The September meeting proved to be a very constructive one and much was achieved.
During our silence at the commencement of the meeting, we especially remembered the passing of John Williamson, Charles Smorthit, and Eddie Kendrick. John was a former Treasurer; Charles was our current Chairman, and Eddie a long time member of the Branch. Branch members attended the ceremony for John and Charles, held in Kent and Essex respectively; sadly, news of Eddie’s passing did not reach us in time to attend a service. We are indebted to Steve Borne, the Chairman of PASA (City of London Sea Cadets Parents and Supporters Association) who had earlier suggested that, subject to the family’s approval, he might be able to arrange for two or three senior Cadets to be present at the Enfield Crematorium for our Chairman’s service. Steve knew Charlie. Tina, Charlie's daughter was delighted with the suggestion, and so it turned out that the presence of the Cadets, and the Branch’s White Ensign, paid fitting tribute to Charlie as we said our farewells. Tina did agree with the writer, after the service, that her Dad was probably chuckling away somewhere up there at being the cause of it all. Knowing Charlie as we do, who is to say that we might not have been too far off the mark!
A discussion on the future of the Branch was successful in producing some tangible results. Relatively slow at first, the catalyst came in the form of an email to Ted Else that he read out at the meeting. It was from our Web Developer, Kevin, who had approached the Imperial War Museum recently for permission to access some specific documents on Coastal Forces matters, currently held in their archives. But the ones he wished to have sight of had yet to be catalogued, and permission to view could not be granted as the items, in this instance, contained personal details and addresses. Kevin was able to say that the Branch already held membership lists with addresses of former CFVA members, and that he came forward as a member of the CFVA London Branch himself. The situation changed, he was allowed sight of what he asked for. Kevin realised that quoting 'CFVA London Branch' did open doors within the IWM and if this was so it could perhaps do the same with other organisation and individuals. This was a good enough reason for him to end his email with a plea to retain the name of the Branch and to keep going. Well done Kevin, because this struck a welcome chord with those at the meeting and in a very short space of time Peter Bickmore had agreed to take on the role of Chairman, Ken Gadsdon agreed to be Secretary, so that with David Carter already in place as Treasurer, the administration team was complete. Ted Else had volunteered some weeks ago to take over the task of Newsletter Editor and Ted is aiming to have the new look edition in place by December. As if that wasn’t enough, two new Branch members were enrolled — Steve Borne, PASA Chairman, and James Battison, whom we have known for some time as the present owner of MTB 208. By our standards Steve and James are of an age group that would be of great benefit to the Branch.
So there we are — new Chairman, new Secretary, new Newsletter Editor, new Newsletter, new Members, new thoughts. Sounds suspiciously like a win-win situation.
As this newsletter will be the writer's last one, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who, over the years, have said so many nice things about the newsletter. It has fulfilled a key role, and will continue to do so in the future, under Ted's guidance. As for my part, I can sum it up in just a few words —“It has been my pleasure”.
Date of next Branch meeting — 16th November