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Royal Naval Writers Association

Formed in 1887 - The Oldest Military Association

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Royal Naval Writers’ Association

The World’s Oldest Military Association – Est. 1887

Newsletter – April 2024

FROM COLIN HUGHES – PRESIDENT

Fellow Scribes,

Here we are again looking forward to some warmer weather, as those who are keen gardeners awaiting delivery of flowering plants are busy preparing borders for them.

The committee has also been busy looking ahead.  The draw for the Grand National took place as advertised on Wednesday 10th April and by the time you get this Newsletter the race will have been run, and some of you may be a little better off or a little worse off.

The Association has applied for and been granted places (we don’t know how many yet) for the Remembrance Day Parade. Not wishing to steal the Secretary’s thunder I will leave it to her to explain in detail. Whilst the committee is still engaged with changes to the Association rules because of nomenclature amendments outside our control, we have come across one big stumbling block, namely the directory, we will seek members views on its format, continuance or otherwise at the AGM.

The School of Logistics and Administration has identified a candidate for Writer of the Year Award, and I shall write to him/her nearer the Presentation date (when known) to invite the recipient plus one to the Annual Reunion Dinner as guests of the Association.

Many of you may not know that our Treasurer/Vice President, Pat Prior, has been in hospital for an operation and whilst convalescing was hospitalised again, I am pleased to report she is now back home, and I am sure you will all join me in wishing her a speedy and full recovery. The committee sent her a bouquet on your behalf.

FROM LYN GANNON – SECRETARY

The Grand National Draw took place on Wednesday 10 April; Colin Hughes and Tony Webber drew the tickets and I recorded the results (see photo).

It was very well supported, raising £1750 in ticket sales. After prize money and costs have been considered, it raised £758.14 for the RNWA, over £200 more than last  year.  The big four winners were:

1st    Dave Browne with I am Maximus

2nd   Keith Oliver with Delta Work

3rd   Dave Ramsey with Minella Indo

4th   Dave Maule with Galvin

We have been considering using a number generator next year, to save on ticket and postage costs. You would let us know how much you wanted to spend on tickets  and we’d generate numbers and let you know by email – but that would mean not having actual tickets to sell to family/friends, although you could allocate them some of the numbers we give you.  A survey will be published in due course.

Places for the Annual Dinner on 11 October are going well – 47 at the moment (as at 15 April).  It is going to be a great event, lots of fresh faces and some old ones Come and join in the fun – details on the website (and attached to this newsletter for those not on emails).

Now for something new!  We applied to the Royal British Legion (TRBL) to see if the RNWA could have its own marching contingent at November Ceremonies at the Cenotaph on Sunday 10th November 2024 and they said yes!  We have asked for 30 places and will find out in May how many have been allocated to us. There must be a minimum of 15, so if you’re interested, please let me know. I will put more detailed information out when I have allocated numbers from TRBL but it would be good to have feedback beforehand. If we have more names than places, we will do a ballot (on Zoom for fairness). Plenty of time to get those shoes shiny! The event is a Veterans parade, no uniforms to be worn.

The Royal Naval Association hold their Biennial Parade at the Cenotaph in September (next one will be 2025) and would be delighted for us to join in as a group. More details will be issued nearer the time

Another thing the Committee are considering is whether to extend the range of merchandise. The Polo Shirts have sold well and we are wondering if a sweatshirt/hoody type top would do well. Again, a survey will be conducted in due course for your thoughts on items to be considered.

Just a reminder that the next Committee/Members Zoom meeting will be on Tuesday 14th May, not Thursday 16th, as I am unavailable to host the meeting (SShhh, I’m off to the Palace!). Join in with us on the Zoom meeting, we’re a friendly bunch, get updated on what’s happening in your Association, and have your say.

FROM DON MCGEORGE – MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY

A lot has happened within the Association since the last AGM, and most of the changes reported previously are very well progressed including:

  • Recognition by the RNWA of ALL Writers, whether members or not, when they “Cross the Bar”.
  • Affiliation with our Australian counterparts, to share ideas and thoughts as they face the same challenges in the modern era that we do.
  • Application to the Royal British Legion for a place in the Veterans March Past at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, which is going ahead from 2024.
  • Updated, simplified and modernised application processes, not just for membership but also for other areas of our business, such as the Annual Reunion Dinner, Sweepstake and ordering of merchandise.

