CHAIRMAN’S  REPORT FOR 2018

The move of our Branch Meetings to the Kingsway Reserve Centre in Derby has now been fully cemented.  Meetings have taken place on the first Wednesday of the month to coincide the 148 Coy’s parade night.

Attendance at branch meetings, although down from previous years at Chilwell, is now fairly steady and, due to an aging membership who do not like turning out at night or leaving their partners alone, is probably about what we would have had without a move.

We have certainly been made to feel welcome by 148 Coy REME and have joined with them for a number of activities.

I have attempted to keep members informed of what we have done through the Newsletter.  RHQ have been giving us regular updates on REME and the future of the REME Association and, without going into too much detail, I have done my best to keep you informed of these in the Newsletter.  I hope that this is proving satisfactory apart from a couple of months where nothing was sent out to those without email.

I will summarise the last 12 months.

  • We held our AGM on 7th Feb 2018 and along with the formal business, learned about the good work of SSAFA and how they work on behalf of the REME Benevolent Fund.
  • 28th A number of us visited the British Gypsum Works at East Leake.  It was a very cold day but extremely interesting nevertheless.  We may arrange a follow-up visit to the gypsum mine.
  • Mon 26 Mar, 1900. Informal Pub Evening at the Nottingham  This went well and we are now planning similar evenings.
  • April’s Branch meeting started with a presentation by Sharon Sorenson about the Aged Veterans Project promoted by Nottinghamshire County Council.
  • Mon 9 Apr, 1230 for 1300. Club Lunch with Partners at the Nottingham  Those that attended found it an excellent event and would recommend it to others.
  • On Wednesday 17 Apr 103 Bn and 104 Bn combined as 103 Bn and 148 Fd Coy became 148 Div Sp Coy. There was a Bn parade at Northampton and a flag raising ceremony at Kingsway.
  • On 20-23 April, The Annual Association Re-union was held at a hotel in Huddersfield. 8 from our Branch attended and had a good time.  In addition to the social events, beating of the retreat and Church Service, we were brought up to date about the current state and the future of the REME Association and there was plenty of opportunity to ask questions.
  • May saw the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). This is a tedious but necessary piece of administration and enables the Committee to legally hold your contact details for passing on information about REME, Branch and other matters of interest to Veterans.
  • Tue 15 May. Corps Memorial Day at the NMA, lunch was provided.
  • Sat 19 May. Annual B.B.Q. with families at John & Dorothy’s.  The event was once again a remarkable success with excellent food, drink and company. Our thanks to Don, Steve and the ladies for their hard work.
  • Sat 30 Jun Armed Forces Day in Derby. We did not have a presence in 2018, mainly as we were unable to share a stand with 148 Coy and did not have enough members to make it viable.
  • On Sunday 1st July we had our Cheese & Wine party at John & Dorothy’s. There were 18 of us; the food and drink were much appreciated and the weather was splendid.  I must thank John and Dorothy for being excellent hosts, Linda for doing the majority of the catering, Jeannie Tooley for preparing a home made cheesecake and Glenis Blacknell for providing a trifle; Tom Brown was not disappointed with the latter although he did have to fight off a procession of ants who were also interested in his food and drink.
  • Wed 18 Jul, 1230 for 1300. The Committee & Partners hosted branch widows for lunch at the Nottingham Club. Several of our widows had declined our offer of a free lunch due to health problems but 3 others did come along, two of them escorted by branch members.  They seemed to be very impressed with the venue and much enjoyed the social gathering and looked forward to joining us again when we combine the event with our Members Club Lunch.
  • The Branch Annual Dinner took place on Saturday 6th October at the Kingsway Reserve Centre. Our official guests were Col. Mark Simpson and his wife Jane.  Col Mark is the Colonel for REME Reserve Forces and gave us a briefing on REME which indicated that the Corps is in good shape.  We had hoped to be joined by the CO of 103 Bn REME and some members of 148 Coy REME but the CO was preparing for an Op tour of the Congo and the majority of key individuals from 148 Coy were involved in military duties so their only representative was WO1 (ASM) Shane West.  32 people sat down to dinner including 3 individuals from the Shropshire Branch.  The “dining room” was excellently decorated with a “marquee inner” and the food was excellent.  We were appreciative of Capt Jamie Stewart and cooks WO2 Cullen and SSgt Harrogate for their efforts in preparing the room and the meal and clearing away afterwards.  The general consensus was that as the atmosphere was good, the food was excellent and the “price was right”, we should plan to have our 2019 dinner at Kingsway.  There was the proviso that there must be Army Reserve cooks available to prepare and serve the food.
  • At the dinner our president, John Woodall, presented the John Law Award for services to the Branch to Steve Stephenson. Well done Steve!
  • 11 Nov 2018. Remembrance Sunday coincided with Armistice Day and 100 years since the end of WW1.  Our branch was represented at Derby where Dusty carried our standard and John laid a wreath.  Afterwards, several members returned to Kingsway and joined 148 Coy for a curry lunch.
  • Mon 3 Dec. Instead of their usual club lunch, a number of the Committee attended the St Eligius Day celebrations hosted by 170 Engr Regt LAD and were made to feel most welcome. A follow-up social evening was suggested.
  • Sat 8th A number of members attended 148 Coy’s Christmas Party. The meal was magnificent; you couldn’t have got it anywhere else for under £50. We were all made extremely welcome. ASM Shane West’s table won the quiz; we suspect that, despite assertions to the contrary, they had assistance from Google!  Anyone who didn’t attend should make an effort to join any future event.

Of course, the programme of activities would not be possible without the major contributions of a few individuals, mainly the committee and their spouses.  If you wish these activities and potentially others to continue, please volunteer to assist.  In particular we need a secretary.

Arte Et Marte

Ian Lawrence, Chairman