HMS GANGES Association AGM Minutes


Established 1982
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held at Mill Rythe, Hayling Island
14 April 2018


Colin Gent Chairman
Cliff Snelling Secretary
Phil Bridge Treasurer
Ken Bushnell Membership Secretary
Des Kerrigan Events & Standards
Charles (Florrie) Ford Certificate Secretary
Tony Willders Reunion Secretary
Shep Woolley Life Vice President
George Barnham

The Chairman, Colin Gent, opened the meeting at 10:00.
The National Standard (Tony Cooke), together with Standards from West London (Paddy
Minns), Dorset (Ray Fraser), Fulham & Chelsea (Glenn (Jacko) Jack), Shotley (John Yougman),
Solent (Alan Hudspeth), Devonport (Les Raspisson) and Mercantile Marine (John Clarke) were
paraded under Standards Marshall Des Kerrigan, and inspected by Eddie Seaborne and John
1. To remember those who Crossed the Bar
Mac Brodie, Life Vice President, stated that the Association had been notified of 134 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.
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2. Chairman’s opening address
The Chairman, Colin Gent, welcomed everyone to the 35th Annual Reunion and AGM, and
acknowledged the presence of founding members and Life Vice Presidents Peter Taylor, Mac
Brodie, 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.
Ian Critchley – Western Australia; Brian Thompson – Western Australia; Michael Kerr – USA;
Ken Marjoram – Canada; David Pegg – France; Colin Pearce – Jersey.
They were warmly applauded by all those present.
Colin said he was pleased to report to members on a very positive note. We, as an
Association, are now in an enviable position amongst the family of Naval Associations. We are
stable financially for now and in the future; we are still recruiting new members; we have a
first class website; we have attendance at many events, promoting the Association. Colin
thanked everyone for the terrific attendance at this Reunion, long may it continue.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the dedication and hard work, all given in
their own time, of the people sat at the table as your elected committee. Colin said members
would hear today, and hoped everyone would agree, of positive reports from each committee
member, and said he was very proud to commend them to the members. Colin said it
continued to astound him the personal time members of the committee give up to make sure
this Association thrives and he gave his personal thanks to each and every one of them, and
hoped members would too.
During the year Committee Meetings have been held in Shotley and Tamworth, both well
attended, with in the main positive comments afterwards, and Colin thanked all those who
made it happen. He said however, that the overriding decision as to the location of meetings
must be governed by the personal time, availability, cost and distance travelled by committee
members as, other than mileage, all other costs are borne by the individual.
Colin said that it is a fact that we continue to lose members as they “cross the bar”, sadly in
far too many numbers; unfortunately, with the gates of our “Alma mater” closing in 1976 it is
inevitable, as age takes it toll.
Tony Cooke, our National Standard Bearer, is a testament to that as he travels the length and
breadth of the country attending funerals at the request of members family’s and on behalf of
the Association. Colin said, let me add again, in his own time, continually supported by his
wife Pauline, sometimes spending a week away going from one funeral service to another.
Tony is of course supported by the divisional standard bearers and many of the members
whenever they can, and it brings great comfort and appreciation to the bereaved families. We
should all be proud of that.
Some members may be aware that on 25 May 2018 the new General Data Protection Act
(GDPA) comes into force. This legislates how organisations deal with the data they collect and
is a tightening up of the present controls, but mainly aimed at large businesses and charities.
We, as an Association, have a task to look at it, assess it, and see how the new legislation
affects us. We are already working on this, but let me assure you that HMSGA, in the way it
already conducts itself, is 98% of the way there. We may need to amend membership forms,
and send forms to members but when the Committee meets in May we will have formulated
what we, as an Association, need to do to conform to the new Act, and we will then notify all
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Colin said that towards the end of this AGM we would, he hoped, be welcoming a new
committee member to the team in Phillip (Topsy) Turner. Of course this means we would be
losing one of the most influential driving forces of the Committee and the Association in John
(Shep) Woolley who, he says, still has so many diverse things he wants to do and achieve.
No-one can deny the dogged determination, time and hard work that Shep has put into
making this Association, not only survive, but move on and go from strength to strength, both
in his tenure as Chairman and subsequently as a committee member, particularly in the
organisation of the Reunions and many other Association events. He will be sorely missed, but
as a Life Vice President Colin said no doubt Shep would be offering wise counsel where and
whenever needed. Colin said he would personally like to thank Shep for all the help, support
and guidance Shep had given him during his term as Chairman. A gift of a Bosun’s Call
mounted on a carved block of wood was presented to Shep.