  • Alterations to the Governance of the Association that will ensure the continuity of those in key roles, and the committee in general, so that we are more able to work strategically for the future. As the Chairman has touched on, these will be presented fully at the AGM in October 2024 for adoption.

These are progressive and essential in keeping the RNWA relevant and prominent for the future.

SUBSCRIPTIONS AND FEES

The move to a new system utilising bank Standing Orders has been very well received and is now the default position for all new joiners, and the preferred option for those due to renew in any year. 

One slight change has been the agreed decision to move away from a “common” renewal date of 1 January for all – new or old – members as, in operation, it has proven less simple than expected to administer.   Instead, the following process is being successfully followed:

New Joiners – the Standing Order is to commence on the 1st of the month following application, having paid the £10.00 joining fee at the time of application.

Renewals – the Standing Order is to commence on the 1st of the month following the month in which renewal falls due.

FURTHER CHANGES AND PLANS

In 2024/25, the Committee plan to organise a small series of focussed surveys with regard to various issues – the Grand National, Merchandise etc – in order that we can gauge current views and develop and enhance them for the future. Additionally, a series of articles will be published that celebrate and recognise the input of Writers (new and old members) who have been involved in significant historical events, or have gone on to develop unexpectedly fulfilling careers having started as “scribes” or been a part of unusual and/or interesting events that had a strong and positive effect on their later careers and lives.  Watch out for future publications……..the first of which will chart the background to this most iconic photograph (below) at the conclusion of the Falklands War in 1982 – written by our own ex WOWtr (then CPOWtr) Michael “Dixie” Deans MBE who is slap bang in the middle of the picture!

NEWSLETTERS AND EMAILS

It is really pleasing to note that much of the gentle persuasion and coercion (oh, alright – downright nagging) has paid off and that some 90% of our total membership have now signed up for RNWA Newsletters and Emails.  Not only is this the simplest and most effective and rapid means of communication for the Association, it is also the most cost-effective.  At a time of escalating costs in just about everything, this makes absolute sense as we try and work within a very tight financial envelope for all things, and keep outgoings to a minimum.

(As an aside  – if you have received this through the post, but actually have an email address and access to the internet – please go to www.rnwa.co.uk and sign up for the Newsletters!)

MERCHANDISE – POLO SHIRTS

Following a suggestion by Jim Donaldson, we have successfully trialled and sold a dedicated RNWA Polo shirt over the past few months and some 32 are already in circulation.  Feedback on quality and fit has been excellent, and given the variable standards of some on-line purchases, this has been really reassuring to the Committee.

We intend to make a further order – in all sizes – later in the Summer, and ideally for collection at the Annual Reunion Dinner on 11 October, although also available by post from RNWA HQ (the Portsmouth one!) if you are not attending the Dinner, or wish to receive it in advance.

Hopefully, those that are attending the Dinner will see fit to wear them for the “arrival” catch up sessions at the Royal Maritime Club (booking details HERE) – now that really would be a sight for sore eyes and a fantastic advert for our Association! 

MEMBERSHIP NUMBERS

We have had a very encouraging period of recruitment over the past six months and the following are (as of today, 22 April) how the figures stack up:

October 2023            Honorary Members  – 3

                                    Life Members            – 29

                                    Members                   – 218

                                    Total Membership  – 250

Allowing for those that have sadly “crossed the bar” since then, resigned or simply ignored all requests to bring their membership up to date, the latest figures are:

April 2024                  Honorary Members – 3

                                    Life Members            – 28

                                    Members                   – 261

                                    Total membership – 292

This is not only down to the hard work of the entire committee in promoting membership, but also to that of our members who continue to champion the Association as and when they can – this is really appreciated!

If you want to see who is now in membership, simply click Here

There is still a long way to go, and a lot to consider.  But we can only do this together – it is OUR Association and OUR branch and our overall aim must be to keep it alive, and relevant, for those that follow.

And FINALLY…………..

A snapshot of last year’s “Post Annual Reunion Dinner Survivors Club” has just surfaced – hopefully this year’s will be equally “interesting”!!

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