There was a good attendance at the May meeting and it proved to be a far more interesting one than perhaps was originally envisaged. The July arrangements with the Sea Cadets were reviewed – it will be remembered that earlier in the year the Cadet's Parents and Supporters Association (PASA) had enquired whether we might wish them to provide a similar buffet to that of 2013, for our 2014 July meeting, and agreement had been reached at that time for them to do so.
The July meeting is intended to be slightly different from the usual run of things, as efforts are made on this occasion to encourage close family to bring along those London Branch members who, normally, are unable to make the journey on their own due to health or mobility problems.
Vera Mitchell has again volunteered to gather in names of those who wish to be present, and will commence doing so in about two weeks before the meeting date. Should anyone wish to contact her for any reason connected with this, her number can be found within the Branch member's list.
Quite often, questions concerning the future of the Branch come up and the Secretary said that he had recently spoken to the Branch Committee on the subject and had sought their reaction to a suggestion that the Branch, in the light of diminishing numbers, should consider a planned closure for, say, the end of the year (whilst taking the trouble to emphasise that it was not a proposal, just an enquiry into how they felt!).
Surprisingly – depending on your point of view, of course – it was a 50/50 split. Three of the committee of six felt (bearing in mind the diminishing numbers and general circumstances) that it would be an appropriate move to consider taking steps that would lead to termination in the not too distant future. Three thought that the Branch should continue. In every case, it was considered of the utmost importance that contact with members should continue via a newsletter or something similar.
The Secretary passed the matter over to those present for discussion. A pleasure to listen to, each member who spoke did so with sincerity and was listened to with respect without interruption. A really classic example of how a meeting should go. Nobody mentioned the course that they favoured and nobody was asked. All seemed more concerned about "keeping in touch".
In a not altogether unrelated matter, the Secretary did say that he intended to step down from his position at the end of the year, and also as newsletter producer. He had been doing the newsletter for the past five years or so and had been Secretary for much longer than that, and would now be glad of a break and allow someone else to come forward.
This, of course, will cause problems and will only highlight what has been apparent for some time – administration is becoming more difficult as the passage of time whittles down the number of members who are able to be involved in running the Branch.
All this is not indicative of a crisis, merely a need to reflect on our situation and find a solution (or not, as the case may be).
With kind regards to all.