Royal Marines Association North Devon





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Articles from Central Office in Date Order:

Letter from Jonathan Ball, CEO of the RMA-The Royal Marines Charity

Membership Committee Mtg June 2019

RMA News Letter May 2019

The Official Annoucemnet of the Merger of the RMA and RMC

A letter from New CEO of the RMA - Brig Richard Spencer CBE


A Letter of Commendation from Maj Gen Charlie Stickland CBE - CGRM

A Letter from Jonathan Ball , CEO of the RMA- The Royal Marines Charity

Dear John and the North Devon Branch,

I just wanted to write to acknowledge and thank you for the three fundraising cheques we received from you towards the end of last month.

Raising £7475.36 from customers of Sainsbury's in Barnstaple is, quite simply, a remarkable achievement and one that will have taken a great deal of time, organisation and commitment by all.  It's always good for the public to see both serving and veterans shaking the buckets and taking part in the "free phys" - we've seen the photos of Phil Gilby doing his bit!  Please pass on our thanks to all involved in the extraordinary fundraising event.

The Ilfracombe Gig Regatta is well known as a major gig rowing event in the area, so I offer my thanks and congratulations to Bob martin for getting a gig slot and sponsorship.  It was very generous of the Ilfracombe and District Community Transport Association to offer sponsorship.  We look forward to hearing more about how Matt Mason is getting on as he continues to take part in the other events this year and it is excellent that RMA North Devon Branch can support him along the way.

Thank you for organising and running these extraordinarily successful events.  It is a mark of your outstanding Chairmanship that the team spirit of RMA North Devon continues to generate such exceptional results for the good of our RM community.

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Ball


 Thursday 20 June 2019 at 0930 hours

Items 1 and 2. Opening Remarks/Attendees and Apologies.

1.   The Chairman thanked all attendees for coming, noted apologies from those unable to attend, welcomed Messrs Dixon and Swainbank as new members of the committee, and set the Membership Committee in its context as part of the merged charity.

Item 3.  Proposal: Approve Minutes of Previous Board meeting (28 Mar 19)   

2.   With the exception of 2 minor amendments, The Minutes of the last meeting were approved unanimously as a true record.

Item 4.   Note- Management Information Report

3.   DCE explained the information displayed in the four quadrants of the dashboard display. While no major concerns were highlighted, the following points emerged:

·         Membership: increasing

  • It was difficult to identify the approx. 600 p.a. serving RMs leaving the Corps and staying in touch with them because the charity is not informed of their transition.
  • RM Officers Dining Club to become an RMA Branch; possible GDPR implication of transferring its members’ records to RMA database
  • Wolverhampton Branch has been resurrected                       

    ·         Events: 4000 people participating this year, which represents success.

    Item 5. Note – Action Tracker

    4.   DCE focussed on the amber (work just started) and red (not started) actions in the tracker and elaborated on the notes associated with each. In discussion, the following points were of note:

    a.  Serial 20: Letters to COs were ready for dispatch

    b. Serial 25: Process to be put in place to ensure donations were annotated as such to prevent misunderstandings about their origin on arrival in Central Office.

    c. Serial 33: CW explained the situation about remedying the RMA Concert Band’s finances. BRR recommended that any financial returns that had been submitted in the past should be checked for indicators of irregularities. CW advised that in the years when accounts had been audited, auditors had not raised any red flags.

    c. Serial 35: broad discussion under this serial covered the prospective penalty for Branches that had not submitted either Transfer Agreements or Financial Returns. It was agreed that:

    ·         Reminders should be sent to Carlisle, Hull, Merseyside and Morecambe Bay for their transfer agreements.

    ·         Reminders should be sent to Cornwall, Mid Devon, Exeter and Swansea Bay for their financial returns

    ·          Croydon and Stourbridge to be suspended until both forms are sent by each Branch or acknowledgement of the requirement is received.                                   ACTION: CW

    (Post meeting note: in discussions later in the meeting DCE, who had reviewed the record of returns from Stourbridge, agreed that RMA Stourbridge had now met both the Transfer and Financial Return requirements).

    Item 8: Note - Serving Corps Update (brought forward to allow CRSM to meet another commitment)

    5.  CRSM informed the Committee that CGRM supersession had taken place and that Maj Gen Matt Holmes had taken over from Maj Gen Stickland. He briefed that the Corps is now busier than ever, with large components from 3 Cdo Bde RM deployed on exercises and operations worldwide, including 40 RM reservists mobilised.  The Corps’ future as the Future Cdo Force and Littoral Strike concepts developed in parallel was looking as assured as anything could in today’s uncertain world. On women in ground combat roles, he stated that there was 1 female in training, but she was currently injured and in Hunter Tp; there were 21 others in the pipeline by none was yet at the required standard to attempt PRMC. He concluded by stating that manning was still weak and would remain so for some time but recruiting and retention was improving. 

    Item 6. Note - Finance Update

    6.  DCE amplified the information in the pre-read pack, stating that membership finances on the merged charity were still bedding in, but it was important to note the following points:

    a.   Income was not as high as had been budgeted for, although it would always be variable having moved to donation based

    b.  An underspend in event costs was forecast.

    c.  Expenditure was easier to control than income but nonetheless direct influence on it was not easy

    d.  The next budget would be in Oct and would focus on understanding how to fund the aspirations for membership events given the relatively limited influence that can be exerted on income.

    i.  There would be a new budgeting format for 2020: if it was intended to continue to deliver a similar membership programme, including 60% subsidy from the Charity, it would be necessary either to draw down on investments or reduce the subsidy for each event.