Finally, Colin said he hoped everyone had a terrific weekend, renewing the comeradery of old
shipmates, and making some new ones along the way.
3. Minutes of 2017 AGM
The Secretary, Cliff Snelling, asked for a vote to approve the Minutes of the 2017 AGM. 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
2016 to 31st March 2017. The proposal was carried.
5. Secretary Report
Secretary, Cliff Snelling, said that no correspondence has been received since the last AGM.
He went on to say that, whilst vacationing in the southern hemisphere at the end of last year,
he was fortunate enough to meet up with members from some of our Australian Divisions.
In Western Australia Jim Sharkey invited Cliff and his wife Christine to their meeting at the
Perth & Fremantle Navy Club. They were made very welcome by everybody, the meeting was
entertaining, and followed by a great lunch.
In Victoria David Lines and his wife collected Cliff and Christine from their hotel in Melbourne
and drove them to Langwarrin, where they had been invited to join the RNA for Trafalgar
Lunch. There was a special table for the Ganges boys, and they enjoyed good food, good
company, and a generous supply of rum. David then returned them to our hotel which was
very much appreciated as it was over an hour’s drive each way.
In South Australia Derek Ernst invited Cliff and Christine to join them for their meeting and
lunch at the Eagles Bistro in Adelaide. Once again they were made extremely welcome and
had a very enjoyable time.
At all of the meetings Cliff said he was asked to give a short overview of the state of the
Association and answer the many questions that were asked; this was generally well received
by all of the members.
Cliff said that he found that the members of the divisions he met were full of good cheer, and
still very enthusiastic and pro-active in their get-togethers, considering their advancing age
and the distances that many of them travel to attend meetings.
Cliff said that he and Christine were extremely well looked after and were made very welcome
at all the meetings they attended. It was a pleasure to meet some of our Australian members,
and finally be able to put faces to names.
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Cliff said that he had been asked by the HMS Ganges Association Museum to remind members
that the Museum AGM will be held next Saturday, 21st April, at 10.30am, at the Shotley
Sailing Club.
Don’t forget, the Museum would benefit from having more members – it’s only £5 per year!
Contact the Secretary, June Lawford-Randall, if you would like to join. Details on the Museum
6. Treasurer 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 7/8 years ago.
The Association has assets of £68,613.72, made up as follows:
Community Account £8,199.89
Reunion Account £44.63
Tracker Account £60,039.43
Petty Cash Box £55.93
Fixed Assets £342.30 (Laptop x 2 and Voice Recorder)
All figures correct as of 31 March 2018.
Major Income
Subscriptions & Donations £37,540.11 (£38,261.07)
Grand Draw £5,332.00 (£5,845.00)
Major Outgoings (above £500.00)
Gazette x 3 £13,267.76 (£13,792.46)
N.S.B Expenses £4,442.51 (£3,068.58)
Committee Travel £2,467.99 (£1,401.30)
GA Promotion Team £743.91 (£1,129.30)
Stationery/Postage £1,813.04 (£1,192.86)
Xmas Draw £900.00 (£900.00)
Membership Cards £1,139.09
Mylor Refurbishment £2,717.09 (£182.95)
Raleigh Medals £1,353.60
Charities/Donations £3,000.89 (£1,728.00)
Total Income £42,872.11 (£44,106.07)
Total Expenditure £40,963.46 (£31,748.20)
Figures in brackets are last year’s amounts
Thus, this year our profit over loss is £1,908.65
Phil thanked members for their support and trust, and also Liz Macleod and Dave & Ann Fagg
for their time in examining his books.
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7. Membership Secretary Report
The Membership Secretary, Ken Bushnell, stated that total membership is 2,423 and consists
of a number of facets.
Active Members 1250
Life Members 733
Associate Members 77
Lapsed Members 363
We have two categories of Lapsed Members:
1. Where Gazettes and correspondence has been returned to MemSec ‘Address not Known’
– 231 – mainly Life Members.
2. Where a member continues to pay the incorrect subs although they have been contacted
on at least three occasions, all to no avail – 132.
Lapsed Members do not receive the Gazette.
