ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2019
Held at Gunton Hall, Suffolk
On the 13th April 2019
Colin Gent Chairman
Cliff Snelling Secretary
Phil Bridge Treasurer
Ken Bushnell Membership Secretary
Topsy Turner Events & Standards
Charles (Florrie) Ford Certificate Secretary
Tony Willders Reunion Secretary
Shep Woolley Life Vice President
The Chairman, Colin Gent, opened the meeting at 10:00.
The National Standard (Tony Cooke), together with Standards from West London (Paddy Minns), Fulham & Chelsea (Glenn (Jacko) Jack), Shotley (John Youngman), Solent (Alan Hudspeth), Devonport (Brian Hill), South Wales (Gerald Rogers), Mercantile Marine (John Clarke) and the Sea Cadets, were paraded under the Standards Marshalls Des Kerrigan (Outgoing)and Phil (Topsy) Turner (incoming) and inspected by Peter Taylor ( Founder Member) and Life President, John (Shep) Woolley.
- To remember those who Crossed the Bar
Ken Bushnell stated that the Association had been notified of 114 members who had crossed the bar since the last AGM. Standards were dipped as he read out their names. A silence was observed in remembrance.
- Chairman’s opening address
The Chairman, Colin Gent, welcomed everyone to the 36th Annual Reunion and AGM, and acknowledged the presence of any Family of founding members who were present also Life Vice Presidents Peter Taylor and Shep Woolley.
Colin thanked everyone for making the effort to travel the length and breadth of the country to be here, and in particular those members who had travelled from abroad. He invited the overseas members to come up and announce themselves.
Michael Kerr – USA; Ken Marjoram – Canada; Earle Fraser – Canada; Alex McKinnon – Australia; Fraser Lees – Denmark; David Pegg – France; John Phelan – Ireland.
They were warmly applauded by all those present.
Colin said that as we knew this would be the last time, he would be addressing us as Chairman of this great Association so he would give us an overview of where he believed the Association stood today.
Despite many obstacles and against modern trends of the day and the fact that we continue to lose Members through age, we, as an Association continue to grow. We are encouraging new members every week and that is not only due to the hard work of the Membership Secretary but every one of you who encourage people to come along and become part of this Association.
We have now secured the financial stability of the Association and have a good understanding of the running costs and the liabilities that may affect the Association in the future.
Over the past 6 years our Annual Reunions have been a great success with this year being a sell-out despite the inevitable rise in costs that go with putting on an event of this scale
Our profile as an Association has been enhanced by attendances at high profile events such as the Remembrance Parade at the Cenotaph, the St. Nazaire Commemorations in Falmouth, and local events supported and attended by members in their Divisions.
We have held our Committee Meetings in this past year onboard HMS Belfast in the pool of London, Gillingham Golf Club in the Medway Towns and the RNA Uxbridge. All with the intention of giving members the opportunity to attend and see the workings of the Committee and many tasks they have to do.
Our National Standard Bearer, supported by Divisional Standard Bearers have travelled the length and breadth of the country to attend the final journey of our members and support their families to show that they will never be forgotten
We are now producing what I consider to be the most professional and collectable year certificates, which is indicated by the numbers applying.
Our Gazette produced 3 times a year is still revered, and I hope you will agree it’s a damn good read.
All of this would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of these members that sit here as your elected Committee and you the members that have contributed in so many ways to making and keeping us at the forefront of Naval Associations.
The only area that gives concern is the lack of volunteers to join the Committee, you need change and innovation to keep things fresh and moving forward. The same people cannot go on forever. I am sure, like me, that there are other things they want to do in their bucket list of life. So please come forward, the Secretary will be pleased to talk to you.
Today you will hear the individual reports of the Committee, which I hope you will receive with good heart, but I would like to pre-empt the Treasurers Report from Phil and hope he will forgive me.
As some of you know Phil has recently undergone a serios Heart Operation and is still in the rest and recovery stage, so it is personally so very good to see him here today and I know you will all agree with that.