    7. In subsequent discussion, BRR advised against drawing down on investment, which would reduce income in another way. JB stated that, despite concerns about treating Branches and members as sources of income, it was reasonable to expect donations to replace the bulk of subscription income, so pressing Regions and branches for donations and fundraising initiatives would be justifiable. JB also undertook to provide the whole-charity finance spreadsheet to the Committee after the Board meeting on 4 July.

    Item 7. Note - Merger Update

    8.   RS recorded a vote of thanks to Paul Richardson for leading RMA Deal through the difficult process of agreeing to transfer their building to the Charity.  He added that there had been no formal transfer of funds yet to the charity because a formal leasing agreement with the Deal RM Club had not yet been drawn up.

    9.   RS stated that legally-drafted Memoranda of Understanding to be sent to the 2 x RMA Clubs to allow them to use the title “RMA” had been received. 

    10.   CW amplified RS’s explanation of the situation pertaining to the RMA Concert Band, stating that Bob Hayter (RNRMC Group Finance Officer) was advising about the potential legacy VAT liabilities with assistance from David Bourne (Portsmouth accountant commissioned to help with RMA Branch audits), in particular looking at possible mitigations of these liabilities, about which he was fairly optimistic. Meanwhile, the onus was on the Band to ensure that the VAT threshold was not crossed again.

    Item 8.  Note - National Events Update. (Joined by Mr P Gilby MBE [Operations Manager West] and Mrs S Parry [Membership Secretary])

    11.   PG asserted that national events to date had been successful in terms of numbers attending, event management and value for money. Arrangements for Corps Family weekend were falling into place and take up was increasing. Planning had started for the Walcheren 75th anniversary trip, at which a new 47 RM Commando memorial would be unveiled. This event would be run experimentally through RNRMC Enterprises.

    12.   On membership, SP said that her first 3 months with the Charity had been thoroughly enjoyable, and she and Jane Bruce were greatly enjoying covering membership matters with a great team and were committed to increasing membership numbers. The Chairman offered them both a formal welcome to the Charity. PG added that all Command Courses now received briefs about the Charity and were proving to be fertile recruiting grounds for new members. He also said that new recruits were being targeted, and discussion followed about provision to them of a charity-provided “nod-pack” for pre-order, perhaps consisting of an ironing board or boot polish kit. RS asked whether Branch secretary access to the database could be granted to Branch Chairman, to which DCE readily acquiesced.

    13.   PG concluded the discussion by announcing that all Squad/Troop reunions should from now on be applied for through his office, and that the next available King’s Squad pass out was in September 2020. DCE warned that while this was good news, there was finite capacity across the board within Charity staff and asked that, for the Operations Managers’ sakes, Regions would help them to coordinate visits to Branches, so that, for example, 2 or 3 Branches in a Region could be visited in the same trip.

    Item 12. Discussion with Head of Marketing and Communications.

    14.   The Chairman and DCE welcomed CC to the meeting, explaining that her presence signified the start of consideration about the need to change the methods of communication across the membership. The following points emerged from the subsequent discussion:

                a.   Wide variety of different audiences within membership – how to engage with them all?

    b.   More than 35,000 unique users (55-65 years old) have visited the website looking mainly at 4- 5 pages and finishing on the Join Us page, but not completing the joining process. Need to develop this page to encourage completion of joining process. The Chairman repeated his long held view that belonging to RMA-The RM Charity helped prevent the need for welfare intervention later in a member’s life.

    c.  CC suggested that that 3 things could be done to help increase membership:

                i.   Initiate ‘refer a friend’ campaign

                ii.   Shorten joining process on website Join Us page.

                iii.   Create credit-card sized aide-memoir about joining for issue at Charity events.

    d. It was noted and agreed that the lengthy joining process resulted from the need to ensure security and proper entry eligibility to MOD establishments, and could not be made too simple. However, other methods could be harnessed: e.g. joining sheets for issue and collection at events, with central office staff following up.

    e.  The discussion concluded with JB suggesting a survey to increase understanding about the audience, and DCE proposing that this should be a standing agenda item for the Membership Committee to ensure its continued engagement in this subject.

    Item 10.  Note - Strategic Level Regional Updates

    15.  Of note:

    a.  East Anglia: Norfolk Branch has initiated a “Dit ‘n’ a curry” evening in Norwich which is proving successful.

    b.  Midlands: Branches now reduced to 9. RE & PG are discussing how to remedy the situation.                                                                                                                           ACTION: RE

    c.   Northern: RS is working hard to encourage revitalisation of the Regions’ Branches.

    d.   Scotland & NI: Five Branches.  2019 AGM held at beginning of June in Sgts’ mess 45 Cdo RM – 25 attendees. New Regional Secretary is Mark McCraw of RMA Edinburgh. BB will approach RMA Tyneside with a view to joining Scotland & NI Region, with which it seems to have a closer affiliation that it does with Northern Region. The Chairman supported this initiative.   ACTION: BB

    i.  BB was asked to summarise the principle of adoption local “detachments” of main RMA Branches (e.g. Aberdeen and Dundee being outposts of East of Scotland Branch).

    e.   Southern:  Discovery that fundraisers in less formal attire at public collections attracted greater rate of donations.  Requested formal guidance be sent to all Branches about public fundraising with buckets/tins so that all participants understand the rules. Wishes to make RMA Hanwell a “detachment” of RMA Windsor.

    f.  South East:  Five Branches in the Region; attempting to increase them by improved communications.

    g. South West: NSTR.

