Royal Marines Association North Devon

ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE

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Letters published so far

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October 

November

December 

January 2015

Due to a new arrival of a Grand Daughter for the Chairman he has developed "Baby Brain" and forgot to publish a letter for January.  Normal services will be resumed in February. 

February

Firstly my apologies for not getting a letter to you all in January.  It’s an age thing I think.

So where are we up to?  We had a successful fundraiser in Green Lanes in January with BHS and Wilko’s racing each other on the Chairman’s ropy old exercise bike.  Apart from the pedal strap breaking the bike stayed the course and travelled 900 virtual kilometres by the end of the week.  We presented a cup to the winners, BHS.  The big winners were the additional £1600 + to the Christmas Appeal money, which ended up at £8475.  Read the minutes re the distribution.

We’ve had a busy February with a branch meeting (my sincere thanks to Bruce White for his excellent talk on List X and National Security).  Richie popped in for an unannounced visit on the night which was great.  We had the visit from Brigadier Richard Spencer, Deputy Commandant RM and the Corps RSM.  Both were very impressed with our turnout and the good work we do.  My thanks to all who supported this event.  We also wined and dined our “Older and Bolder” at the Barnstaple Hotel.  This was the first attempt at a lunch and went down very well. And the standard was on parade at the funeral of WW2 Army Commando Albert “Jim” Howard in Combe Martin.

Looking ahead we have been invited to the “Survivalist” weekend at RMS Rosemoor and Roli Jones, myself and some members from CLR (hopefully) will be there to talk to the public and maybe feed them fried worms!!  We have a branch night on the 13th March – usual format scran at 1800, business at 1900 and a talk at 2000.

Two major fundraisers that the RMCTF are undertaking is the Support Appeal, when we do our thing in Sainsbury’s and the raffling off of a very expensive Aston Martin or £75,000 cash.  I have raffle tickets for this and urge you to support both these events.  We have booked June 29th to July 5th at Sainsbury’s.  Soon I will be starting to fill the rotas for bucket holders and the RMA team.

I would ask you all to look at the events section of the minutes for key dates this year.  Mountbatton Festival of Music is on the 16th, 17th and 18th.  Richie Puttock is after volunteers to hold exit buckets after each show.  For that you will get a free seat.  Graspan is on the 17th May and we may, if enough people attend lay on transport.  Our own Armed Forces Day is on 22nd June in Bideford – no detail yet and the North Devon Vets Expo is over 3 days at the end of June at Pilton School.

Within CLR we are continuing our work on Unit/branch integration and I will update you in due course.  However, I can say there is now a RMA Unit Sub Committee made up of serving ranks who are tasked to liaise with the branch committee.

Please continue to support your branch in any way you can.

                                                                                                                                                           

Yours Aye

JP                                                      

March

A couple of votes of thanks: I would like to thank Edd “Bertie” Sambrook on an excellent talk at the last meeting on his expedition down the Copper Mine River in the Arctic – most inspirational.  I would also like to thank Roli Jones and Adrian Littlejohn for some sterling work at the recent RHS Rosemoor Survivalist Weekend.  The organisers at Rosemoort have told me we stole the show.  We also raised £65 for the RMA - not a lot I know but particularly as we weren’t trying to raise any funds it all helps.  It is planned to do this again next year where we hope to raise a little more.

 

Work continues with Commando Logistics on greater integration between the serving Corps and RMA and I think we are making great strides in the right direction, and dare I say it show the RMA and serving Corps the way forward.  This can only be good for the branch and the Corps Family.  Please see my note about the launch of local discounts scheme on production of your RMA membership card.  More information and where to find these discounts will follow very soon.

 

The main event coming up in May is our Annual Regimental Dinner.  There is a proforma with to these minutes.  At £25 for 4 courses in such an outstanding setting as the SNCO’s Mess is, I think, good value for money.  The evening will also include Mess Beatings by the Bideford Pipe Band and a disco for those who are still nibble enough to shake a leg on the dance floor, not to mention a very reasonable priced late bar.  Please try to support this event.

