ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2017
held at Gunton Hall, Lowestoft
22 April 2017
||Events & Standards
|Charles (Florrie) Ford
|John Woolley Tony Willders
The Vice-Chairman, Colin Gent, opened the meeting at 10:00.
The National Standard (Tony Cooke), together with Standards from West London (Paddy Minns), Devonport (Sam Raspison), Dorset (Ray Fraser), Fulham & Chelsea (Glenn (Jacko) Jack), Shotley (John Yougman), and Solent (Alan Hudspeth) were paraded under Standards Marshall Des Kerrigan, and inspected by Eddie Seaborne and John Woolley.
1. To remember those who Crossed the Bar
Peter Taylor, Life Vice President, stated that the Association had been notified of 86 members who had crossed the bar since the last AGM. Standards were dipped as he read out the names of the 27 Members who had crossed the bar since the last issue of the Gazette. A silence was observed in remembrance.
2. Chairman’s opening comments
The Vice-Chairman, Colin Gent, welcomed everyone to the Reunion and AGM. He said he would like to acknowledge the presence of Founding Members and that we had two Life Vice Presidents present today in Peter Taylor and John (Shep) Woolley. He thanked everyone for making the effort to travel the length and breadth of the country to be there, and in particular those members who had travelled from abroad. Colin invited the overseas members to come up and announce themselves.
Paul Pritchard – Spain; Ken Marjoram – Canada; Michael Kerr – USA; David Pegg – France
They were warmly applauded by all those present.
Colin continued, saying that 12 months ago we left AGM without a Chairman in Office, and two committee members short. He had offered to hold the reins as Acting Chairman until this AGM, a position he did not expect, but he saw his job as to try and keep a steady ship, work within the committee, and fulfil the expectations of the Association. By and large, despite a few squalls along the way, he hoped, like him, members agreed that that had been achieved. Colin said we had seconded two new members, Tony Willders and George Barnham, adding on one hand youth, and on the other experience, to the Committee, and he thanked them for giving up what will become a lot of their free time for the benefit of the Association and its members.
Colin said that likewise, each and every one of the Committee give up a vast amount of their time, working tirelessly for the benefit of the Association, and he hoped that members would be heartened by the reports that would be given today. He stated that he could not and would not be able to fulfil his role without their dedicated support.
Colin said that also there were many members, each playing a very important part in not only the functionality of the Association, but its very being, giving up their free time in supporting, promoting, and attending events.
We have this past year seen a great number of our members cross the bar, sadly a consequence of an ageing membership. Where possible, and at the bereaved families request, our National Standard Bearer Tony Cooke has travelled the length and breadth of the country, supported by Divisional Standard Bearers, and of course our events co-ordinator Des Kerrigan, and many members.
Colin said he was proud and humbled to be part of the 50+ members that attended our past NSB, Tony Higgins, funeral at Porchester Crematorium. Route lining and led by 10 Standards was a truly fitting send off, and the obituary given by Bob Campbell was indeed very fitting and excellently delivered, as you would expect from a Ganges Boy.
Colin and a large number of members travelled to Falmouth for the Remembrance Service and
Parade to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the raid on St Nazaire. The Mayor, an exGanges boy, was soon convinced by MemSec Ken Bushnell, to become a member; an open invitation was issued to all by the Sailing Club at Mylor, and a service of our own was held at the Mylor Memorial. Another example of the continued efforts to promote the Association.
In 2017 we will attend many parades and remembrance services around the country to let everyone know that the HMS Ganges Association is alive and kicking, in good health, and the place to be if you were a Ganges Boy. So if you can, please come along.
Colin said he was heartened by the fact that we continue to recruit new members, and some old ones returning to the fold. Ken’s (MemSec) efforts in recruiting and extracting subs should not go unmentioned.
