On behalf of the National President & myself I would like to say a BIG Thank You to all those Branches and individual Shipmates who contributed to our former General Secretary Paul Quinn’s farewell gift. An amazing response and generous donations totaling £2017 was received. This was presented to Paul on Friday 7th December in the form of John Lewis Gift Vouchers when the National Council dined Paul out along with his wife Elizabeth in the Warrant Officer’s, and Senior Rates Mess in HMS NELSON. The presentation was made by our National President, S/M Vice Admiral John McAnally. Although the appeal for contributions was made back in May 2018, with the intention of a presentation taking place in late September, it was necessary to retain Paul until the end of 2018 as his successor, Captain Bill Oliphant was unable to be released from the Royal Navy any earlier. The idea of gift vouchers arose when earlier last year, Paul mentioned to me his desire to acquire an ‘all singing, all dancing’ piece of IT equipment. As you will appreciate, S/M John and myself had been unable until now, to acknowledge the generous donations received. On the 8th December in National Council, S/M Paul Quinn – yes, he was a paid up True Blue, was presented, on behalf of the National Council and the Association, with Life Membership in recognition of his unstinting dedication to the RNA and in excess of £1.5m of grants he had brought into the RNA during his almost 9 years of tenure.
The new boy on the block, Captain Bill Oliphant RN took over the helm and became operational immediately on completion of Decembers National Council meeting as you will see from the photographic evidence that comes with this article. Bill is settling in well with a busy diary and I am also pleased to say that the job share of Deputy General Secretary between Andy Christie & Sarah Clewes is going well. Andy likes his self-designated title of DGS (Starboard) whilst Sarah is DGS (Port).
At very short notice In January I attended Cambridge Branch (No 5 Area) who had decommissioning in their sights and a ‘Good-Bye’ RNA Church Service. A few words of advice as to which Officers roles that Associate Members may hold resulted in volunteers both Full & Associate stepping up to the mark. I am pleased to report that Cambridge Branch sails on and they had a very well attended, good humorous ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ Church Service. Well done all concerned.
On Tuesday 5th February I travelled to Cardiff to attend a Veterans Foundation One Stop Shop to be held the next day in Cardiff City Football Club. Thanks to Gordon Williams NCM No 7 Area I was able to visit a well attended RNA Newport Branch Meeting and who made me most welcome and appreciated my contribution to their raffle of a pack of Welsh Cakes. The One Stop Shop the next day attracted numerous Ex-Forces Associations, Charities, Help Groups and Veterans. My next visit to my country of birth, Wales, will be on St. David’s Day! In readiness to attend No 7 Area’s AGM on 2nd March which I am very much looking forward to.
Many of us, like myself, casually glance through Facebook or use it on a frequent basis to keep in touch with Ships Associations, Old Oppos or just participate in good old naval banter. GREAT, BUT, from time to time I come across negative comments posted by RNA members about the RNA. The media is not the place to air dirty washing. I certainly take a dim view of what appears to be unwarranted adverse comments about our great Association. Therefore, I would ask members that if they have a drip about the Association, then please take it up with your Branch Secretary or National Council Member. If you have a
General Secretary Captain Bill hard at work in his office.
valid drip, then we want to know about it so as to be given the opportunity to look into it and correct matters if appropriate.
Moving along with a brighter matter. The General Secretary has been allocated £10,000 for this year from the Branch & Club Support Fund to help finance the Minor Grant Scheme which proved very successful in 2018. As a reminder, the GS can approve small grants to Branches of £250 and in exceptional cases £500, the latter having to be authorised by both myself & the National Treasurer S/M Ian Irwin. These grants are to assist with, but not restricted to; recruitment publicity, purchase of a Gazebo, entertaining veterans to a lunch or tea party etc. Applications & administration of the scheme have been kept to an absolute minimum. A simple email to firstname.lastname@example.org setting out the reason for the application is all that is required.
Our National Branch Recruitment & Retention Officer, S/M Gareth Booth has been busy conducting a survey and communicating with NCMs and Branches following which Gareth has submitted a very interesting report to the Association’s Management Committee on his findings so far. I cannot stress the importance of giving Gareth your full cooperation when he seeks information. Gareth is currently looking for assistants in each Area of the RNA. Interested? then contact Gareth on 07713 876846. If doing so, please inform your Area Secretary of your interest.
With Branches & Areas holding their AGMs, I would remind all Secretaries to ensure that their Branch/Area Year End Accounts and Reports are sent to CO by 30th April, this is most important if you want to send a Delegate to National Conference.
The AMC meeting ,normally held in Semaphore Tower, was on this occasion held in the ‘Lightening’ Suite, just 40 yards from the bow of HMS QE (that’s the grey bit n the window) where there is a fantastic view of the Ship. AMC Committee members were really impressed. Sadly, the planned National Council meeting time slot had to be cancelled due to emergent RN business). They wished to thank the GS for organising such a great venue.
Spring is just around the corner and time to be thinking about getting out and about promoting the RNA along with some fund raising. My own Branch always looks forward to Supermarket Foyer Collections and attending local village Fetes having great fun in doing so. Should you require any advice just get in touch at RNAStneots@gmail.com
I am not sure if our Fleet today comprises of just Submarines as we rarely hear news, it may be you have gone ‘Deep’ So, to our serving Shipmates in the Fleet, which includes the Royal Marines, all Shore Establishments and Naval Units, please let Andy Christie email@example.com at Central Office have any ‘dits’ you have, or better still submit some news from your Ship or Establishment for inclusion in the Association’s Semaphore Circular as we want to hear from you. To those Shipmates on Deployment may you have safe passage and a safe return.