 

Of course, not wanting to miss an opportunity to raise some additional funds for the branch we will be holding our Annual Spring Raffle with some excellent prizes.  Tickets will be available on the night at £5 a book of 5 tickets.  If you are not indenting to attend please try to support the raffle.  Let me know and I will get tickets to you.  By raising funds through our raffles we have fought off having to charge local membership as other branch do.

 

Other exciting events are all down in the minutes.  We are in Sainsbury’s again in July and then supporting RM veteran Taff Davies on the Devon leg of his John O’Groats to Lands End walk for the RMCTF, Alzheimer’s and Cancer Research.  I am after names only at this stage who can come along and help – dates and timings will be sorted nearer the time.  So, please, don’t think it’s too soon to register an interest because you don’t know what you are doing then.  If you want to take part let me know.  If nearer the time dates and times don’t fit in – no problem.  Having a list of interested people makes my planning and logistics easier.

 

Please continue to support your branch in any way you can.  If in doubt about anything please ask.

                                                                                                                                                           

Yours Aye

JP                                                              

April

Dear All,

Apologies for the length of the minutes and addition documents but I felt we needed to incorporate committee and Branch AGM and circulate the new branch calendar format and reunion proforma.  Although some subjects are in brief please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need more information or detail.

May’s monthly meeting has been cancelled as we will be holding our Annual dinner on the 30th and the AGM was late this month due to the Mess being closed for Unit leave.  I will, however send out an update during May or early June. June’s meeting will be on the 12th.  Jacky and I send our apologies as we will be away on holiday at that time.  Colin Shearsby will be covering for me and will take to meeting on the 12th.  His contact details are at the bottom of this letter and the minutes.

As mentioned our Annual dinner is on the 30th and I urge you to try to attend this excellent night.  Please get your proforma into Fran by the 15th May with money.  If you aren’t planning to attend please consider buying some raffle tickets – we have around 20 excellent prizes including a £100 holiday voucher, Beer and Wine Hamper, Picnic Basket, Slow Cooker, Notebook PC (for the more technically minded) to mention a few.  Contact me and I will be able to provide tickets for you.  Those who have raffle tickets and aren’t attending please get them back to me by 29th May at the latest.

Other up and coming branch events are Joiners and Leavers in the Sgt Mess - 7th May, Torridge Armed Forces Flag Raising Parade, Victoria Park-Bideford -  22nd June, North Devon Vets Expo-Pilton School -  27th June and our annual challenge in Sainsbury’s from the 29th June to 5th July.  Please consider supporting these.  More detail in the minutes and to follow.

You will see we have a new format for the branch calendar (attached).   This calendar has been produced by Sue Shearsby, Branch Secretary.  The aim of it is to have a user friendly, month by month format of events so you can see each month at a glance.  Please save it to your PC, print it off and place somewhere where you can refer to it easily.  In future we will send updates in the minuets for you to add to your calendar.  We will not send a full calendar out each month.

The proforma for the Reunion at CTC in September is also attached.  Please complete and return to me asap. If you leave it to long you may not get concert tickets.

Finally I think as a branch we can be very proud of our achievements again this year.  My thanks to you all for your support.  Remember this is your branch, if you have ideas or suggestions let me know.  Our aims are to provide friendship and support to each other and to enjoy what the RMA has to offer as well as trying to raise funds for Corps charities to help those less fortunate than us.

 

Yours Aye

JP

May

 

Dear All,

I hope this note finds you all well.  As promised an update as we are not holding a meeting this    month.

Preparations for our annual dinner are going well.  I would like to ask those who have bought and/or sold raffle tickets and aren’t coming to the dinner, please return to me with the money by the 28th May at the latest. Those attending the dinner please arrive around 1800 as Mess Beatings will start at 1830.  Also be prepared to give names at the gate for security as they have a list of all attendees.

As you know the RMCTF is holding a grand raffle of an Aston Martin (or £75,000 cash) at £10 per ticket.  I have a number of books of tickets available.  So if you want to be in it to win it please contact me.

