coventry Transport Museum: £14 but “Seniors” £10.50; 18 miles.

              Bletchley Park: £20 but “Seniors” £17.50 (quid off if booked in advance); 30 miles. 

B.8 Future Speakers: The next speaker, which will be at the February meeting, will be Richard Woodcock, who spoke to us last year on Cuba. The subject will be The Mysteries of Easter Island.

B.8.1 Others to be booked "as and when" include:

                   Bill King, ‘The story of the Unknown Soldier’

                   David Morse  ‘The Saint Pauls Watch’  (the gentleman who talked last year about the Warwickshire Home Guard)

                   Tom Jones (Alan’s 18 year old Grandson)  ‘World Challenge visit to India in 2019’

                   The work of Katherine House (the local Hospice) 

If members have any other suggestions, please let Alan know.

C. CORRESPONDENCE: There was no correspondence to discuss.

D. FINANCE: David reported his end of last year figures as being “in the black”. 

D.1. Donation to Battle Back Centre: In view of this healthy financial position, John R proposed that we make our usual half-yearly donation of £500 to the Battle Back Centre; this was seconded by Laurie and agreed by all.

E. WELFARE: 16 visits have been made to sick or elderly Members and other veterans.


F.1 John reported that to date he had banked £9,263.17, with a further £52.39 from the children of Boddington C of E Primary Academy waiting to be banked. He also said that £166.50 was due from the Branch for the wreathes, as well as further amounts from most of the Parish Councils and churches in the District. 

F.2 He also said he was anxious that his replacement for the whole District, Major Tom of Chipping Warden, would receive prompt recognition with all the correct papers, something that he had never had over his 12 year tenure despite several requests to County. 

F.3 John also said he had accumulated a large number of unused poppies over time which would be a shame to throw away. It was suggested that the schools could be approached to consider making them into sculptures, basing them on the silhouettes received for the Centennial celebrations. It was suggested that an additional 6 boxes of new poppies (2,000 in a box) be ordered for this year’s PA. See also B.2.1 previously herein.


G.1 To promote wider knowledge of our Branch, Terry has continued Russ's practice of submitting an article for Pam Hicks to insert into Byfield’s bi-monthly Parish Magazine “The Byword”. Alan has copied this to Rob Lowe, who is the village correspondent for the Banbury Guardian and the Daventry Express. It is hoped he will try to precis it into a size suitable for those publications.

G.1.2 Terry was asked to provide an article every couple of months for publication as above. 

G.2  Newsletter? Russ had often mooted the idea of a regular newsletter about the branch activities which Terry was keen to pursue. Terry did remind us that he would be moving down to Essex next year and that it would be better to find someone else who could do this now rather than leaving it until the last minute.


H.1 County Conference  11th January, Northampton County Hall:  Chris, Joy and Alan will be attending. 

Dates of next meetings: 

Committee:  Friday 24th January, 10 am at Joy’s house (time changed from 12pm). 

Branch: Tuesday 4th February 8pm in the Side Annexe Byfield Village Hall, Speaker Richard Woodcock – The Mysteries of Easter Island. 

Lunch:  Wednesday 29th January 12.30 pm in the Red Lion in Culworth. 

Flag Flying Days: 

9th January: Birthday of the Duchess of Cambridge

20th January: Birthday of the Countess of Wessex

6th February: Her Majesty’s Accession

19th February:  Birthday of the Duke of York

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