    Item 11. Managing the VAT Risk.

    16.  DCE amplified the pre-meeting brief; his statements about Event funding and RMA Branch property transfers were accepted. Discussion focussed on the question of encouraging Branches to shift from subscriptions to donations. The committee stated that it was content with the approaches for managing Branch donations described in the brief.  The suggestions for distribution of Gift Aid on Branch donations was discussed and put to the vote. It was decided that the charity should retain 100% of Gift Aid generated from Branch subscriptions, as follows:

    Proposed: Mr S Beet

    Seconded: Mr R Swainbank

    3 for 50/50 gainshare between Central Office and Branches/Regions

    6 for 100% retention by Central Office

    1 abstention

    Item 13. Note - Membership Committee TORs and Bye-Laws- Update

     17.  The Committee accepted DCE’s statements about the Bye-Laws in the pre-meeting brief. He added that they would be sent to Branches for comment, to be returned by 22 Aug to allow the final version to be presented at AGM for discussion and approval (or further amendments).

    Item 14.   Note – Royal Marines Museum Update.

    18. DCE explained the current difficult funding situation in which the new RM Museum found itself. JB reported that the main implication for RMA-The Royal Marines Charity was that the NMRN’s management body had bid to the Charity for a £1m grant towards the new museum. The Board was not yet convinced that this was an appropriate current call on the Charity’s funds when considered against other commitments. Work was in hand to strengthen the Museum’s fundraising campaign and to re-shape the bid.

    Item 15. Note- Recognition

    19. DCE proffered names to the Committee of   RMA members and supporters who were under consideration for national or internal recognition.  The Committee supported all the suggestions.

    Item 17. AOB

    20. BB reported that Major Gen Martin Smith MBE had agreed to become Honorary President of RMA Scotland & Northern Ireland.

    21.  CRSM reminded the Committee, for Regional awareness, of the following sporting events:

                a.  29 June: Armed Forces weekend, Rugby league in Warrington.

                b.  24 July:  RM vs Parachute Regiment Rugby league in Colchester

                c.  31 July, in the south west, RM vs Parachute Regiment football.

    22.  There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 15:00 p.m.

    Item 18. DONMs.

    23. The following list of proposed meetings throughout the remainder of 2019 was provisional:

    a.              04-Jul-19                     Merged Board (Taunton)

    b.              25-Jul-19                     Membership Exec Oversight Ctte, Birmingham (face to                                                         face), venue tbc

    c.              15-Aug-19                  Membership Cttee, Patron Capital, One Vine Street,                                                         London W1J 0AH commencing at 0930

    d.              14 Sep 19                    AGM (CTCRM)

    e.              2 Oct 19                      Merged Board (loc tbc)

    f.               17 Oct 19                   Membership Exec Oversight Ctte (Telephone                                                                        Conference?)

    g.              5 Dec 19                     Membership Ctte (London)

RMA News Letter May 2019.

Dear Branch Secretary, 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First, a brief apology as this email should have been sent out last week but our IT system let us down ...

I hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying Spring 2019.  Having achieved the merger on 1 Apr 2019, I am now in a position to get back to the day job of supporting the activities of the branches and regions in their various and varied programmes.  Much of this role is about the passage of information, so I thought I’d try to bring you up to speed on a few matters.

1.       Deadline for Annual Financial Returns. Firstly, the branch and regional annual financial returns are due in by 31 May (10 days).  To date we have 34 returns from the 73 UK branches and 7 regions.  Please do make sure we get these by 31 May as these will determine the programme of visits to regions and branches for the rest of the year.  If for some reason you don’t have the forms, they are at

2.       New Chairman of the RMA Membership Ctte Selected.  You may have seen on the RepNet that Ron Bell has decided to stand-down as RMA Chairman in Dec 19, having spent 6 years as Chairman and a further 10 years as a Trustee.  Paul Deacon has been selected as the next Chairman.  They will hand over on 5 Dec 19 in London.  Paul has now stood down as Chairman of the Northern Region, and Rob Swainbank has agreed to take over this role.    

3.       Subscription Standing Orders.  Please can I ask you to remind your members to cancel their Standing Orders for subscriptions.  The Membership Secretary continues to get calls from members on a daily basis asking why their SO has been rejected.  Following the decision to stop, standing orders will no longer be accepted and direct debits no longer drawn down.  If a member wishes to continue to make a contribution they can do so via the website or by sending a cheque please send to our Portsmouth office (RMA - The Royal Marines Charity, Building 32, HMS Excellent, Portsmouth, PO2 8ER) or calling 023 9387 1567 to donate by card. There will be more news on membership donations later in the Summer. 

4.       Grant Applications.  Many branches and regions seem reticent to apply for grants from Central Office to enable their events.  As a rule of thumb, branches will be authorised 10% of any donations that they have made.  Should you wish to apply for more, or if your branch hasn’t raised any funds, grants can be applied for from Central Office using the grant applications forms.  For grants under £5000, then please use the Minor Grants Form.  The forms are available at  Please note that there is a finite annual budget (£35K) for grants to branches and regions.