I have now been advised by Torridge District Council/Bideford Town Council that Armed Forces Flag Raising in Victoria Park Bideford will take place again this year on the 22nd June, a small marching parade will be followed by the flag raising service and then free refreshments in Bideford Rugby Club. As members of the branch you are all invited to attend.  Muster at 1800 on the Quay for those marching and 1825 everyone else.  You don’t have to march and seating is available for those who need it. Please support this event. 

Continuing this theme there is an open event of military history at Pilton School Barnstaple as part of Armed Forces week on Saturday 27th June at 1000-1600. Why not pop in and have a look – the branch will have a stand there.

Our annual Sainsbury’s Challenge starts on Monday 29th June at 0800 and runs all week.  I need volunteers to collect and also do a little bit of physical exertion on a cross trainer.  We are there all week from 0800-2100.  Please try to give an hour or two to support in any way.

The visit to 11 ATT Instow will take place on 10th June.  Final arrangements are being made now but currently it’s from 1000-1400’ish. Our June branch meeting will be held as usual at the Mess at RMB Chivenor on the 12th June - 1800 to eat and 1900 for business.  It is likely we will have Bruce White giving a talk on the IRA Bombing at Deal – to be confirmed.   Jacky and I send our apologies, as we will be on holiday for the first two weeks in June. Colin Shearsby is co-ordinating these 2 events as well as the point of contact for all RMA business and can be contacted on 07737204646 or 01271 813821. 

Please continue to support your branch in any way you can.  If in doubt about anything please a

Yours Aye 

JP

 

June

 

Dear All,

We had an excellent turn out for our annual Regimental Dinner and I think it was enjoyed by all.  I know our formal guest Col & Mrs Baxendale, Maj & Mrs Woosey, Col & Mrs Wilson and the RSM certainly enjoyed themselves.  The raffle raised around £680 for branch funds which was excellent and well done to those who won something and a big thank you for Fran, Jacky and the team who did the hard work and also squeezed that extra few pounds out of the guests on the night.

 

In June we had a good turnout at THE branch meeting and my thanks to Bruce White for his presentation on the Deal IRA Bombing.  There was also Joiners and Leavers, a visit to 11 ATT at Instow and Torridge Councils Flag Breaking Ceremony for Armed Forces Week.  All were well represented by the branch and all went off well.

 

Our annual Sainsbury’s Challenge starts on Monday 29th June and runs until Sunday 5th July.  We  will be there from 0800-2100 each day except Sunday, which is a 1000-1600.  Please pop along to support this event and maybe give an hour holding a bucket.  My thanks to all who have already put their names in the hat.

 

I can report that Taff Davies, who is walking from John O’Groats to Lands End is on schedule to arrive in North Devon (well Minehead, Somerset actually) on the 10th July where we will escort him for 8 days to Bude.  Please see the minutes for more detail.  If you fancy stretching your legs for a day please let me know.  Also a few people to welcome Taff and the team (and hold a bucket) into Braunton, Barnstaple, Instow, Bideford, Appledore and Westward Ho! would be good.  Please let me know if you can help out.

 

We have been invited to Bideford Water Festival on July 26th and hope to have a stall there.  We haven’t decided on format but will be using the day as a fund raiser for the RMA/RMCTF.  More details to follow.

 

Tickets still available for the RMCTF grand raffle of an Aston Martin (or £75,000 cash) at £10 per ticket. So if you want to be in it to win it please contact me.  Draw will take place at the Reunion in September.

 

Our branch meeting on July 10th will be a BBQ at the Hoof Inn by the Gym (the old Fiddlers Green).  This is a change of venue as we are hoping to use it as a get together with some of the Corporals and their families who maybe potential new members.  It starts at 1830 and there will be a small charge of £5 to cover the cost of food and possibly your first drink.

 

There is still time to apply for tickets for the Reunion in September but the cut off is 28th July so I can get the final application off to Central Office.  For those who have already applied I have your tickets and will advise in due course arrangements.

 

Thank you for your continued support in making this branch one of the most successful in the RMA.

 

Yours Aye

JP

 

July

 

Dear All,

I hope this finds you all in reasonable if not good health.