95 members CTB during the period April 2017 to March 2018. During the same period 46 new
members have joined the Association.
Ken stated that this was the 5th 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’
A courteous reminder to members – when moving house of if you have any change of
circumstances, please inform the MemSec.
Ken said that MemSec Station would be in operation all day to receive subs, donations and
membership enquiries; come and say hello and maybe join the Association if you are not
already a member.
Finally, on behalf of MemSec and Co, Ken said he would like to thank his wife Annette who
contributes a great deal of work in assisting him, and further he wished everyone a fantastic
Reunion 2018 and hoped to see everyone again in 2019.
8. Certificate Secretary Report
Certificate Secretary, Florrie Ford, said that all who expected certificates in the evening could
they please check with him beforehand to make sure they were on the list. Also, photographs
would only be taken by the official photographer.
Florrie said that last September he was asked to instigate a Junior Award for young people who
get involved with the HMSGA. He said details had been published in the last Gazette. Florrie
asked that if any member knew of a young person who they felt was deserving of the award,
for example by helping a group of members or an individual, could they please let him know
and he would send them a certificate which they could present to that young person on behalf
Florrie said that ‘My Bessie Mate’ had visited the USA, South Africa, and Australia over the last
12 months, and this year it was his intention to visit all the local UK divisions.
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.
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9. Events & Standards Report
Des said that the bulk of this AGM 2018 Report was fully covered in the Spring Edition of the
Ganges Gazette, which he was sure that members had all digested.
He said he could only repeat his ongoing sentiment and say how grateful we are 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, Alan
Hudspeth, Martin Wiltshire with other Local Divisions’ Standards and Des 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.
Des said that Paddy is back up and running on all cylinders now and it is good to see him out
and about with the West London Standard. On a personal note, in spite of his recent Gazette
notification and due to unforeseen circumstances, Des said he will remain custodian of the
Mercantile Marine Division Standard until a willing volunteer steps up.
Obviously, Armistice Day and our 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 that he was sure that no matter where in the world you were, your Ganges blazer
was worn with pride. Des and Susan went to Shotley this year to be with the Shotley Division,
remembering where it all started for us. He said 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.
More recently, last month, 20 plus members, wives and partners travelled down to Falmouth
to once again take part in the anniversary parade of the St. Nazaire raid of March 1942. The
parade, and our Association’s participation in it, has now become an annual highlight for both
Falmouth Borough Council and the St. Nazaire Association, with our Association’s attendance
warmly welcomed. Our members were honoured with a Civic Reception on the Saturday and
full Parade participation on the Sunday morning, with the parading of the Solent Division’s
HMSGA Standard by Martin Wiltshire and the laying of our wreath by Shep. The Sunday
afternoon took us to out to Mylor to the Ganges Memorial and a very moving service in the
Mylor Church, with local dignitaries in attendance. John Clarke laid the wreath. Our thanks
must go to all who continue to keep our Mylor Memorial in such a fitting condition. We must
never forget our Boys who are remembered at Mylor. David Rye (Mousey) has submitted a
more comprehensive article covering the weekend for the Summer Gazette. Des thanked all
who supported the weekend; a great time was had by all, with the snow on Sunday doing its
best to cocoon everyone in Cornwall. Des thought that they were not too keen on us
The Site is still in the process of being cleaned up to commence development. Work has
started by McNicholas, the contractors, with the laying of pipework for drainage. Positive news
is that Full Consent has been granted by Babergh Council and it appears it is the Developers
that are dragging their feet. As previously indicated, once building starts and something like
130 properties completed, the developers are under obligation to commence some form of
Mast work. To that end, the indications are that 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. To date, they await official instructions from the developers. 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
Established 1982
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though our Mast is going nowhere!! Joy to our Hearts. The Committee will monitor progress,
you have our assurance.
Des said that if members have any questions to please channel them though the 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 the Committee Members.
