Minutes of the Branch Meeting held at 1400hrs on 6th September 2020 in Byfield Rectory’s Garden
A. CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS: Chris asked that during the silence we should particularly think of Members we have lost recently, and all the service men and women serving at home and overseas.
B. MINUTES OF THE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 31ST JULY 2020 were signed off by the Chairman as a true and accurate record of those proceedings. MATTERS ARISING FROM THOSE LAST MEETING’S MINUTES:
B.1. Visit to Thrapston’s War Memorial: There will be no visit planned until Covid19 permits. Thrapston won the County’s WM competition last year and we would like to see their effort to give us some ideas of how to improve ours. Does anyone have photos of our War Memorial around the millennium? We won that competition several years in succession way back then.
B.2. Dolls Hill Bench in memory of Harry Eyles: Thanks to the Parish Council for the repair and to Terry for the cleaning/oiling work done to date; the metal end arms still need painting but those are in reasonable condition ‘as is’, so that’s not a priority. Les has requested the whole seat needs lifting to ease getting up after sitting. The Parish Council has investigated doing that and Duncan Eyles is looking into what’s needed. He is using the new “Tommy” bench outside the church’s south gate as an example; that would see the Doll’s Hill bench raised about 4 inches.
B.3 Quiz Night Friday 27th November: We are required to prepare a Risk Assessment. Terry and Alan will investigate how many players can be seated following the social distancing rules and whether a different table plan would be of benefit. The suggestion is to place a projector screen against the food distribution hatch, so that a larger area has a view. That might mean we can increase numbers and still maintain distances. Participants will be required to provide their names and contact numbers. Shaun and his wife Karin will be Quiz Master and maintain the score chart respectively. Peter has volunteered to mark the answer sheets, and he hoped Bob would help him, as usual. A Raffle will be held. There will be a bar. Planning will continue until such time as the Covid 19 rules prevent our holding the event. The event last year raised £777 (excluding the Village Hall hire of £90) but this year with half the attendance likely, the profit will be less. However, as a parting gesture, Terry has offered to cover the hire of the hall himself. Thanks to him. Alan will “negotiate” that fee with the VH treasurer.
B.4 VJ+75 Commemoration: Members felt that went well – see our Web site (Events Past) for a report.
B.5. Remembrance Sunday 8th November: (See H.1 in previous Minutes) As usual, Alan has applied to the County Council for Banbury Lane, Byfield, in front of Byfield’s War Memorial to be closed. However, RBL HQ have said categorically that henceforth Branches must not do this as they would not be covered by the RBL’s Third-Party Liability Insurance. This is not a problem, as we will keep to the footpaths opposite and behind the Memorial, as we did for VJ75 day. Obviously, there will be a form of service in the Church which will need to follow Government guidance on large gatherings. Alan will arrange a meeting with Bishop Ed who will be taking the service, the Church Warden, and the Scouts, Guides, Cubs and Beavers on how best to organise the Standards and the wreathes. This year we will probably be restricted to selected representatives of each organisation, rather than an open invitation.
B.6. Succession Planning: (See H.2 in previous Minutes) Membership Secretary, Flag Flying Deputy & GDPR: Terry reported that as yet, no one had responded positively to his circulated and verbal requests for volunteers. However, as will be seen from the last Committee Meeting’s Minutes, we do have commitments for the tasks of Web Master, Facebook Monitor and Flag Officer. Then there’s “publicity & PR” to consider.
B.7 Newsletter, it was agreed we should continue to produce this. The latest will be available for delivery to all our Members by the end of September. Delivery to each Member will be conducted as before. It was agreed that we would pay for its printing.
C. CORRESPONDENCE: There was no significant correspondence to discuss. As usual, correspondence was circulated amongst those present.
D. FINANCE: In the absence of David, Alan reported that the books had been signed off as satisfactory by John Freeman, with an acceptable balance in the Current Account and also in the Branch Fund Initiative. Alan reminded us that for the new financial year starting 1st July 2020, the interest rate on the BFI has reduced from 2.0% to 0.5%. Note that the BFI is available to us should we need it. Withdrawal of any sum greater than £1,000 needs approval by the County Chairman but there is no limit to the number of times less can be drawn, up to the balance.
D.1 Subsequent to our audit, cheques, each for £500 have been sent to the Battle Back Centre and Galanos House respectively, the Galanos donation was specifically towards the garden for its new “Hub”. Although we can be specific with regard to Galanos House, cheques to Battle Back now have to me made-out to the RBL. This begs the question, will the Battle Back benefit from our specific donation?
