Bill Oliphant Resized2Bill Oliphant Resized2
Bill Oliphant With Rna Fc PresidentBill Oliphant With Rna Fc President

General Secretary's Message

Ahoy Shipmates

What a busy month it’s been. The sadness of Eric Holmwood’s funeral and the immense support from across the
Royal Naval Association community was humbling. It was fitting tribute to a man who was so humble himself but such a
 force of positivity. I noted at his funeral that there was representation from across the Association from Portsmouth
 to Edinburgh and many, many places in between. It was a measure of the man that his influence and popularity reached so many. He wasn’t just a Wrexham branch shipmate, he was a highly-respected Association man. RIP Eric.
 Back in Portsmouth, what a joy to watch the first RNA Football Club match at Burnaby Rd the week before last. This allows me to explain a little more what our newest staff member Chris ‘Scouse’ Reeves has been up to, and I’m very happy to do this because I was questioned about it at a recent Area AGM where, I sensed, they thought I had lost the plot!
 Chris has been employed with the aid of a grant from the Covenant Trust Fund, or more specifically, the Afghan Fund, which we applied for and have been granted in order to recruit more working-age veterans to our Association. You will understand, it is my responsibility as the General Secretary to think more strategically about the longevity of our Association. We have been doing well recruiting new blood into the Association at HMS Raleigh and BRNC, so our demographics now reveal a blip at the beginning between 18 and 25 but then a slow incline towards the 60s, 70s and 80s age group where it then falls off very rapidly. With bringing Chris on board, it allows us to target the age group of the 40s, 50s and 60s to give life blood to our Association. All the activities he has planned are inclusive (apart from maybe the women-only events) so, even if you are a little bit older or even a little bit younger, everyone is welcome on the activities which Scouse is organising this year and publicised within this Circular. Please give it a go, it’s all about like-minded people coming together to do what we do
 best – Comradeship!
 A thank you to Areas 3 and 7 for hearing me at your AGMs last month, and I look
 forward to attending both Area 9 and Area 11 AGMs this month so don’t be afraid to poke me in the chest about some, any or all of the stuff we are working on in Central Office. I’m also planning to be on Tot Time tomorrow (Saturday 2 March) so more than happy to take any questions there too.
 One thing which I have been questioned about on my recent travels to Area AGMs has been our welfare and wellbeing policy which will eventually be released to Branches and Areas shortly. In my view, we are all responsible for welfare and wellbeing; we all have a part to play in looking after our oppos and that, of course, is nothing new to those of us who have served in the Royal Navy. In the same way that we use the skill sets of, for example, an accountant to become our National Treasurer and a lawyer to fulfil the role of our National Head of Governance, we must make use of the healthcare professionals within our membership who fully understand that acquirements of safeguarding and professional standards to make our welfare system more resilient and reactive to the needs of our shipmates. And, don’t worry, we also recognise those individuals within our organisation who have a ton of experience in the welfare and wellbeing space to help us and this important task. Please embrace what we are doing as it’s all about doing more for our shipmates who might need it most.
 Please sign up to our Cardiff Conference over the 14-16 June w/e. Area 7 are doing a great job pulling it together and it promises to be a lot of fun. Thank you also to the Branches who have forwarded several motions for discussion at Conference which will be distributed for consideration to Branches shortly. This will be an important one as there are fundamental issues to discuss at Conference so make sure your Branch is represented... but you don’t have to be a Branch Delegate to attend and enjoy yourself at Conference, it’s actually a great social occasion too. Look out for your Yearbook; it ought to be hitting your doormat very soon if it hasn’t landed already and please think about a donation or, if you prefer the chance of a £25k win, sign up to the RNA lottery as a way of helping us to do more for our shipmates.
 Finally, thanks also to Rich Harris, who has contributed the first in what I am hoping might be series of dits regarding pipes we’ve all known. The dit published this month certainly made me smile.

Best Wishes,