As you will see from the Financial Statement today, the funds of the Association are very healthy, in fact more than we could have expected to attain. We have discussed how we might now be in a position to feed some funding back into the membership domain by means of supporting members or divisions with projects that they may not, in the normal course, be able to totally fund themselves. It is hoped we may be able to do this within the current rules of the Association or a small amendment may be needed. It’s not for Medical or Welfare as other Organisations cover that. Phil will give more details in his report, but please be gentle with him.
Finally, I would like to thank you all for allowing me to be your Chairman over the past 3 years. It has been a privilege and an honour, and I hope I served you well. I won’t say it’s been the easiest of jobs by any means, but I wish whoever you elect to succeed me today every fortitude as they take the Association into the future. He also added that he would let the newly elected Chairman make the closing remarks at the end of the meeting.
- Minutes of 2018 AGM
The Secretary, Cliff Snelling, asked for a vote to approve the Minutes of the 2018 AGM. The proposal was carried. There were no matters arising.
- Association Accounts
The Secretary asked for a vote to approve the Association Accounts for the period 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018. The proposal was carried.
- Secretary’s Report
The Secretary had received a couple of apologies, one from Pancho who had to stay at home to look after his good Wife, and a last-minute email from Dick Lloyd who said that due to a bereavement he and his wife had to be elsewhere this weekend. This would be the first Ganges reunion that Dick had missed in 32 years!
- Treasurers Report
The Treasurer, Phil Bridge, said that it gave him great pleasure to say to you that the Association Funds are 10 times better than when he took over in 2010/11
The Association has assets of £77,535.19 made up as follows:
Community Account: £7,155.44
Reunion Account: £144.63
Tracker Account: £70,000.00
Petty Cash Box: £16.06
Fixed Assets: £219.06 (Laptop x 2 and Voice Recorder)
All figures correct as of 31 March 2019.
Subscriptions & Donations: £33,042.00 (£33,354.50)
Grand Draw: £5,150.00 (£5,332.00)
Legacies: £7,131.73 (£656.00)
Members please remember they when paying any monies into the Association, cheques must be made payable to ‘HMS GANGES ASSOCIATION’
Major Outgoings (above £1000.00)
Gazette x 3 £12,839.00 (£13,267.76)
N.S.B Expenses £5,213.71 (£4,442.51)
Committee Travel £2,824.50 (£2,467.99)
GA Promotion Team £1,208.05 (£743.91)
Stationery/Postage £1,208.00 (£1,813.04)
Mylor Refurbishment £2,2,137.16 (£2,717.09)
Mylor Church £1000.00
Charities/Donations £2490.40 (£3,000.89)
Total Income £49,881.13 (£42,872.11)
Total Expenditure £41,059.66 (£40,963.46)
Figures in brackets are last year’s amounts
Thus, this year our profit over loss is £8,821.47
Phil stated that we were a victim of our own success, the Committees management of your money has gone as planned and we are well over the working budget that he predicted back in 2011, this is down to your support and good management.
The Committee now feel the time is right to offer some limited support financially to members and/or divisions in support of projects that they may not otherwise be able to fulfill and would be in the best interests of promoting the Association and its members.
This is NOT intended to be Medical or welfare related as other Service Organizations provide that support. Obviously, this will be within the Association Rules, but we believe this to be possible. Any application would have to be submitted to the Secretary in writing with full details and the Committee would judge its merits on an individual basis
Phil thanked the members for their support and trust, and Dave & Ann Fagg for their time in examining his books and that this would be his last term in office as the Treasurer.
- Membership Secretary Report
The Membership Secretary, Ken Bushnell, stated that total membership is 2,404 and consists of a number of facets.
Active Members 1271
Life Members 653
Associate Members 79
Lapsed Members 401
We have two categories of Lapsed Members:
- Where Gazettes and correspondence has been returned to MemSec ‘Address not Known’ – 246 – mainly Life Members.
- Where a member continues to pay the incorrect subs although they have been contacted on at least three occasions, all to no avail – 155.
Lapsed Members do not receive the Gazette.
114 members CTB during the period April 2018 to March 2019. During the same period 76 new members have joined the Association.
Ken stated that this was the 6th MemSec report he had made at AGM, which he said was an honour and a pleasure. We continue to attract new members, and long may that last.
