EXETER FLOTILLA

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING  18 APRIL 2012

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

As today I complete my three - year term as your Chairman, this is my haul down report. In previous years I have spoken of my intention to maintain a steady course and speed However in recent months your Committee has had to steer through some turbulent waters which have affected the tenor of our activities.

We have had to contend with new rules imposed on Establishments by the Ministry of Defence in these times of cut back and austerity. As we are not part of CTCRM's core activity we are now classed as "Encroachers" and have had sign a licence agreement and take out indemnity insurance to continue our activities within the Camp. It is an MOD requirement, subject to audit, that we now pay full costs for our food and its service on lecture nights. The MOD also puts pressure on all Establishments to sell their facilities and skills under the Wider Marketing Initiative. Consequently we have not always been able to dine and/or hold our lectures and social events in the mess on nights of our choosing. The reasons have been varied: from an overload situation due to the number of officer courses eating in; to the mess being required for a VIP visit at short notice; or a clash with the Mess President's wishes to revitalise mess life and insert more functions into the programme for the Royal Marine members.

On nights that the mess has not been available we have been able to use the Savile Hall and arrange for the provision of bar facilities and purchase of snacks from the SODEXO shop. Alternatively members have eaten out at one of the local eating houses before coming into the Camp. Some have chosen to do this on other nights rather than pay the higher charge to avail themselves of the silver service meal in the dining room

In these straitened times we remain grateful for the facilities and goodwill of the mess members that we enjoy in CTCRM. Brigadier Gerard Salzano, Commandant, and Lieutenant Colonel Neil Willson, Commanding Officer, have each expressed to me their enthusiasm for continuing the close relationship between CTCRM and the Flotilla. We very much appreciate the service provided to us by Mr Moss the Mess Secretary and the Sodexo Mess Manager and her staff on both lecture evenings and other social occasions.

Our Patron, Commodore John Kingwell, Commander United Kingdom Task Group. following his successful deployment off Libya, had a pier head jump in November to Main Building as Director Plans and Resources. In his place we welcomed as our Patron Commodore P A McAlpine who delivered our Patron's lecture In January.

At our annual members' lunch following the AGM our principal guests being Brigadier Gerard Salzano, Commandant CTCRM and our member Keith Sheppard.

In June, at the invitation of the Lord Mayor, the Trafalgar Secretary and the Chairman attended a reception before the Exeter Armed Forces Day parade and displays. Members of DEFENDER ship's company played a prominent part in the proceedings. As a result one of her officers, who lives locally, has joined the Flotilla. Later in the month the Chairman represented the Flotilla at the CTCRM annual cocktail party

Our own Summer party provided an opportunity to entertain our friends both official and personal. The Sunset Ceremony was conducted by the Exmouth Sea and Royal Marine Cadets. Bob Symons has continued through the year to foster our links with the local Cadet Corps, and we made grants to deserving units. Later in July Robert Harland, organised the annual golf tournament for members and guests. In the evening non golfers and their ladies participated with a convivial meal and prize-giving in the clubhouse

The Trafalgar Service, Reception and Lunch were very well attended with plenty of uniforms adding colour in the Cathedral. The preacher was The Right Reverend Martin Shaw, former Bishop of Argyll and the Isles. Thanks must go to Chris Seaton for overcoming many frustrations in the detailed organisation of this event.

In November, for the first time, the Flotilla was invited by the Lord Mayor of Exeter, to participate in the civic wreath laying on Remembrance Sunday. Gerald Newton undertook this duty on our behalf. At the end of November, in recognition of the Royal Australian Navy's Centenary, the guest of honour at our annual dinner was Captain O'Brien RAN, the Naval Adviser at the Australian High Commission in London. In February the Senior Officer HMS DEFENDER invited the Chairman and Secretary to a presentation by his Ship's Company hosted by the Lord Mayor in the Guildhall.

Under-girding the above activity have been our regular lecture nights and Nigel Broadhurst provided us with a varied and stimulating programme. Attendance has been excellent, particularly on evenings when members have also been able to enjoy a meal in the dining room.

Other members of your committee have also done sterling work. I am most grateful to each of them for all the hard work they put into our programme. Under the careful nurture of Angus Atherton our finances remain sound. He has also born the brunt of the negotiations with the Mess over the revised costs for meals and social events. Chris Cole kindly stepped in as our Inspector of Accounts following the untimely death of Keith Sheppard.

My thanks also go to Andy Quick our Membership Secretary for managing our website and email communications. To Gerald Newton, our efficient and extremely hardworking Secretary who also edits our splendid periodic News Letter

Mike Howard, our ACORAM liaison officer, formally joined the Committee and additionally assumed the mantle of Visits Officer. There has been no activity with ACORAM during the year. Richard Buckley volunteered to be co-opted onto the committee without portfolio.

We primarily exist for you our members and my thanks go to you for supporting our events through the year and making it all worthwhile. However I must, as always, reiterate the plea that if the Flotilla is to continue well into the future we must maintain our vigilance and be active in inviting new and younger blood to join us.

I Brannam
Captain Royal Navy
Chairman
18 April 2012

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