Minutes of the Branch Meeting on 4th December 2018 at The Royal Oak, Eydon.
A. CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS: Russ took this opportunity to ask for volunteers from the District to distribute hard-copies of the Minutes of these meetings, and any other relevant notices to those who did not use electronic mail. For the record, those include:
Byfield: 7 Members.
Boddington (upper): 1 Member.
Chipping Warden: 1 Member.
Culworth: 1 Member.
Eydon: 1 Member.
Woodford Halse: 3 Members.
Although Joy volunteered to cover Woodford, Alan W. Eydon, Culworth & Moreton Pinkney and Alison Dolls Hill (Byfield), John R. suggested this should be done by post, with any costs reclaimed. This would anyway be necessary for the following Members:
Hereford: 1 Member.
Lower Tadmarton (near Banbury): 1 Member.
We also have the following paid-up Members on our books, who, although their addresses are marked “Gone Away” by the RBL and they do not respond to direct communication, are nevertheless, still paying their subs. Those include:
Cleethorpes: 1 Member.
Daventry: 1 Member.
Northampton: 1 Member.
Russ will decide how to proceed with this.
A.1 Minutes of Previous Meetings: Russ asked for any comments about or amendments to the Minutes of two previous meetings, the Committee Meeting of 25/09/18 and the Branch Meeting of 02/10/18. No amendments were required and Terry proposed that the Committee meeting’s Minutes be accepted, seconded by Joy. David proposed that the Branch meeting’s Minutes be accepted, seconded by Joy; those two Minutes’ sets were then duly signed-off by Russ, as a true record of those proceedings.
A.2 Although Russ advised that we would not approve or discuss the Minutes of our AGM of 5th November 2018 until the next AGM, those Minutes had been circulated and Alan Watson wished to raise a point arising from those Minutes. At this year’s Annual National Conference in Belfast it was reported at our AGM that a resolution (Motion 7) was passed by Conference stating that “Branches who had amalgamated with others would no longer be required to lay-up their Standards.”
In view of this Alan was particularly keen to resurrect the status of the Eydon Standard, as comments had been made at their recent Remembrance ceremony that there was no longer a British Legion focal point at that ceremony; the Standard, it was suggested, would provide that focal point.
Alan wished to know if the Eydon Standard could be resurrected. Russ agreed to raise the question at the Northants RBL’s County Conference in January (see Item 7.6 later herein).
John R suggested that if it was agreed that a previous Meeting’s Minutes should be amended, i.e. to rescind the lay-up of the Eydon Standard, this could be done. For the record, the formal amalgamation of Eydon & District Branch with Byfield & District Branch was announced in the Minutes of the Byfield and District Branch Meeting on 04/04/16. The Lay-up of Eydon’s Standard was similarly announced in the Minutes of Byfield & District’s Branch meeting of 05/09/16. The Eydon Standard was formally laid-up in Eydon’s St. Nicholas’ Church on 7th May 2017.
Russ however commented it wasn’t as simple as that as a) at the time Eydon were following RBL rules then in force and b) the church might have some difficulty with the Standard being removed and replaced periodically. He also stated that passing a resolution at National Conference wasn’t binding until ratified by the Trustees, and that it could take some time for that to filter through to become a new rule, which might not be retrospective.
SECRETARY'S NOTE: Russ has since contacted the RBL about this and has been advised that The Trustees have not accepted this resolution.
B. MATTERS ARISING: from previous Meeting’s Minutes:
B.1 Byfield’s Remembrance Event “100th anniversary of the end of World War One”, 11/11/18. The day went well and was very well attended. A vote of thanks to Terry for its organisation was proposed by Russ and seconded by Joy. Full details of the day’s events can be found on our Web site: http://branches.britishlegion.org.uk/branches/byfield/events-past/the-wars-over Colin Tennant created a short video of the event, links to that on You Tube are within our Web page referenced above. However Robert and Alan W. said they had had difficulty in accessing that, so Terry will send them direct links to that You Tube video clip. For the record, that was circulated to all e-mail Members on 17/11/18.
