HAAA/103

 

MINUTES OF THE HALTON AIRCRAFT APPRENTICES ASSOCIATION

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 24h JULY 2010

 

Present:                       R Brumpton                                        Chairman

                                    Sir Dusty Miller                                  Vice-patron

Gp Capt G Tunnicliffe                        President

                                    D Larkin                                              Deputy Chairman/Archivist

                                    D O’Brien                                           Office Manager

F Crooks                                             Treasurer

                                    J Nelson                                              Deputy Treasurer

                                    A King                                                Membership Secretary

                                    Peter Brown                                        Deputy Membership Secretary

Peter Milner                                        Branches Secretary

W Kelley                                             Haltonian Editor (retiring)

                                    S Morgan                                            Haltonian Editor (designate)

                                    D Grant                                               Welfare Co-ordinator

A Parrott                                             Trading

                                    F Hanford                                           Museum Chief Curator

                                    P Ayres                                               Museum

                                    B Smith                                               Council Member

                                    C Brooks                                             Webmaster

Sqn Ldr J Shelley                                Liaison Officer

P West                                                 General Secretary

                             Plus 92 members

 

Item 1 – Introduction and Apologies

 

The chairman welcomed Sir Dusty Miller, Gp Capt Tunnicliffe, and the vice-presidents attending. He also welcomed the senior serving member, Nick Kurth (231st) and the senior member, John Rist of the (36th).   Apologies had been received from our patron, Sir Michael Armitage and 16 members.

 

Item 2 – Minutes of the Previous Meeting

 

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 25th July 2009 had been posted on our website and, additionally, displayed during lunch.  It was proposed by Sir Dusty and seconded by Ian Blunt that the minutes were a true and accurate record of the meeting.  The proposal was carried unanimously.

 

Item 3 – Matters Arising from the Previous Minutes

 

It was pointed out that the commitment made at the last AGM to remove the brackets from ‘Aircraft’ in the title of the foreword to the constitution had not been honoured.   The chairman apologized and said that this would be done.  (Secretary’s note: The action was made unnecessary by a subsequent decision).  All other topics would be covered by the day’s agenda.

 

Item 4 – Membership State

 

The membership secretary pointed out that the change of subscription rates and the change of bank had made much extra work for him, the treasurer, and the IT manager.  The membership statistics had been harmonized with the HAAA financial year that ended on 30th March.  Annual standing order membership had reduced from 920 to 810, a reduction of 11.9%.  Three year membership had reduced from 607 to 491 a reduction of 19.1%.  There was little change in the life membership figures which had reduced from 1887 to1880.  The overall effective membership numbers had reduced from 3452 to 3210, a reduction of 7%. 

 

Forty-nine new members had been recruited since April partially due to the Triennial. If every one present recruited one new member, this number would be more than doubled. There were 126 members that were ‘lost’ who had not informed us of their present location.  A list of these members was handed out to assist in locating their possible whereabouts. 

 

Possible recruiting sources were detailed including, among others, publicity via publications and websites; organizations such as museums and other apprentice groups; meetings such as our Triennial and entry reunions.

 

The membership secretary concluded by stating that he would be happy to hear from any member, but please have your membership number at hand.  Finally, the membership database was only as good as members’ inputs; therefore please notify any changes in addresses, telephone numbers, or email addresses.  The chairman thanked Tony King and Peter Brown for their hard work over the year.

 

A breakdown of membership figures is at Annex A.

 

Item 5 – Branch Matters

 

The branches secretary outlined the difficulties of finding members whose correspondence had been returned to the HAAA office and encouraged entry representatives to inform him if they hear of their entry members who had died, or changed their address.  He had written to individuals in entries without representatives in an attempt to recruit more, but with limited success.  It was suggested that the list of representatives should be more widely distributed such as in the Haltonian and, for example, the Tangmere Museum.  This would be considered.

 

The chairman thanked Peter for his efforts over the passed year...

 

Item 6 - Association Finances

 

The Treasurer presented the statement of accounts and balance sheet for the financial year (FY) ending 31 March 2010 and the budget for the FY ending 31 March 2011.

 

a.         Income.   The total income for the FY ending 31 March 2010 was £32781 less than the previous year but £3000 higher than the budget forecast. The main reasons for the downturn on the previous year was lower income from subscriptions, donations, gift aid and interest from deposits.  The association’s banker had been changed from Barclays to Santander and the interest from Santander deposit accounts would not materialise until FY 2010/2011.