E. Welfare (BCS): No physical face to face visits have been made recently, mainly due to the Covid 19 restrictions.
E.1 Alan advised that Ann C, wife of one of our long-term Members who is sadly no longer with us, is due an operation imminently and felt it would be appropriate to send her a signed card; that was agreed.
E.2 Terry reported 42 contacts by telephone this period but others had yet to complete their monthly calls. Alison asked to be relieved of her responsibility in that regard due to personal circumstances and Jane H agreed to take-over her commitment. Terry will provide Jane with the contacts and a crib sheet on how to conduct those calls to comply with RBL and GDPR requirements.
F. POPPY APPEAL: Tom, our new PAO, apologised for not being able to attend this meeting, but sent a report which explained the following: Because of the Covid-19 crisis, there will be no door to door sales this year, nor any static boxes in pubs or shops, but there will be wreathes and wooden crosses available. Because the poppy factory and warehouse has been closed, our stock of poppies cannot be replenished but the RBL has been making wreaths and wooden crosses with the limited facilities they have available; our usual wreaths have been ordered. Boxes for children are an exception and are available; Tom will distribute those to our schools. He has also written to all those who usually lead the collections around our District, explaining how this year’s appeal will be conducted. There will of course be no requirement for a working party to put trays together this year.
Secretary's Note: Subsequent to these Minutes, Major Tom advises we WILL now be able to put-out static PA collection boxes in shops, pubs and similar establishments this year.
F.1 To replace our door to door collecting activities, Terry suggested we take a lead from other Branches, some of whom are calling for innovative ideas to support the appeal, most seeming to be built around “on-line” platforms. As our on-line activities have never generated much response from our Members, he suggested we use our monthly "ring-around" to ask everyone to donate, and to ask those Members contacted to ask their friends and neighbours to do likewise. They could do that either by raising a cheque made-out to The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, sending that to Alan Baily, 8 Becketts Close, Byfield NN11 6XS OR by going to the appropriate place on-line: https://donations.britishlegion.org.uk/donation/oneoff If they elected to use the latter method, they should be asked to advise us how much, so that we could record our District’s contribution. A request for donations as mentioned above, has been included in our submission for the next edition of Byfield’s parish magazine The Byword.
G. MEMBERSHIP: Total remains at 71. Terry said that due to our inability to meet people, recruitment has stalled.
H. ANY OTHER BUSINESS:
H.1 Byfield’s War Memorial’s 100th Anniversary: Our President, John will detail the history of the Memorial on the Memorial greensward at a short Ceremony there at 10 am on Thursday 10th September. The Union Flag will not be required.
H.2 100th Anniversary of the British Legion. This will be celebrated on 15th May 2021, and throughout the year. All Branches have been requested to celebrate in some way. In particular, they ask for contributions from Members about their experiences of the Legion over the years, for the RBL to publish. We have circulated that request, entitled “Telling Our Story” but as yet, without any response. One idea for our Branch is that we purchase a new bench, hopefully raising funds by public subscription. The question then arises, where should that bench be placed?
H.3 War Memorial’s Lettering: Les commented that his brother’s name on Byfield’s War Memorial had faded and that all the names engraved there needed re-painting. Peter explained he might be able to persuade his nephew, who is a stonemason, to do this. As a bare minimum, we should cover any outlay this gentleman has to make. There may also be a fee of course. As one of the RBL’s stated aims is to be “the custodian of remembrance”, it was agreed that within reason, we should try to fund whatever is necessary to achieve the desired result. We will start with Byfield’s Memorial but it should not be forgotten that we have eight more external Memorials around our District upon which names of the fallen are engraved, all of which probably need attention. It might therefore be necessary to start a specific fund to try to raise more public contributions to allow all of them to be refurbished.
H.4 CONGRATULATIONS: Our President John and his wife Jill had celebrated their 60th Wedding anniversary recently, and this month, our past Welfare Officer and RBL Life Member Les, and his wife Chris will have reached their 65th wedding anniversary. They were all given a round of applause and sincere good wishes.
DATES OF NEXT MEETINGS:
Next Committee Meeting: date and venue to be advised.
Next Branch Meeting: date and venue to be advised.
Next Lunch Wednesday 30th September – venue to be advised (many pubs are not opening for weekday lunches).*
Flag Flying Days September: 3rd. Merchant Navy Day (red duster was provided by Christl Davis; thanks to Christl).
The meeting closed at 1535. Thanks for the use of the Rectory’s garden have been emailed to Rev Stevie.
*Our first “pub lunch” since February took place on Wednesday 26th August at The Griffin Inn, Chipping Warden. It was a convivial gathering with good ale, tasty food and lots of chit-chat. We hope that this event can now be continued. The image below is however, of the Branch Meeting Minuted above; the only refreshments provided were a tree laden with Bramley apples...