Ken said that, as at all reunions, joining us this weekend we have a number of ‘guests’ – family and friends of Ganges Boys, and possibly some Ganges Boys who are not members of the GA. He said he would like to extend the warm hand of friendship to those guests, and especially the ex-Ganges Boys. ‘Come and join this fine Association, you are more than welcome’.
Ken stated that we continue to attract new members. Since taking over as MemSec at the 2013 AGM, we have attracted 402 new members into the Ganges Association, a testament to our progress.
We have a number of unsung heroes in the Ganges Association, none other than our own Life Members, who make a huge financial contribution to our Association – God Bless you All.
MemSec’s Station will be in operation all day today receiving subs, donations and Membership enquires, come and say hello and maybe join the Association if you are not already a Member, you won’t regret it.
Finally, on behalf of MemSec and Co, I would like to thank my wife Annette who contributes a great deal of work assisting me and wish you a fantastic Reunion2019 and hope to see you again in 2020. Thank You.
- Certificate Secretary’s Report
Certificate Secretary, Florrie Ford, said that in May it would be 36 years since the Certificates started. The first 50th Certificate was presented in 1983 by Captain Murray Dunlop to Tansy Lee who joined Ganges in May 1933. Since then the Certificates have grown in strength and now are a major part of our AGMs. Last year he had over 100 requests and this year he has brought with him 45 framed Certificates that have to be presented over the weekend, and all who were expecting certificates to please check with Shelly to make sure that their details were correct and where they were in the running order. Also, photographs would only be taken by the official photographer
The Chairman then presented Jim Ditcham with his 70th Certificate.
Florrie also said that he was selling raffle tickets for a Rum Maiden which would be drawn on Sunday evening. All the money raised would be going to Scarborough, for the Sea Cadet fund.
- Events & Standards Report
The Secretary advised that there was no report from Des Kerrigan (who was standing down) as he had left it at home, and it was the same as had been published in the Gazette.
- Reunion Secretary Report
Tony Willders, Reunion Secretary, thanked everyone for attending, and said that the sales for this year were very good and despite the rise in the cost we were fully booked with around 400 people in attendance and until Thursday we had a waiting list. So, if you are planning to attend next years Reunion, please book early. He also thanked IOW Tours for their invaluable assistance in organising our Reunion.
Moving on to next years Reunion. He had quite literally travelled the length and breadth of the country and said that we were very, very limited in finding a venue that can satisfy the Ganges Association and hold 400 members and guests, for that reason, next year 2020 we will be returning to Gunton Hall.
The dates being the 17th-18th-19th of April. IOW Tours would be taking bookings straight after the AGM and for the rest of the weekend. There is a price increase by Warners for next year of £20, despite some heavy negotiation, and would bring the total to £275.
Tony reminded everyone that the weekend programme of events was as per their Daily Orders, and Dave Poyser would be organising the Uckers competition during Saturday afternoon. This year special Ganges Association boards had been commissioned for the event.
- Special Address by The Chairman Colin Gent
Colin made a special presentation of a cut-glass bowl to the Touring Presentation Team of Martin Wiltshire and Dave Cross who had stepped down this year.
He said that it needed two people to Tour the country in the Summer months when they really should be spending time with their families etc. spending a lot of money and personal time to go to the shows, book a venue and promote the Ganges Association. Facts have proved that it doesn’t generate the number of new members that you would hope it would. However, having said that, we should not forget the amount of time given and the steadfastness to duty that they committed themselves to.
- The Chairman Colin Gent
Colin asked that the 2 candidates for Chairman, Dave Cross and Charles (Florrie) Ford, to leave the room while a vote for the post was taken. Voting papers were only given to full members. Completed forms were then returned to Baz Downing Waite for scrutiny, and counting by non-Ganges members, namely the IOW staff.
- The Secretary, Cliff Snelling
The next 5 proposals are for the re-voting of Committee Members.
Nobody had been opposed, so under the rules of our Association, all of the committee Members in their relevant positions have been re-elected.
Once the vote for Chairman is known there will be one other vote for the position of Certificates Secretary depending on the result.