10. PR Team Report
Martin Wiltshire said that PR Team costs for 2017 were as follows:
Market Traders Insurance 50.00
Suffolk County Show
• Mileage 237.60
• Accommodation – provided by George & Carol Barnham
• Entry fee – paid by MoD as we are in the military set up
Weymouth Armed Forces Weekend
• Mileage 94.95
• Accommodation (2 nights) 276.96
RAF Northolt Open Day – mileage only 77.40
Total £736.91
Estimated costs for 2018 are:
Market Traders Insurance 57.00
Suffolk County Show
• Mileage 237.60
• Accommodation – provided by George & Carol Barnham
• Entry fee – paid by MoD as we are in the military set up
Weymouth Armed Forces Weekend
• Mileage 94.95
• Accommodation (approximately) 280.00
Martin said that at this stage they had not booked any other events as both he and Dave Cross
have other commitments. They felt that there was no point travelling to areas which have no
RN or HMS Ganges connections. Normal costs for County Shows are extremely high, plus the
further they travel the greater the mileage costs and the need for accommodation.
Martin asked if members could please let him or Dave know if they could suggest a place for
them to visit which would promote the Ganges message and of course, encourage ex-Ganges
personnel to sign up.
Martin said, as he had mentioned before, both Suffolk and Weymouth have proved to be by far
the most successful venues, attracting large crowds. The mini-mast and the albums are very
popular as many visitors have past family connections. One lady was thrilled to find her
uncle’s photograph of when he was a Divisional Officer as she had no other photographs of
him. The team have also managed to press gang new members into the Association. As
always Martin said they appreciate help from Association members. The Suffolk Show and
Weymouth are always well supported, and he thanked them for their help.
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11. Reunion Secretary Report
Tony Willders, Reunion Secretary, thanked everyone for attending, and said we had 410
attendees this year. He also thanked IOW Tours for their invaluable assistance in organising
our Reunion.
Tony said he would also like to thank the wives of the Committee Members who were running
the Table Top and Win your Weekend Raffles. He said that members may not be aware that
the money raised from these raffles provide a valuable contribution to the weekend’s finances,
providing extras which are financed outside of the main association accounts.
Tony reminded everyone that the weekend programme of events was as per their Daily
Orders. Members visiting Portsmouth Dockyard would enjoy a reduced entry fee on production
of their HMS Ganges membership card. For those members remaining on site various
activities were available, provided by Mill Rythe, and Dave Poyser would be organising the
Uckers competition during Saturday afternoon. This year special Ganges Association boards
had been commissioned for the event.
Tony announced that Reunion and AGM 2019 will be taking place at Gunton Hall on 12-15th
April. In order to undertake the various Reunion activities during the weekend we need to
ensure that we have sole exclusivity of a site. Several venues have been considered, and as all
came in at a similar cost, Gunton Hall was selected. Unfortunately, as Warners have not
increased their price to us over the last five years, 2019 would see the cost of the weekend
rise to £255 per person. Tony said he hoped members would appreciate the reason for the
increase. IOW Tours will once again be handling the bookings and arrangements on our behalf
as this negates the risk entirely should we not meet the minimum number of guests required
to break even, and would not, therefore, impact association funds. IOW tours will accept
Direct Debits or part payments throughout to year to spread the cost of the Reunion.
12. Address by Chief Scrutineer, Basil Downing-Waite
Basil Downing-Waite said that he had only received two voting forms from members unable to
attend AGM.
Basil read out each proposal, and asked members to raise their hands, For or Against.
3. To elect Phil Turner to the Committee for the electoral period as of 2018
This was carried unanimously.
4. To make an addition to the current 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
This was carried unanimously.
13. Mylor
Shep said that HMSGA donated some money to assist with the restoration of the church at
Mylor as they have been very accommodating to the Association with regard to the Mylor
Memorial. He encouraged members when visiting the Memorial to also go inside the church
where they can see the results of the restoration work carried out.
14. ‘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, and therefore was awarded to our NSB Tony Cooke. He
asked Shep Woolley to present the Perky Mellow Award.
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15. Chairman’s Closing Remarks
The Chairman said that the Committee believed that we should recognise those members who
give a great deal of their time and commitment to the Association, and who are not always
members of the committee. This year the Committee chose two members who they thought
deserved a special thank you, recognised with a small gift that acknowledges our appreciation
of their services to the HMSGA. Gifts were presented to Dick Lloyd, and to Basil DowningWaite.
Colin said he was nominating Florrie Ford for the Bone of Contention this year, because he
failed to keep track of our gnome, ‘My Bessie Mate’, who was AWOL for three months during
his round the world trip.
The meeting closed at 11:25 and ‘Up Spirits’ was piped.
Cliff Snelling
Hon Sec

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