 

b.         Expenditure..  Total expenditure for the year had exceeded income by £9434 which was in line with a budget forecast of £9197.  The Haltonian production costs had increased by £3300 due to an increase in printing costs, and the association no longer enjoyed the benefits of free printing. Dennis O’Brien was actively engaged in finding a lower cost printer. The Halton Grove rededication ceremony had cost £2800 for the replacement plaque and £1640 National Memorial Arboretum costs for the event.

 

c.         Donations.   Donations of between £50 and £1000 had been made to local and Service charities. A sum of £850 was still to be allocated.  Members who had suggestions for worthy recipients were invited to make recommendations through the office.

 

d.         Investments.   Over the course of the year the association investments had made a gain of £33159 (42.9%), this had more than wiped out the decrease shown in the previous year. However, since 1 April 2010 the investments had shown a slight fall, we could not therefore expect to see a similar increase for the current FY.

 

e.         Balance Sheet.   The Balance Sheet showed that tangible assets had increased by £3433, this reflected the purchase of new computer equipment.  Investments included a 12 month Abbey Bond for £175000, thus reflecting the increase in investments and decrease in cash and deposits. There was little change in stocks, creditors and debtors.  As at 31 March 2010 the association was worth £332665, which was an increase of £24724 over the previous year.

It was proposed by Nick Kurth and seconded by Mike Evans that the statement of accounts and balance sheet as published and presented be approved. It was carried unanimously.

 

f.          Budget.   The budget for FY 2010/11 showed that an increase in income from subscriptions and gift aid could be expected, but total income for the year was likely to be lower because investment growth was likely to be much lower. An increase in expenditure for the Haltonian printing had been budgeted for, as had a sum of £2750 for the purchase of new gates for the Halton Grove. All other expenditure items were in line with previous years. The budget forecast for the year was a deficit of £5482.

 

The chairman thanked Fred Crooks and John Nelson for their hard work over the year.

 

Item 7 – Welfare

 

The welfare co-ordinator outlined the range of work that he had been involved with over the last year.  This included writing articles on welfare topics for the Haltonian, providing war pension and care home advice, and 3 cases of assistance to members being repatriated from abroad.  He had also directed 3 members to either the RAFBF or SSAFA for help.

 

The chairman thanked Duncan Grant for his efforts over the period.

           

Item 8 - Haltonian

 

In his address prior to handing over his editorial duties, Bill Kelley thanked all ex-apprentices for supporting him over his time in the role and providing him with more than adequate material.  He was proud to receive the MBE in recognition of the work he had undertaken.  However, he would not rest on his laurels because Min Larkin had enlisted him onto the archivist team to produce an index for the Haltonian as a long-term project.

 

Bill welcomed the new editor, Stuart Morgan, and praised his IT skills which would enable him to fulfil his role wherever he was located doing his job which took him round the world.  The magazine had taken a step into the 21st century.  He felt that the Haltonian would be in good hands for the future.  He then formally handed over the editor’s blue pencil to Stuart Morgan.

 

Stuart thanked the chairman for giving him the honour and privilege of editing the Haltonian and praised Bill and his wife, Audrey, for their efforts over the last 25 years.  His IT skills enabled him to communicate from anywhere on the globe which had been proved by his involvement with the association over the last 12 months.  However, inevitably he would be compared with Bill, and he needed to do something different.  We needed solutions that were of the modern day and provided a sustainable product.  Following the loss of our previous printing facility, a new printer had to be found.  He had been working with council members to find a long-term solution to this problem.

 

An A4 format for the magazine from a publishing point of view was easier to produce. It would give more flexibility to experiment with graphics and forms of presentation than an A5 format could achieve.  He would be working with the council to see which format and layout would be acceptable to the membership.  

 

He had had many inputs from members over the last few weeks ensuring sufficient material for the next edition but more would be welcomed. He had enlisted association members as reporters from all over the world to contribute to the magazine.   He hoped that he would be able to include many good quality photographs of the Triennial.

 

Questioned about the cost of producing an A4 size magazine compared with A5, Stuart said that A4 was now the preferred size for publishers and printers and costs may even be cheaper, and postage would not be higher.  However, a member pointed out that more storage space would be needed.