5.       Lord Ashdown – Memorial Service.  Lord Ashdown’s memorial service will be on 10 Sep at Westminster Abbey.  There room for up to 7 branch standards to be present on the day, as well as the national standard.  Please let Richie Puttock know if your branch wishes to volunteer for this ([email protected]) .  It would be good to have one from each region, but recognise that there is a cost to this (see previous paragraph😊). 

6.       Membership Categories.  Please be aware that we now have a new membership category called ‘Supporting Member’.  A Supporting Member is anyone who can’t be a Full or Associate Member.  Supporting Members can join online at or by phoning the Membership Secretary on 01392-414360.  However, supporting members must be ‘sponsored’ by a Full Member.

7.       Social Members.  With the inclusion of the Supporting Membership category, the perceived need to allow social members to join branches is removed.  RMA bye-laws are very clear in stating that branches are not permitted to have members who are not first members of the RMA.  Social members may not be covered by RMA insurances and so branch officials may be personally liable for any claims made by social members against their branch.  The simple way around this to get your social members to become member of the RMA (see previous paragraph).  If you have so many social members that this becomes a problem, please contact me and we can work with you to bring them onboard as RMA members using whatever information you have available. 

8.       Draft Revised Bye-laws.   The RMA Member Bye-laws and RMA Branch and Regional Bye-laws are in the process of being updated in light of the merger and other recent experiences.  These will be circulated shortly for comment from branches and regions prior to going to AGM in September.  

9.       Project SEMAPHORE.  This an RNA initiative to enhance communication for isolated veterans, who are assessed by a BT reach survey to be worse off by at least £1,000 due to lack of access to the internet.  The project provides them an iPad and iPad/internet familiarisation training and 1 year's broadband. This means that they can then facetime or Skype family and friends, claim benefits, internet banking, order shopping when unable to get out, secured cheaper insurance, travel, access Veteran's information and find out what is going on, stay connected, get up-to-date entertainment such as BBC iPlayer etc.  To apply for this project, a full member of the RNA/RMA, over 65 years old and currently digitally isolated (ie no access to the internet).  Please help your members apply for this, you contact the Project Manager on [email protected] on their behalf, or call 023 9272 3747

10.   Templates.  Following the merger, a new set of templates for branch letterheads etc will be published on the RMA website shortly. It is necessary for you to use them as they have the correct Company and Charity information on them.   

11.   Legion d’Honneur.  We have had a spate of enquires from veterans (or their carers) who believe they are entitled to receive the Legion d’Honneur for their role in the liberation of France.  The process for applying for this medal can be found at noting that it is too late for next month’s D-Day 75 commemoration.  

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have, contact me directly on [email protected] 


I am delighted to announce that the Royal Marines Association and The Royal Marines Charity have merged today. The legal name of the Charity will be ‘Royal Marines Association – The Royal Marines Charity’, with a routine working name of ‘RMA – The Royal Marines Charity’. This has been a long but important journey for both charities, which has seen us going from a competitive relationship through co-existence to cooperation, to coordination, to convergence and finally merger.  We are now one charity, whose primary purpose is ‘to be the instinctive first port of call for support for the whole Corps Family’, whether that be to celebrate ‘bootneckness’ through RMA membership and participation in membership events, to finding help in a moment of need via the very broad welfare service that we provide, and on to those who wish to give a bit back by raising funds for the ‘RMA - The Royal Marines Charity’. 

This merger has been seen by other charities as genuinely trail-breaking, as it has sought to implement guidance from the government and the Charity Commission, whilst finding a way to deliver a more effective service to the whole Corps in a more efficient manner (saving money on back-office bureaucracy to spend on beneficiaries).  The merger has also enabled some bold decisions, like stopping membership subscriptions, which has allowed access to our regimental association for all members of our Corps Family regardless of their personal financial means.  The merger has proved to be legally and financially complex, but (with your support) we have found solutions that were suitable for both sides.

With the merger comes a revitalised brand and logo. The new logo seeks to ensure prominence of the Globe and Laurel, which unites the two charities and the Corps, whilst also representing the centrality of the RMA within the merged charity, the importance of our charitable endeavours and the inextricably interlinked nature of the two entities. The use of the ‘Old Gold’ colour for the RMA letters represents the enduring value of the membership function in all that we do.

This merger has been vital to ensuring that we deliver the most effective and efficient support to our members and the wider Corps Family, now and into the future.  I believe that we now have a sector-leading Association that truly embodies our determination to become the instinctive first port of call for comradeship and for giving a lifetime of support to the Royal Marines Family.

What does it mean for you?  One important change is that RMA Ltd, will now become a shell company.  This means that your Membership of RMA Ltd (from a Companies Act perspective) is terminated in accordance with paragraph 9.3.1 of the Bye-Laws of RMA Ltd.  However, please be assured that you remain a valued member of RMA – The Royal Marines Charity. 

As previously reported, the whole of the RMA Membership Team is now based at the Commando Training Centre, the home of the Royal Marines. Richard Spencer will now become Director General – Membership, and will work closely with Richie Puttock and Phil Gilby to ensure that support, advice and friendship continues to be delivered to all Members and Branches.  The Welfare and Finance functions of the RMA remain in Portsmouth.

We are delighted to welcome our new Membership Secretaries, Jane and Sheridan, whose job share provides full-time support to members and branch officials from their new office in CTCRM. 

