Minutes of the Branch Meeting held on 3rd April 2018 at the Griffin Inn, Chipping Warden
A. CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS
During the silence that followed the exhortation, Russ asked those present to continue to think of our regular Members who were still unable to join us and those military personnel serving in areas of conflict.
B. MATTERS ARISING from last meeting's Minutes.
B.1 Great Pilgrimage 2018 – GP90. Russ explained that he had applied for the reclaim of Gift Aid on the GP90 donations but wasn’t sure whether the complex rules associated with Gift Aid would permit this. If that wasn’t the case then the balance would be made-up from Branch funds, which might be assisted by donations to cover that.
B.1.1 Anyone know Anyone? Terry had e-mailed this question asking to be contacted if anyone who knew anyone who had a relative or friend killed in WW1 and wished our GP90 team to leave a memento of them at the Menin Gate this August.
B.1.1.2 He also included Mr. John Rae & Ms. Josier Van Haastrecht of Templeton RSA in this – see B.3 below.
B.1.1.3 To date, the only acknowledgements to Terry’s District wide request for names of known relatives who died in the First World War were from our Members Jane, for her uncle and Russ for his grandfather.
B.1.2 Terry reported that the final (final) total number of Branches taking part in GP90 had been revised to 1,155.
B.1.3 Chris needs to sign an MS1B to indicate his fitness to take part. Alan will arrange this.
B.1.4 John R reported that the wreath had been ordered and would be delivered, along with all the other branches’ GP90 wreaths in June. It will need dedicating, and Terry will liaise with Bob to design the appropriate wording for the poppy centre.
B.2 Bingo Night: Russ advised that £1,071.59 had been banked from this very successful event but the Village Hall invoice hadn’t been presented yet; this is expected to be in the region of £50. A report with photographs can be found on our Web site.
B.3 Twinning with Paparua Templeton RSA New Zealand? Joy explained she had spoken with the Administrator of the local branch Ms. Josier Van Haastrecht and had suggested the idea of placing crosses at the two NZ cemeteries on the route of GP90 (Ypres and Passendale) if practical, or if not, at the Menin Gate; Terry had sent a follow-up e-mail to this lady, and their President, a response is awaited.
B.4 Battle Back (see item C.1 in February’s Minutes): Russ had checked with the Battle Back Centre about the maximum age for Veterans to be able to participate in their new five-day activity course, which was confirmed as 69, we had hoped that to be 79.
B.5 Recruiting (see item G.1 in last month’s Minutes): Russ explained he had contacted our MSO Andrew Bowes about the question of subsidising recruitment from Branch funds (e.g. for the “Free Lunch” campaign) and he had said there was no official objection but it was ‘Not a very good idea’.
C.1 Towcester Poppy Quiz: The Towcester Branch of the RBL advised that it was arranging a Poppy Quiz to be held at the Towcester Mill at 8 pm on Wednesday 11th April. Four B&D members volunteered to take part.
Secretary’s Note: The event was subsequently advertised as being “sold-out”, so we didn’t go along.
C.2 Byfield Village Quiz: Village Hall, 6th April. Three members agreed to join Russ to support this Quiz.
D.1 Two significant receipts have been made during the month of March: £91.56 in donations from Ian L’s Funeral and £1,071.59 from Angie’s Bingo night; from this latter item though, we need to subtract the Village Hall Hire.
D.2 A new Ceremonial Standard Bag has been purchased by Alan, and the meeting agreed he would be re-imbursed for this from Branch Funds.
D.3 The Branch balance sheet was discussed and pronounced “healthy”.
E. POPPY APPEAL: Nothing to report.
F. WELFARE (now Branch Community Support):
F.1 Russ updated the meeting of the latest situation of two of our members in nursing homes (see A above). He also cautioned against RBL members not qualified to do so giving physical help to those needing it.
F.2 Visits: Thirteen visits to Legionnaires who were poorly had been made by Members during the last month.
F.3 Branch Community Support – Home and Hospital Visitor Role: A request has been made for volunteers to be able to take part as a team who would be willing to go ‘on call’ to visit any RBL beneficiaries known to be in either Northampton or Kettering General Hospitals. John R felt it might be more appropriate for the Branch if this covered the Horton in Banbury instead, although that should be in Oxfordshire RBL's remit. Unfortunately, there was no interest shiown in our participating in this initiative.
F.4 Galanos House Fund Raising Day: Russ said that the Branch had been advised of a fund raising day at Southam Sports and Social Club, School St, CV47 1PL from 1pm – 3pm on Saturday 7th April in aid of Galanos house.
F.5 RBL Independent Living Service: Terry has distributed to all Branch members details of how the RBL can help ex Service and Serving “beneficiaries”, which you may wish to read.
G. MEMBERSHIP: See B.5 previously herein, otherwise, apart from the sad loss of our Member Ian, whose funeral contribution is mentioned above, there was nothing to add; Membership now stands at 74.
H. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
H.1 Data Protection: Russ explained that we are gradually starting to receive the new regulations on how Branches must manage their data, but until Head Office issue more specific communications (expected during April), what can be said is:
a) Members must opt in to receive communications by email.
b) Branches must use the ‘bcc’ (blind copy - i.e. recipient's address is not visible) facility to e-mail numerous recipients in a group.
C) Branches must use only Office 365 to access membership details – they must not keep Members' sensitive details outside the RBL O-365 domain. Any such existing files must be deleted. Russ commented that this will be extremely difficult, as he felt that the RBL’s Office 365 is a most unwieldy system.
Terry is our Branch Data Protection Officer. In that role he had circulated an explanation of the RBL's new "opt-in/opt-out" system and how that could be individually amended if required.
H.2 ‘There but not there’: Terry has come across a new charity called “Remembered” which has had life sized cut-outs made of all on the Penshurst memorial and installed them in the church and called it ‘There but not there’ which they would like to roll out nationally. Russ has found that the RBLI is making table top models for sale but the RBL is not one of the beneficiaries of Remembered but many others are, including Help for Heroes. Checking further, he has found that RBLI is a separate organisation from the RBL with its own trustees and Management and amongst other things, make the poppies for the RBL.
H.3 Classic and Sports Car Show in association with Flywheel Festivals: This event takes place over the weekend of 23rd and 24th June at Bicester Heritage Centre. It will include vintage aircraft flying displays, vintage and classic cars and motor cycles as well as a collection of military machines. Part of the event will commemorate the centenaries of World War One, the formation of the RAF and the men and women who fought in World War Two, and this includes an invitation to those veterans of WW2 to attend with a guest Free of Charge. Members of the RBL are also invited and this includes a 15% discount on the £25 daily ticket price.
H.4 Annual Conference 19/20 May 2018 in Belfast: The provisional agenda for this has been received.
J. DATES of NEXT MEETINGS:
Committee: Wednesday 25th April 2018 1000 Russ’s place.
Pub Lunch: Wednesday 25th April 2018 1230 in The Griffin Inn, Chipping Warden.
Branch: Monday 14th May 2018 2000 Byfield Village Hall Lower Annexe; Speaker Steve Dimmer with his “Tales from the Trenches”. Gather in the Cross Tree beforehand.
Flag Flying Days:
21st April: Birthday HM The Queen
23rd April: Saint George’s Day
The meeting closed with a brief showing of three of the Richard Buck & his Brass Brass’ pieces playing to us in Byfield's Holy Cross church and some of the photos from the 2017 Flywheel Festival.