Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 25th September 2018 at Hinton House Farm Cottages, Byfield & the General Meeting in Aston-le-Walls Village Hall on 2nd October 2018
A. CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS: At the Tuesday 2nd October Meeting Russ welcomed our Speaker, Bob Cubitt, who spoke of his personal experience of GP90 in August this year. He also welcomed a visitor, Pete, from Phoenix Arizona; Pete will do a little research and advise how the Veteran's Associations in the USA differ from the RBL.
B. MATTERS ARISING: from previous Meeting’s Minutes:
B.1 GP90: On 2nd October Bob gave a presentation, supported by slides, about his personal experience of GP90.
B.1.1 Terry had previously circulated a write-up about GP90 by Dunmow & District Branch to supplement Bob’s account published on our Web site, and in Byfield's Oct/Nov edition of The Byword. The only marked difference was Dunmow’s unscheduled stop at the German mass grave cemetery at Langemark near Ypres, which was very different to those containing Commonwealth graves.
B.1.2 GP90 bills for our “Ypres 2018” Scroll for our Standard were approved for payment.
B.2 Our NZ “Twin” Templeton RSA in NZ: After some initial enthusiasm, nothing has been heard from down under since June, however we will keep trying. On 10th August we advised them of Bob & Chris’s visit to “Caterpillar Valley” and the NZ Memorial there, as part of GP90. This month we told them about Terry’s links with Brightlingsea, Essex, who had thousands of ANZACs stationed there in 1916-18. Brightlingsea RBL erected a special Memorial to the ANZACs nearby Brightlingsea’s Cenotaph earlier this year. Information about all this is posted on our Web site under the “Our NZ Twin” page.
B.3 Byfield Village’s 11th November Centenary (100-years since the end of WW1): Terry reported that this seemed to be on track. A programme is on our Web site and will be published in Byfield’s next issue of “The Byword”. The only complication is the responsibility for the flaming beacon. Byfield & District RBL will take that responsibility to bring that part of the event under the RBL’s blanket Public Liability Insurance. That requires a Risk Assessment (RA) to be submitted, which Terry has completed; there was some discussion about the level of risk to be noted but that has now been agreed and the RA amended to reflect that.
B.3.1 “Just in case”, Terry has contacted the St. John’s Ambulance Service to see if they can cover that part of the proceedings and has asked what that might cost. A response is awaited.
B.3.2 Byfield’s Parish Council Clerk Angela has suggested we include an exhibition of photos and memorabilia relating to any of those recorded on Byfield’s War Memorial. All present were asked to “ask around” for such items and nearer to the event, Terry will circulate that request to all Members.
B.3.3 Byfield school is having a competition for their kids to design a flyer to be posted around the village. Terry wants to print 500 of those, with the programme on the back, and to put one through every Byfield letterbox. The Poppy Appeal collection might be an opportunity to do this but Alan suggested Byfield’s “Byword” delivery system might be a better bet. All this rather depends on when the school’s poster will become available?
B.4 Tony Webster Profile (not Obit): Terry has had John R’s permission to publish a Profile of John’s life on our Web site; that is now “up” in a new section there specifically for that purpose i.e. Profiles. Terry has copied that to Tony’s daughter Susan, as an example of the kind of information we need if we are to do that for Tony. It was agreed that this should be done rather than an Obituary, as the time for that has passed. Terry is waiting to hear from Susan but will progress.
B.6 Royal Charter Changes: Apart from a hope that the language will be simplified for the RBL’s Royal Charter document, no changes had been suggested by any of our Members (a request for comments had been circulated to all on 19/07/18 – no response).
B.7 Seafarers UK (Merchant Navy Fund “Roll of Honour”): We have registered with this organisation. Our Branch now appears on their “Roll of Honour”, which records all those who have agreed to be part of the annual Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September by flying the Red Ensign.
B.8 Annual Quiz, Friday evening, 23rd November 2018:
B.8.1 Our quiz will take place as usual and will be similar to past events, with most of the old team carrying-on this year; they need to be sounded-out to confirm their participation, Russ will do that.
B.8.2 However volunteers to act as “scorers” have been sought to take the place of Bob C and possibly Peter. Joy and Terry are willing, and Vernon has stepped-up as always. They will not be involved with the mathematical formula used, which it is hoped Mrs. Start will do as before. Mr. Start would be asked to be the “caller” once again.
B.8.3 Russ has received a Pub Quiz pack from the RBL this year, which he may use to assist him with question preparation, although he is already well versed with that.
B.8.4 Raffle prizes will be needed and should be given to Laurie and Alison beforehand; a request for the same needs airing; that request will be announced at meeting’s and circulated nearer the event’s date.
B.8.5 This year's "fees" would be £3 per person with a maximum of four in a team.
B.9 Exhortation Plaque:
B.9.1 It is hoped the slate exhortation plaque purchased by Alan’s wife Jackie can be mounted on the ironstone wall behind and near the Byfield War Memorial. Alan has obtained the permission of the resident of “Stonewalls”, whose wall it is, to do this. Russ will ask John R if he can do the mounting, requiring two brass screws to be inserted into the wall. If John cannot, Russ will ask Tony Bignold if he will do the job.
B.9.2 Alan will chalk his suggested location on the wall early in October.
B.9.3 If it is found impractical to mount the plaque on the wall, then it will be fixed to two stakes, which will be driven into the ground in an appropriate place nearby. If that is necessary, suitable mounting stakes need to be found.
B.9.4 The exhortation lettering has been stuck onto the slate. It was agreed therefore that clear varnish needs to be applied to weatherproof those letters. Alan and Russ would research varnish suitable for this purpose, e.g. spray-on artist’s clear varnish such as Rust-oleum Crystal Clear.
C.1 Community Support Training (see also Item F, Welfare, later herein): County’s Emma Connor was pleased to receive Russ’s account of how we handle Welfare (Branch Community Support) but thought we needed some training. What training might be required is yet to be advised.
C.2 Chairman and Vice Chairman’s Seminar 20th October: Russ and Joy would attend. Russ has received information about this event from County.
C.3 “Thank You” letter to our Auditor, John Freeman: Our annual accounts have been audited and that letter has been sent by Alan.
C.3.1 The Accounts were approved by the Branch on 07/08/18 and were submitted to the RBL on 12th September 2018.
C.4 Standard Bearer Competition 21st October: Chris is unable to attend that event, which we will not therefore enter.
C.5 An author’s request to all RBL Branches for applicants to be interviewed for a forthcoming book: Shirley from Derbyshire is researching and writing a book on a Land Army girl and the WW2 Black Market. Shirley takes real events that happened to people in the War and fictionalises them, she suggests this gives them an authenticity. Russ will ask John R if he can contribute, or know anyone who might do so.
D. FINANCE: Alan reported that he had discussed the current situation with David, which was positive.
D.1 Battle Back Centre support - £500.00 from Branch Funds agreed.
D.2 Russ has provided David with a number of Barclays’ envelopes so that he may pay-in cheques to our Current a/c at Byfield Post Office.
E. POPPY APPEAL:
E.1 John now has eight volunteers to fill 114 poppy boxes starting at 10am on the morning of 13/10/18; this would take about an hour to complete. Russ asked that any volunteer who subsequently found they could not attend to give John as much notice of that as possible.
E.2 Door to door collection dates this year were 27th october to 10th November.
E.3 John had recruited two new collectors, one in Chipping Warden, the other in Hellidon.
E.4 Last year's (2017/18) PA total wwas now £10,209.32
F. WELFARE (Branch Community Support):
F.1 Vernon said that Dougie, now home again, was OK but was keen to be remembered by including his apologies that he wasn't able to attend meetings any more. Alison said that Peter was positive but that he was still receiving treatment; indeed Peter was present at this meeting. Terry had seen John T, who was well in himself and also managed to attend this meeting.
F.2 It was suspected that Mrs. B might be having some difficulty in covering hospital trips using Rural Wheels. If she wished to seek assistance, it would be necessary for her to apply to us and provide receipts, in which case we might be able to offer some contribution to those costs. Alison would pass that on to her.
B.3 There might be a Welfare Conference in Northampton on 19th October. If so, Russ and Alison would attend. Further information from County is awaited.
G.1 Terry reported that six Members with subs due on 1st October still paid by cheque. He had contacted them all but they were unable to confirm that they had added their first initial, surname, Post Code and Membership number on the back of their cheques. That would mean their cheques would be shredded and their Membership would not be renewed, even though they had submitted the requisite renewal form. This situation came to light earlier this month on the RBL’s social network system “Yammer”, which is only accessible by certain committee Members. Although all six still wished to be Members, we won’t know if they have a problem until their names disappear from the O-365 Membership List. If that happens we’ll intervene to sort it out.
G.2 Terry stated that in the two and a half years of our poster campaign, with three different editions, only one new member had been recruited. Similarly over the same period of offering a “free lunch” to any Member recruiting a new one, only one new Member had been obtained. Neither our Web site, which was now chock-full of information about who we are and what we are all about, nor our Facebook presence has had any visible recruiting effect either. Therefore he thought the only way to recruit was “face-to-face”. He proposed that in 2019 we must attend all the village fetes and similar functions around our district. Volunteers will be needed to do that.
H. ANY OTHER BUSINESS:
H.1 As our nonogenarian Bugler had retired, this year we will use an electronic version of The Last Post at our Remembrance ceremony by Byfield's War Memorial.
J: Dates of next Meetings:
Committee: May be merged with AGM on 5th November. Russ will advise if a separate meeting is necessary.
Branch: Monday 5th November, Byfield Meeting Room, AGM.
Lunch: 31st October, The Griffin, Chipping Warden, 12.30pm.
Flag flying days:
Friday 9th November but only whilst Byfield schoolchildren lay their crosses at Byfield War Memorial.
Sunday 11th November: Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.
Wednesday 14th November: Birthday of The Prince of Wales
Tuesday 20th November: Wedding anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Phillip.