  • With the exception of Jane and Sheridan, you will continue to work with the same people in the Charity that you have in the past. All of our people are being retained in their current roles.
  • As of today, all of the email addresses will change to the following format ([email protected]). For instance, Richard Spencer’s email will be [email protected]
  • Please note that contact details for the Membership Secretary have also changed: the email is [email protected]; the new phone number is 01392-414360. 
  • Our address will be: RMA – The Royal Marines Charity, Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone, Exmouth, EX8 5AR.  


A Letter form Brig. Richard Spencer CBE

Dear All,


  1. It is now about 6 months since I took over from Mike Ellis as Chief Executive of the RMA.  I wrote to all members on the day I took office and have communicated broadly on a number of issues since then.  However, I am acutely aware that I have not communicated with all of you directly, so now seek to make amends. 
  2. Over the past 6 months, I have been focusing on trying to understand what the RMA is, how it does its business and how it could move forward to make it even more relevant and integrated into the wider Corps Family.  I have visited a number of branches and attended most of the Regional AGMs.  In doing so, I have taken the opportunity to promote the ideas of the Trustees, on whose behalf I work, and to listen to the concerns and ideas of members.  So, I thought it would be worthwhile to write to you as one of the leaders of the RMA to update you on a number of topics of mutual interest.
  3. Merger.  I inherited a situation of considerable change for the RMA, with the merger (like Brexit) taking considerable time to finesse following the vote; I’m delighted to be able to report that (to date) we have yet to identify a Northern Ireland border or back-stop issue, so we drive on.  Following the vote that concluded in January, we have been working closely with The Royal Marines Charity (TRMC) and their parent organisation (the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity – RNRMC) to develop the situation whereby the merger could be delivered with an understood and acceptable level of risk to all parties.  This resulted in the re-establishment of the Merger Steering Group under RNRMC Chairmanship to identify, assess, quantify and mitigate the risks identified within the proposed merger, many of which would have been needed to be addressed regardless of merger.  These included:
  4. RMA Central Office Finance Procedures and Rules.  These have now been aligned with TRMC and RNRMC procedures. 
  5. Consolidation of branches for accounting purposes
    1. Currently, HMRC and auditors treat RMA branches as autonomous financial entities.  This is in part what determines the £5000 annual ceiling on branch income.  Consolidation will remove this ceiling from branches, but will make the branch financial returns even more important as our Annual Report risks being ‘qualified’ by Auditors if we do not submit a complete report, which is not good as it invites additional and time-consuming questions.
    2. On merger, branch property (including buildings) will also be consolidated as assets of the merged charity. This means that the merged charity will also accept responsibility for any liabilities, including insurance, maintenance etc.   However, this does not give branches or regions carte blanche to order new property, this would need to be approved by Central Office, nor does it infer that Central Office will pick up routine non-maintenance or consumables costs (e.g. printer ink and paper).    
    3. Immediately prior to merger, there will be a need to conduct a full asset check, including up to date bank statements on all bank accounts etc.  More to follow.
    4. VAT.  As explained in the newsletter of 29 Oct 18, the payment of national subscriptions induces a VAT liability on the RMA.  This VAT liability would have been inherited by the merged charity post-merger.  However, the cessation of national subscriptions and the shift of donations to TRMC has now allowed us to de-register for VAT, as an additional benefit of the ability to grow the RMA by removing the obstacle of having to pay national subscriptions.  Following the recent budget, VAT thresholds remain at £85,000 until 2021.  Consequently, it is not intended to change the policy which currently permits branches to require branch subscriptions, for the time being. 
    5. RM Shop.  The RM Shop’s finances have been assessed and it has been confirmed as a ‘going concern’. 
    6. Financial Viability of the RMA.  There were misperceptions about the long-term financial viability of the RMA Membership function.  These have been assessed and, as briefed at the AGM, it has now been accepted that the financial risks concerning the RMA Membership function are manageable, and will be underwritten by the merged charity and the transfer of RMA investments. 
    7. Data Protection.  The Central Office data has been assessed and confirmed as wholly compliant.  Some concerns remain about the security of the data held by branches and regions outside the Central Office database.  These have been assessed and, whilst they are deemed acceptable, some more work will need to be done to improve data security in branches and regions.  More to follow in due course.
    8. Branding of the Merged Charity.   The full name of the merged charity has been agreed as the ‘Royal Marines Association – The Royal Marines Charity’.  The working title will be ‘RMA – The Royal Marines Charity’.  Many of you will have taken part in the recent online survey on what the logo looks like.  Following that consultation, the logo has been refined to the following:

