HMS GANGES ASSOCIATION
Minutes of Meeting held at
Victoria Road, Tamworth B79 7HL
|10 January 2018
||Events & Standards
||Life Vice President
Observers: Carol Barnham, Ron Carr, Rita Carr, Len Green, David Cross, Stuart Turner, Bob Mason, David Evans, Grassy Meadows, Dick Binch, Stan Moody, Shelly Punshon
Meeting opened: 1100
1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks
The Chairman thanked Bob Mason and RNA Tamworth for hosting the meeting. He explained that after holding our last meeting at Shotley so people from that area could attend, it was felt that as Tamworth was in the heart of the Midlands as many people from the surrounding areas would be able to attend. He thanked those who had attended from Colchester, Colwyn Bay, Tamworth and other parts of Staffordshire and the Midlands.
Colin said this was a working Committee meeting and he requested that observers not interrupt during a Committee Member’s Report. but that he would welcome their input after each Report. Colin said he also wished to thank all the Committee members for turning up and giving up their time to attend at their own personal cost.
Cliff Snelling (Secretary) who had been due back on Sunday but was stuck in America due to the bad weather; Phil (Topsy) Turner.
3. Minutes of Previous Meeting
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 6 September 2017 at The Shipwreck, Shotley Gate, Ipswich had been posted on the Ganges website and sent out to Divisional Representatives; no comments had been received. The minutes were approved as a true record and accepted.
Proposed: Phil Bridge (Treasurer) Seconded: Ken Bushnell (Membership)
4. Matters Arising
- Flags: Tony asked about ensigns for reunions. Shep will bring an ensign and Ken has a battle ensign and coffin cover; these will be available for Reunion.
Action: Shep Woolley/Ken Bushnell
- Lectern: Currently in the Museum, Ron Carr will arrange to bring to Reunion.
5. Secretary’s Report
Colin stated that he would be giving the Secretary’s Report in Cliff’s absence.
- Colin reported that the Secretary had received no further proposals for AGM. The only proposal on the table was the addition to Rule 11(b): ‘Anyone submitting a proposal for voting at AGM must attend or be represented at AGM, and all proposals must be supported by a Statement of Rationale, explaining the reason for the change’.
Proposed by Colin Gent (Chairman) Seconded by Cliff Snelling (Secretary)
- Phil (Topsy) Turner has volunteered to join the Committee. It was agreed that, subject to a favourable vote by the members at the AGM, he would join the committee then.
Proposed: Des Kerrigan Seconded: Cliff Snelling
- Shep indicated that he will stand down at the AGM. There was nobody up for re-election this year so there would be no other changes to come at AGM.
Colin reported that in the last 3 or 4 days he and other members of the committee had received a number of emails from the Secretary of the Midland Division about the meeting being held in Tamworth and not at the Midlands Division venue in Birmingham. He accepted that he had previously indicated that a meeting would take place there, but said he would always be governed by the democratic decision of the committee, their commitments, travel restraints and availability. On this occasion, that had been to hold the meeting in Tamworth RNA.
He was very disappointed that he and the committee had been accused of sitting in an Ivory Tower and pontificating and hoped he was not pontificating now. To the contrary he felt that he and the committee had continued to work very hard to communicate, promote, and maintain a stable platform for the Association.
He was very pleased to see members attending from as far as Colchester, Colwyn Bay and other parts of Staffordshire, but was disappointed, that despite a Midlands division meeting the previous day, only one member was present.
He stated this committee has always acted without derision, but with a common theme of putting the association and members first. He went on to say, all the jobs on the Committee are open if anyone wants to take over a position on the Committee including his, the current members would be happy to stand down.
Colin accepted that notwithstanding the date, time and location of the meeting being put on the website there were more avenues where it could and should be promulgated. On the Secretary’s return from his world tour he would ensure communication of committee meetings would be better advertised.
Shep said when DD ran the Association, committee meetings were held in GH house in Birmingham, but never went around the country. He had spoken at length to him since he had been reinstated as a member.
6. Treasurers Report
Phil Bridge said that, as normal, the Committee members all had copies of bank accounts and his Profit/Loss spreadsheet in front of them – please look at them! He went onto to say that he would like to remind members that the Committee did not claim accommodation expenses for their visit to Tamworth; their stay at the Travelodge was self-funded by committee members and only fuel would be claimed for.