B.1.1 Sealed Bid auction of print of Halton House watercolour: This was conducted as part of the “100-year” event and a total of four sealed bids were received; those were opened at this meeting and bids for £30, £40, £50 and £60 respectively were found. David put in the winning bid and now has the print.
B.1.2 Donation to St. John Ambulance: We agreed to make a donation of £50 from our “Speaker Fund” to St. John Ambulance for their assistance at our event. A cheque should be made payable to St. John Ambulance (note that’s John not John’s) and sent to:
Rob Ratcliff, St John Ambulance East Region Events Team, The White House, Argyle Way, Stevenage, SG1 2AD. The covering letter should include their reference: SJA/700037. Rob will arrange to allocate that donation to their Daventry branch who provided the
B.2 Twinning: We have heard from Templeton in New Zealand that they now have a new President, Stan (no surname provided yet) but nothing else. We have sent them details of our Remembrance Day, and Terry will post a Christmas Card to them in the hope of something in return.
B.3 Profile of Tony Webster: We have had no response from Tony’s daughter Susan about this and have therefore decided to shelve the task. We will however create profiles of other members when time permits. There is already one completed and published on our Web site, as a sample of what we will do.
B.4 Quiz, Friday Evening 23rd November ’18 – results: This was our most successful quiz to date, with 24 teams competing. The top prize was won by “A question of port” and the event realised a gross amount to the Branch of £885 . A full report, with photos, can be found on our Web site: http://branches.britishlegion.org.uk/branches/byfield/events-past/quizzes-that-were/a-quiz-to-remember
John R. proposed a vote of thanks to our President for his organisation and management of the Quiz, which was seconded by Terry.
B.5 Community Support Training: Nothing further has been heard from Emma Connor (see Item 11 of the Minutes of 2nd October’s Meeting), and none of our Members has requested any further information. We shall therefore continue to await any developments from County.
C.1 Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund silhouettes: Five head and shoulder, bench mounting, transparent plastic “There but not there” silhouettes had been donated by this fund to us. Alan’s application for those stated that they would be used for our “100-year” event and would then be placed on various pews in Byfield’s Church in perpetuity. As Alan’s away at the moment, it is unclear if the church was asked about this. Terry, who assisted with the application form, didn’t ask Stevie, or anyone else but Alan might have done. Either way, Pam Hicks asked for the one that was placed in the church to be removed, for reasons unknown; Russ is now storing that, Alan has the others. This needs to be resolved. If Byfield’s church has a legitimate objection, maybe other churches in our District might like one or two or more.
C.2 GP90: We now have a Certificate to prove we attend GP90. We also have an official DVD of the event. The video lasts 21 minutes and covers visits to battlefields & memorials as well as the parade of Standards and the ceremony at the Menin Gate, including wreath laying and the wreath display afterwards. We have no information whether it is possible to obtain copies, although we have tried The Poppy Shop and Imperial War Museum (whose copyright it is – Ref: Q 47901). We will ask the GP90 organisers and report back. However if you check our Web site and particularly its GP90 photo gallery: http://branches.britishlegion.org.uk/branches/byfield/events-past/gp90-the-great-pilgrimage-90-years-on/gp90-photo-gallery you’ll find still photos of most of what that video covers.
SECRETARY's NOTE: The DVD is exactly the same as the You Tube video that can be accessed via our GP90 Web site OR directly via THIS LINK.
C.3 The annual “run” to Galanos House carrying goodies for the residents there will take place again this year on Sunday 16th December ‘18, arriving at Galanos House CV47 1NR at 2pm. The Riders’ Branch will form-up at the Long Itch Diner CV47 9QZ beforehand. We usually contribute to this by providing small items of toiletries, chocolates, biscuits and the like; all donations to Alison by 15/12/18 please. Terry will circulate a request for donations.
C.4 Another resolution passed by this year’s National Conference (Motion 1) was that “Branch Welfare and BCS Chairmen should have delegated authority to approach their Branch for immediate financial support from branch funds up to an approved maximum of £200 per case”. Russ reminded us that although “passed”, this has not yet been ratified by the Trustees, so we shouldn’t get excited about it.