Colin said he had mentioned a few squalls along the way, but said he would like to make one thing clear. He could not be held responsible for what has happened in the past. He had read and heard many things, and firmly believed that we should never forget our heritage, where we came from, and what and who brought us together as an Association. The Association has come through some very trying times, many things have changed, but we are on a very strong footing, both with the level of membership and financially. We have a hard working committee made up of people with good and complementary skill sets, who communicate almost daily and deal with problems to the best of their ability, all in their free time. There is a time to draw a line in the sand and go forward. This is our intention, and Colin said if it was not that of the members then he was not the person they should be voting in as Chairman.
Finally Colin thanked Shep and Shirley and her team from IOW Tours who had put in an immense amount of work in the organisation of this Reunion. He hoped everyone had a great weekend, and said that, although Shep was going to take more of a back seat in the future he was sure that he would always be there for wise counsel and guidance.
3. Minutes of 2016 AGM
The Secretary, Cliff Snelling, said that everyone should have received a copy of the Minutes of the 2016 AGM, and asked for a vote of approval. The proposal was carried. There were no matters arising.
4. Association Accounts
The Secretary asked for a vote to approve the Association Accounts for the period 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016. The proposal was carried.
5. Treasurer Report
The Treasurer, Phil Bridge, said that as of 31 March 2017 the Association portfolio amounts to: £67,008.15, made up as follows:
Community Account: £6,351.11 Reunion Account: £290.32 Tracker Account: £60,000.00
Petty Cash Box: £24.42
We have fixed assets of £342.30 (LapTop x 2 and Voice Recorder).
All figures correct as of 31 March 2017.
As members can see our Association is in a healthy position; we are now in the position we were in before the legal actions and financial misuse back in 2011/2012. Well done everyone for your continued support.
Our major income, from subscriptions and donations, this year was £33,903, down just over £2,000 on the previous year.
In the past year our major expenses have been:
Gazette x 3 £13,792.46 (2015/16 it was £17,045.48) N.S.B Expenses £3,068.58 (2015/16 it was £2,083.20) Committee Travel £1,401.30 (2015/16 it was ££1,876.91) GA Promotion Team £1,129.30 (2015/16 it was £1,708.85)
Since the last AGM we have donated £1,000 to Pembroke House, £300 to the SCC Support
Fund, £100 to RNRMC, £900 to the Membership Christmas Draw, and paid out £2,500 for the Grand Draw 2016, £183 for the upkeep of the Mylor Memorial, and £249 for Cap Tallies for the Almoner to send out to families of those members who have CTB.
Our Profit over Loss for 2016/17 is £12,357.87. In 2015/16 it was £17,278.17, but we have made many more donations in the past year than in previous years.
The 2017 Grand Draw is again a great success thanks to Dick and Catherine and their commitment and drive in organising this event. So far the draw has raised approximately £3,800 profit, this deserves a big thank you to them both.
Phil thanked David Rye, Des Kerrigan and Dave & Ann Fagg for their time in examining his books.
6. Membership Secretary Report
The Membership Secretary, Ken Bushnell, stated that total membership consists of a number of facets.
Ken said that Life Membership had ceased in January 2012 but those who qualified before that date continue to enjoy this status. Contributions from Life Members continue and their generosity is very much appreciated.
We have two categories of Lapsed Members:
- Where Gazettes and correspondence has been returned to MemSec ‘Address not Known’ – 173 – 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 – 159.
Lapsed Members do not receive the Gazette.
86 members CTB during the period April 2016 to March 2017. During the same period 53 new members have joined the Association.
It’s encouraging to see the arrival of new members, especially when one hears of associations struggling to maintain their standing.
Ken said he would like to pay tribute to a very fine lady – Mrs Brenda Chitty – who on behalf of the Association collects our subs in Australia.
A courteous reminder to members – when moving house of if you have any change of circumstances, please inform the MemSec.
Ken said that he would be available all day to receive subs, donations and membership enquiries, or just come and say hello.
Finally, on behalf of MemSec and Co, Ken wished everyone a fantastic Reunion 2017 and hope to see everyone again in 2018.