He advised that the Association were financially very sound and his responsibilities are for a total of: £69,135.46 made up as follows:
Community Account: £8,696.26 Reunion Account: £100.08 Tracker Account: £60,009.51
Petty Cash: £55.77
Fixed Assets of: £273.84
All figures were correct as of 9 January 2018.
So far this year our income amounts to: £34,714.61, our Running Costs amount to £32,339.67, thus indicating a year profit of £2,374.94. You will note that we are now getting SOME interest on our saving account! Phil’s predictions are that at AGM 2018, he will be reporting another Profit over Loss of some £5,000 approximately.
Since the last Committee Meeting the Association had received two donations from CTB’s amounting to £281.10.
He advised that the Grand Draw was struggling a little compared to this time last year, so far income has been £3,527.00. Taking account of costs involved, profit to the Association is £1,208.60.
There have been no extra outgoings other than those reported at the last Committee Meeting.
Phil advised that we had spent a lot of money this year:
- The work at Mylor – which had looked very good on Remembrance Sunday
- The medals for HMS Raleigh – 3000 had been purchased at a cost of £1,200 and 4 would be given away each week to the two class leaders and their deputies of the Ganges Division. Sir James Burnell-Nugent, our Chairman, will take the salute at some point next year and Chairman and Treasurer will also be invited.
- Florrie asked if a leaflet could be devised to be given out with the medals detailing the history of HMS Ganges. Dave Cross from the Promotional Team advised that they already had a leaflet giving this information. Dave will send a copy to Florrie to see if it needs updating and then look at how to take this forward. To bring back to next meeting. Action: Dave Cross/Florrie Ford
- New membership cards – new cards were 38p each. There will be a notice in the next Gazette asking those who want a card to send a SAE to either the Treasurer or Membership Secretary.
- In answer to a question from the floor it was explained that the card could be used to gain entry to the Portsmouth Dockyard for £10, also to get a discount when making a booking at the Home Club. There was also a possibility of it being used for other discounts.
The Treasurer received a vote of thanks from the Observers.
7. Membership Secretary’s Report As at 8 January 2018
||(202 Life Members)
|Crossed the Bar
Membership Secretary, Ken Bushnell advised that all the above stats were since the last Committee Meeting at Shotley in September 2017. However, whilst looking at 2017 as a whole we have lost 99 members CTB but encouragingly we welcomed 61 new members to the Association. This at a time when other Associations are folding due to lack of membership. He thanked the Promotions Team and also said that the website and just word of mouth contributed to new members joining the Association.
Once again Ken paid tribute to our Life Members who continue to contribute by way of donations which he assured makes a huge difference to our finances.
8. Events and Standard Report
Des Kerrigan said as always we are deeply grateful to all the Standard Bearers that make the effort and turn out. Please remember these Boys that give up their own time, both at Reunion and locally. 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 himself support where they 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 request one for a Member’s funeral, just shout. Des advised Paddy was back up and running on all cylinders now and it is good to see him out and about with the West London Standard.
Obviously, Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday featured most recently for all of us, with both local Parades and the Cenotaph at Whitehall being attended. The turn-out in London was well supported, as always, with Shep and Topsy managing to keep control. The Association was acknowledged by the BBC as being on Parade, but no mug shots this year!! Des said he was sure that no matter where in the world you were, your Ganges blazer was worn with pride. He took himself and Susan up to Shotley this year to be with the Shotley Division, remembering where it all started for us. It was an honour to join them and to carry the Mercantile Marine Division Standard along with Tony Cooke, our NSB, John Youngman from Shotley and others.
The Shotley Site – As previously reported the Site is in the process of being cleaned up to commence development. Work has started by McNicholas, the contractors, with the laying of pipework for drainage. Good news has just reached us; the Mast is on the move!!…………Well to assume the horizontal in Nelson Hall, at least. As previously indicated, once building starts and something like 130 properties are completed, the Developers are under obligation to commence some form of Mast work. To that end, TS Rigging Ltd of Maldon in Essex have been appointed for the ‘Visual Restoration of the Mast’ and will shortly commence the three-phase project. We are assuming that the bulk of the work will take place on site at Shotley. Phase 1 will be to ‘Make Safe and Document’, Phase 2 will be the ‘Restoration’ and Phase 3, the ‘Installation’. So it looks as though our Mast is going nowhere!! Joy to our Hearts. Your Committee will monitor progress, you have our assurance. We ask that if there are any questions you have to please channel them though your committee. We would not want to antagonise the contractors with questions from all directions.
