Royal Marines Association
North Devon

ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE

The last 6 months Chairman's letter to the branch published - the latest first.




2019

December

November

October

September

August

July









Chairman's Letter December 2019 







Santa’s RM Clandestine Beach Landing on a Beach near you!







Dear All,


I trust you are all well and ramping up for the Festive Season. As we will not be having a meeting this month this will be the last bulletin and Chair’s letter combined for 2019.


  • There are 90+ guests attending this year’s Christmas Party on the 20th. This is an all time record and exceeds our previous best attendance by over 25. I am sure those who will be attending will have an excellent night to celebrate a fitting end to the Branch year. We also had a good representation from the branch attending the Mess Christmas Ball the previous week on the 14th.


  • Our Annual Christmas Appeal is going well and fully manned and as usual we are visiting various locations throughout North Devon raising awareness and the profile of the RMA. My thanks to my band of volunteers. A “Pat on the Back” for Cathy Headrick who has been crafting, making Christmas gifts, using cross stitching Christmas cards and tree decorations. She recently set up shop at Bideford Pannier Market. She sold £100 worth of Christmas merchandise for branch funds and collected £17 in donations for the Charity. We propose to have a “Pop Up” honesty stall at the Branch Christmas party.


  • Our fund raising endeavours have continued at pace this year with the additional enjoyable task of supporting Matt Mason, his Ocean Revival Atlantic Rowing Project and his pledge to raise £30,000 for the RM Charity and £20,000 for Plastic Ocean UK. This support has been very successful and Matt and I are confident he should be close to his RM Charity target by the end of the year.


  • Along with this missive you should have received the branch calendar for 2020 with this bulletin. Please don’t “file” it as it covers everything (so far) we think the branch will be involved with in 2020. However, please note that we have stated “To Be Confirmed” where we are yet to get a final “Thumbs Up”. We will continue to publish a rolling notice of forthcoming events 2 months in advance with each bulletin next year and also endeavour to give you extra advanced notice of events we currently don’t know about.


  • We have confirmation of our first 2 branch meetings for 2020. Our January meeting will be held in the WO’s & SNCO’s Mess on Friday the 10th and February’s meeting on the 14th. I am not sure what we will be arranging for the January meeting but the meal will be Sausage and Mash. February’s meeting will be our Mini Burns Night again with Cottage Pie and the mandatory sample of Haggis – so dust off your sporrans.

  • We have requested one of 2 dates for our Regimental Dinner next Spring, held as always in the WO’s & SNCO’s Mess – either 30th May or 6th June. We will let you know which date has been agreed with the Mess but we think the 30th May will be more favourable to the Branch. Be advised with 90 attending our Christmas Bash and around 20 who would definitely have attended but were unable to this year, there might be high demand on seating for the Regimental Dinner. So get off the blocks quickly when the form comes out towards the end of March.


  • We continue to aim to reach all our branch members and to this end, Branch Secretary, Jimmy is hard at work refreshing our membership list to ensure we have everyone’s correct contact details and it agrees with the Central Office. Please assist Jimmy by responding to his inquiries swiftly. I can assure you that this is not a subversive way of getting more volunteers and you will not be expected to do any more than your currently feel you can. We just want to ensure that we can provide the service that members should expect. I encourage those who may be unsure whether they are fully signed up members of the RMA, not just North Devon Branch to get in touch. It is easy to sort out and remember membership of the RMA is now free.


  • An update on Pete Phillips, who some may have heard suffered a mild stroke seven weeks ago. I have spoken to him in the last few days and he is cheerful and appears to be progressing well, although mobility is a little challenging on his left side. Pete’s aim is to walk to his pub on Christmas Eve. Well done Royal! If anyone would like to give him a call he would love to hear from you- as life is a little frustrating for someone who has been active all his life. His number is 01288 321714


  • A special thank you to my Committee, who give up their time freely to help me with the administration. We are a hugely active branch, generating many admin task which require attention. Keeping on top of this work requires a willing team and that is something I know I have. As always if anyone feels they would like to contribute to the running of the branch by joining the Committee please let me know. I am pleased to advise we may have a willing person to take over as Branch Treasurer – subject to confirmation.


2019 has, again, been an outstanding year for us and, as ever, we punch well above our weight. I am, continually, told by RMA Management at Central Office that the North Devon Branch is one of the leading branches in the RMA and demonstrates all that the RMA and The Royal Marines Charity aspire to achieve and stand for. So be very proud of what you are all a part of.