    1. This will now be developed into a range of products for branches to use as templates for letters etc.  Please be assured that in the same way as we do not use the current RMA logo on branch standards etc, we only be using this new logo for marketing and communications purposes. 
  1. Timeline for merger.  Following the mitigation of the risks outlined above, RNRMC trustees agreed to the merger and the revised Articles of Association (the legal basis of the merged Charity) on 31 Oct 18.  RMA has now applied to de-register for VAT, and the precise timing of merger will be determined by their response.  It remains feasible to merge on 1 Jan 19, but this could slip to 1 Apr 19 if HMRC require more evidence.  In the meantime, we continue to progress a couple of outstanding mitigations on: the two branches that own their own property or have a social club associated with the branch; and the use of the word ‘Royal’ in our title, which requires Cabinet Office approval (we have already received approval to use ‘Royal Marines’ from the MOD).
  2. 2019 Events.  The following events are currently being planned by the RMA at national, regional or branch level.
    1. 04-May-19                  Army v Navy Rugby                                        Twickenham
    2. 10-May-19                  RM Officers Dinner Club                             London
    3. 12-May-19                  Graspan Parade                                           London
    4. 02-Jun-19                   NMA Parade                                                  NMA
    5. 04-08 Jun 19               D-Day 75 Tour to Normandy                                   Normandy
    6. 21-23 Jun-19              Dartmoor Yomp                                            Dartmoor
    7. 23 Jun 19 (dtbc)         Darrell’s Day                                                 East Anglia
    8. 6-7 Jul 19                    Spean Bridge Gathering                             Fort William
    9. 14 Jul 19 (dtbc)          Deal Castle & Band Concert                                   Deal
    10. 14-15 Sep 19              Corps Family Weekend                               CTCRM
    11. 27-29 Sep 19              RMA RFC Tour Gibraltar                              Gibraltar
    12. 01-02 Nov 19              Walcheren 75                                                           Walcheren
    13. 05-Dec-19                   Corps Carol Service                                      London
  3. In addition, we are aware of the following events being planned by other Service charities:
    1. 11-May-19                  RBL 75th Anniversary of Monet Cassino    NMA
    2. 18-May-19                  RBL 75th Anniversary of Monet Cassino    Monte Cassino
    3. 21-22 Jun 19               Extreme Sports Expo                                                NEC
    4. 29-Jun-19                   Armed Forces Day                                        National
    5. 14-Aug-19                   RBL – Op BANNER 50                                                NMA
    6. 17-Aug-19                   Op Banner 50 Parade                                              Lisburn
    7. 30-31 Aug 19 (dtbc)   Bournemouth Air Festival                          Bournemouth
    8. 10-Nov-19                   Remembrance Sunday                                Cenotaph
  4. Branch and Regional Events
    1. Clearly branches and regions will want to organise their own events.  In doing so, you are requested to bear the following in mind.  These need to be planned and programmed well in advance (preferably at least 6 months), especially if you would like support/attendance from Central Office staff or the serving Corps.  Central Office is happy to add your events to the published Corps Calendar of events on the RMA Website. 
    2. Support of Serving Corps.  If you would like support from the serving Corps, please bid via the Central Office, noting that we will probably be asked to pay for the cost of these, especially if the movement of equipment is involved.  Recently, we were asked by one branch for a troop scale cliff assault demonstration from the sea.  This would have involved the low-loading of 3 x Offshore Raiding Craft to and from Plymouth at a cost of £5000 each, before we had even started to consider travel and subsistence of the RM troop.  This is clearly unaffordable at national level.  With sufficient planning time, opportunities in unit programmes can be exploited, and Central Office can help negotiate these. 
    3. Royal VIP Attendance.  A number of branches have approached the Palace directly requesting the presence of members of the Royal Family at events.  This has resulted in a number of terse letters from the Palace to Central Office indicating that they will only consider requests approved by CGRM.  Therefore, all bids for Royal Support must be requested at least 12 months in advance in writing to the Central Office. These will then be discussed with CGRM’s office, noting that the whole Corps Family is only likely to get 2-3 such visits per year and these include attendance at the like of Mountbatten Festival of Music.  Feel free to discuss ideas with Central Office (Operations Managers) before drafting any letter of request. 
  5. Additional Funds.  There appears to be an unwillingness for branches and regions to approach Central Office for financial assistance in the delivery of branch or regional membership events.  Central Office is willing to consider such requests where they are deemed to contribute to the delivery of the charitable objects of the RMA.  Justified bids should be sent by email to Central Office at least 6 months prior to the event in order that the necessary approvals can be obtained from the Finance & General Purpose Committee and RMA Board, if necessary (noting that they meet quarterly).  A key determinant on whether such requests will be agreed will be how active the branch is and how much it has contributed to the fundraising efforts of the RMA and TRMC in the past.  As a rule of thumb, branches can routinely request 10% of any funds raised for the RMA/TRMC.  Grants in excess of this will be considered on merit. 
  6. RM Branded Goods/Products.  A number of branches procure their own branded goods for sale to members.  In doing so, many are breaking the law and you are to be aware that the Intellectual Property Rights of the Globe & Laurel, the Flash and Dagger and the words ‘Royal Marines’ are protected under Copyright, which is owned by the MOD.  Branches are only authorised to procure goods that use the RMA logo in full (you cannot separate the G&L from the words Royal Marines Association).  The only ways around this are to:
    1. Buy a MOD licence (costs about £300 and 10% of all net sales price is taken as a levy by MOD);
    2. Buy goods through the RM Shop (which has a licence or buys from licenced wholesalers).  The RM Shop can procure bespoke items for branches, within reason. 
    3. Buy the goods from a licenced retailer, noting that most wholesalers/retailers of RM branded goods are operating illegally without a licence and are being reported to the MOD for investigation and prosecution. 
    4. It is in our interest to use the RM Shop as all profits are returned to the RM charities. 
  7. Theme Park Tickets.  Most RM units have local theme park tickets for use by RMA members, paid for by the RMA.  A note will be issued shortly to branches giving details of which units have what tickets.  RMA members are encouraged to use them for themselves, their children or their grandchildren, noting that they must be signed for by an RMA member.  They are only available for collection in person and must be pre-booked in advance.  Details to follow. 
  8. Communications
    1. Homeport.  Many of you will have noted that the RMA has stopped supporting the Naval Families Federation Homeport publication.  This is due to a change in policy by Naval Families Federation, which only supports serving members and their families not veterans. 
