Minutes of the Branch Committee Meeting held on 31st August 2017 at Hinton House Farm Cottages, Byfield and subsequently in Byfield Village Hall's Lower Annexe at 2000 on 4th September 2017
A. CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS: Russ welcomed nine Members to the meeting. He also commented that it was encouraging to see that seventeen Members had attended the August Pub Lunch at The Fox & Hounds, Charwelton yesterday. On Monday he introduced Alan, who needed no intorduction, who spoke to us about his experiences in the TA.
B. MATTERS ARISING from last meeting’s Minutes:
B.1. Halton House Visit: As previously reported (see previous Meeting’s Minutes). Twelve Members will be going on this trip in four separate cars. Bernard's, Laurie's, Russ's, and Vernon's vehicles will leave Byfield Village Hall car park at 0900 on 09/09/17. Lunch fee of £12 will be needed in cash - the exact amount would be appreciated.
B.2 Schools’ Poetry Competition: Terry has prepared a poster (see our Web site) and has sent that to all six primary schools in our District ready for the start of the 2017 autumn term. The closing date for entries will be 20th October 2017.
Secretary’s Note: By the meeting on the evening of 04/09/17, only Byfield School had responded accepting our invitation to participate. However as the new term doesn’t start until tomorrow (5th) we don’t expect this to be a priority. We will chase if we don’t hear. For the record, just before the end of last term, when we initially contacted all the schools, they all responded positively.
Rev. Stevie will ask the Culworth vicar if he is happy to help with the judging.
B.3 Festival of Remembrance:: Saturday 11th November: Vernon and his wife Judith have been allocated tickets by the RBL and will be going to the evening session.
B.4 Grand Pilgrimage 1918 – GP90: Our Appeal has now realised £1,002.50, including Gift Aid. This will allow us to Register our Branch and send Chris with our Standard and Bob, who will lay our wreath at the ceremony in Ypres on Wednesday 8th August 2018.
B.4.1 But we have decided NOT to Register with the RBL’s GP90 organisers yet because as soon as we do that, they will take £1,000 from our Branch Fund. Information about GP90’s organisational progress has been sadly lacking and as far as we can ascertain, as of last week only 344 Branches had signed-up. Yes, another 437 (including us) have indicated they are interested in going but all that is well short of the RBL’s target of 1,000 signatories by today. It seems another 1,600 Branches have yet to indicate whether they are thinking about going along or not. It is because of this that we are delaying our Registration; if the whole thing gets called-off, returning the money to our generous donors will be complicated.
We will therefore sit on the cheques we have received until the end of the month. As soon as the RBL can guarantee that GP90 will go ahead, we’ll get the ball rolling. Indeed, we have advised the RBLs’s GP90 Coordinator for the South East Midlands about our decision and why we have made it.
B.5 War Memorial Competition: Contrary to their original plan, County sent out invitations to all Branches and Parish Councils simultaneously instead of waiting to see which branches would submit theirs. This has resulted in Byfield Parish Council entering ours without prior reference to us. It was agreed to let this stand.
B.5.1 Terry stated that he had received a complaint that our flagpole, standing right next to the Byfield War Memorial, was scruffy. He proposed it should be lowered and attended to. It was agreed that an attempt to wash it without taking it down should be made first.
Secretary’s Note: The flagpole had a good wash down on Friday morning last, with only the very top now showing a few green stains transferred from the halyard when it is frapped-up. However you have to study the pole to notice those, so for now, job done.
B.6 War Memorial Book: Where is it? A few years ago Tony and John T spent time and effort photographing all the District’s War Memorials, recording each name engraved thereon and adding comments about the structures e.g. who had them erected, who looks after them etc. The tome is an A4 2” ring binder, which hasn’t been seen since late 2015. If anyone knows its whereabouts, please advise our Secretary, Alan.
B.6.1: Terry commented that each village in our District has its own page as a sub-page of the Remembrance page of our Web site where all those who are named on that village’s War Memorial are recorded.
