The Royal British Legion, Byfield and District Branch
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 6th November 2017
Byfield Village Hall's Lower Annexe
1. The Act of Remembrance:
The Act of Remembrance was observed by the Chairman who asked members not just to remember those service personnel killed in recent conflicts but all those civilians who have been indiscriminately killed and injured by vehicles and lone gunmen.
The meeting remained standing whilst Russ proposed and members observed the Loyal Toast.
2. Chairman’s Opening Remarks:
Because of the closeness of two important events, Remembrance and our Quiz, Russ took some time to cover the detailed responsibilities and timings for both.
Russ also took this opportunity to present three Certificates of Appreciation; to Chris for commitment as Standard Bearer, Vernon for the transporting and visiting of sick members and Terry for developing and maintaining a truly excellent Branch Website.
3. Members Present:
Russ (President and Chairman), Alan (Secretary), John R, Chris, Doug, John T, Graham, Terry, Joy, Alison, Laurie, Barrie, Rob, Bob P, David and Alan W (16 Members) plus Bernadette (visitor).
4. Apologies for absence:
Apologies were received from Rev Stevie , Max, Bernard and Tony.
5. Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting 7th November 2016:
Terry proposed that the minutes be accepted as a true record, and, seconded by John R, they were signed by Russ.
6. Matters arising:
Russ explained that Head Office had issued an edict that no officer could hold more than one position so at the 2016 AGM Russ asked the meeting if anyone was prepared to take on the Treasurer’s function from Alan. No-one volunteered during the meeting but shortly afterwards David said he was willing to do this, and following training, took it on in the spring of this year 2017.
7. 2018 National Conference - Belfast:
It was agreed that we would not be sending a Delegate.
8. County Conference - 13th January 2018:
.1 Motions - The Chairman explained that we would not be submitting a motion this year, and explained that following last year’s County Conference, Standard Bearers could now wear an undated metal poppy badge unless they were on official duty.
.2 Delegates - The Chairman also explained that he would not be available but the Secretary and one other would be attending.
.3 Donation – Chris proposed that a donation of £50 be made to the County again this year, and seconded by John R, this was agreed by all members.
8. President’s and Chairman’s Combined Address:
We have a membership of 76. Thanks to Terry our Web site is proving to be a useful tool along with the Facebook presence both for information and recruiting. Our Facebook presence currently has 42 followers.
We have had two fund raising events this past year, the Quiz last November (2016) and another enjoyable BBQ in Joy's garden in July 2017. This meant that we could donate another £500 to the Battle Back Centre.
I am looking for your support again at the next quiz on the 24th (less than three weeks from now).
The 2016 Christmas Dinner at the Fox and Hounds had some problems, but the landlord later apologised and bought the first round of drinks for all at a later lunch gathering.
Our "Pub Lunches", started a year ago and taking place on the last Wednesday of every month, rotating around the pubs in our district have been very successful, with an average turnout of 14.
We thank the Byfield Parish Council for taking over the maintenance of the War Memorial surrounds, and to all those who maintain the Memorials in the other villages of our District.
Byfield Parish Council have agreed to maintain an earth strip around the Memorial for the planting of the little wooden crosses by the children, and will employ a gardener to maintain the area.
Earlier in the year Byfield Parish Council agreed to extend the flying of the Union Flag to include all the days in Government guidance for England, which is why you will have seen our flag more frequently this year.
John Russell BEM led yet another record breaking Poppy Appeal year. Unfortunately, the preparation of the boxes for this year’s appeal was marred by no-shows from two of the team. As John will explain the system needs a full team to run smoothly and efficiently. Thank you, John.
The word Welfare has disappeared from the RBL vocabulary, it is now called Branch Community Support. While members continue to do house and hospital visits, transporting and keeping in touch in what I would call our “traditional” areas, as far as I’m aware this is not the case in our newly acquired villages. I would like more information about those.
The Eydon Standard was laid up in May. Its site has been finalised and action is underway to complete the task.
There have been 8 talks this year plus 3 outings.
Peter Stratton: "Railways in South Northamptonshire"
Alan Carroll: "Antarctic Survey before and after BAS"
Terry Hoyle: "Into Africa via Brazil"
Dougie Adams: "Discussion with an Afghanistan veteran"
Bob Cubbitt: "My inspiration for writing published books"
Russ Mallace: "A Snapshot of South Africa"
Alan Bailey: "My time in the Territorial Army"
Mark Spindles: "Moving the Colchester Garrison"
Bruntingthorpe: Cold War jets fast taxi during Open Day
National Arboretum: Vernon arranged this visit, which took place in June.
