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Minutes of Meeting held at
The Shipwreck Shotley Gate, Ipswich, IP9 1QJ 6 September 2017

PRESENT: Colin Gent Chairman Cliff Snelling Secretary Phil Bridge Treasurer Ken Bushnell Membership Secretary Des Kerrigan Events & Standards Tony Willders Reunion Co-ordinator Shep Woolley George Barnham

Observers: Ron Carr, Mick Newstead, Paul Pearce, Jim Goddard, Mike Barton, Chris Park, Brian Beaton, Ted Hammond, Peter Taylor, Leonard Butcher, Peter Talman, Barry Bonnamy, George Athroll, Jim Gitsham, John Adams, Bill Bowmer, Barrie Scott-Webb, Dennis Cracknell, Dave Wesley, Annette Bushnell, Christine Snelling, Derek Davis (Chairman, Museum), June Lawford-Randall (Secretary, Museum), and Museum members Roger Cushing, Dave Andrews, Pat Jones, Callum Beaney.

Meeting opened: 1200

The Chairman, Colin Gent, asked those present to stand and observe a minutes silence to remember those members who have CTB since AGM 2017.

Prior to the start of the meeting a 70 year certificate was presented to George Athroll, Shotley Division, by the Chairman, Colin Gent.

1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks The Chairman Colin Gent welcomed everyone to the meeting and said he was glad to see so many members had been able to attend, as well as members of the Museum.

Colin said he also wished to thank all the Committee members for their hard work. He requested that observers not interrupt during a Committee Member’s Report, questions would be taken after each Report.

2. Apologies Florrie Ford (Certificates)

3. Minutes of Previous Meeting The minutes of the previous meeting held on 3 May 2017 at RNA Uxbridge were approved as a true record and accepted.

Proposed: Phil Bridge (Treasurer) Seconded: Des Kerrigan (Events & Standards)

4. Matters Arising  TS Royalist – Shep stated that due to ill health he had not been able to finalise this, but that it would be completed in the next couple of months. ACTION: Shep  Flags – Des said that some flags were still missing. Shep will contact Joyce Higgins as Tony may have had some. It was agreed that all flags should be collected together for an audit, then a decision made on whether we needed to purchase more. ACTION: Shep and Des

5. Secretary’s Report Secretary Cliff Snelling said that the Raleigh Coins had been ordered and should arrive in the next few weeks. They will be sent directly to Phil Bridge who will then co-ordinate with HMS Raleigh for their delivery and presentation.

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Cliff said that he had written to DIPR regarding continuing use of the HMS Ganges crest, but to date no response had been received. David Parry, Fulham & Chelsea Division, had approached the Committee as he had received a donation of 120 specially produced oval lapel Badges / pins showing HMS GANGES crest on a white background; over top of the crest is WISDOM IS STRENGTH, under the crest ASSOCIATION. They have been produced and donated by Tom & Tony Fellows, sons of Thomas James Fellows who trained at Ganges 1933-34. They wished to assist in raising funds for our association. The Committee agreed that these pins would be made available to members at Reunion 2018, at a small cost.

Cliff stated that he had received a proposal from the Chairman, Colin Gent, for an addition to Rule 11. 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: Colin Gent (Chairman) Seconded: Cliff Snelling (Secretary)

6. Treasurer’s Report Treasurer 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!

We are half way through this financial year and the Association is in an excellent financial situation, Phil’s responsibilities are for a total of: £63,983.84 – made up as follows:

Community Account: £3,057.73 Reunion Account: £589.85 Tracker Account: £60,000.00 Petty Cash: £62.42 Fixed Assets of: £273.84

All figures are correct as of 5 September 2017.

Phil stated that when he took over as Treasurer, he stated that he needed a working balance of £36,000.00; this amount would underwrite 2 years’ worth of Gazettes and Association running costs. Members will notice from the AGM and now, we are currently some £28,000.00 over requirement. This does not mean a ‘Let’s Spend’ attitude nor does it mean ‘Let’s Hand It Out Freely”.

