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Minutes From The AAJLR Annual General Meeting
by Mike Owsley

  Held at the Min-Y-Mor Hotel, Barmouth, Wales  
Saturday 4th. April 2009.
49 Members Present

The following tended their apologies:
Terry Hope
Brian Bielby
Hedley Delahaye
Lee Tilson
Nick Carling
Mike Poyle
Dave Reeves
Brian Simpson
Roy Rowlands
Hew Delaney
Colin Sibary
Fred Philpott
Stan Preece
Mick Roberts
Robert Wood
David Paterson
Tony Harris
Richard Robinson
Bob Relph
John Van Buiten
Brian Burke
Adrian Kirkpatrick-Smith
John Jablonski
Bill Sidney
Richard Gale
Bill Straughan
Tom Gracie
Barrie Jeffrey
Bob Veck

On Cader
Rene Dee
Colin Gunning
Richard Rothwell
Brian Marjoram
John Reid
It is again stating the obvious to say that we are a 'time limited' Association as unlike the usual Regimental and Corps Associations we do not have others coming through the system to take our places. Absence from these reunions is usually forced for health or financial reasons. Examples of that this year is Bill Straughan, who made a large contribution in getting this Association off the ground in 2004, who has cancer. For financial reasons Richard Gale, who was in training to join the Cader expedition, cannot be here because he lost his job a couple of weeks ago. Unselfishly both made a point of wishing us well.

Opening Address
The President opened the meeting at 1700 with the following:
The President welcomed everyone who made it to Barmouth but in particular Ken Hart our webmaster and Colin Gunning who with Ken have made the journey from Canada.

The President asked for a minutes silence in memory of former AAJLR members who had passed away in the last year, in particular:
Bob Tanfield 4th. March 1946 - 16th. June 2008

Minutes of the Previous Meeting
There were no arising matters from the previous meeting.
Proposal: That the minutes be passed as read.

Election of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer
Kindly reminded that this is not required until 2010.

Secretary’s Report
Very pleased to see that we have indeed managed to place a plaque outside Tonfanau camp after six years of trying - a success.
The buffet next year may have to alter as year on year we have grown in numbers, therefore we may have to have a standing fork buffet. This will be clearer after we see the numbers for tonight's buffet.
(After note: 86 places were taken up in the main area for the buffet, however I have agreed with Helen that next year the buffet will be set up in the small lounge and the space used in the main dining area can be used for seating.)
Would members please notify the Secretary when they change e-mail or home addresses.

Treasurers Report
The Treasurer made his apologies to those who had heard his explanations of how the accounts were managed before but re-stated for those who are new to the reunions that the Association monies are held in a very simple Nationwide Building Society Treasurer's Trust Book Account, and recorded on an even simpler Excel Spreadsheet. Though this only provides for interest twice yearly 'in pennies', it remains a very user friendly type of account. For instance there are no problems with access, of paying in cheques, or of getting a counter cheque from a branch to pay invoices. The Treasurer made print-outs from the spreadsheet for the membership years 2008/2009, and 2009/2010 to the current date available to the meeting.
The Treasurer stated that the accounts are up to date; the last entry being payment for the commemorative plaque on 10th. March. He pointed out that any payments received after 1st. January each year were taken as being for the next financial/membership year which runs from 1st. April, and so are shown as having been paid in on that date. Some members pay several times the annually agreed subscription in which case it is recorded in a different colour and then carried forward to the next year. The account balance is currently £192.65 with all invoices paid to date. Within that figure there is £9.00 owed to Combat Stress under our 'badge scheme' because payment is not made to the charity until a reasonable sum has been accumulated. The reason that funds are currently a little low is due to having paid for the plaque that was unveiled at Tonfanau this morning.
The Treasurer said that the Association accounts had never been audited and that as far as he knew there was no necessity to do so, and that should any member require a copy of the accounts they only have to e-mail or write to him and one will be sent.
He said that the AAJLR Association was run in an informal way and that it had never been part of the operation to insist that even those attending reunions were all fully paid up members. However the £5.00 subscription is the only regular source of revenue and so he requested, that if those present hadn't done so already, they pay their membership for 2009/2010 over the reunion weekend. The Treasurer also requested that payment for membership, badges, ties and/or plaques should be placed in an envelope with name and to what it refers on the outside. Also if anyone present had never completed a membership application or if their details, e-mail address or the like had changed then there were some forms available for completion.
The cost of the hotel accommodation and the buffet should be paid directly to the Min-Y-Mor.
There were no questions from the floor.