Halton House and Trenchard Museum: with thanks to the good offices of Bernard.
The Branch received a Certificate of Recognition from the Riders Branch of the RBL for its help with the Christmas Present Run to Galanos House, and another for our attendance at the Big Poppy event in Southam.
Chris paraded our Standard at British Legion Race Day at Newmarket and at Banbury Armed Forces Day.
We had a presence at the Byfield PTA Fête using the County gazebo and we entered a team in the Village Hall quiz.
Thanks to donations from members the Branch has signed up for GP90 in August 2018.
End of quote
The last 12 months have followed the usual pattern: logging correspondence, minute taking, sharing with Russ arranging our speakers and providing photos to Terry for the website.
Other tasks have included arranging the Remembrance Sunday road closure through the County Council, being responsible for the Bar at the Quiz and attending the quarterly Group 4 meetings, where we witnessed the gradual decline in attendance from other branches and its subsequent closure. I wasn’t able to attend the PTA Summer Fete but would like to thank Vernon for collecting and returning the RBL Gazebo to the County Office.
Two highlights of the year for me were the visit to Halton House and taking part in the Southam Poppy, an attempt to break the world record for a human poppy.
End of Quote
10. Treasurers Report:
David took over from Alan in March.
Accounts presented to the Branch Committee end of July showed an increase in funds.
John F, our Auditor, signed off the accounts on 4th September.
Accounts need adopting at the AGM and to that end were summarised, with figures stated.
On the proposal of Chris, and seconded by John R, the Accounts were unanimously adopted.
(b) Branch Administration Fee. It was proposed from the Chair to follow previous practice and not impose any Branch Administration Fee and, seconded by Terry, this was agreed by all.
11. Branch Community Support Report:
Members have continued to make home and hospital visits when needed, but all should be aware that if any expenditure is required, this should be arranged through the Helpline 0808 802 8080.
12. Poppy Appeal Report:
John R thanked all those who had supported the Appeal last year, having raised the record figure of £10,247.98. He stressed that this could not have been achieved without the help of Alan W in Eydon, Culworth and Moreton Pinkney.
He made a strong request that those who volunteer to fill boxes next year all turn up, as a full team is the only way of guaranteeing the boxes are filled with the correct combination and quantity of items.
Bob P asked if the meeting felt that the larger boxes used by Eydon were preferred to the standard ones as it allowed the contents to be arranged better. It was agreed that the larger ones would be used for all the villages next year.
14. Election of officers:
Russ explained that his plan to appoint his successor to the position of Vice Chairman last year so that he could then spend the next twelve months working together so they could be ready to take over as Chairman in November 2017 had not worked as no suitable person was available. He said that Tony had agreed to stand down, and therefore asked if anyone was willing to volunteer for a similar arrangement for this coming year. Joy signalled her agreement to this so with John R proposing, and Terry seconding, the meeting agreed that Joy be appointed Vice Chairman.
The remaining officers and members agreed to continue in their functions:
Vice Chairman: Joy
Membership Secretary: Terry
Recruiting Officer: Terry
Branch Community Support: Graham
Poppy Appeal Organiser: John R - B.E.M.
Parade Marshall: John R - B.E.M.
Standard Bearer: Chris
Deputy Standard Bearer: Not appointed
Memorial Keepers: Not appointed as this will be the the Parish Council
Chaplain: Rev. Stevie
Publicity and Web Site: Terry
Village Hall Representative: David
Flag Keepers: Terry and Rob
Chris proposed that these nominations be accepted, and seconded by Terry, all were in agreement.
14. Any Other Business:
.1 Poetry Competition:
Terry reported that five of the six schools in the District had entered, Chipping Warden declined due to other pressures. A winner from each school had been chosen, and the ‘best of the best’ resulted in a tie between Culworth and Byfield. Schools and Parents had been asked for their agreement to publish the winning poems; Culworth had agreed and the others were awaited (and subsequently received). Each winner would receive a book as a prize which would be presented by the Chairman and Vice-chairman. Additional prizes would be given to cover various age groups. Books would be purchased from Branch funds.
.2 December Meeting - Speakers:
As no formal speaker was available, Terry suggested that members speak for, say, 10 - 15 minutes on their ‘Reminiscences’, in the way that Alan did on his time in the TA.
15. Date and Time of next Annual General Meeting:
To be confirmed but probably Monday 5th November 2018 in Byfield Village Hall’s Lower Annexe.