C.5 Training courses about how to conduct RBL affairs are now available. If anyone feels the need, they should approach Russ; Joy is already booked on one course.
C.6 County Conference January 12th 2019: The only motion put forward by us is Alan Watson’s request about resurrecting Eydon’s Standard (see Item 5.1 previously herein). Alan will write the motion and forward to Russ for onward transmission. Motions will not be accepted after 15th December 2018.
D. FINANCE: David provided the financial position, which remains healthy.
E. POPPY APPEAL: John R wished to thank all his helpers from everywhere in our District that have made this year’s Poppy Appeal collection beat all previous records; thus far he has banked £11,398.74. There are some collections that have yet to be gathered-in, and some fees for wreaths that are awaited, so that figure will increase. John also mentioned that he had received good service from both Byfield and Woodford Post Offices, where he did some of the “banking”. Terry proposed that a vote of thanks be cast in John’s direction, seconded by Alison.
F. WELFARE (Branch Community Support): There has been four home/hospital visits by Alison & Vernon this period.
G. MEMBERSHIP: Terry reported our Membership was stable at 69, plus one new Member and one phantom!
G.1 The Phantom, from Eydon, has been a Member for almost thirty years but this year couldn’t handle the new Membership renewal system, so Terry did it for him. Unfortunately, as a cheque was involved, Terry didn’t spot the difference between forms and used the New Member paperwork. That means our Member was recorded as “new” whilst his existing records stood. Although he has only paid to renew once, both his Memberships are showing as “up to date”. Our MSO (Membership Support Officer) has been aware of this for a month and has advised those who need to know but they have yet to correct their records.
G.2 Our brand new Member lives near Corby; he joined on-line and by chance clicked-on our Web link, liked what he saw and used our name in the appropriate field. We have had a chat and we expect we’ll lose him to his local Branch in Weldon soon but it’s nice to have him aboard, even if it’s a short trip.
G.3 It was mentioned last month but needs emphasising here – the only sure way to get New Members is to press them into service! This past three years we have tried three different poster campaigns, created a Web site and have a Facebook presence. We have also offered a free lunch to any member who recruits a new one but with little success. Next year we need to get out and meet people (see also 12.1 below). We must expand our physical presence by going to ALL the fētes in the area, that means getting volunteers to assist with that. We also need to sign people up on the spot, otherwise they might agree to join verbally but then conveniently forget to do the deed.
H. ANY OTHER BUSINESS?
H.1 Byfield Scouts’ expedition to Kenya: Last half term our whole 1st Byfield Troop went to Kenya. A year ago they had been told that Scouts in the Kibera slums of Nairobi could only play football with home made balls, using plastic bags stuffed with rags, paper etc. So they decided to send-out some real balls, then some bright spark suggested they took them rather than posted them, to ensure delivery! At our next Branch meeting in Byfield on the evening of Monday 7th January 2019, they will tell us all about their trip. We’ve booked the main Village Hall and will welcome other Scouts, Cubs, parents, family & friends, so tell everyone its “on” please. Maybe we’ll get some recruits out of it. We’ll have a short Branch meeting after the throng has gone.
H.2 Christmas Dinner: Russ reminded everyone that our Branch Christmas dinner was on the evening of Thursday 20th December ’18 at The Windmill in Badby. Transport needs to be organised.
H.3 As there was no speaker, the floor was opened to the assembled company to tell tales. This got the usual suspects going but wasn’t widely supported. It did however pleasantly fill a few minutes.
J. Date of next Branch meeting: Monday 7th January in Byfield Village Hall’s Main Hall 8 p.m. Presentation by Byfield Scouts on their Nairobi experience, Branch Meeting afterwards.
Date of next Committee Meeting 30th January 10.30 a.m. Russ’s place.
Next pub lunch: Wednesday 30th January 2019 The Cross Tree, Byfield
Flag Flying Days Schedule December/January
9 January Birthday of the Duchess of Cambridge
20 January Birthday of the Countess of Wessex