    2. Membership Communications Strategy Review.   This has left us with a gap in our routine communication with members, beyond the routine RepNet published weekly.  The membership communications strategy is therefore under review and your thoughts on how we can best communicate with all members would be most welcome.  It is recognised that mail is still the preferred medium for those who have not and are unlikely to ever have an email address.  In the past 7 months, we have spent c.£6000 writing to such members on critical issues (AGM x 2 and the change to subscriptions).  We will also be sending them all a Christmas card with a newsletter in December.   
    3. RepNet.  The RepNet has recently been updated, alongside the website.  Whilst this our preferred means of communication (as its virtually free), it is clear from the phone calls following the recent announcement about subscriptions that many members do not read this.  Why not? 
    4. Communications with Central Office.  Many/most branches still seem to prefer to communicate with Central Office by letter.  Please note that this is slow and expensive for the branch.  Furthermore, we have no means of filing such routine correspondence in an effective manner as we are geared up for electronic communication which is cheaper, faster and more manageable.  When you want to correspond with Central Office, please do so by email to the list of email addresses attached.  
  9. GDPR.  Following the recent changes to GDPR legislation, a small number of concerns have been raised about personal data held by branches on individuals.  It should be noted that unlike our finances, from an Information Security perspective, the RMA is deemed to be a consolidated charitable entity.  This has enabled the RMA’s published Privacy Policy to be used to cover the activities of regions and branches.  Consequently, if an individual member wishes to question the personal information held on him/her by a branch, then this must be done through Central Office not directly to the branch or region.  This frees the branch or region from this concern and allows Central Office to use its professional Information Advisers, as required. 
  10. Branch Funds.  It is clear from my visits to branches that there is some confusion over what funds a branch can raise and hold.  In principle, any fundraising must have a specified purpose.   A branch can raise funds on one of three ways:
    1. Using RMA buckets and tins displaying the RMA Charity Number.  All funds raised in such buckets and tins must be sent to Central Office.  Please note, that from 9 Nov 18, any remaining buckets/tins must not be used and any tins currently out in the community are to be withdrawn and funds sent to Central Office.  These can be replaced by TRMC buckets and tins by contacting their crowdfunding team on [email protected]  .  Similarly, 100% of any funds raised in TRMC buckets and tins must be sent to TRMC, stating which branch they have come from. 
    2. Using Branch Subscriptions and Branch Fundraising Buckets and Tins.  These funds held in the ‘Branch Main Account’ can be raised and retained by the Branch; after the merger the £5000 annual limit will be removed as branches will have been consolidated for financial purposes.  However, branches need to be cautious about how much money it holds for which there is no specified purpose.  The funds raised in this way (using the RMA name) are for the delivery of the charitable objects of the RMA and should not be accumulated without a clearly identifiable reason.  These funds held in the Branch Main Account are to be reported to Central Office as part of the Annual Financial Return. 
    3. Using Branch Members donations for Specific Events.  This is in effect the ‘Branch Social Fund’ designed to spread the cost of specified social events (Corps Dinner, Christmas Dinner, planned days out etc).  The routine branch raffles etc would all be appropriately retained in this fund, along with any regular ‘set-aside’ scheme designed to allow members to pay for events in advance.  This is not to be used as a general slush fund as it is immoral (and potentially illegal) to raise funds from members for which there is no specified purpose.  Other than branches that own buildings (none after merger), there is no need for branches to hold a reserve that exceeds its annual turnover. 
    4. Please note that prior to merger, all accounts held by branches and regions will need to be reported to Central Office, supported by recent statements.  Thereafter, only the Main Branch Account will need to be reported as part of the Annual Financial Return. 
  11. Membership Issues.  It is hoped that the recent communication regarding subscriptions has clarified the situation on membership categories. 
    1. Honorary Membership.  Following recent requests, the procedures for seeking Honorary Membership for deserving individuals not otherwise entitled to be members of the RMA needs to be clarified.  Branches should nominate the individual to the Regional Ctte in writing for ratification, citing reasonable justification (strong supporter, influential pillar of the community etc).  If ratified by Regional Ctte (and this can be achieved out of committee by email), then the nomination is to be forwarded to Central Office for consideration by Trustees at either F&GP or Board.  Once agreed by Trustees, the Chairman of the RMA will write to the individual offering his thanks and recognising the individual’s good works with the award of Honorary Membership. 
    2. Members of Branches.  Cases have recently been reported of RMR and RM Cadet Instructors being refused branch membership, along with some Associate Members.  Any member, regardless of category, should expect to be welcomed into any branch of the RMA.  If a member applies to join a branch but that branch does not wish to accept that member, then this is to be discussed with the Regional Committee in the first instance and if necessary then with CE RMA.  Branches must support their objection in writing citing sound moral or legal reasons not to include any member of the RMA into their branch. 
  12. Recognition.  There is a lack of clarity for the process by which hard-working members of the RMA can have their endeavours recognised.  There are 3 levels of national recognition available:
    1. National Honours.  This will normally be for a BEM, MBE or OBE.  The process is managed by Central Office.  Nominations should be made by the Branch Chairman to the Regional Chairman and if supported then forwarded to CE RMA, who will then compile a national list of potential nominees, noting that gaining more than one such award every two years for the RMA will be challenging.  Trustees will consider the most deserving nomination and submit not more than one nomination for National Honours to the Cabinet Office every 6 months.  Please note that National Honours must be discussed with the utmost discretion and must not be discussed at branch or regional committees. 
    2. CGRM Commendation.  If it is decided at whatever level that a nomination is unlikely to succeed in gaining National Honours, then that nomination will be considered for a CGRM Commendation.  A similar process will be applied to agreeing to a CGRM Commendation, with CGRM being the deciding officer.  CGRM normally presents these in person to the individual in Portsmouth.  As a planning figure, it would be hoped to submit up to 10 such awards each year for consideration. 
    3. RMA Chairman’s Commendation.  If it is decided at whatever level that a nomination is unlikely to succeed in gaining National Honours or CGRM Commendation, then that nomination will be considered for a RMA Chairman’s Commendation.  A similar process will be applied to agreeing to a RMA Chairman’s Commendation, with RMA Chairman being the deciding officer.  The Chairman will normally present these in person to the individual at the AGM.  As planning figure, it would be hoped to make up to 10 such awards each year for consideration.
  13. All the points made above are in the process of being written into draft revised RMA Member Bye-Laws and draft revised RMA Branch and Regional Bye-Laws.  These will be circulated to branches for comment, with a view to accepting them at the 2019 Annual Meeting. 