 

By now the Sainsbury’s challenge is a distant memory.  Yet again the branch with massive support form CLR and 11 ATT Squadron smashed it in the foyer for a week.  In doing so we raised £9480.78 for the RMCTF as part of the RMA’s Annual Support Appeal.  A great effort as usual and my thanks to all who took part.

 

On the heels of this we were off again walking with a mad Welshman, Taff Davies who left John O’Groats on the 2nd May and arrived in Minehead on the 9th July.  Along with members of CLR we transited daily to each start location and accompanied Taff over the next 9 days on the roller coaster, which is the Southwest Coastal path to Bude.  Not missing a chance for a little extra fund raising we rattled buckets on route and had Mike Harper play his pipes at various locations.  The net result was £2148.89 for Taff’s chosen charity the RMCTF.  Not wanting to rest there a group of us went down to Lands End to welcome Taff in and had Mike Harper and Gaylena Humphries of Bideford Youth Pipe band fame to walk the last mile form Sennen Cove to Lands End piping.  It is said they could hear us coming a mile away.

 

Both these endeavours have I think demonstrated exactly what the Commandant General has called “Harnessing the Corps Family” which between our Branch, Commando Logs and 11ATT Instow we seem to do pretty well at.  My sincere thanks to the serving girls and boys who never fail to get amongst it and support our efforts.

 

Coming up we have our August branch meeting on the 14th.  Due to the unit being closed for Summer Leave we are relocating to the RNA’s old stomping ground Bideford Rugby Club where we will provide a buffet at £3.00 and some entertainment after branch business is dealt with.  Please support this evening and it would be good to see some of the members who used to support the RNA.  I know Enid will be serving behind the bar for those who know her.

 

A group of us are going to Padstow for the Rededication of an unmarked grave, which has now been identified as the resting place of former WW1 Royal Marine William Whitmore.  The dedication starts at 1400 at Padstow Cemetery and the branch standard will be present.  It would be good to see a few members come along for what I expect to be a unique and moving short service.  For those who receive the RMA Magazine there is the full story in July’s edition.

 

Speaking of the RMA Magazine we didn’t get our article published this time although one was submitted some months ago.  Never mind hopefully next edition.

 

A couple of other events coming up – your Chairman and Edd “Bertie” Sambrook are kayaking to Baggy Point, Climbing the cliff and speed marching back to RMB Chivenor for the RMA and BLESMA.  A “Just Giving” page has been launched.  See the minutes and if you can donate please do so.  Your Chairman has started kayak training and was on the water at 0600 this morning!!

 

We are again supporting the Barnstaple Marathon in September.  Again see the minutes and if you can help please let Colin Shearsby Know.


Finally you will see an item regarding information from Central Office.  Please get in touch with me if you require more details of how the RMA is evolving into a more modern military association.  Rest assured that the committee hold the interests of the branch upper most and I can assure you that the way we conduct our business is not under threat of change at all.

 

Thank you for your continued support in making this branch one of the most successful in the RMA.

 

Yours Aye

JP

August

 

Dear All,

I hope this finds you all in reasonable if not good health.

 

I have attended 3 workshops at Central Office to work on the future of the RMA.  I believe there are exciting times ahead and you will all see developments due course.  I can assure you that the way we operate will not be affected and these developments will only enhance what we currently do. However if you ever want to discuss anything concerns or ideas about how the RMA should be run please get in touch with me.

 

I omitted to mention that branch members attended the SNCO’s Summer Ball in July – a great night.  Going forward we generally get the option of a table at these events.  So if anyone is interested in attending in future please mention it.

 

The Rededication of L/Cpl Whitmores grave was well represented by the branch and the RMA and the family were very grateful and I think very surprised with the turnout.

 

We had a very successful branch meeting in July at Bideford Rugby Club and it was great to see some of our more senior members who can’t get to Chivenor these days.  We are considering making this an annual event and maybe holding 2 meetings a year at Bideford as a change of venue.  Watch this space.  Our August meeting is on the 11th back at the SNCO’s Mess, RMB Chivenor.  It commences at 1800 with “Pay as You Dine” food – please order by the 8th September through me.  We are hoping to have a guest speaker, Richard Bass – who is a Military Historian and Specialises in the US Amphibious Training that took place in North Devon prior to D Day.  This is still to be confirmed.  If not we will have an alternative social function (film or speaker).