B.7 Children’s Crosses support structure (Item H1 in previous Minutes): Tony’s support structure is still in place in front of Byfield's War Memorial if anyone wishes to view – alternatively, photos are on our Web site. However Byfield Parish Council has REFUSED permission to bolt it to the concrete War Memorial surround! Russ will re-submit our proposal for this, Chairman to Chairman.
B.7.1 It was agreed that Tony’s suggestion that we write to thank the person who cut the slots in the aluminium channel should be penned, enclosing a photo of the crosses when planted. This will be done after Remembrance Sunday '17 when the children's crosses are in place.
B.8 Newmarket Races: Saturday 12th August 2017 was Poppy Race Day. Thanks to Chris who represented us there and paraded our Standard. He reports that a good day was had by all and the weather stayed fine (mostly).
B.8.1 Chris is entitled to claim mileage allowance for the journey and will be asked if he wishes to do so. For the record, those who do not wish to claim mileage should however do so and then if they wish, they can make a donation to Branch Funds. This then makes the records of of how much it costs to run a Branch more accurate. That is also beneficial to the Branch because donations can be Gift Aided, which adds 25% to their value.
Current mileage payment is £0.45p/mile for the first 10k miles per annum then £0/25p/mile thereafter.
C.1 The usual road closure request to Northants CC has been made by Alan for Banbury Lane, Byfield for mid mornings of Armistice weekend 11th November '17 when we shall parade at the Byfield War Memorial. Laurie will supervise the road closure at the appropriate time.
C.2 Ian Byrnes is our new RBL County Secretary replacing Allan Short. Allan remains as County Vice Chairman.
D.1 Our books are still with the auditor. There isn’t a problem, he just hasn’t yet got “a round toit” (those can be purchased)!
E. POPPY APPEAL No change. Final total for 2016/17 £10247.98 for 2016/17.
E.1 Box Stuffing: John would like names of those who will assist in making-up the boxes of poppies for distribution around the District; seven helpers are needed. Date? 14th October ’17. Time? 1000hrs. Venue? John’s back shed in Banbury Lane, Byfield.
E.2 Collection Dates 2017: Saturday 28th October to Saturday 11th November inclusive.
E.3 Permanent Poppy Collecting Boxes: John explained his plans for all year round collecting boxes to be located in pubs: they would be in place all year except for the seasonal boxes which would replace them between 28th October and 11th November.
F. WELFARE Six house visits were made this month.
F.1 The County Welfare Conference that didn’t happen last month has been rescheduled for Saturday 30th September in the TA Centre, Clare Street Northampton. Russ and Alison hope to attend.
G.1 Current Membership for Byfield & District stands at 72, we have had one new Member join this month, Jane of Byfield.
Secretary’s Note: As of last Saturday, our membership has increased by one more. Andy of Chipping Warden has joined and is now on the Official Record.
G.2 Recruitment: Since the start of our campaign last year offering Members a free lunch if they recruited one new Member, NOT ONE free lunch has had to be funded (Terry doesn’t count himself). Terry proposed that maybe a “free pen” would encourage more response; it was agreed to add a poppy pen to the free lunch offer!
H. ANY OTHER BUSINESS: There was no AOB tabled for discussion.
J. DATES of FUTURE MEETINGS:
Wednesday 27th September - Pub Lunch. As the Royal Oak will not be serving food, the venue will be The Red Lion in Culworth.
Thursday 28th September - Committee meeting at Russ’s at 1000hrs.
Tuesday 3rd October - Royal Oak, Eydon – Mark Spindles will speak about “Moving the Colchester Garrison” lock, stock and barrel.
Wednesday 25th October – Pub Lunch at The Griffin, Chipping Warden.
Monday 6th November – Byfield V H Lower Annexe – AGM
Wednesday 29th November - Pub Lunch at The Cross Tree, Byfield.
Tuesday 5th December – Griffin, Chipping Warden – Speaker TBA
Flag Flying Days: 3rd September Merchant Navy Day. Thanks to Crystl of Byfield for the loan of her family's Red Ensign, which will be flown from our flagpole in Byfield.