So far this year, Running Costs amount to: £17,684.45 – this includes the following donations:

£600.00 to Ivan’s SCC Fund (Double amount in memory of Ivan) £225.00 to RN/RM Children’s Fund £225.00 to RN/RM Charity £200.00 to Wells next the Sea SCC set up fund £100.00 to Royal Marines Poole, Tribute to CPO E.H. Pitcher VC DSM £100.00 to Chelmondiston Parish Council, Chaplin Lizabeth £100.00 to Meningitis Charity (Runner from Gunton Hall staff)

So far this year our income amounts to: £14,418.00 thus indicating a loss of £3,266.45 in the first six months. No need to ‘Flood Q’ there is not a problem here, this is normal for half way through the year. Our major income will be in December when between £8,000 – £9,000 of subscriptions come in.

Phil said his prediction was that at AGM 2018, he would be reporting another Profit over Loss of some £10,000 approx. It is a huge responsibility looking after members money and the Committee will hold a meeting to discuss the Association Finances, with recommendations to be brought to members at AGM 2018.

 Member Jim Goddard suggested that the Grand Draw be discontinued. Shep Woolley replied that the Grand Draw was good for the morale of members. George Athroll agreed, and stated that no member was obliged to buy or sell the raffle tickets sent to them in their Winter Gazette.  Jim Goddard asked the Committee if members could have Membership Cards. Treasurer Phil Bridge said this was being looked into.  Brian Beaton asked if the Association would provide funds for the Museum move. Chairman Colin Gent responded that the Association is not responsible for the Museum, which operates as a Charity. The Museum currently has its own contingency fund for any move, but that should the Museum approach the Association for assistance then of course this would be considered.

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7. Membership Secretary’s Report As of 3rd September 2017:

Active Members 1269 Life Members 785 Associate Members 76

New Members 16 Lapsed Members 342 (187 Life Members) CTB 13

Membership Secretary, Ken Bushnell, said that soon after taking over the appoint of MemSec (AGM 2013) he discovered a number of anomalies, which needed to be addressed to achieve his aims and objectives.

One of these aims was to have the database as accurate as possible. The introduction of the “return to sender” on our gazette envelopes has helped in a substantial way and further has shown certain features of our membership. In nearly every case of a Gazette being returned, the member will be a Life Member and in nearly every case he will not be contributing financially to the GA. I raise this second point to highlight the fact it illustrates little or no contact is being made.

The ‘return to sender’ envelopes received by Ken are because there is no current address for that member and therefore he must lapse them to prevent further gazettes being sent out. Since the delivery of our last Gazette, Ken has received 21 “return to sender” envelopes, 5 of which were marked “deceased”. Having given this a great deal of thought, there is no easy resolve, suffice to say, it’s sad to think some of our members who may find themselves residing on their own will reach their final destination unannounced.

Therefore, Ken will request Dick to put an announcement in the next Gazette, larger than normal, imploring all members to inform him of any changes to their circumstances.

8. Certificate Secretary’s Report Phil Bridge said that Florrie had informed him that so far he has sent out approximately 30 certificates since April, and that he already has 20 certificates to be presented at AGM 2018. Members are reminded that applications for certificates to be presented at Reunion 2018 must be received no later than 31 March 2018.

Phil said that so far Florrie had banked donations of around £105.

9. Events & Standards Report Des Kerrigan said as always he was 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 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. Speaking of Paddy, he has not been the best for the past few months, but has still managed to turn out when he can.

On a brighter note, Des said he had had a big event in his life and managed to convince his lady, Susan, to tie the knot. They had a fantastic day back in June and were supported by some good Ganges friends, friends and family. Two honeymoons ensued, or was it three? Rome, Ireland and Lourdes were all visited, and they really have got off to a fantastic start. There is life, and indeed happiness, after lunacy!!