Yours sincerely,  


Richard Spencer


Dear RMA Branch Secretary, 


You are probably aware that on 25 May 2018, new Data Protection legislation comes into force in the UK. The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) build on the existing Data Protection legislation to help ensure your data, and that of your Branch members, is handled according to the individual’s wishes. 


Contrary to what you have probably been experiencing in the last fortnight or so, the Royal Marines Association is not seeking members’ consent to contact them or to continue using their data because the Association only uses it for the legitimate purpose of providing them with information in respect of their membership, forthcoming events and other matters relating to RMA activities and offers. In other words, an individual’s consent to be communicated with about RMA business is implied & inferred by belonging to a membership organisation, and because all those who use computers can change their communication preferences themselves on the RMA’s website; those not online can ask Central Office to do it for them.  As a Branch Secretary, the same assumption applies to your use of your members’ data. You can continue to use your members’ data as before, but you must keep that data secure and should not pass it to a third party unless legally obliged to do so, or the member has given his/her express permission for this to be done. Please note that If you extract membership data from the RMA website, you will need to password protect/encrypt the file and/or delete it as soon as you are finished with it.


The following statements describe how the RMA uses members’ data and some of the statutory rights in this regard:


1. RMA Central Office uses data to record individuals’ involvement with the Association, and to manage their membership. Since your Branch members all belong to the RMA, their data is used to communicate with them regarding Branch activities that may be of interest to you.


2.  Branch Members have the right to know what data is held about them, and how it is used.


3.  Branch members have the right to ask the Branch Secretary to update and/or delete all personal data without undue delay in certain circumstances.


4.  Members have the right to opt-out from information about RMA communications and can do this though the RMA website.  Those not online can telephone RMA Central Office and ask the Membership Secretary to assist them with this statutory right.


5.  RMA Central Office will keep the GDPR requirements under regular review to ensure the Association and its Branches comply with the necessary regulations and legislation.


A Letter of Commendation from Maj Gen Charlie Stickland CBE - CGRM


North Devon Branch Royal Marines Association

Dear John

As Commandant General and as President The Royal Marines Charity, am writing to thank you and all the members o' the North Devon Branch of the Royal Marines Association for your continued fantastic support to The Royal Marines Charity. I have been told that your latest donation of £6,549, raised at your annual Sainsbury's Cyclathon. has brought the total raised through this initiative since 2011 10 a magnificent E76.OOO — this makes North the most generous geographical Branch donor to the Charity.

The Branch continues to set a high bar for the Association, and is the epitorny of what an Association Branch should be, drawing togelher serving and retired Royal Marines, not least through your co-location with the Commando Logistics Regiment. and friends ta celebrate a common passion and 

comradeship and to support those members of our Corps Family who are in need. This is a magnificent achievement of which you should all rightly be proud.

Though fundraising is not the prime purpose for the Branch's existence. it is making a real difference ta the Charity. Last year. the Charity's direct grants to wounded and sick serving Royal Marines totalled over £120.000, with £30,000 to the bereaved: while £320,000 was distributed to veterans in need, a further £t20,000 was donated to ensure the Royal Marines Association's Support Network provided appropriate signposting and assistance to veterans, and £100,000 was provided to support a service responding to those battling post-traumatic stress, many of whom are tempted to commit suicide. This was part of a total £l .9M distributed throughout the year.

One recent example of the help given is the purchase three new prosthetic arms for one of our triple amputees, Jon White, who was injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2010. These arms, one for general purposes. one for rowing and one for lifting weights, were made and fitted in the united Stales tor $13,750. We simply do not have a large enough number of complex amputees in the United Kingdom for development of the necessary skills to make and properly fit the high-quality sockets end prosthetics required - hence we cannot access NHS facilities or funding, and choose instead to send our Marines to the United States. Your gilt has reimbursed us tor this grant, allowing us to support others.

In return, Jon often speaks on our behalf and raises funds, whilst studying Clinical Psychology, so he can help others who have been physically or mentally scarred. Jon epitomises the Commando Mindset, to understand, respond and adapt to challenges whatever they are, and overcome them. To be able to achieve support like this through the generosity of supporters like yourselves is wonderful, and it is always heartening for that support to come from other Bootnecks. Please pass on my thanks and congratulations to all your members.

Yours Aye,

Charlie Strickland