Minutes of the Committee Meeting held in the garden of Alan’s house in Byfield at 1000hrs on 31st July 2020
A. CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS: Before the Exhortation, the Chairman asked that during the silence everyone should think of our members who had passed-away recently. He also regretted that because of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, we had been unable to meet for nearly five-months but hoped that this meeting would re-start operations. However, those, as demonstrated by this meeting taking place in a garden and keeping 6’ apart, might take some re-organising to comply with whatever “social distancing” and/or other restrictions were in place at the time.
B. MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS:
B.1 The Minutes of the last Committee Meeting on the 28th February, and the general Branch Meeting on 2nd March were signed-off as being a true and accurate record of those proceedings.
B.2 Visit to Thrapston War Memorial: Thrapston had won last-year’s county WM competition, so we had intended to have a day-out to see what was “special” about that and if it gave us any ideas on how to improve our own. However, that’s now put on hold until “social distancing” is lifted.
B.3 RBL Memorial Seat on Byfield’s Dolls Hill: Thanks to Byfield PC for repairing the broken slat. Now that the woodwork had been repaired, Terry will arrange to clean the rest of the seat and Chris will then “paint” with teak-oil. After that, Alison will paint the metal ends (armrests) with black Hammerite.
The seat’s plaque, which reads “In Memory of Harry Eyles Founder member of Byfield Royal British Legion and President 1991-1997”, needs buffing-up, which we’ll address afterwards.
B.4 Visit to Galanos House to view their extension and new café: Put on hold until “social distancing” is lifted.
B.5 Barbecue: This was postponed from its previously agreed date in May to mid-August but now we agreed it couldn’t be held at all this year because of “social distancing”. Chris to ensure Tim Williams is aware.
B.6 Quiz: Should “social distancing” rules be relaxed enough to allow, we still hope to be able to hold our quiz this year, as it is our major fund-raising event. To that end Alan had booked Byfield Village Hall for Friday 27th November. At our Branch Meeting on 2nd March Bob agreed to prepare the questions. Alan needs to check if Shaun and his wife Karin would be able to act as Question Master and Scorer, as usual.
B.7 VJ+75 Day Commemoration: This will start at 10.45 on Saturday 15th August at Byfield’s War Memorial. Chris will lead the procedings with Rev Stevie conducting a small service. Terry will see if the bugler from Aston le Walls will be available to sound The Last Post – if not, Stevie will bring her tapes. Terry will bring the wreath. Alan will parade the Standard. This event is legally limited to a maximum of 30 persons, all keeping their distance.
It should be said that although official VE+75 celebrations planned for 8th May had had to be cancelled, that day was commemorated in several ways, see our report on our Web site under “Events Past” for full details.
B.8 New Standard Bearer: Chris reported that Danny will be available to take over from the end of September, assuming he has been able to retire from serving in the army, his original retirement date already having been postponed because of the current crisis.
B.9 Newsletter: Following the success of the last one, it was agreed we would go ahead with another newsletter, but concerns were raised about the cost of copying it? Last time, thanks to a Member, it was copied for free but this time, even reduced to four pages it could cost £100 or more.
B.9.1 Due to Terry leaving the District early next year, a new author will be needed should we wish to continue with this; see also H.2 later herein. Any volunteers?
C. CORRESPONDENCE There was no particular correspondence to discuss.
D.1 Annual Accounts: Alan reported that despite the lack of opportunity to carry-out our usual fundraising activities so far this year because of Covid-19, our finances for the period, subject to audit, were extremely healthy.
D.2 BFI: Alan also reported that the Branch Fund Initiative interest rate will be reduced from 2% to 0.5% from the start of the coming Financial year! We remind Members that the BFI is a collective fund that benefits from a pot into which all branches contribute. Although our contributions are accounted for separately, they benefit from the increased rates available because of its overall size.
D.3 Support contributions: Our books show that we have an increase of almost £1,300 in the current account, the meeting considered it would therefore be appropriate to make further donations of £500 to both the Battle Back Centre and Galanos House. Timing to be checked to ensure that they are roughly equidistant from earlier annual payments.
D.4 Terry pointed out that should we fail to raise much this next financial year because of the Covid-19 “lockdown”, we would always have the BFI account to call upon, which at the moment, has more than our Current Account in its coffers.
E. WELFARE (Branch Community Support - BCS)
E.1 There were no reports of any of our Members requiring support.
E.2 Following the last quarter’s submission of a total of 207 contacts made, our County’s Membership Support Officer Kevin Tobin’s response was ‘That’s a tremendous figure - Thank You’.
E.2.1 Terry commented that if those who had committed to telephone all our members regularly had done that religiously, that figure would have been higher. “Must do better” was the inference.
E.3: BCS Training: Chris had signed-up for the four, two-hour evening BCS training sessions that were to be hosted by Kevin on the videoconferencing system Zoom in the near future.
F. POPPY APPEAL: No PA report was available. We need closer contact with Tom, who is active but could do with support other than from John.
G.1 Losses: Sadly, after a short illness not related to Covid-19, we lost Vernon earlier this year; he will be sorely missed. Even though he was amongst our oldest, Vernon was one of our more active Members and his positive contribution to our Committee will be hard to replace.
One other Membership has lapsed due to the individual’s age and his inability to contribute or participate for various reasons.
G.2 Transfers: Three of our Members have also transferred to other Branches local to their residences, one near Corby, another Hereford and the third nearer to home, Daventry Branch.
G.3 Membership rule change: As rules have recently changed to allow individuals to be a member of up to four Branches for no extra fee, we might benefit from that in the future. We already have one such, Richard, whose primary Membership is Middleton Cheney & District Branch.
G.4 Total Membership: We currently have 71 Members, including Richard.
H. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
H.1 Remembrance Sunday, 8th November 2020: Alan will plan for the closure of Byfield’s Banbury Lane as normal. Whether there will be a church service will depend on the “social distancing” rules in force at the time. Terry wishes to include “The Unknown Warrior” in the service at the War Memorial, as it will be the 100th anniversary of that initial ceremony.
H.2 Succession Planning: With Terry due to move out of our District in the new year, other members have agreed to take-on his duties as follows:
Flag Officer: Rob has stepped forward but will need a deputy, yet to be arranged, any volunteers?
Web Site and Facebook: Bob has agreed to keep our Web site updated and fresh and monitor our Facebook pages.
Storage of Branch items: For the time being i.e. until we find someone with more spare storage space, Chris will keep our Gazebo, white board and projector screen etc.
Membership Secretary: (includes Recruiting, GDPR & publicity): Yet to be arranged – any volunteers?
H.3 British Legion’s 100th anniversary: Terry asked if anyone can think of stories for this anniversary next year? “Telling our Stories” is the theme and HQ are asking if branches can contribute stories about our Branch over the years? We are open to contributions of any kind from you-all for this, please think about it and respond.
DATES OF NEXT MEETINGS?
Next Pub Lunch? Now that pubs are open again, although with certain limitations, following the traditional pattern, this is planned for Wednesday 26th August, hopefully at the Griffin, Chipping Warden. But first, Terry needs to confirm this with Andy and that it will comply with the “social distancing” rules in force at the time. Watch our Web site’s “Notices” page for confirmation. We’ll also inform everyone on our next ring-around to let us know if they wish to attend.
Date and location of next General Branch Meeting: Hopefully this will be at 2 pm on Sunday 6th September in the garden of Byfield’s Rectory, subject to good weather. Bring your own seats. Currently THIS WILL BE LIMITED TO a maximum of 30 persons.
Flag Flying Day: 15th August: Birthday of The Princess Royal (& VJ-Day).