7. Certificate Secretary’s Report
Certificate Secretary, Florrie Ford, said it had been a really busy year for certificates, they have been sailing through the letterbox at a rate of knots.
Florrie said it had been a year since he took over from Gary Faulkner and he had looked into the history of the certificates which were first done on card. Florrie said he had redesigned the certificates, and with the approval of the Committee, they were now being printed professionally by a local printer. We have printed over 150 certificates since the last AGM, they have been posted to Canada, Australia, South Africa, the USA, England and Wales. Florrie said he had sourced new frames to fit the certificates but had stopped posting the certificate in frames as most of the frames were getting damaged more often than not.
Florrie asked that those members being presented with certificates, or who think they are, could they please see him after the AGM to confirm that they are on the list.
Florrie said that those members wishing to have a certificate presented at AGM 2018 should ensure that he receives their request no later than 31 March 2018.
8. Museum Report
June Lawford-Randall, Secretary of the HMS Ganges Museum said that having just completed her first year as Secretary it had been a bit of a learning curve!
Did you know that, as a Charity, the Museum is not allowed to make a profit – sales must not exceed the value of donations – or they could cease to become a Charity. The Charities Commission, which gave the Museum its registration, requires them to keep them informed and updated annually on their situation.
June said that the first task needing attention last summer was to secure Accreditation status which is awarded by The Arts Council. This identifies HMS Ganges Association Museum as a nationally recognised museum, though run solely by our great team of volunteers, providing access to a number of funding routes and support in the form of professional advice and training to help us to grow and thrive and we have two new mentors whom we can call on at any time. Therefore it is important that we pursue this opportunity to keep the Museum secure for the future – for our children’s, children’s, children – who are starting to arrive in good numbers – but especially in the museum.
28th October 2016 was the date when Shotley village commemorated the 40 years since the gates closed at Ganges. The weekend events and exhibition held was a remarkable success, bringing memories to the fore evidenced by handwritten stories and old photographs contributed by the Shotley community, and some courtesy of Mr Fisk. Whilst the closing of the site was a sad event, the relationship of the community with HMS Ganges was remembered with great fondness by about 300 people, and it is hoped that a booklet will be produced to record the material we collected.
For the general running of the Museum, the Trustees meet mostly once a month, with minutes, actions and planning constantly being reviewed and updated – and we generally get together on Wednesday mornings. As a whole, lots of time has been spent on keeping the museum ship-shape and safe, putting the Jutland Display together, looking after our visitors and groups, both in and out of normal hours, diary checking, updating membership and distribution lists, planning and preparing papers for the AGM and Training Day, recording and displaying artefacts, banking sales and donations, recording visitor numbers and volunteer hours, reviewing forms, keeping an eye on slops, stock levels, contacts, suppliers and lead times to avoid stock shortages whenever possible etc., but the list is endless.
The more recent tidal surge once again placed the Museum in danger of flooding but Tony, Derek and Lynden, did their best to protect all vulnerable entrances and the threat fortunately diverted.
Flats will be built on the Marina and Faith, Hope and Charity have now been fully uncovered as part of the work.
This year we were very sorry to see our Archivist, Jack Whelan, step down as a Trustee. He has worked very hard for several years to ensure that everything was done according to the book to look after our artefacts. However, Jack will still be about supporting us as a volunteer and no doubt keeping an eye on his successor, my husband Tony.
On our new website www.hmsgangesmuseum.com you will see the heading ‘Artefacts’. A system called E-Hive has been used to transfer all our photographs so they are available for anyone to search and view on that page. Whilst the museum is solvent, there has been unavoidable expense to provide this immense online service.
We were also sorry to see Annette Ellis step down but she will remain as a volunteer. Her experience of social media and knowledge of museums has been invaluable. Our involvement on the HMS Ganges Museum Facebook page, the separate HMS Ganges page, and Twitter, has resulted in many artefacts being sent in, membership applications, fact and photo finding requests and again, memory sharing. Our best posting was the newly revealed state of Faith, Hope and Charity, reaching about 5,500 people in only two days. The phrase ‘social media’ could fill you with dread – but it has provided HMS Ganges Museum with multiple benefits – see our reviews on Trip Advisor.