It only leaves me to thank you all for your continued support. My Committee, Jacky and I hope your Christmas will be full of festive fun, you are not disappointed when Santa does his delivery rounds and may 2020 bring good health, good fortune, happiness and safety to you all.


JP


Final word – if you need to get in touch all the usual relevant contacts are below.


Committee Contacts:

Chairman; John Peel on 01237477438/07845989377 email: [email protected]

Vice Chairman; Jacko Jackson on 07821 448043 email: [email protected]

Secretary; Jimmy Headrick on 01237 238509/07581 230903: email:[email protected]

President; Derek Sargent on 01237475999 email: [email protected]


Welfare Support Team


Bruce White on 01271 346611 email: [email protected]

Phil Waites on 01271879344/07812366483 email: [email protected]

Mac Grenney on 07565 520030 email: [email protected]

Jacquie Phipps on 07710 469285 email: [email protected]


Chairman's Letter for November 2019




I hope this communication finds you all as well as ……..


  • So far we have about 50 attending our Christmas Party in December. If you intend coming along to this evening of festive fun please get your request in. Remember it is open to your personal guests who will be made very welcome. If you have “filed” your request form please let me know and I will get another to you. And remember we run our Grand Christmas Draw – so if you aren’t planning to attend, buying a couple of books of raffle tickets will help branch funds.


  • We had a good turnout at the many Remembrance events this year, including attending the Unit parade at a very wind swept Crow Point. My thanks to those who laid a wreath on behalf of the branch at the various venues across North Devon.


  • Our Annual Christmas Appeal for the Royal Marines Charity is almost upon us. If you would like to help out and haven’t put your name forward, please let me know. The dates and locations are in the main bulletin. My thanks to those who have already volunteered.


  • At the recent Regional Meeting access to the weekly RMA news bulletin “RepNet” was discussed. It is understood that everyone who is registered with Central Office (which means are a member holding a membership card) and has given an email address will already be receiving this weekly news from Central Office. It has upto date items of interest about the wider RMA. If you don’t receive it, and would like to, please let me or Jimmy (Headrick) know. Sadly our postal members will not be receiving it and it is unrealistic to print off 4 weeks worth of info and send out. We are discussing how best to over come this.


  • The WO&SNCO’s Mess Christmas Ball (different to the Branch Party) is on the 14th December costing £30 per head. This is an excellent evening to share with our Mess friends. Free transport to and from the venue will be provided. The branch has been allocated 2 tables of 10. This is open to all. So if you intend coming along please provide your names to John Peel or Jacko Jackson asap. We will provide all attending with more info but as a guide it will be around 1800 until late.


  • As December is very busy we will not be having a branch meeting next month. So the next gathering will be on January 10th, 1800 at the Mess as usual. December’s bulletin will have all the necessary information.


  • You will see a short item about becoming a SSAFA volunteer. This is a request from the RMA Welfare Director. If you would like to know more before committing to this please get in touch with either myself or Bruce White.




As always thank you all for your continued support. There is a lot more details in the main bulletin. So please take a few minutes to scan through it. As always if I have missed something or you want to know about or report anything – event, need for support etc etc please get in touch. My details are below.


JP

[email protected],co.uk

Tel - 01237477438 or Mobile – 07845989377

Chairman's Letter October 2019 


I hope this communication finds you all as well as ……..


  • You will see in this months bundle the Branch Christmas Party Invitation Proforma. As many of you will know, this is our other main annual function and a great way to finish another busy but outstanding year. It is far less formal than the Regimental Dinner. The Committee has held the charge per person to £20. For 4 courses, welcome drink and starter wine on the tables and after dinner entertainment thrown in, I challenge anyone to find a Christmas event in North Devon that provides this value for money. I encourage you all to attend and bring your friends along. I know they will go home happy – and remember the cost of a drink at the bar also can’t be matched in North Devon – even at Wetherspoons!!! You will find details in the bulletin and there should be an attached proforma. Please complete it and return as soon as possible. I look forward to a great evening with you all.


  • As always we will be holding our Christmas Draw at the Party with around 20 great prizes to be won. We will be selling tickets at the next meeting and on the night. However, if you don’t intend coming to either please support our branch funds by buying a book or two. Let me know and I will get books to you.


