2019 AGM & Reunion

2019 AGM & Reunion

TON Class Association

Minutes of 32nd Annual General Meeting Hallmark Midland Hotel, Derby 12th October 2019

Present were 10  Committee members & 46 members of the Association. Committee Members & Guest of Honour

The Chairman welcomed everyone to our 32nd AGM, especially those who had travelled great distances to be with us: Russell Jones from Australia, Peter Palmer from Florida and Tony Standish from Denmark.

Crossed the Bar

One minute silence was observed for the 41 members who had Crossed the Bars since the last AGM – our highest annual total to date, but hopefully not a pointer to the future:

Apologies for Absence were received from 14 members:

Chairman’s Annual Report

Peter Harrison thanked everyone for their support during this very busy year. He is very conscious that we have a strong team leading the Association. We suffered a great loss when Captain Jeremy Stewart Crossed the Bar but he was pleased to note that the activities of the TCA Historical Group are continuing unabated under the leadership of Bob Dean.

It was impressive to observe how many members were able to support John Preston’s funeral and what we had learned about the processes of larger welfare organisations.

Hon Secretary & TON Talk Editor’s Report

Hon Sec thanked officers for dealing with matters in their respective areas, leaving him free to concentrate on the more unusual issues that cross his desk. And there have been quite a few this year, including, in no particular priority:

It appears that the ambition to install a more permanent monument in the church at Fittleton to those who lost their lives in the disaster has come to nothing so far. IF we hear more from the church, TCA could consider afresh what support we may be able to offer.

16 members will represent TCA at the 2019 Cenotaph Parade.

TON Talk continues to be the largest element of our expenditure: We continue to look for economies and have recently reduced the size of the print run by 100 copies to save waste and also cost.

The biggest saving would be to go “all electronic” i.e. not to print TON Talk, but to put a digital equivalent of the magazine on our website but this would be quite radical and deserves much discussion and consultation with our membership before any action is taken.

The current circulation of TON Talk is:  1028 paper copies to Members and Widows, 48 to MCMVs, 55 Overseas, plus 110 Electronic, giving a world-wide circulation of 1241 copies.

The 110 members who have opted to take the electronic version of the magazine have helped make significant savings on postage. 

Auditor’s Report - Given by Chairman Peter Harrison

An independent examination of TCA Accounts had confirmed that the accounts have been conducted in accordance with the Rules of the Association and that they were a true and accurate representation of the Association’s financial position. It was further observed that the detail and accuracy of the TCA Treasurers record keeping had greatly assisted the audit. Concern was expressed that some 293 members had not yet adjusted their bank standing order to the £15 annual subscription due from January 2017. There followed considerable discussion about appropriate remedies and it was decided that Hon Sec should write a strongly-worded letter to each of the defaulters, urging them to adjust their standing order to £15 without delay.  Any member in default who had not made this adjustment within two months of the Reminder letter would no longer receive TON Talk.

Membership Secretary’s Report

Current membership is 1218; comprising 942 Full Members, 155 Life members and 25 Associate Members. Additionally we circulate TON Talk without charge to 51 Widows, 22 Associations, 16 MCMV crews and 7 Honorary Members.

Members are requested to advise the Membership Secretary when they change address, phone number or, especially, e-mail address.

TCA Historical Group – given by Hon Sec in the absence of Bob Dean

The day to day work of the Historical Branch received an unwelcome setback with the death of Founder Member Captain Jeremy Stewart. Jeremy’s family have kindly allowed me access to Jeremy’s extensive records of all things TON-related and I am wading through his files to extract the most significant information for retention – it will be a long, and at times, emotional, job.

The Group is carrying on as normal. We have two major projects on hand; compilation of histories of Ham and Ley Class inshore MCM vessels and providing images of TONs on a CD for the Naval Historical Branch.

The web sites for TCA and Marshland Maritime Museum receive regular updates and are visited by increasing numbers. We have a problem with Google access to the TCA website which diverts searches to a page promoting medical devices but a potential software patch to correct this problem appears to have been found.

I attended the recent meeting of CONA, the Conference of Naval Associations. It was well-attended and the Naval Secretary, Rear Admiral Bath, gave a comprehensive and encouraging update on the state of the RN today. There were also presentations by RNBT, Sea Cadets, Solent Area Health, Age Concern and other agencies offering services relevant for veterans. 

Welfare Officer’s Report

Robbie Reid-Sinclair advised on working relationships with RBL, SSAFA and other organisations providing welfare services for veterans. There had been NO expenditure from the TCA Welfare Fund this year.

Stores Officer’s Report 

75 Members ordered from Slops, well down on the year before. Special orders were 16 up on last year. Price increases have been kept to a minimum, apart from the Royal Mail annual increase for Postage.   Plea from our Bank. Will Members please refrain from writing on the back of cheques, as it takes longer to process them. The automatic readers are not expecting writing on the back, so stop in confusion and it takes the clerks time to clear the stoppage.

Standard Bearers Reports - given by Hon Sec (for Sam Cook) & Dave Parrish

Dave Parrish - paraded TCA standard at John Preston’s funeral in July and at Eden Camp Commemoration in August.  He expects to attend Selby Abbey on Remembrance Sunday.

Sam Cook - paraded National TCA standard at Jeremy Stewart’s funeral in February and subsequently at funerals of two WW2 RN Veterans, plus Weymouth.  He plans to attend Cenotaph Parade with group of 4 Cornish oppos and to parade the standard at St Austell and Camborne Remembrance Services.

N.B. Sam continues to liaise with Warren Zahra in Malta. There is a sporting chance that Warren could arrange for TCA to be invited to participate in the Commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the award of the George Cross to Malta c. 15th April 2022. Keep an eye open for updates in Ton Talk and this website.

Sea Cadets Liaison

Difficulties have been experienced in obtaining news from all three Cadet units. It is understood that this may probably be due to the priorities of unit staff being focussed on training for the youngsters.    It is considered that perhaps the TCA Liaison Officers may have to visit the units on occasions other than the Annual Awards or Area Inspections in order to generate feedback.

Reunion Secretary’s Report

Clive Dennison has taken over the Reunion account and has agreed a contract with the Toorak Hotel, Torquay for 9-11 October 2020. We have taken the full allocation of 60 rooms for today’s Reunion, with another dozen attending the dinner only, making 108 people in total.

Any Other Business

  1. A question about regulations governing Burials at Sea was raised. I will generate a page on this website giving the details obtained from RNA Head Office.
  2. We were reminded about the  RNA Project Semaphore, whereby tablets, internet connection and instruction on their use, are available to veterans over 63 with no previous computing capability.
  3. The Royal Maritime Club, Portsmouth has been booked for the Committee Meeting on Saturday 14th March 2020. All members are invited to attend and make it a social event.

Next AGM Will be held at the Toorak Hotel, Torquay on Saturday 10th October 2020 commencing at 10.00. Guest of Honour will be Lt Col Michael Green RM Rtd, son of Chris and Dulcie.

The meeting concluded at 13.40 with Up Spirits