Minutes of the Committee Meeting on 28th February 2020 at Joy’s House & the Branch Meeting in Byfield Village Hall’s Meeting Room on 2nd March 2020
A. CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS: Chris welcomed our Speaker Cherida Plumb, who then gave us an in-depth insight into the wonderful work of Katharine House Hospice at Adderbury, near Banbury.
B. MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS:
B.1 Newsletter Distribution: Availability is imminent so Terry has proposed distribution responsibilities as follows: Hand delivery – hand over if recipient is in, if not put straight in their letter box…
Byfield west of A361 - Terry
Byfield east of A361 - Alison
Woodford - Joy
All others in the District - Terry
Outside District - Alan will post. We will also issue electronically.
The Newsletter will also be sent-out electronically in pdf, so many of you will have two copies.
B.2 County Conference, Branch letter to RBL National Chairman, about the RBL’s decision to close respite centres and the Handy Van service: This was a resolution from the Conference, which Branches were asked to support. As yet, there has been no response to our letter. However HQ has issued a list of other service organisations that offer similar amenities. The inference was that these could be used as a substitute, without duplicating effort. Some of those organisations were the RAFA, RUCEC, SSAFA, “Give us Time”, etc.
B.2.1 Les commented that he was very sad at this decision, especially as, over the years when he was our Welfare Officer, at different times he had arranged for approximately seven local people to spend time in the RBL’s various respite centres; all had benefited.
B.3 Standard Bearer: Danny was unable to attended the recent training session at County because he was away; he is still serving and won’t be free until April. He and Chris have yet to talk about the task.
B.4 Barbecue & VJ Day: Joy has spoken with Tim about cooking for us and the date of 17th May is OK for him. The original idea to have the BBQ early was to link it with VE day and to secure the venue. However as we are to have a minor event for VE Day (see B.5 below), and Joy may not sell her house (the venue) this spring, we could consider a Summer date. One which might be appropriate would be VJ Day which is on Saturday August 15th, so our BBQ might be around that date.
B.4.1 Chris said he has a contact who may be able to provide cutlery and glasses.
Secretary’s Note: At the 2nd March Meeting, moving our BBQ to Saturday 15th August was agreed.
B.5 VE Day Celebrations - Friday 8th May: Byfield Parish Council have very generously offered to fund up to a maximum of £250 for an event in the village. Terry proposed keeping it simple e.g book Byfield VH for the afternoon of Friday 8th May. There would be refreshments, although not a licensed bar. There will be background music of the period but we are also considering some kind of local live entertainment. The afternoon would be wound-up with a short, informal service at Byfield's War memorial, where we hope to include both Stevie and F. James, the idea being to get all those in the VH to come along.
B.5.1 In preparation for this Alan will book the hall, David will approach Tony Bignold to see if he will sing a few refrains, Laurie will approach local DJ Craig to see if he could provide background music of the period, maybe even to get people dancing and Terry will talk to the PTA about “tea and cakes” catering. See also J.2 later herein re: sound system.
B.5.2 Tuesday April 7th Branch Meeting venue: It was agreed not to have a speaker but to use this meeting to prepare for the VE Day celebrations. Alan will book the Griffin at Chipping Warden.
B.6 Visit to Thrapston War Memorial? Thrapston won the WM competition last year, we need to see how they did it. Being used to ours, it will be a surprise, as it isn’t what you might expect. Thrapston is just north east of the A45/A14 junction NN14 4PP (45 miles from Byfield). This will be a spontaneous visit with individual Members deciding to go on the spur of the moment and phoning others to see if they wished to accompany that Member.
C. NEW MATTERS (NOTE: previous alphabetic designations moved-on one letter to make way for these)
C.1 Another Anniversary this Year: It’s On 11th November 1920 that the Unknown Warrior was interred in Westminster Abbey. It was agreed that reference be made to this anniversary at our Remembrance service at Byfield’s War Memorial this year. Terry will do some research and give a talk at our October meeting.
C.2 The 75th anniversary of Byfield Branch in 2022 approaches. It was commented that nobody remembers if we did anything special for our 50th and that our Standard doesn’t have a “50th RBL pennant; we should add one for 75 years. Those can be purchased for approximately £60.
C.2.1: We shouldn’t forget that the British Legion is 100 next year and that should be commemorated.
C.3 Branch Opening and Closing Dates: There is spread sheet available to those branch Officers with access to the RBL’s Office 365 software which shows these dates; We are on row 1336, we opened in October 1947
C.4 Donation from Al Murray’s family: We have received a donation of £20 via Jane H in memory of Al who served in the Royal Navy for many years. In later years he became a resident at Bell Lodge; he passed away last month. Alan will write to acknowledge this.
C.4.1 Les gave us the history of our other donation, one made annually. Les will provide an address to Alan who will write a thank-you letter to the family.
C.5 Santa Pod Raceway: Our MSO Kevin Tobin has advised that The Poppy Lottery and Regular Giving will be attending Santa Pod Raceway this coming year suggesting any support Branches give should not clash with any Branch fund raising or membership events. Alan has advised him of our Barbecue date (which has now changed), and of several other village fetès we will attend, although those dates are not yet known. Alan will ask Kevin to find out if any help is needed at Santa Pod from our Branch.
C.6 Donation to Katharine House Hospice: It was agreed that £50 from the Speaker Fund would be appropriate as a donation after Cherida’s talk. It should be noted charities cannot donate to charities however our Speaker Fund is a private collection not related to Branch or RBL accounts.
C.7 Voting for Trustees: We have received a list of CVs for a number of candidates as RBL Trustees. Terry has made a selection of four of them on behalf of the Branch. Those will be approved by Chris and Alan.
C.8 Byfield’s Annual Parish Meeting: Terry has prepared the report for this and will present it. However, if he happens to be away from base on the evening of 26th March, Alan will take-over.
C.9 Byfield’s RBL memorial seat on Dolls Hill: Les reports that this seat is in dire need of refurbishment, with parts now broken. It was on Byfield’s PC list of things to do but at our request, the seat by the War Memorial was prioritised; that was subsequently cleaned-up. Terry will approach the PC to try to get this progressed.
C.9.1: Garry pointed out that it was possible to have the memorial plaque removed to the new seat by the church’s west gate; Eydon Branch had arranged something similar in the past. Les was not happy about that as the Doll’s Hill seat had particular significance to one of our deceased Members.
D.1 Byfield Good Neighbour Success: Terry explained he had recently visited one of our older members to find that an archway supporting some foliage in his back garden had been blown down and was restricting access. Terry contacted Alison who alerted the Byfield Good Neighbour scheme, and within 24 hours the archway was lifted, repositioned and secured. Most of you will know about this because to promote the scheme we circulated this info. Our County Secretary Ian Byrnes is on our circulation list, picked it up and distributed to other Branches stating it indicated a way forward for an element of community support alongside BCS. He suggested it was a scheme other Branches and PCs might wish to investigate. It was originally a government initiative filtered down through local councils. Ian thanked our Branch for bringing this to everyone’s attention.
D.2 Does anyone in our District qualify for the RBL’s VE75 event in London? There had been no response to our request in this regard and none present could identify anyone who might be eligible.
D.3 The Astor Big Band Presents The Glen Miller Story at Northampton’s Deco NN1 4AE: 17th May, seats £23. All profit will go to the RBL.
D.4 The correspondence folder was circulated without anyone commenting on anything else in the same.
E. FINANCE: At long last, Chris has correctly received the Barclays statement for the end of January (changing recipient’s names and addresses has proved complicated). This shows us to be “in the black”. As always, those requiring the figures should refer to the Minutes sent to members.
F: WELFARE (Branch Community Support): Branch Welfare Grants: This is a scheme whereby Branches may award at their discretion up to £200 for a crisis. A crisis grant is a grant for one-off support with the most urgent of needs. They are designed to be issued quickly at the point where the applicant is unable to meet their basic welfare needs – typically, those related to food, clothing, warmth and/or shelter. This is a revision of the previous £10 policy. However this does not apply to our Branch as we are not yet on the Branch Community Support register. Some thought needs to be given to this, as it is part of the RBL’s purpose.
F.1 BCS Training? Graham was asked if he wished to attend a training course on either Sunday 15th March or Sunday 19th April at the Northampton County Office, Clare Street but unfortunately could not be available.
G: POPPY APPEAL: Major Tom will be consulted about Graham’s proposal about approaching local businesses to support the PA by funding a wreath, on which, their name would be displayed.
Secretary’s Note: At the 2nd March Meeting Chris reported that he had spoken to Tom, who supported the idea. Orders for wreaths need to be placed soon, so courting businesses for sponsorship needs to start now. This will begin in Byfield with David approaching 5-Ways Petrol Station and the Co-op shop, Terry will ask Judds, Elite Designs and Farols. There are ten types of wreaths on offer ranging from £10 to £50 each, see: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/ways-to-give/shop/wreaths Companies will also be given the opportunity to add a donation to the Poppy Appeal. The wreath’s dedication will need to be laser-printed onto the accompanying otherwise blank app. 12x10cm tag; Terry has a contact who can do that.
G.1 Figures 2019/2020: John wasn’t present this evening, so the total remains as last month: £9,379.32
G.2: When is a Poppy not a Poppy? County have issued an explanation about unofficial poppy badges being sold. This has been circulated.
H: MEMBERSHIP: Member James Carroll transferring to the Hereford Branch: Mr. Carroll used to live in Woodford but moved a while ago. Although he has recently become a Hereford North Member, he wishes to remain in touch. Chris has written to him wishing him well, including our first Branch newsletter of the decade. The loss of Mr. Carroll to Hereford North reduces our District Branch Membership to 74.
J: ANY OTHER BUSINESS:
J.1. Improvements at Galanos House: An extension is close to being completed at Galanos House, and will be known as the Hub. It will include four hireable rooms, free Wi-Fi access and Café open for breakfast or light lunch. Free Parking will be plentiful. Once it is open (April), the Branch will be arranging a visit.
J.2 Loudspeaker for Remembrance Parade? We agreed that sound was difficult at Byfield’s War Memorial and discussed either buying or borrowing a waterproof unit, with Terry saying the latter would be preferable because it would only rarely be needed. Laurie will approach Tony Birdsall to see if he has the requisite kit and would be willing to loan it. He will also seek a power source from a neighbouring dwelling. Laurie will also ask Tony if he is available to assist with our VE Day Commemorations.
J.3 Give-aways? Vernon said we needed RBL supplies e.g. pens/pencils etc. to be available to hand-out at each of the Village fetès we attend, so we should start planning for these now. Vernon will approach County.
Dates of next Meetings
Committee: Friday 20th March 1030 (note 1030) at Joy’s.
Branch: Monday 2ndMarch in Byfield VH Meeting Room, then Tuesday April 6th in The Griffin Inn, Chippy.
Lunch: Wednesday 25th March at The Red Lion at Hellidon; Joy has booked us in.
Flag Flying Days: 9th March Commonwealth Day (Rob will officiate)
10th March Birthday Earl of Wessex (Rob will officiate)
21st April Birthday HM The Queen
23rd April St Georges Day