Proposal 10 is to delete the last sentence from Rule 4a (i) and Rule 4a(iii)
A vote was taken, and the proposal was passed unanimously.
Proposal 11 has been withdrawn and will be discussed at our next Committee Meeting in May.
- Museum Report by Roger Jones (Chairman)
Roger said that over the last 12 months they had lost 2 of their Trustees but had managed to replace them and co-opt 2 new ones. Despite a slow start to the year due to inclement weather, footfall had increased by 11% over the previous year, which means they had nearly 5000 visitors in the 6 months that the season runs. Our Treasurer reports that income is now back to a level it was 2 years ago, and our finances are now on an even keel.
We have finally completed our submission to the Arts Council for full Accreditation. This is something that we cannot do without. We have to be Accredited in order to move forward as a museum and receive proper funding. We are being guided by the Suffolk Museum Service and the Eastern Region Arts Council Representative.
Early discussions with the Marina concerning the site of the Museum indicate that they have other projects that they wish to complete first. The Enright block will be the last to be developed some way down the line. However, at this stage they have only offered us a 3-month rolling lease with 3 months’ notice. Giving us the possibility of 6 months tenure in all. This is to start when the existing one expires. We are hoping that we have at least another 12 months on that site when the current lease expires. The Marina have however, in their plans for the development of Enright Block, earmarked some space for a museum although not as much space as we have at the moment but we are negotiating that, and we lose the ceiling height, however they are willing to look into the plans and build into them something that would accommodate the figurehead and other tall items that need to be displayed. We have attempted to persuade them to sell us a small parcel of land to build our own museum. They have declined our offer at the moment, but we have other plans, but these are not for general discussion at this time. I personally wish to see the Museum on-site where it is for a very, very long time. None of what we do would be possible without the continuing invaluable support of the Association and of those members who are willing to turn out in all weathers during the season to open the museum to the visitors. It never ceases to amaze me how well such a small specialist museum is perceived by all visitors, whether Ganges members or not, and how appreciative our guests are of the welcome and help they receive.
The Chairman thanked Roger for his report, and we wish you and all his board of Trustees all the very best of fortitude and help as they strive to go forward and keep our Museum in the forefront of the Navy.
‘Perky’ Mellow Award (Smartest Standard Bearer)
The Chairman said that this year the award was not only for smartness, but also for due diligence during the last 12 months, the Award was presented to Glen (Jacko) Jack from the Fulham and Chelsea Division by Life Vice President John (Shep) Woolley and Founder Member Peter Taylor
- Special Presentations
The Chairman made a special presentation on behalf of the members to Des Kerrigan who was standing down from the Committee after 14 years as the Events and Standards Officer. During this period, he had gone above and beyond the duties you could ask of anyone. He almost single-handedly pulled the fledgling link with Mylor and the St. Nazaire Parade together. This now has turned into an annual event. His contribution to the West London Division, The Remembrance Sunday Parade, etc. is a credit to him.
Colin also commented that Des was recently married, and his wife Susan travelled everywhere with him. She supports him and Des would be the first to tell us that without her support Des would not have been able to achieve all that he has.
Phil Bridge then made a Presentation on behalf of the members to the outgoing Chairman Colin Gent who had been a fantastic servant to us all.
- Chief Scrutineer
Baz Downing Waite was called upon to give the result of the vote for the new Chairman’s position.
30 Postal Votes were received and over 200 votes were cast at the meeting.
The results, read by the Secretary, was as follows
The Postal Votes…………………Florrie Ford 5……….Dave Cross 28
Votes this morning…………….Florrie Ford 69……..Dave Cross 137
Therefore, the Secretary had the pleasure of calling up Dave Cross, the new Chairman of the HMS Ganges Association.
- Certificates Secretary
The Secretary announced that a second vote had taken place and Florrie Ford was unanimously re-elected as Certificates Secretary
- New Chairman’s Closing Remarks
Dave Cross thanked everyone for electing him and, once again, thanked Colin for his dedication and hard work he had put in over the last 3 years.
Transcribed from a voice recording of the AGM on the 13th April 2019 by: