The November meeting held on HMS Belfast proved to be another pleasant one with, it must be added, a rather unexpected but welcome increase in numbers. Some members who normally cannot make the journey into London unaided had enlisted close family members to bring them along and so we had John Williamson and Ken Gadsdon joining us, together with other members that we have not seen for a while.
It was a nice gathering. Just for a change, car parking was possible outside Southwark Crown Court without too much trouble – the nearest you can get to the Belfast – due to the absence of the seemingly endless number of coaches that arrive in the height of summer, dropping and picking up passengers in a very restricted area – Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, etc. are nearby attractions. It will all change again in March, with the approach of Spring, when remarkable feats of manoeuvring by coach drivers will again be seen, as the owners of parked cars look on with considerable anxiety.
The recent Remembrance Service arrangements were reviewed. Well before the event, Branch member Vera Mitchell had undertaken the routine that we had previously followed – contacting branch members who normally attend and drawing up a list of names that did not exceed the number allocated to the branch. The Chief Yeoman on the Belfast had been contacted and agreement on numbers had been reached, the Parents and Supporters' Association (PASA) of the Sea Cadets were OK for providing refreshments afterwards. All was well, and for the first time we were congratulating ourselves that everything that needed to be done had been done. But it was not to be. A late booking for the Gunroom had been received which took priority and we went elsewhere on the ship. Sadly, it was not the same. But we might have better luck next year!
The Secretary mentioned that nominations for the Branch Committee and Officers (Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer) should be received by him on or before January 1st next for presentation at the January meeting in keeping with our Constitution. If those currently holding positions are willing to continue for another period of service, in the absence of any nominations, no changes would take place.
The Treasurer reviewed the current position regarding finances in his chat, and all was well. A copy of the financial statement is always available on request, if so desired.
It will be remembered that last January’s meeting, owing to snow and ice, had to be abandoned, leading to long delays in completing the payment of subscriptions. To avoid a repetition next year, an addressed envelope with an accompanying note is enclosed in this issue to facilitate payment by those who will not be present in January. With everyone's co-operation it should be possible to complete the receipt of subs. by early February and allow a new issue of the Branch Members List to be drawn up and included with the February newsletter. (Some members did pay subs. at the last meeting and will not receive a reminder note).
We must thank Ted Else for the presentation that he prepared about the website following the close of the meeting. Chairs were switched round to face the screen, projector was in place and what followed must surely have been of great interest to even those who, hitherto, have been unable to show too much interest in the project. Kevin and Ted have worked tirelessly for the last couple of years or so, to make the CFV web site the premier one in its field. The Branch should be quite proud of them.
Just another reminder about Heroes Return 2. We are all a bit old now to go travelling about on our own, especially abroad. But why not have the advantage of taking a carer along? The carer can be anyone you wish to nominate – son, daughter, friend – whose name will be required to be seen on future travel documents. lf you qualify, say, for the Mediterranean area, the grant for yourself plus carer is £1570 and this would be deposited into your bank account on proof of a travel booking, after your application has been passed and notification has been received of that fact. Other destinations qualify for more or less, depending on where the conflict took you. Details on line – you will have until 31st December 2015 to go on the trip. If you went on Heroes 1, you can still go again on Heroes 2. It is worth thinking about.
In closing, the opportunity is taken in following the lead given by our Chairman, Charlie, to wish all readers:
A very Happy Christmas
and a very Happy New Year