If there are ever any issues which you, as a Member, wish to discuss, please feel free to call or email Des or indeed any of YOUR Committee Members.
The news regarding the mast was very welcome and is a credit to Des and Shep who have liaised with the developers at all times.
Shep pointed out, on Des’s behalf, that the Association needed somebody to take over the Mercantile Marine Standard. Another Standard Bearer is needed! Des has attended funerals all over the country and was applauded for his commitment.
Florrie felt that the Committee needs to make everyone aware who is in charge and what their responsibility is when on parade.
9. Certificate Secretary’s Report
Florrie Ford, Certificate Secretary, reported that 2017 had been a very busy year for Certificates, he has presented one 80th in Sunderland and 43 at the AGM. Also, Certificates have been presented outside of the AGM – Solent, Essex Peninsular, Shotley Committee Meeting, West London, Scarborough Reunion and to some members’ homes. Florrie had also been asked by some members if they could have a replacement, which he had provided at a small cost. So far for the AGM this year 28 Certificates are to be presented and this will increase by the time of the AGM. The Certificate presentation at the AGM will be at the Saturday evening quarters by the Admiral only.
Florrie commented that photos at the AGM have been a bit of a problem as many recipients wanted photos with the Admiral. Ron Dorry will take individual photos as the Certificates are presented and Florrie would like a group photo on completion of the presentation, ie a Class Photo.
He advised that if a member would like a certificate presented at the AGM he would require all requests by the 31 March and said could all those members who have requested a Certificate at the AGM check with him to ensure they are on the list.
Junior Elephant Award – Florrie explained how the award had come about. He had been asked if he could sort out a certificate for a young lady, Hollie, granddaughter of Crash Evans. Hollie had helped Crash look after the Victorious Bench and more recently the Murray Dunlop Bench. The Victorious Association had presented her with the Victorious Powder Monkey award. So Florrie had come up with the Junior Elephant Award to make Hollie feel a bit special and for something different to take to school. He had also been told of another young lady who was doing a kindness to another Ganges member and this award was presented at the Scarborough Weekend. He thanked Barbara Heyward and family for their support. The story of Hollie was in the Navy News in December and highlighted the Association’s gratitude to youngsters who show the ‘Ganges Spirit’.
Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity – Florrie and his lady Shelley attended a presentation to the RN/RM Charity at Trinity House, London in the presence of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal. A short speech was given by HRH in which she praised the charity’s supporters and emphasised the importance of the Naval Service. The Chief Executive, Robert Robson OBE said the supporters were the lifeblood of the charity and without the help of the fantastic volunteers the charity would cease to exist.
The Ganges Association was the only Association to attend. In conversation with Princess Anne it appeared she was fully aware of HMS Ganges – the present and past First Sea Lords commented it was the largest single Naval Association under one cap tally!
My Bezzie Mate – Florrie informed the Committee this went from AGM to America, it went AWOL on the way to South Africa but was then sent to Australia and was now in Western Australia. He was hoping for it to be returned for the AGM.
10. Webmaster’s Report
Webmaster, Phil Bridge, said we are now close to 850 members online! The website has been running for some 5 years and the domain hmsgangesassoc.org is due for renewal. Having our own domain is best and this one was set up a few years before we made the new website, so Phil intends to continue ownership of this domain. It is an American company and the renewal cost is $300.00 (£220.00) for a 5 year period, a good deal in Phil’s opinion.
There are some problems on the website at present, these involved uploading photos from various systems, iMac/Windows 10, and storage space on our server.
Phil has renewed our domain and paid with his own credit card and has been reimbursed by the Association. He is also getting our tech boys to carry out an update check on the website, this will involve about an hour’s work (£80-£100). In general the website still plays a major role in communication amongst members. The website is supported by HMSGA funds and donations from new members.
Phil said that if Members saw the names Barbara and Theresa on the website these are Barbara Hayward (Ivan’s wife) and Theresa is Rockie Rockets daughter, and her son is a serving member of the Royal Navy and an Association member also.
