National Chairman Shipmate Keith RidleyNational Chairman Shipmate Keith Ridley

Chairman's Chat

Dear Shipmates

It is pleasing to know that our Shipmates in the Fleet do read this circular. The evidence being the bottle of PUSSER’S RUM I personally put forward as a prize for the first Dit submitted by a serving member has been won! Congratulations to LET (WE) (CIS) Richard Jones, or Jonah as he likes to be called, onboard HMS WESTMINSTER. Your prize awaits you at RNA Central Office upon the Ship’s return to Portsmouth. Jonah, being a rather shy guy does not want you to know he has written a book called ‘Living the Dream, serving the Queen’. Copies are available from Juliette Jones Editorial Services, Amazon and I believe the author himself. For the next opportunity for a serving member to win a Bottle of PUSSER’S GUNPOWDER, make sure you keep reading the Semaphore Circular.

Good News - Bill Oliphant has reported at the start of this month’s circular, over 820 new members had joined the Association between 4th January and 19th March compared with the historical average of 30 per month. Absolutely amazing. The Zero subscription membership to a Donations based membership is working. BZ to Bill who came up with this idea.

New, reforming and expanding Branches on the Radar: Within my own No 6 Area, Wantage Branch which was in danger of closing due to a dwindling membership is about to re-launch and expand thanks to the Town’s Mayor Cllr Jim Sibbald who has joined us as an Associate Member. Arrangements are in hand for 2022 to Grant Freedom of Wantage to HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, the invitation having been accepted by the Captain. What an amazing achievement. Well done Councillor Sibbald, I look forward to meeting you along with my Area Committee to lend whatever support required.

New Branches forming and appearing on the radar are the MOD Establishment at Abbey Wood (No 7 Area) and RAF Marham (No 5 Area) home of the Navy’s F35 Squadron or soon to be - Squadrons. Well done to all those involved. The Riders Branch continues to attract new members which now boasts 112. Sadly, as their recently appointed National Council Member, the Branch will not allow me to join them on a ‘Ride’. The Secretary, Dave Ives made derogatory remarks about my Raleigh Mountain Bike not being able to keep up the pace, cheek. How was I to know that the Branch consisted of Motorcycle Riders and not Bicycle Riders! On a serious note, this unique Branch simply cannot wait for the Lockdown to end so that they can start getting out and about showing the RNA Flag on Rides around the UK. Sadly, Fiona Laing had plans for an exciting Ride into Europe but has had to put her plans on hold for now. Keep up the good work Riders.

The Monday nights Fireside chats & Saturday Virtual Tot Nights continue to be a great success amongst members. We have had, and continue to have guests from Lanzarote, Qatar, San Diego, and Brazil. If you are interested in joining in (provide your own Tot) check out the RNA Community Facebook page for ID & Passwords. Keep up the good work Eric Holmwood, Kevin Hackett, Bill Oliphant supported by IT Guru Karl Webb. BZ Shipmates.

Although we have been restricted in having physical Area & Branch Meetings, I am disappointed that some Areas and Branches have not taken the opportunity to hold meetings using Zoom. I accept that not everybody is familiar with Zoom technology, but the host of such meetings does not have to be a Branch Officer, simply a willing Area or Branch volunteer who liaises with the Secretary. Although you are restricted to a 40 minute meeting using basic Zoom, Central Office will reimburse Branches the cost of Zoom Pro which is not time restricted, and costs £4.99p per month. Come on you Branch Officials, check amongst your members to get a volunteer to host a meeting. That said, I acknowledge the fact that not all members have access to the Internet to enable them to take part in a Zoom Meeting, but for those who do, please try your best.

A polite reminder to all Areas & Branches who are independently registered with the Charity Commissioners. Your Trustees are legally required to submit an Annual Return, even if you have not held a Branch Meeting during the past year. So please check you are up to date.

To all our serving Shipmates including reservists, who continue to support the frontline against Covid-19, keep up the good work, to Shipmates and your families in the UK and throughout the world keep safe. For those at sea, a safe return. Stay safe everyone, we will overcome Covid, and we will all emerge to share dits and a Tot together.

Yours aye,   
Keith Ridley