With our two new Trustees, Roger Jones and Deborah Potts we have a fantastic, growing team supporting all the work involved and we were very proud for Dave Andrews who received a community award from Shotley Parish Council. As you can imagine we can always find room for more volunteers.
The museum would benefit from having more members, so please let me have your details if you would like to support us for only £5 per year.
Over the past year it has been my absolute pleasure to meet some of you, our top-rate volunteers, listening to your tales and generally enjoying your banter, spirit and pride. Many days have been spent dealing with email and telephone enquiries and best of all meeting several visitors who either arrange a visit out of season, as a surprise, as a group, and those who phone us from the museum doors hoping for a peep inside not realising that we were closed.
June said that this year she had done her very best to settle in to the role of Secretary, learning the tasks and procedures with some very patient support from Tony. There’s still more to do but she had a passionate belief in the need to keep the heritage of HMS Ganges alive and, by doing that, giving respect to the many lads who served and went on to greater things.
The Chairman thanked June for her report which was very informative. He went on to say that although social media could be fantastic it could also be misleading with much misinformation being promulgated. Colin said that the Museum and the Association are intrinsically linked, but they are two separate groups. The Association does not own the Museum. The Museum is a Charity and is governed by the Charity Commission rules. The Association is not a charity. However, we will always continue to work together and support each other.
9. Events & Standards Report
Des said that he could still taste the salt sea air on his lips whilst sitting there in landlocked Bushey thinking of the fantastic weekend us Ganges Boys and Girls spent in Falmouth representing our fine Association recently. Twenty plus Members and Associates with their wives and partners made the trip West, in March, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the St Nazaire Raid. We were treated like Royalty by Falmouth Town Council, and the incumbent Mayor, being an ex-Ganges Boy, was persuaded to join our ranks by MemSec Ken. Two Tea and Sticky Sessions in the Mayor’s parlour, with an exchange of gifts, the Ganges Platoon marching in the Parade, the Service, and our visit to Mylor and the Ganges Memorial were the highlights of the week end. Thanks particularly to Martin Wiltshire for carrying the Solent Division’s HMS GANGES Association Standard. Ganges Wreaths were laid at the Falmouth Memorial and our Ganges Memorial at Mylor. Our Ganges Boy, Nick Crow from North Devon donated a beautiful crystal bowl and Shep made the presentation to the Mayor. It will be suitably engraved and will remind them of our Association’s visit and involvement in their 75th Anniversary. It is surprising how many of us, including myself, served in HMS Falmouth over the years.
Attendance at Funerals throughout the UK by our National Standard Bearer, Tony Cooke, supporting the Ganges Families in their time of grief, remains paramount. Paddy Minns, other Local Divisions’ Standards and Des support where we can which is all part of our Association’s being. Please remember that Des now holds a stock of HMS Ganges Wreaths, if a Family specially requests one for a Member’s funeral.
On a brighter note, the West London Division and Uxbridge RNA Members recently welcomed
The Right Honourable Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary and our local MP, to our RNA Club.
He was most impressed by what he saw and was given a comprehensive guide by our own Terry Briggs, keeping it very light-hearted. Des said that he came across as a most informed gentleman, but he did insist on calling our ships ‘boats’! We did correct him!!
Finally, a brief reminder to all – it is hoped that we will arrange a HMSGA Platoon for the biennial RNA/Combined Naval Associations Parade in London on Sunday 17 September 2017. We have managed a good turnout in the past. Names to Des please as soon as possible, to give us some idea of numbers.
10. ‘Perky’ Mellow Award (Smartest Standard Bearer)
Des Kerrigan asked Eddie Seaborne and Shep Woolley to present the Perky Mellow Award. Shep thanked Dickie Doyle for providing the bars for the Standard Bearers. Shep said, once again, it had been an extremely difficult decision as all the Standard Bearers were very smart. Eddie Seaborne presented the ‘Perky’ Mellow Award to the winner – Alan Hudspeth of Solent Division.