 

Item 9 – Trenchard Museum

 

The chief curator stated that an important new exhibit had been received in the form of a Vickers      K gun dating from early 1940.  A display had been set up in a hangar on the airfield for the station open day and this was seen as a new opening for the museum.  There were now 5000 visitors per year, and great support had been received from the station.  Tom Costello (59th) and Les Garden (103rd) had joined the museum team.  There were plans to build a replica Mayfly aircraft that had originally been designed by Halton staff and built by apprentices; however, it would not fly due to the costs involved.   More exhibits were always welcome especially, medals, uniforms, and models.

 

A member complained that he had been refused entry to the station without an escort when he came to visit the museum with his family.  It was pointed out that, had he contacted the HAAA office before the visit, an escort could have been provided.  It was suggested that this information could be given in the Haltonian.

 

The chairman thanked Francis Hanford and the team for their hard work.

 

Item 10 Constitution – Name Change     

 

The chairman explained that the debate regarding the proposal to revert to the historical name of Old Haltonians had gone on for a long time with strong views expressed on both sides of the argument.  At the same time, the debate had raised the issue of the word ‘Aircraft’ in the name. (secretary’s note: The case for and against a change was set out in the March 2010 newsletter.)   In an effort to reconcile various views, the council unanimously agreed to put before the members at the AGM a recommendation to remove the word ‘Aircraft’ and make ‘Old Haltonians’ an adjunct to the title so that it could be used informally.  The changes, if passed by a 2/3rds majority, would require only minor amendment to the constitution.

 

Many speakers from the floor put their views either for or against the name change, before a proposal was made by Sir Dusty to change the name of our association to the ‘RAF Halton Apprentices Association (Old Haltonians)’.  The proposal was seconded by Nick Kurth. There were 82 votes for the change which included 18 postal votes and 22 against which included 2 postal votes.  The proposal was carried by 78.4% of the members. The change would therefore be implemented.

 

Item 11 – Halton Grove

 

Ron Priest, chairman of the grove management committee, commenced by acknowledging the work undertaken by Bill Kelley, Bill Woodward, and Jack Neville in establishing the grove in the first place.  He went on to describe the organization of those managing the grove: Richard Cook, Duncan Grant and Ian Sloss were his fellow committee members.  There were also 15 volunteer gardeners.  He then went on to encourage members to contribute to the grove poppy appeal which had already raised £280.

 

Ian Sloss then described the proposed enhancements to the grove.  Entrance gates designed and manufactured by ex-apprentices would be installed.  An entrance path would be laid from the gate to the monument telling the story of the apprentice scheme.  A disability path for wheelchair access around the grove would also be provided.  There would be engraved pavers sponsored by the association, individual pavers, and entry pavers.  Pavers would cost £50.  If the enhancements were approved, paths would be laid in Spring 2011 to include as many engraved pavers as possible – orders would be taken at the Triennial.  New tree plaques would also be provided.   Projected cost of the enhancements would be a maximum of £17000 spread over 2 years.   It was hoped that much, if not all of this money, could be recouped by the sale of pavers.

 

In answer to a question on the likely wear on the pavers, it was stated that similar pavers in other groves had worn well.   A question was asked about the possibility of having entry crests on pavers and this would be investigated. 

 

It was proposed by Sir Dusty and seconded by Fred Crooks that up to £17000 be allocated to grove enhancements spread over financial years 2010/11 and 2011/12.  The proposal was passed unanimously.

 

 Item 12 – Chairman’s Report

 

The chairman opened by saying that the HAAA office was the busiest he had seen it with the Triennial looming and the work entailed with the change of bank.  He thanked the office team for their efforts. He also thanked our president and staffs at Halton for their tremendous support.  We were always looking for new blood in the office so if you could help or know someone who could, please let us knows.  He also thanked our staff at the National Memorial Arboretum for their hard work, and mentioned the Golden Oldies summer programme and their involvement in the Triennial.

 

a.         Triennial Reunion 2010.   The chairman outlined the programme for 25th September.

There would be a meet and greet at Henderson/Grove followed by lunch over 2 sittings at the Henderson Mess.  We would then form up for a parade and march down to St George’s Church.

He reminded everyone that the event was for association members only.

 

b.         Windows.   The windows were all in place in the main gallery and looked magnificent and it was intended to dedicate the whole window display at the Triennial service.  Furthermore, at this year’s remembrance service we plan to dedicate the RNZAF window with representation from New Zealand.  The George Cross and George Medal windows require alterations because more holders of these medals have been discovered.