There was a vote of thanks from the Committee to Phil for fantastic work on the website.
11. Museum Report from the Secretary, June Lawford-Randall
Museum volunteers were pleased to receive a visit recently from the High Sheriff of Suffolk who enjoyed looking around the museum and talking to volunteers to find out more about the museum’s origins and collection. We were all delighted to see our Treasurer, Mrs Sheila Wilson, receive a certificate of commendation for her dedicated service of more than 10 years. During that time Sheila has been invaluable to all-comers with her knowledge, advice and support to new volunteers and she has contributed immensely to the special annual displays, not to mention her skills as treasurer, keeping the accounts in good order and demonstrating her commitment by travelling for 2 hours each way by bus!
The visit by the High Sheriff of Suffolk, Geoffrey Probert, was a very timely one as we were also joined by the committee of the Stowmarket Royal Naval Association who had held a fundraising event in favour of the museum. A cheque for £357 was presented to, and gratefully received by, museum chairman, Derek Davis.
Repeating some of the items in our recent Newsletter to members, we can at last report good news regarding the iconic HMS Ganges mast after planning permission was granted to the developers of the site to remove the mast for it to be repaired and restored to its former glory. The bottom part of the mast will stay in situ, while the main body will be taken down and stored in Nelson Hall during repairs. Much of the spar work and the rigging will be carried out at Chatham dockyard by specialists based in Burnham. The news has been welcomed not only by residents, who recognise the significance of the mast, but also by former trainees and civilians who worked at the site in Shotley Gate, Suffolk.
The infamous, Faith, Hope and Charity steps is another feature remembered by every former Ganges Boy. The steps were uncovered recently by builders working on the 12 apartments being built next to the steps by the marina road.
With our 2017 special display having been dedicated to the WRENS the served at HMS Ganges from the World War Two days, when Ganges was a hostilities-only base, the year also marked the centenary of women being allowed to serve in the armed forces and the Women’s Royal Navy Service (WRNS) was formed. The forthcoming special display will be the U-Boat surrender and 2018 Commemorations. The museum would be pleased to receive any photographs, memories, or relevant old papers to enhance the display.
Once more the items being donated to the museum are proving interesting, as are the stories behind them. The museum took delivery of an ensign, originally from the Royal Yacht Britannia, therefore unique in its size. Also, found in a box of miscellaneous donated items was a real gem – a Christmas tin gift pack sent to all troops in 1914 which for some included cake, cigarettes or chocolate which was a royal treat from Her Majesty Queen Mary and King George V including a Christmas card and message. The items in the tin now in our collection included one sealed and one opened packet of cigarettes, so a very personal link to the time, and these items are already on display. The most recent donation was a plaque, originally donated to Babergh District Council to mark the base closing in 1976. The plaque was handed to museum chairman Derek Davis and is now due to be displayed.
Are you thinking of planning a visit to the Museum? If so, please ensure that we will be open when you visit as we are closed during the colder months. The museum is open on weekends and Bank Holidays at 11am, closing at 5pm, between Good Friday and the end of October. Contact the Secretary on 01473 788723 to arrange a visit at any other time.
Without volunteers to man the museum between Easter and the end of October each year we would simply have to close. Huge thanks go to all the volunteers who give up their time, whether for a day, a weekend or longer and we hope you can spare us more of your valuable time again. For new volunteers wanting to join the team, training is given and you would be paired with more experienced openers. If you have any younger family members who are interested to attend with you, they would be most welcome but kindly check with us first. The Shipwreck can now provide accommodation above the museum at very reasonable costs for those travelling long distances. Please contact either the museum chairman or secretary for more details.
Should you wish to become a member of the HMS Ganges Museum contact us for more details about the
£5 annual membership. Forms can be sent to you direct by email or by post if you prefer. Contact the
Secretary, June Lawford-Randall, on 01473 788723, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Mrs Sheila Wilson, The Treasurer, HMS Ganges Association Museum, Shotley Marina, Shotley Gate, Suffolk IP9 1QJ.
Dates for 2018
Volunteers’ Training Day: Saturday 10 March
Seasons Opens: Good Friday 30 March
Annual General Meeting: Saturday 21 April
Season Closes: Sunday 28 October
Des commented that he will continue to provide a report on the Shotley site even though the museum may have different information. He said how the Association and the Museum work together and interaction is working well.