 

By the time the meeting happened Edd Sambrook and I will have completed our little challenge of paddling to Baggy Point, climbing the cliff there and speed marching back to Chivenor.  We are in training hard at present.  A donation website page has been launched – “Just Giving” – “Edd Sambrook” – “Classic Commando Challenge” (it is recognised by the red commando dagger).  We are trying to raise funds for the RMA and BLESMA.  Even if it’s only £5 it all helps.  We will accept cash donations sent to me at: Winterwood, Glentorr Road, Bideford, EX39 2LS (cheques made out to RMA North Devon” please. 

 

We are again supporting the Barnstaple Marathon in September on the 27th.  Thank you for those who have already volunteered to help this event.  Please contact Colin Shearsby or me if you are up to help with marshalling.

 

A warning order that this years Remembrance Parade will be held at RMB Chivenor on the 8th November – details to follow.

 

Thank you for your continued support in making this branch one of the most successful in the RMA.

 

Yours Aye      JP

 

September

 

Chairman’s Letter September 2015.

 Dear All, I hope this finds you all in good health.

 

Edd and I completed our challenge on Thursday 10th September.  We had massive support from CLR and 11ATT with 5 kayaks and a paddle board escorting us on the sea leg, a cliff assault team of 4 who saw us safely to the top of Baggy Point and then a safety vehicle along with an escort of 3 supporting us back to CLR. The website “Just Giving” – “Edward Sambrook” – “Classic Commando Challenge” (it is recognised by the red commando dagger) will remain open for a little longer and we are hoping to reach £1000 for the RMA and BLESMA.  So if you would still like to donate – every little will help.  We will accept cash/cheque donations sent to me at: Winterwood, Glentorr Road, Bideford, EX39 2LS (cheques made payable to John Peel” please) – that way I will then donate on line and the gift aid claimed will go to the fund.  I would advise anyone who chooses this method when I have done this.  Current total donations stand at £625.

 

The Dartmoor Yomp was well supported by branch members and Tom and Fran Rivenberg who are loaned out each year to Yorkie Malone from Tavistock branch did a wonderful job with the raffle.

 

The Reunion was yet again a great success and a hugely enjoyable weekend with over 20 attending from the branch.  In the quiz we achieved a very creditable 2nd place – unfortunately to Exeter again by 2 marks. Exeter also entered the shooting and beat us by less than one centimetre.

 

Our next branch meeting has been moved one week later to the 16th October as both myself and Colin are away on the 9th.  Please order your meal by the 14th by email or phone to me.

 

You will have seen and heard a great deal about Al Blackman in the press recently.  I have enclosed a separate publication from Central Office and there will be more to come.  However, I can assure you that outside of the legal and political arenas where the RMA cannot go the Association and the Corps have and will continue to support the Blackman family.  You are entitled to make any donation you wish to make, individually.  I would suggest that you consider making it to the RMA Central Office “Blackman” fund, where it will be used to best effect.  You can find details of how in the separate publication, or ask me.

 

Thank you to those who supported the Barnstaple Marathon in September on the 27th. Yet again the branch did ourselves proud showing our support for this local community event.

 

A couple of warning orders:

·      This years Remembrance Parade will be held at RMB Chivenor on the 8th November – details to follow.  I would also like a branch representative to lay wreaths at Barnstaple, Bideford and Torrington.  Anyone who is intending to attend these events instead of Chivenor and can do this please get in touch.

·      Central Office are taking advance ticket bookings for 2016 Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall (7th, 8th and 9th April).  Anyone wishing to purchase advance tickets please get in touch.  Cut off for this is 6th November.  Then tickets go on sale to the public.

·      Our Christmas Appeal dates are in the minutes.  If you can give the branch a couple of hours in Ilfracombe, Braunton, Bideford or Barnstaple please get in touch.

 

Hopefully you will understand I cannot cover every RMA issue in detail and so bullet point items.  However, if you would like to discuss anything further don’t hesitate to ask me. 