As previously indicated names for the Cenotaph Parade and the HMSGA Platoon in London this year are being co-ordinated by Topsy Turner from Aylesbury, who has taken the reigns of this function and is making a good job of it. There has been a link published on the website, and meanwhile Topsy’s number is 07599 914410. By the time of publication of this in the Gazette, the list will have been closed and, due to increased security measures, it will officially be too late to apply for a ticket. Please contact Topsy direct if you would like to discuss, and have the opportunity to march with the Ganges Platoon.

Sadly there was not much enthusiasm shown for a HMSGA Platoon for the Biennial RNA/Combined Naval Associations Parade in London on Sunday 17 September 2017. We have managed a good turn-out in the past and Des said he was sure that any who did make the effort had a fantastic experience with likeminded ex-matelots.

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Here is hoping that wherever you are in the country that your Ganges blazer will be shaken out and worn with pride on Armistice Day. For me, the normal Parade and Service will be held on Saturday 11th, as always with Friends and Colleagues at the RNA in Uxbridge, where all are welcome. Des said he has chosen to travel up to Shotley for Remembrance Sunday and be with Jim Gitsham and the Shotley Crew for this very poignant day of Remembrance and Parade.

With regard to the Shotley site some work seems to be in progress. More on that in the Museum Report.

If there are ever any issues which you, as a Member, wish to discuss, please feel free to call or email Des.

10. Webmaster’s Report Webmaster Phil Bridge said that the website is working well, there are no problems. We currently have 821 members online. All the donation money has now been used and the annual costs would now be paid for by the Association.

11. Museum Report The Museum volunteers were pleased to welcome members of HMS Ganges Association back to Shotley for their Committee Meeting and were pleased to be able to accept the invitation to join them at the Shipwreck.

Well, we’re still housed in Enright block, awaiting official confirmation of an 18-month lease. We are subject to 3 months’ notice should the Marina decide to commence the proposed work on the remainder of the building. We have options concerning moving the museum out temporarily which we’re pursuing, with the possibility of returning to Enright block into the smaller space on offer when the refurbishment has been completed.

The Trustees are very pleased to welcome Mr Pat Jones to the team, who is a newcomer to Shotley. Pat has been able to step in to help us with the archiving, bringing with him wide experience, including security and accreditation, from the Essex Fire Brigade Museum. His pragmatic study has helped us to take a fresh look at most areas of the museum which has been most helpful. With a number of additional new volunteers having come forward recently, from both Ganges and locally, we now have two teams responsible for new acquisitions and clearing the backlog which will be an important factor in our accreditation application in January 2018. We have been able to offer an internship to our newest volunteer, fresh from University, who is hoping to become a Curator and needs relevant experience. We are working with Mentors to help him progress his career.

We have been very fortunate to receive over 2,500 visitors since opening so far this year, with individuals and groups visiting by special arrangement outside of normal opening hours which we are happy to do.

Manning the museum at weekends has become more of a challenge. We have some new volunteers who are being trained and they will hopefully become openers for the new season. However others, such as Dave Andrews, are doing more than their fair share to prevent any weekend closures and it would be beneficial to the whole team to be able to spread the cover more evenly. Anyone who feels they could be of assistance should please contact us.

To adorn the museum, we were very pleased to acquire a silver bugle in great condition which was donated by the last Bandmaster before the closure. Another rare find was the museum’s latest acquisition of Princess Mary’s Christmas gift to the troops for WW1 which was a tin containing a sealed packet of tobacco and a partially opened pack of cigarettes. It also contained a Christmas card, written by the hand of Princess Mary. We are expecting to receive the New Zealand standard for laying down following the closure of their division, and an offer to receive some Ganges mirrors found in France and dated 1800s was too tempting to resist but they haven’t reached us yet.

Museum Chairman, Derek Davis, spoke to the members about the Ganges site, explaining that Babergh District Council had applied for a considerable infrastructure grant to help the development which brings the possibility of the Museum moving to Nelson Hall closer. The developers recognised the significant heritage of the Mast and were likely to bring the 143ft restoration forward. The viability of the swimming pool, however, was in doubt. Work on clearing the site and pipe laying has commenced.