11. Address by Chief Scrutineer, Basil Dowing-Waite
Basil Downing-Waite said that even though the rules had been changed for voting to take place at Reunion, he had only received 16 voting forms from members unable to attend.
Basil read out each proposal, and asked members to raise their hands, For or Against.
- To re-elect Cliff Snelling to the Committee as Secretary for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
- To re-elect Des Kerrigan to the Committee as Events & Standards Organiser for the electoral period as of 2017.
- To re-elect Charles (Florrie) Ford to the Committee as Certificate Secretary for the electoral period as of 2017.
- To re-elect John (Shep) Woolley to the Committee for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
- To elect Colin Gent to the Committee as Chairman for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
- To elect Tony Willders to the Committee for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
- To elect George Barnham to the Committee for the electoral period as of 2017.
- To replace the current Rule 6(g)
This proposal was withdrawn by the Seconder and Proposer just prior to the commencement of the AGM.
- To change Rule 17, Dissolution of the Association
A letter in support of this proposal from Jim Worlding was read out by the Secretary, as Jim Worlding did not attend Reunion. The Chairman, Colin Gent, said that he had discussed this proposal with Jim, and with the HMS Ganges Association Museum who were unaware of it. The Chairman said that the Committee did not support the proposal, but that the decision was for the members of the Association to make.
For: 24 Against: 144 (this included all votes submitted to the Chief Scrutineer by members unable to attend the AGM)
12. Reunion Secretary Report
Shep Woolley said that everything was going well and he hoped all the members were enjoying themselves. Isle of Wight Tours had done a fantastic job of organising the Reunion this year.
Shep asked for members to support Christine, one of the Gunton Hall front of house staff, who was running in the London Marathon on Sunday for Meningitis Now. HMSGA donated £100. A bucket was passed around for members to make donations.
Shep said that Colin Lambird’s wife had presented the Association with a bottle of Pussers at Colin’s funeral. Stan Moody had kindly provided a stand and the Rum Maiden would be raffled, with the money raised going to the Sea Cadets.
Shep invited everyone to the Solent Division ‘Sausage Sizzle’ which will take place on 22 July
2017 at Whale Island at a cost of £10 each. Anyone interested should contact Bob Campbell.
Shep said he was standing down from organising Reunions, and handing over to Tony Willders, saying the Association needed younger members to take up the reins. AGM and Reunion 2018 will be at Mill Rythe, Hayling Island, 13-16th April. Details will be in the Summer Gazette.
Finally, Shep said that members of the Committee could not do such a worthwhile job without the support of their partners. The Chairman made small presentations to Secretary Cliff Snelling and his wife Christine, to MemSec Ken Bushnell and his wife Annette, and to Hanny
Bridge, thanking them for all their hard work. A presentation was also made to our Almoner, Colin (Pancho) Brett to acknowledge the sterling work he does in supporting the bereaved families of those members who CTB.
13. Closing Remarks
The Chairman thanked Dick Binch and his wife for volunteering to stay on and do the Grand Draw for 2017. However, Dick would now be standing down and a volunteer is required to take his place.
Terry Strawson (Norfolk Division) was invited to come forward to talk to members about the Marshlands Maritime Museum located in Clenchwarton near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, which has over 3,000 Royal Navy exhibits, including lots of Ganges memorabilia. Members were invited to visit (free) what is considered to be the best privately owned museum in the country. A local hostelry is located near by! See http://www.marshlandmaritimemuseum.com/ for more information.
The Bone of Contention was awarded to Michael Kerr (USA).
Finally, the Treasurer, Phil Bridge announced that John Pring had left a legacy to the
Association in his will. Final figures were not yet available but it was thought the amount could be around £5,000.
The meeting closed at 11:57 and ‘Up Spirits’ was piped.
Cliff Snelling Hon Sec