December '17

December '17

Minutes of the Branch Committee Meeting held on 29th November 2017 at Hinton House Farm Cottages, Byfield and subsequently at the Meeting of Members in The Griffin Inn, Chipping Warden on Tuesday 5th December '17.

A. CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS Russ welcomed seven Members to the Committee meeting (and thirteen to the Members' meeting). He particularly welcomed Joy as Vice Chairman, she being elected as such at the Branch's AGM on 6th November; Tony has retired from this position. In addition, The Minutes of 27th September, which had yet to be formally accepted, were agreed and signed-off.

A.1 At the Griffin meeting Russ thanked all those who had helped and contributed both to the Remembrance services and to the successful quiz evening.

A.2 At the Griffin meeting Russ signed-off the Minutes of the meeting of 3rd October 2017.

A.3 At the griffin meeting Russ advised that two donations had been gratefully received, £80 from Sir John Parsons and £50 from Roger Evans.

B.  MATTERS ARISING from last meeting’s Minutes:

B.1. Schools’ Poetry Competition: Five of the six junior schools in our district entered, with the sixth being unable to do so because of other pressures. An excellent response had been received and, in the opinion of our three judges, Chris Cross, Rev. Stevie and our Alan from Eydon, the best poem from each school was selected. Two schools made a demarcation by age and because of some very good efforts by children as young as six, we agreed to add prizes for those, we also had to add a prize because our judges couldn’t agree on the “best of the best”, so we settled on two joint winners. All in all eleven books were bought as prizes, with four being won by the two joint overall winners; the book's subjects were asked for by the recipients. All those prizes were presented at the various school’s assemblies by the end of the last week in November.

B1.1 Terry observed that those poems submitted compared very favourably with the poems entered in the RBL National competition that was coincidentally going-on at the same time. That National competition will also take place next year; we have advised (by e-mail) our schools how to enter if they wish.


B.2 Great Pilgrimage 2018 – GP90. By the end of November registrations had reached 613. After some questioning of various “officials” it appears the RBL have shelved their policy of requiring a minimum number to make the trip viable; it is now said the event will go ahead anyway. For the record, we are registered and paid-up and Chris and Bob will be our representatives.

B.2.1 Insurance & Pick-up point: participants would be covered for travel insurance within the £1k entry fee, and Banbury would be our pick-up location for the coach to France.

B.3 REMEMBRANCE SERVICES: All the services and wreath laying ceremonies in our District went well. Some donations for refreshments after the event in the Village Hall were received, and it was agreed to position a collection plate in a suitable position to encourage donations next year. 

B.3.1 Security at Remembrance Services: Unfortunately because of the times we live in, this had to be considered.

Byfield – Laurie and Alison organised two large vehicles to be placed across the width of the High Street entrance of Banbury Lane and one at the other end of the road closure. A person was on watch at both ends of the lane and those were in communication.

Culworth – Alan W reported that the church and the Parish Council there had agreed to provide protection at each end of the Remembrance area.

Other villages – except for Charwelton, services were well away from main traffic routes, so road security was not an issue.

Thankfully, there were no incidents but it was "better to be safe...".

B.4 ANNUAL QUIZ: This was held on the FRIDAY evening of 24th November. 19 Tables of four were “sold” and a good time was had by all. A profit of over £650 was realised, the final figure to be announced once we have settled with the Parish Council for the hire of the Village Hall & bar licence.

B.4.1 Thanks: particularly to Jackie and Alan, who ran the bar, acquired glasses, the alcohol (and the softs for those who wished to keep a clear head), and did the washing-up. To Rachel, Sarah and Tash of the Byfield PTA for the wonderful and seemingly continuous supply of piping hot bacon butties. John, for collecting the table money and assisting here, there and everywhere. To David and Tony for collecting the answers round by round. To Vernon, Bob and Peter for adjudicating those answers. To Shaun for mastering the ceremonies. To Susan for enumerating the scores. To Allison and Laurie for running the raffle, AND to all those who donated prizes. AND ESPECIALLY to Russ, for organising the whole thing and providing, collating and projecting all the questions and answers. Thanks also to those Members who helped to set-up, and then clean-up the hall afterwards.

B.4.2 It was agreed to send another cheque for £500 to the Battle Back centre at Lilleshall, who were adverstised as the main beneficiaries of our Quiz Night.

B.5 War Memorial: Byfield Parish Council have retained a gardener to maintain a strip of earth around the War Memorial in which the children planted their crosses at their own remembrance ceremony. The metal channel made to support those crosses after the previous garden strip was turfed-over will not now be used, as the Parish Council, not accepting that alternative, has reinstated an area of earth around the Memorial. When Tony returns we will write and explain this to the artisan who made the metal support for the crosses, which was very nicely done and had a retaining spring for every cross slot. That metal strip is safe in Terry’s shed if Tony wishes to have it back.

B.6 Largest Human Poppy: That attempt, organised by the RBL Riders’ Branch and made at Southam College on 13/07/17, to which five us contributed our bodies, has been rejected on a technicality by the Guinness Book of World Records; the Riders have appealed!

B.6.1 The problem appeard to be that from certain positions the aerial photo showed significant gaps in the design and not a solid colour. This has been challenged as it was explained before the event took place that vulnerable groups would be taking part and that they were adhering to the permitted maximum number per square metre.

B.7 Christmas Run to Galanos House: The Riders’ Branch will assemble at the Long Itch Diner from noon on Saturday 16th December before roaring-off to Galanos House laden with Christmas presents, leaving at 1.30pm. Those presents will be donated, hopefully by our Branch as well as others.

B.7.1 Please provide gifts of toiletries and similar goodies to Alison before end of day Friday 15th December. Alison and Vernon will take those over to the gathering on the Saturday.

B.8 Concert by the Buck Brass Ensemble: Local lad Richard Buck, a trombone virtuoso and his friends will play in Holy Cross Church from 4pm on Sunday 14th January 2018, with a retiring collection being made in favour of the RBL.

B.9 BINGO! Local resident Angie Gosling has agreed to organise a Bingo session for us in Byfield Village Hall on Friday evening, 23rd March 2018. There won’t be a bar but players can bring their own drinks; tea and coffee will however be available in the hall.

B.9.1 PRIZES: Prizes are required for this event and the more seductive those are, we hope the more people will be attracted to participate. Angie says the January Sales are a good place to obtain such, so please look out for a bargain and donate that to us for this event.

B.10: New Date for AGM in 2018? Russ explained that new rules required Branches to hold their AGM within two months of the end of the RBL's Financial Year. All felt this was too tight a time scale in the middle of the holiday period, and Russ agreed he would write to County and Andrew Bowes to challenge this decision.

C. CORRESPONDENCE: There was no correspondence to discuss.

D. FINANCE: David reported that our books were in a healthy state.

D.1 DACT: We agreed to subscribe to this community transport organisation once more (£30).

E. POPPY APPEAL: John R reported at the Griffin meeting that it had been another good year, at the time of the meeting £9k had been banked and money was still coming in. He was thanked by the meeting for his tireless efforts in organizing our District’s appeal. He indicated that a couple of our long-term village representatives may be calling it a day but he would wait to nearer to nearer next year’s appeal before making any decisions on replacements. He also asked for it to be minuted for future reference that the Byfield Co-op had been very helpful in banking cash payments.

F. WELFARE (now Branch Community Support): Two hospital and four home visits were made this month.

F.1.Recent conference: Russ and Alison explained that the main theme of the conference was centralisation of financial support for any works which require financial outlay.

G. MEMBERSHIP: At last we have had to buy one of our Members, John, a lunch for recruiting one new Member Rob. As John has another dangling on a hook (yet to be landed), we agreed to include a lunch for his good lady Jill, who was with him at the time; he now owes us a new Member.

G.1 We have lost Nicholas to Daventry Branch, he now lives there and has transferred-over.

G.2 Membership now stands at a total of 75 for our Branch.


H.1 Group 4 – the end: The last ever meeting of Northant’s Group 4 participants will take place at the Conservative Club in Daventry at 2000hrs. on Wednesday 6th December.

H.2 The funeral of the President of Daventry Branch, Ted Sharp, will take place on Tuesday 19th December at Holy Cross Church, Daventry at 11.30. County have asked for a good turn out of Branch Standards and members. It may be possible for the Byfield Standard to be present.

H.3 Poppy Shop: Terry reported difficulties in purchasing from the Poppy Shop via their Web site. On the ‘phone, they said their Web site wasn’t run by them but by RBL’s computer gurus.

H.4 RBL Shirts: Alison expressed concern over the length of time being taken to supply RBL shirts.  Alan will follow up at the County Conference on 13th January.

H.5 Framed Certificates of Appreciation: were presented to Chris Kiely, Vernon Hurst and Terry Hoyle. It was agreed that Branch Funds be used to pay for the frames for these.


Monday  8th January: Byfield Village Hall Lower Annex; Speaker Ken Gilbryan about the failed Franklin expedition to find the northwest passage between Canada and the Arctic from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.

Wednesday 31st January 2018, 1000hrs at Russ's place.

Wednesday 31st January Pub Lunch: Venue TBA

SPEAKERS: Five of our thirteen attendees at the Griffin meeting spoke about various things they had experienced at work and play over the years. See our "who has spoken" page for a rundown.

Flag Flying Days:

Tuesday 9th January – Duchess of Cambridge’s birthday

Saturday 20th January – Countess of Wessex’s birthday

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