                       

c.         Website.   The chairman thanked Clive Brooks for his efforts over the past year in establishing our website  which was an excellent vehicle for communication across our membership.  Since the last AGM, Stuart Morgan had set up a social networking site which feeds off the inputs of its members who add information and communicate with each other in real time.  Today, around 900 ex-apprentices from the 29th to 155th and the craft apprentice entries are members and more join each day.  Min especially has profited from the site which had enabled him to add valuable archive material for the museum; it has also recruited much needed new members.

 

d.         Future Events. Three further events were planned for this year. The Triennial as had been mentioned, the Cenotaph parade on 14th November, and the annual remembrance service at Halton on Tuesday 16th November.  

 

 

 

 

Item 13 – 90th Anniversary 2012

 

The chairman explained that, since the agenda was published, it had been decided to give the subject a separate item covered by Duncan Grant.  Duncan detailed the outline plan for the ceremony to be held at the Halton Grove in May 2012 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the introduction of the apprentice scheme at RAF Halton and to launch the enhanced grove.  It would be held in the amphitheatre adjacent to our grove to allow more spectator room.  The format would be similar to the 2009 ceremony and would be subsidized by the association by up to £8000.  Numbers would be limited to about 450 due to the administrative costs imposed by the arboretum authorities for higher numbers, but numbers could be increased.  It was hoped to announce the principal guest next year.

 

Questioned as to why the event was not being held at Halton, it was pointed out that the arboretum was a national stage and it gave the opportunity to open formally the upgrade of facilities.   

 

Item 14 – Election of Officers and Trustees

 

a.         Chairman.  The chairman explained that his post was a 3 year term of office; he would have completed 6yrs in September; and planned to handover at this year’s Triennial. It was proposed by Sir Dusty and seconded by Mike Evans that Ian Sloss (105th) take over as Chairman of the Association Council at the forthcoming Triennial. The subsequent vote was unanimous.

 

(Secretary’s note.  Many will now be aware of the tragic death of Ian Sloss on 9 August 2010. As a consequence, Rod Brumpton (106th) will remain in post until a suitable candidate can be found).

 

b.         Officers.  The only change to the existing list of officers was the change of Haltonian editor (Stuart Morgan replacing Bill Kelley), and all were content to remain in post. There were no additional volunteers to stand as council members, and, therefore, it was proposed by Ian Blunt and seconded by Mike Evans that the nominated officers be elected.  The proposal was carried unanimously.

 

c.         Honorary Vice-President.  There was one nomination for Honorary Vice-President - Bill Kelley (55th). The Chairman went on to say that Bill had created the Haltonian back in 1984 and that, under his editorship, the magazine had remained at the heart of the Association. But, of course, Bill’s contribution had been much wider than that and that for well over 25 years little had taken place without Bill’s view and inputs being highly valued. Moreover, his support to him as chairman over the last 6 years had been very much appreciated. Everyone was delighted with the award of Bill’s MBE in the New Year Honours list, which was very much deserved, and that Honorary Vice-President of the Association was most appropriate.

 

The Chairman therefore proposed, on behalf of the Council and seconded by Colin Andrews, that Bill Kelly be appointed Honorary Vice-President.  The proposal was carried unanimously.            

 

Item 15 – Appointment of Financial Examiner

 

There was only one candidate for the position of financial examiner, and it was proposed by John Nelson and seconded by Mike Evans that John Taylor, 137th, the existing examiner be elected.  The proposal was carried unanimously.

 

Item 16 – President’s Address

 

The president said he had been asked to speak about the future of Halton which was assured in the medium term.  However, studies were under way to determine the most suitable locations for joint-Service training centres and Halton’s future could not be guaranteed.  He outlined a programme of upgrades to station facilities which would bring about improved standards.  The PT School at Cosford would move to Halton.   Any reduction in the RAF numbers as a result of the defence review would affect numbers at Halton, but this would allow additional units to move here.  The president announced that he would be leaving Halton in September this year, and regretted that the move  would be before the Triennial.   He wished the association well for the future.  The chairman then presented him with a statuette of an apprentice to mark his time as president

 

Item 17 – Patron’s Address

 

Sir Dusty spoke on behalf of our patron who was unable to attend the meeting.  Sir Michael apologized for not being present but sent his best wishes to those attending the AGM; he also wished a huge success for the Triennial.  He also thanked Bill Kelley for his dedication in his tenure as Haltonian editor. 

 

Item 17 – Closure

 

The chairman thanked those attending and closed the meeting at 1655hrs.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                            Original signed

 

R Brumpton                                                                                        P West

Chairman                                                                                             Secretary

 

Annexes:

 

A.        Membership Report.