It is heartening to know that the Association and the Museum are able to work more closely together for the benefit of all, and we appreciate the warm welcome we always receive . If you’re thinking of visiting the museum, we’re open between Easter and the end of October each season, from 11am until 5pm. We are now open every Wednesday morning throughout the year from 10am to 2pm. If you need to make a special visit outside of normal opening, please let us know. The email address is juneelawford1@hotmail.co.uk or Tel: 01473 788723.

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Keep in touch and view our online collection of photographs by going to the website www.hmsgangesmuseum.com. Click on the Artefacts section and then try the search options. For those of you on social media we’re also on Facebook as HMS Ganges Museum. It’s also worth taking a look at YouTube for videos – and there are several Ganges clips to enjoy – and don’t forget to take a look at Trip Advisor for our excellent reviews – so proud!

 Member Brian Beaton asked if the any of the original material would be used in the restoration of the mast. Derek Davis responded that the bottom part of the mast would be original, the remainder, and the rigging would all be new material. Brian asked if there would be an opportunity for the Association to make use of some of the original material. This will be discussed with the Developers.

12. Reunion 2018 Update Reunion Organiser, Tony Wilders, said that all was progressing well and that we currently had 363 confirmed bookings. 2019 Venue – IOW Tours have been requested to look at possible venues for the 2019 reunion. With the declining levels of attendees (for various reasons) it is doubtful that we can expect to get sole exclusivity at a holiday camp type venue without a raised increase in costs to members to cover empty rooms. That being the case IOW are looking for suitable hotel venues with about 200 rooms to fulfil our needs.
 Jim Goddard said the cost of Reunion weekend was expensive and why couldn’t members have the option of one, two or three nights when booking. Shep responded that bookings for a threenight weekend guaranteed exclusivity of a venue, and the cost also covered extras, for example free tots, booking a specific group for the Saturday night entertainment, and having a third-party organiser. However, the Committee said that they would look into having the options for future Reunions.  John Arbon (Museum) said he had organised events similar to those being discussed and that it involved an horrendous amount of work. It was imperative to use a third-party in today’s world and that they offered value for money. The Chairman thanked John for his support.  Des Kerrigan suggested that an Advert for the Reunion be submitted to the Navy News and the Royal British Legion magazine. ACTION: Des

13. Any Other Business  Des Kerrigan said that only Solent Division, West London Division and the Mercantile Marine had shown any interest in the insurance of Standards. Shep stated that the offer was from CONA and that Des should submit the information he has to Andy Christie. Phil Bridge would be responsible for the payment. ACTION: Des  Ken Bushnell suggested that we hold a Summer Draw as well as a Christmas Draw; to be drawn at the May Committee Meeting. The Committee agreed that this should be discussed at the financial meeting.  George Barnham said that he and Carole had taken over the Grand Draw from Dick Binch, and tickets were available today if anyone was interested. He asked that all stubs, completed with name and address, be sent to him – not other members of the Committee. The Chairman suggested a large notice be included in the next Gazette as a reminder to members.  Shep stated that he was visiting Mylor next week to discuss the Ganges ‘Garden of Rest’. There is a small plot of land next to the Mylor Memorial which could be used. He will discuss cost with our gardener and report back to the Committee.  Shep mentioned that the Veterans Bereavement Support Services was a group which had been set up to ensure that all those who serve or had served in the Armed Forces or Merchant Navy and their families have full access to a specialist bereavement support network in their time of need. He asked if we could promote and support this group. It was agreed to discuss this in depth at the next full Committee Meeting.  Shep suggested that the Association might approach the local Premier Inn for a deal so that more Ganges boys would be able to visit or support the Museum. Derek Davis, Museum Chairman, said that the Shipwreck now offered B&B.  Chairman Colin Gent said that in the past many members of the Committee did not claim expenses for their many duties. However, in order to reflect the true running costs of the Association he said that Committee Members should now claim expenses