Minutes of the Branch Meeting held on 1st October 2019 at The Griffin Inn, Chipping Warden
NB: During the exhortation: The assembled company were asked to think of our Chairman Russ, who was still in hospital. The infection that is keeping Russ in hospital is still a mystery and he is having both good and bad days.
A. CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS: The meeting was again taken by Joy due to Russ’s illness.
B. MATTERS ARISING from previous Meeting’s Minutes:
B.1 Succession Planning: We now have one month to our AGM on the 4th November, which will be held in Byfield’s Village Hall’s meeting Room. At that AGM it will be necessary to elect or appoint a new Chairman. So far, no one has stepped forward to stand for that role. There was some discussion on how to resolve this, which did not result in an answer. It was agreed we should once again circulate the need for someone to agree to stand for election as Chairman.
B.1.1 Fr. James pointed out that when circulating this request we should stress the positives i.e. that we are acknowledged as being a dynamic Branch that punches above its weight proportionally both in the Poppy Appeal, Membership and Fund Raising sectors of the RBL’s activities.
Secretary’s Note: The following message has been circulated by e-mail: The best RBL Branch in the County?
You all know that our Chairman, Russ, has been suffering from an ailment that has kept him in hospital for a while. He is in good spirits and, we believe, receiving the best of care. When he leaves hospital he will take-up residence with his youngest son’s family, who live near Aynho. Russ has been our leader now for many years but the inevitable has occurred, with Russ deciding because of his health, he is unable to continue in that role. However Russ is also our President, an honorary position that he hopes to maintain, so we expect to see him regularly.
During his time in charge Russ has seen our Branch become acknowledged as one of the most active in the County, and one of its best fund-raisers; this past year our small rural community has donated over twelve and a half thousand pounds to the Poppy Appeal, and separately, has supported both the Royal British Legion’s Battle Back Centre in Lilleshall and their care home Galanos House, Southam with significant funds. We are sure you all expect us to maintain and if possible improve on all of that but to do that we need good leadership. Out there in our District there are now 73 Members of our Branch, and we are hoping that you will all want to step into Russ’s shoes.
There can however be only one Chairman, so we will be voting for one of you at our AGM in Byfield Village Hall’s Meeting Room on the evening of Monday 4th November 2019. Please think very hard about this request and if you are able, put your name forward by telling our Secretary, Alan, or any of our officers you would like to stand. Contact details are on the Branch Information page of our Web site. Please come to our AGM ready to be elected…
B.1.2 An extraordinary Committee Meeting has been called for 1000 on Wednesday 9th October at Joy’s Place to discuss this, and the forthcoming Remembrancetide operations.
B.1.3 Coincidentally, at the RBL’s Conference this year a motion was carried and has subsequently been ratified that a Branch does not need to have a Vice Chairperson to be compliant. This has two immediate effects on us. 1) It means that our new Chairman can share the task with any other Member, as long as that member has an official position - and Vice Chair could be that position. This would allow us to keep Russ as President, which we all would prefer. You will recall, previously we discussed sharing the Chairman’s job but to do that, we needed to name the other person as President – that is no longer the case. 2) Joy will stand down as Vice Chairperson at the AGM and if she isn’t replaced, it won’t affect our status. Joy wishes to surrender her position due to family concerns that she foresees will be taking-up the majority of her time during the next year or two.
B.2 Fetés: Boddington Vintage Association’s Working Weekend on September 14th & 15th was the fifth similar event we attended this year. Although our efforts at those functions did not realise the results we had hoped for, i.e. a plethora of new Members, we did sign-up two people and have a number who are still “thinking about it”. We also received a couple of hundred pounds extra in donations and raised our profile in the area. We must do better next year! To achieve improved results we need an attraction to get more people to visit our gazebo, e.g. the “treasure hunt” game proposed in last Meeting’s Minutes. All were asked to think-on about this and maybe come-up with other suggestions. Full details of our activities this summer are recorded on our Web site: http://branches.britishlegion.org.uk/branches/byfield-district-branch-in-rural-sw-northants-uk/events-past/fêtes-fundraisers/fêtes
B.3 Contacting our “Over 80s”: This is an ongoing operation that specific persons have been tasked with doing every couple of months, just to say “hello” and ensure all is well. Up to now, those contacted have been pleased to receive our calls.
B.4 “Pop-In” Centre: Again this is an on-going monthly event that doesn’t need commenting upon unless something happens to change things. Daventry Branch, the hosts, have now re-advertised the session as a “Veteran’s Breakfast”, although nothing else has altered.