12. Promotion Team Report
Dave Cross from the Team reported that they would be attending the Suffolk Show on 30/31 May and
Armed Forces Day in Llandudno on 31 June. Martin Wilshire is intending to resign at the end of the year. Florrie asked if there were any plans to bring the Team to the North. Dave said they would consider any venues put forward.
13. Reunion 2018 Update
Reunion Organiser Tony Willders advised that we had 415 confirmed bookings and this may rise before April. He advised that:
- The Ganges Membership card will get you entry into the Dockyard for £10. Tony to contact Dockyard to clarify what attractions in the Dockyard are included.
- The Admiral has been invited and will be presenting the Certificates following Saturday evening quarters
- He will update Daily Orders and correspond with Shirley from IOW
- There was no need for a pre-meet before reunion. He would be meeting with Shirley at the end of March if anyone else from the Committee would like to come along
- Reunion will start from Friday lunchtime, the Committee to meet at Mill Rythe at 9.30 am to put up final touches.
- Those Committee Members who have far to travel to come on Thursday night. and IOW will advise what accommodation is available. Committee members to advise Tony if accommodation required and any cost will be at their own expense. Action: Tony Willders
- Shep advised that he had a Pipe and Drum band available for evening quarters and the Committee agreed that they would pay £250 for the band. Action: Shep Woolley
- It was also agreed that longevity awards would be presented to Dick Lloyd and Baz Downing-
Waite (with a bouquet for Val) at the AGM. Action: Tony Willders
- Bishop Bomber Mills, who is officiating at the Church Service would receive £100 for this service.
- Cadets have received £200 in the past – Tony Crisp and his cadets to be invited; if unavailable (Tony has been having health problems) Shep has another bugler and cadet unit who would stand in. Bugler would be paid £50. Action: Shep Woolley
- Shep to email order of service. Action: Shep Woolley
Shep also advised that the bell which had been presented to Lisabeth, our Chaplain, will now be resited by George Barnham next week and fixed by Alan Hudspeth.
14. Grand Draw Update
George Barnham said that the sale of tickets was going well although he wished people didn’t put ‘ditto’ on their tickets as it meant he and Carol and to fill them in!!!! It was expected that more tickets would be sold at the Reunion.
15. Any Other Business
- The Chairman thanked Annette Bushnell for stepping in and taking the Minutes in the Secretary’s absence.
- Mylor Church – Shep said we could not have done what was done at the Mylor Memorial Garden without the help of the vicar. There is an appeal ongoing for the repair of the church, and would the Association consider a donation? After further discussion it was agreed that an initial donation of £500 would be made, to be presented at the St. Nazaire commemoration in March.
The fund will be monitored and a further donation may be made if needed.
- Field Gun Training School – Dave Worrell had set up training with 25 schools in Devon using field-gun to help and encourage children’s wellbeing. It was agreed that Dave should send his proposal plan and then the Association will see what support we may give. It was felt that we should see what support other organisations were giving before committing ourselves.
Action: Shep Woolley
- Nazaire Commemoration Falmouth – Des was aware that some members of the Solent Division were attending and he would put names forward of anyone else who would be attending.
- Florrie informed the meeting that he was getting married on 26 May and all were invited.
- Phil had received an email from John Youngman that Jim Gitsham had resigned as Chairman of the Shotley Division due to ill health. The new Chairman is John Adams who has taken over immediately. Jim has also had to give up organising the scattering of the ashes on Remembrance Sunday and this has now been taken up by John Youngman of the Shotley Division – Contact: 01206 298873 email: email@example.com.
- Ivan Haywards Bench – Following Ivan’s passing money had been raised at the Scarborough weekend for a memorial bench made by Stan Moody. Stan passed round a photograph of the finished bench. This will presented to Ivan’s wife.
16. Chairman’s Closing Remarks
Colin said he was glad we had come to Tamworth, hospitality had been great and he hoped observers had enjoyed themselves and thanked them for their attendance.
A tot had been presented by RNA Tamworth and the Chairman asked everyone to ‘Up Spirits’ and observe a minutes silence for absent friends.
- Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held at RNA Uxbridge on 9 May 2018 commencing at 11:15am.
Meeting closed: 1410