  • I have been advised that this year’s Unit Remembrance Parade will be held on Monday 11th at Crow Point again. The Branch is invited and unless we are told differently we should meet at the chapel by the Memorial Garden around 0945 where there is also parking. I believe transport will be provided to take us to Crow Point and would leave the chapel around 1015. Please advise me if you plan to attend. And check the weather forecast and wrap up.


  • The Branch, except those laying wreaths at other location, is invited to attend the parade at Bideford on Remembrance Sunday, 10th November. Please advise me if you plan to attend the Bideford Parade so I know who to expect. We will be laying wreath and the Branch standard will be on parade. There is a short march for those march and those not can gather at the Memorial by Café du Parc. I suggest gathering around 1000. More details in the bulletin


  • We enjoyed an excellent evening with the Appledore Silver Band this month and have another guest entertainer to play for us in November. Saxophonist Sophie Gibbett (Neil’s daughter) is coming on thee 8th November. Please make the effort to come along to what I am sure will be enjoyable evening. The usual arrangements for letting me know if you are attending.


  • I will soon be seeking bucket holders for our annual Christmas Appeal. Thankfully we are not in the Pannier Market or on the High Street this year but in the warmth of Green lanes at Wilkos and Asda.


  • Finally the Committee have been having a discussion about how we can ensure you all get all the information we have to offer without repeating it in the Chair’s Letter. We are considering reducing the number of months the Chair’s Letter goes out but adding a Chair’s Prologue to the Bulletin. I would welcome any comments or feedback regarding this change which will reduce how many documents you receive. If we feel it’s not working we will happily reinstate it. So November’s trial bulletin will have a paragraph from the Chair. My challenge is to keep it brief and to the point!!!


As always thank you all for your continued support. There is a lot more details in the main bulletin. So please take a few minutes to scan through it. As always if I have missed something or you want to know about or report anything – event, need for support etc etc please get in touch. My details are below.


JP

[email protected],co.uk Tel - 01237477438 or Mobile – 07845989377

Chairman's Letter for September 2019
 


I hope this communication finds you all as well as ……..


  • We had a good turnout for John Lindsay’s funeral and the family were very appreciative of the efforts we had made. I think the send off for him was very fitting. Thank you for those who made it there and I know others would have attended if they could have.


  • What a successful venture to CTC for the Corps Family Weekend. Winners & 3rd in the Quiz, winners in the shooting and runners up in the Fund Raising category for 2018. Not bad for little old North Devon. Although we cancelled the mini bus due to unavoidable late withdrawals 12 members still attended. My thanks to those who offered seats in their cars. I believe all who attended thought it was an excellent day. Assuming Committee approval it is intended to offer this as a branch outing again next year.


  • I understand we were well received at the Garrison Families Day and Beerfest. I believe it is important to have representation at these Unit events. This keeps us on the radar and helps when we request Unit support. So thanks to those who supported those events.


  • Messers Bob Winslow and Jimmy Headrick have been selected to attend the RMA pilgrimage to Walcheren next month. Walcheren was the follow up battle by 47 Cdo to open up Antwerp – essential to provide a port to support the push to Germany following D Day. We wish them a pleasant trip and hope they stay out of trouble.


  • My thanks to Neil Gibbett, who travelled to London to parade the Branch Standard at Westminster Abbey for Former RM Paddy Ashdown’s Memorial Service. I understand he along with other standard bearers gate crashed the VIP reception afterwards. Well done Royal.


  • We continue to support Matt Mason (OR 2020) achieve his target of £30,000 for the Royal Marines Charity. Matt reports that we appear to be the only branch who has stepped upto the plate and he is hugely grateful for our continued support. Rest assured our help relieves the considerable pressure Matt has put himself under with the entire challenge –so my thanks to you all but let’s keep it going please.


  • We have some great entertainment for October and November’s meetings with the Appledore Silver Band on 11th October and saxophonist Sophie Gibbett (Neil’s daughter) on the 8th November. Please make the effort to come along to what I am sure will be enjoyable evenings.


  • As soon as I know more about the Remembrance Parade Week I will let you know. I will be approaching those who lay wreaths at the various parades in the area if they would be will to do so again.


As always thank you all for your continued support. There is a lot more details in the main bulletin. So please take a few minutes to scan through it. As always if I have missed something or you want to know about or report anything – event, need for support etc etc please get in touch. My details are below.



JP


[email protected],co.uk Tel - 01237477438 or Mobile – 07845989377


Chairman's Letter for August 2019


I hope this communication finds you all as well as and your summer has been relaxing and leisurely.