B.5 Training courses: The Branch Management course on Saturday 28th September, was attended by Joy and Chris. They didn’t say much about it except that it seems if anything, it was designed to “switch-off” potential Branch officers.
B.6 Road closure for Remembrance Sunday: As previously reported, this has been approved by Northant’s Highways and they have said that there will be no cost to us. As usual, Laurie will provide a couple of vehicles to block the road for the security of the parade.
B.7 Christmas Card Competition: Terry has formally asked all six junior schools in our District to enter. He will chase them up before our next Committee Meeting to see how things are going. Anthony Head, who is an amateur artist of some local note, has agreed to be our independent judge.
B.8 Youth Affiliation: It transpires that the bureaucracy involved in this exercise is such that we have decided not to proceed with it. However we will continue to work together with our Schools, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers where any activity looks to be mutually beneficial without any such recognition. Alan may however still issue an “unofficial” Certificate of Co-operation.
B.8.1 The Beaver Leader, Wendy, who has just become the latest new Member of our Branch, asked Terry to attend the Beaver meeting in Byfield Scout Hut earlier this evening. The brief was to explain to the youngsters why they parade at our WM on Remembrance Sunday. This went well with the children asking numerous questions. It ended with a march to the WM where more questions ensued about those listed there. A follow-up session has since been requested.
B.9 War Memorial Competition: Alan has entered all our villages into this year’s competition. It just remains for us to ensure that the custodians know this and are prepared for a visit by the judges this month or next. In the case of Byfield, Angela Weller of Byfield PC has agreed to have the bench by the WM cleaned as a priority, with the one on Doll’s Hill receiving attention afterwards. Whilst on the subject of benches, all please note: the new WW1 Centennial bench by the entrance to the churchyard opposite The Brightwell now has steps-up to its location arranged by Byfield PC. Thanks should be offered for that.
B.10 e-Newsletter, (August 2019 Edition): We intend to circulate a copy of this with our Christmas cards; it will have an introductory letter added, summing-up our work this year.
B.11 B17 Crash 75th anniversary: All were reminded this takes place next Sunday, 6th October. Gather at 1100 for 1130 service; crash site is near Woodend, Blakesley.
C. CORRESPONDENCE: (as previously reported)…
C.1 January’s Speaker: Bert Manton will talk and hold a quiz on that talk on Country Bygones during our 6th January 2020 meeting in Byfield Village Hall’s Meeting Room. It may be appropriate to visit his small museum nearby either before or after the talk.
C.2 County Conference 11th January: Joy and Alan will attend on our behalf.
D. FINANCE: David reported that there are no problems with our finances.
E. WELFARE: We can report that 15 contacts/visits have been made during this month.
F. POPPY APPEAL: Filling of Poppy Boxes will take place at John’s house in Byfield on Saturday 12th October 10-11am. If anyone who has agreed to help with this cannot attend, please call John in good time. His ‘phone number is: 01327 260206.
F.1 Collection dates for 2019 = 26th October to 9th November inclusive.
F.2 2018-19 Byfield & District Poppy Appeal raised £12,647.29
G. MEMBERSHIP: Due to our attendance at local events, another new member has been recruited, Wendy from Boddington.
H. ANY OTHER BUSINESS?
H.1: VE Day+75 Commemorations: The RBL will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day on the 8th May 2020, which apparently has been granted Bank Holiday status. It remains to be seen whether we wish to do anything special for that event.
H.1.1 It was suggested that it seems VJ Day has been forgotten, as we have no information about anything special for that day later in the year.
J. DATES of NEXT MEETINGS :
J.1 Date of next Branch Meeting (incorporating our AGM): Monday 4th November in Byfield Village Hall’s meeting Room commencing 8pm. We will be in The Cross Tree beforehand (from 7.30) if anyone wishes to be sociable.
J.2. Date of next Committee Meeting: 9th October Joy’s House, 1000hrs.
J.3. Date of next Lunch: Wednesday 30th October in “The Red Lion” Hellidon NN11 6LG, 1230 onwards. Participants are requested to pay for their lunches at the bar when ordering, to avoid the problem there last time, where one member ended up settling bills for some who had left.
Flag Flying Days, Remainder of 2019:
Friday 8th November: Only whilst Byfield schoolchildren lay their crosses at Byfield War Memorial.
Sunday 10th November: Remembrance Sunday.
Monday 11th November: Armistice Day.
Thursday 14th November: Birthday of The Prince of Wales.
Wednesday 20th November: Wedding anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Phillip