 

As always my thanks to you all for your continued support,     JP

 

November

Dear All, I hope this finds you all as well as can be expected and your Christmas arrangements are in hand – mine aren’t

 

I can report that George Dellars funeral was well attended and the family pass on their thanks to all.

 

We also had an excellent turnout at the Remembrance Parade at RMB Chivenor and my personal thanks to those who laid branch wreaths at Torrington, Bideford, Barnstaple and Marwood.  You may also have seen Tom in his buggy laying the wreath on behalf of BLESMA at the Cenotaph in London.

 

The Branch Christmas Party:  We have had 36 people so far who have returned their forms to attend the Christmas Dinner on the 18th December.  I note there are some “usual suspects” who haven’t as yet sent their forms back.  So if you are intending to come along please get your completed form returned as soon as possible and to Fran. This will help us with the arrangements.  Please remember we have a closing date of the 8th December as requested by Sodexo.

 

The Seniors Mess Christmas Ball: There is a table on 10 for RMA and one for Hon Members.  If you want to attend on a FIRST COME BASIS you need to put your name on the list in the Mess Reception by the 4th December.  Cost is £40 per head.  It is however an excellent evening.

 

The Branch Christmas Appeal:  My thanks to those who have volunteered to hold a bucket for the branch for our Annual Christmas Appeal. I am still looking for volunteers, particularly Barnstaple.  But if you want to help at the other locations that would be great – it means someone can go for a break. You can find all dates, locations and timings in the minutes.

 

The Christmas Raffle: Fran and Jacky have worked hard again to acquire excellent prizes for the Christmas raffle and tickets are now available to sell to friends and family.  I know I say this every year but if you don’t intend coming along to the evening please consider supporting your branch by buying a book or 2 at £5 each.  Send your requests to me and I will ensure your tickets are in the draw.

 

The Mess Monthly Joiners and Leavers Evening: I have written an item on this subject in the minutes to update us all (me included) on the protocol we must observe if attending this Mess function. There is the usual antics and language can occasionally be barrack room.  I have reassured the RSM that those attending are not easily offended.  So if you attend please accept what goes on stays in the Mess.

 

 Wheelie Bins: Please remember we have around 20 garden size wheelie bins from the Shoe Box Appeal days, which the council are allowing us to give out for a charitable donation of £5 to RM Charities.  If you know a friend who would like one that’s great.  Please contact me if you require one.

 

Central Office News: You will see an item in the minutes regarding Central Office.  There is too much paperwork to send out.  But I will be publishing items on our website.  But if have a question please ask.

 

Hopefully you will understand I cannot cover every RMA issue in detail and so have bullet pointed some items.  If you would like to discuss anything further don’t hesitate to ask me.  As always my thanks to you all for your continued support,    

 

JP

October

Chairman’s Letter October 2015.

 Dear All, I hope this finds you all as well as can be expected.

 

Firstly it is my sad duty to inform you of to members who have “crossed the bar” - George Dellar and Mike Comer. 

George was a long time branch member who carried our standard and also won the national standard bearers competition many times.  Due to everything that advancing years brings George hadn’t attended branch meetings for some time but in his day was a loyal member. His funeral is on the 2nd November at Barnstaple Crematorium at 1540. 

 

Mike supported the branch as much as possible, particularly fund raising.  I attended his Thanks Giving service with the standard and after hearing how much Mike did for the local community I realised we were very fortunate to have Mike rattling a bucket for us as often as he did. The church was full and the family were very grateful for the standard being present.  Personally I know how many times Mike stood outside Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and in Barnstaple with a bucket and it will be a big hole to fill.

 

As mentioned last month the branch will be attending RMB Chivenor for the Remembrance Parade and details are in the minutes.  If you haven’t been in touch with me already and are planning to attend please phone me immediately (01237477438).  We are also invited to attend the Carvery lunch in the SNCO’s Mess afterwards at a charge of £6 per head.  Again if you plan to eat I need this info straight away.  We have also arranged for members to lay wreaths at other parades in the area.