  • As already communicated sadly Sylvia Lindsay passed away recently. Sylvia was a hugely enthusiastic supporter of the branch and will be sadly missed. Her funeral is on the 21st August at 1110 hours, at the North Devon Crem, Barnstaple. Please could we muster in the Car Park at 1030 – 1040 hours. We will be leading the funeral party to the chapel with the branch standard and would like an honour guard with blazers, medals and berets. Please pass your name to me if you are attending. I ask you all to make a special effort so we can give Sylvia the send off she deserves. Our thoughts are with John and the family at this sad time.


  • There are still 6/7 seats on the bus to the Corps Families day at CTC, Lympstone. If you haven’t made your mind up yet as there is still time. But when the bus is full that is it for numbers. Remember it is a down and back the same day - not too early a start and not too late a finish. So why not have an away day and enjoy what the families day has to offer which includes the world famous HM Royal Marine Band, Lympstone.


  • We have been warmly invited to join our serving colleagues from RMB Chivenor at Garrison Families Day. We will be taking advantage of dotting around some donation buckets for RM Charities and running a Tombola for branch funds. Why not pop along and have a relaxing afternoon – you don’t even have to hold a bucket. To comply with base security names in advance to Jacko Jackson please.


  • The RMA is running a subsidised trip to Walcheren to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the battle, which 47 Cdo carried out just after D Day. This trip is heavily subsidised. If you would like to be considered either contact Phil Gilby ([email protected]) or me. It is on a 1st come basis.


  • Final cut off for advanced tickets to MFM 2020 is fast approaching. Please advise me if you want to attend.


  • On your behalf I would like to congratulate Bob “Fergie” Ferguson who has been shortlisted for a Lifetime Achievements Award at the inaugural English Veterans Awards. The winner will be announced in September.


  • Our support for Matt Mason and his Ocean Revival 2020 has been outstanding and comments from both Matt and the crew, reflect how supportive the branch has been. Please keep up the support.


There is a lot more details in the main bulletin. So please take a few minutes to scan through it. As always if I have missed something or you want to know about or report anything – event, need for support etc etc please get in touch. My details are below.


And finally Jacky and I are away from 27th August to 10th September on a little R&R. I will be monitoring emails - so continue to get in touch and I will ensure your query is dealt with swiftly. Alternatively contact Jacko at: [email protected] or Jimmy H at: [email protected] but please remember allegedly Jacko is still working full time for the military.


JP


[email protected],co.uk Tel - 01237477438 or Mobile – 07845989377

 

Chairman's Letter for July 2019



I hope this missive finds you all as well as …..


  • We had outstanding support for our recent Sainsbury’s Challenge and I would like to thank all who made it so. The Unit and Instow took a leading role in making it work and the public and staff at Sainsbury’s were very welcoming. The final total was £7454.36 very much up on last year, and hey, we get to do it all again next year.



  • On the final day of Sainsbury’s we also had a team at the base at Instow running the bar for their annual bash. The main purpose of this was n previous years the lads have had to carry out duties during the event and so not able to relax. This new format worked well, goes along way to keep the branch relevant with the base and enhance our standing. It also means when I ask for support they will generally provide it if they can.



  • Our support for Matt Mason and his Ocean Revival 2020 has been outstanding and comments from both Matt and his oppos, who are crewing the boat, reflect how supportive the branch has been – more so than other branches. What Matt and his team are attempting next year is huge. So the least we can do is help ensure the money targets he has pledged to the RMC and Plastic Ocean are achieved. Please keep up the support.



  • I would like to draw your attention to this years Corps Families day at CTC, Lympstone – the home of the Royal Marines – on the 14th and 15th September. I know I have been banging on about this already – but the programme really supports an Away Day for the branch, where you don’t get to miss anything and still get back in time for bed. I already have a number of people who will be jumping on board and last years Branch Quiz Team members are all attending. However, if there are any budding quizzers out there please step up – WE WANT TO MAINTAIN OUR OWNERSHIP OF THE CUP. I also think that a shooting competition in some format has been re-instated.


An outline itinerary is in the main bulletin and more detail can be found on the RMA website. So if you haven’t told me yet please give me a call or email if you would like to make use of this free transport (a small donation towards petrol will be requested).



All other relevant information can be found in the monthly bulletin.


As always if I have missed something or you want to know about or report anything – event, need for support etc etc please get in touch. My details are below.


JP


[email protected],co.uk Tel - 01237477438 or Mobile – 07845989377