At the AGM in 2007 it was unanimously agreed by those present to adopt the Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society, which is known more usually as Combat Stress, as our official charity. In the past year a total of £392.00 had been sent to them on behalf of the AAJLR Association. This was made up of a donation from the accounts, very generous individual donations and £3.00 from every pin badge sold. The Treasurer said that normally at the AGM he would suggest that Combat Stress be sent a further sum, but given that £533.60 had been paid out for the plaque, any further donation – besides the £9.00 already in their name currently in the funds – would be dependent on sales of badges over the reunion weekend and going forward, and any individual generosity. Again if those present wished to donate to Combat Stress through the Association, they should put that in one of the envelopes clearly marked.
On behalf of the Association the Treasurer thanked those who have brought items for the raffle which would be held that evening. Traditionally the monies gleaned from this are sent to Ken Hart, who he said we were all delighted to have at this year's reunion. The Treasurer said that this was to support Ken's excellent and unpaid work on the AAJLR website, which all agree is superb and the main route through which a great deal of us are back in touch, and indeed are here today at the sixth reunion. However this year the Treasurer asked the meeting to agree that the raffle monies go into the account and when that has built up to a reasonable figure again, to authorise the committee to send a sum to Ken. The meeting so authorised the Treasurer.

Any Other Business
'Tracking 'Em Down'
From the start of 2004 the Treasurer said that he had written around five hundred letters to those suspected of being former Tonfanau AAJLR 'inmates'. Added to that figure was the telephone calls and e-mails and so the number of potential contacts increased considerably. Other members had also been involved in tracing their former colleagues. The success rate is relatively good though not all of those traced want to be part of the Association or attend the reunions. Since last year the number traced has increased by about ten, which included Brian Bielby, Keith Dance, Tony Durant, Ken Grapes, Tom Gracie, John Houchin, Keith Tennant, Bernie Watts, Bob Hall and Ray Zala; and some of those were with us this year.
The Treasurer said that Ken would confirm that he had largely built up the names database on the website from Graduation Booklets and most former colleagues and members of the permanent staff had been traced through writing to names listed in those pages. Ken would also confirm that the website now has an almost full 'collection' of them but that there was a need to locate booklets from April 1961 and April 1962 – there having been none produced for the early years of 1959/1960. The Treasurer requested that should anyone know the location of the missing booklets they should contact either Ken or him.
The Treasurer said that he does revisit the names database on occasion and was still finding some more names which come up as sort of 'limited edition' possibles on the National Voters Register. In an attempt to match names in the booklets with those on the Voters Register he had written a few dozen letters and sent a similar number of e-mails since last year; and had also found one or two others through different Army websites. Unfortunately he only receives replies – positive or negative – from about twenty-five percent of the people to whom he writes, which he finds quite frustrating but said that it is a real bonus when another ex-Tonfanau inmate was traced.
The Treasurer made his usual offer that if anyone present had any names they would like him to try and trace, then he would need all the details that can be provided, in particular their full name or at least middle initial; unusual names have the most chance of success, also if there is a specific location or at least a general area then that improved the chances of success.

A vote of thanks to Ken Hart proposed by John Wiseman and seconded by Gus Boag.

Gus Boag asked if we could go back to having name tags for next year's reunion, happy to do that but members must let the Secretary know if they are coming, in sufficient time for them to be made up.

The President reminded members that a speed trap is likely to be outside Barmouth and warned members to keep to the speed limits.

A reminder of next year's reunion: 26th. March 2009, book early.

There being no other business the President closed the meeting at 1736 hours.

Mike Owsley
Honorary Secretary
AAJLR Association

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