 

Our Annual Christmas Appeal gets under way on the 30th November at Tesco’s Ilfracombe.  You can find all dates, locations and timings in the minutes.  Anyone that can hold a bucket for even an hour at any of the locations please get in touch.  This is our main fundraiser for the RMA and Welfare Fund at RMB Chivenor.

 

Our Christmas Dinner has been booked in the Officers Mess at RMB Chivenor for the 18th December.  This is a less formal affair and we always have some fun.  We have just been advised that the MOD no longer accepts that the RMA are entitled to be subsidised by the Crown, ie a Mess function. However we have endeavoured to keep the cost down and look at cost saving changes to ensure we enjoy the Mess surroundings, Mess bar prices in an exclusive and private location.  This year’s cost will be £20 for a welcome drink, 3 course dinner and coffee, mince pies and mints. Proformas are attached and guests are very welcome.  If you want to stay over night in the SNCO’s Mess please book directly with the Mess.

 

Fran and Jacky have worked hard again to acquire excellent prizes for the Christmas raffle and tickets are now available to sell to friends and family.  I know I say this every year but if you don’t intend coming along to the evening please consider supporting your branch by buying a book or 2 at £5 each.  Send your requests to me and I will ensure your tickets are in the draw.

 

Please remember we have around 20 garden size wheelie bins from the Shoe Box Appeal days, which the council are allowing us to give out for a charitable donation of £5 to RM Charities.  Please contact me if you require one.

 

You will note from the minutes advance ticket sales have now closed for the Mountbatten Festival of Music.  But tickets are now on general release.

 

Hopefully you will understand I cannot cover every RMA issue in detail and so have bullet pointed some items.  If you would like to discuss anything further don’t hesitate to ask me.  As always my thanks to you all for your continued support,    

 


December

 

Chairman’s Letter Christmas Letter, December 2015. 2015.

 

Dear All, I hope this finds you all as well as can be expected and your Christmas arrangements are in hand.

 

I would like to take this opportunity of wishing you, your family’s and friends an outstanding Christmas and that 2016 comes with good fortune, happiness and good health for year.

 

Dependant on commitments I might forgo the committee meeting this month.  However a few notices:

 

v  Our Annual Christmas Appeal is on the way to raising around £6000 for the following charities:

The Royal Marines Association

BLESMA

The Royal Navy Benevolent Trust

Commando Logistic Welfare Fund

 

v  My thanks to all who helped out over the last few weeks.  Yet again we have had outstanding support from the serving Corps from Commando Logistic Regiment. Without you we wouldn’t have achieved such a good total.

 

v  Our next branch “Get together” is on January 8th at the usual venue of the SNCO’s Mess.  We have provisionally booked a guest speaker to talk about the Tradition of Burns Night.  This is to be confirmed.  The usual format of food at 1800 to 1900, followed by Branch Business and then the social part of the evening around 2000.  I will be confirming this nearer the time.  If you intend joining us please let me know by the 5th January so I can order the food.

 

v  Sgt Blackman’s case is still receiving high profile and again Central Office have issued a statement to all branches that the welfare of Sgt Blackman and his family has always been and will continue to be supported by the RMA and RMCTF.  But our constitution does not allow for the RMA, their Regions or Branches to be involved with the political or legal processes.  There is a fund held at Central Office specifically for the Blackman Family and individuals are welcome to contribute privately to this.  Individuals are also free to hold their own opinions and do what they feel is best.  But it cannot be seen as a collective RMA campaign.

 

v  I can confirm we now have 3 branch members who have received the French “Legion d’Honneur”.  We await the remain members who are due to receive theirs at which time we are planning a formal presentation by the French Ambassadors Representative in UK – a fitting honour for these gentlemen – I think.

 

v  Between Christmas and the New Year there maybe an updated set of minutes distributed.  However, please get in touch with me if you have any queries or need to report anything.  My door is always open.

 

v  It only leaves me to thank you all for your support in what has been another busy but successful year for the branch here in North Devon.  We continue to punch above our waits and hold the spirit of the RMA and Corps family uppermost. Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and New Year

 

 

JP