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Minutes of the AAJLR Comrades Association
Annual General Meeting
by Mike Owsley

Held at the Min-Y-Mor Hotel, Barmouth, Wales
Saturday 24th. March 2012 at 1707 hours
36 Members Present

The following tended their apologies
Ken  Hare    Lee Tilson    Ian Sinclair Boyd    
Stan Preece  Arthur Yelton  Mike Chapman 
Stan Green  Richard Walters  Terry Scriven 
Peter Wilkinson  Tom Gracie  Gus Boag 
Richard Robinson   Mike Williams  Robert Wood 
Alan Likeman  Roy Carman  David Patterson 
Bruce Watson  Adrian Kirkpatrick–Smith   Colin Sibary 
Colin Gunning  Bob Martin  Bob Long 
Dave Wakelam  Ken Beet  Richard Rothwell 
Stan Moore  Peter Jennings  Ken Russell 
Ken Hart  Lenny Kalter  Chris Elsey 
Members on the Mountain
(not in attendance at AGM)
Fred Philpott    Brian Marjoram    Richard Gale 
Johnny Thompson    Peter Rogerson     

Opening Address
The President opened the meeting at 1707 hours with the following:
The President welcomed everyone who made it to Barmouth in particular those who have made it for the first time, he welcomed:
Henry Holmes
Tam Forrester
Willie King
He also restated that decisions made by members at this meeting are binding.
The President asked members to stand to remember the comrades who have passed on in the past year.
Mike Wacrow
Sid Thomason

Minutes of the Previous Meeting
There was one matter arising from the previous year which was the application to place a commemorative plaque on or near the refuge on Cader Idris. The Treasurer will explain where we are at this moment in time.
Proposal: That the minutes be passed as read.

Secretary’s Report
This year Mike said he was again able to place a notification of this reunion in the RBL Magazine and that it solicited a great response; therefore if possible, it is his intention to put a one page newsletter in the magazine, to let everyone know how the weekend went.
Mike asked that members please notify him when they change e-mail or home addresses as in posting the Agenda for this year we had 40/50 returned mails, however this sometimes can happen if your mailbox is full.
Attendance: Please do let me know if you are attending or not as it helps me fill the rooms at the Mini-Mor, helps with the buffet numbers and I always let the local medical services know that they do have a certain number of elder visitors in the area so that they can stock up on pile cream, incontinence pads and defibulators.
Booking in for the buffet, please do not leave booking for the Friday night roast late or the buffet, you can book both by phone early enough to give the chef time to order the right amount of foodstuff and stop him having a hissy fit in the kitchen.
Next year we will have a 10th anniversary picture of members followed by one with partners and the hotel staff who I believe have improved every year and are as much about the reunion as we are.
It was asked if we can remove the music from the website and replace it with Regimental marches, I will take this up with Ken. Most Regimental marches are named in the Graduation booklets.

Treasurer's Report
2011/2012 Accounts circulated. Currently we have £269.32 in our account, and hopefully that will increase substantially during the course of this weekend. It should be noted that this figure includes £150.00 withdrawn for the disco tonight.
Monies are held in a simple Nationwide Treasurers Trust account which produces about a penny a year in interest; details are recorded on an Excel spreadsheet and there are three copies of last and this year's accounts circulated. You will note that for those who pay from the start of the year up to now, whilst I do pay their cheques into the account straight away I enter the payment as on 1 April because that more or less coincides with our reunion and financial year. There is no legal requirement for our account to be audited. Copies can be supplied to any member requesting one at any time throughout the year – just e-mail, write or 'phone me.
Entries in red are obviously payments out of the account. Entries in blue indicate where members pay in excess of the five pounds annual subscription the surplus then being carried over to the following year, or even years. Unless specifically stated the surplus is never taken as a donation, either to our funds or to any worthy causes. Some members pay up well in advance. For instance Geoff Graves is paid up until 2015 and Mel Smith to 2017!
'Shop' items (Association tie, plaque and lapel pin badges) are available from Mike. For those who are unaware we buy the badges for £2 each and sell them for £5; the surplus going to our chosen charity. There is the small sum of £3.00 currently owing to Combat Stress.
We have circulated envelopes and if you are paying your annual subscription, buying shop items or making a donation would you please use those envelopes, marking it clearly with your name and for what the money is intended. This cuts down the likelihood of money going astray, or of my not being able to work out from whom it derived.
It is a fact that, such is the nature of our Association that we do not even insist that those attending reunions have to be fully paid up members; however we cannot give to military charities or meet our occasional costs without sufficient funds. To that end I would request that those who have not paid their subscriptions for 2012/2013 – due on 1 April – should do so by means of the previously mentioned envelopes. Perhaps I should add that all postage costs are met by Mike and me – largely through his company, and we do not take any expenses for running this association.
The cost of accommodation and for the buffet – separately for those staying elsewhere to this hotel – must be paid direct to the Min-Y-Mor. This is very important so if you are coming to dine please see Helen or Faith if you haven't already done so.

Since 2005 we have donated:
£100.00 to Help for Heroes
£271.00 the Army Benevolent Fund
£30.00 to St Dunstan's (now renamed Blind Veterans UK)
£50.00 to Outward Bound Wales Mountain Rescue
However our main charity has been Combat Stress to where we have sent a total of £2,521.00, which I believe is quite an achievement in the name of an association where annual membership is only £5.00.
It was decided at the AGM in 2010 that if the members present wished our recipient charity to be changed then a vote would be taken at this meeting each year. Given, as I've said, that our annual membership cost is very low and that therefore there is not a lot to donate, I propose that the names of contending recipients for your vote this year are:
Combat Stress
Help for Heroes
The Army Benevolent Fund
The Royal British Legion
The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association
The British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association
Blind Veterans UK (formerly St. Dunstan's)
You may well have others in mind but for this year I believe that this list will be more than enough. Last year I asked that should any member between then and now have another specific cause they wished to be considered, they should contact me with that suggestion and I would add it to the list I've just read. As no-one has been in touch in the twelve months since our last AGM, I can only assume that the above list is sufficient.
Realistically, despite the great generosity of our members, we do not have masses to give away so we should not be diluting that which we do donate, so I propose that as in other years we choose one charity only.
For now I'm going to run through the list again and if someone wishes to propose and second a specific charity we'll note that and if more than one is designated then we'll take a vote and that which has the largest show of hands will be our designated charity for the coming year.
Therefore, the 'contenders' for consideration by the members present are:
Combat Stress
Help for Heroes
The Army Benevolent Fund
The Royal British Legion
The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association
The British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association
Blind Veterans UK (formerly St. Dunstan's)
Combat Stress    
Proposed by Willie King, seconded by Stan King. 10 votes. 
Proposed by Herbie Slaughter, seconded by Larry Smith. 15 votes. 
Proposed by Rene Dee, seconded by John Wiseman. 6 votes. 
Therefore SSAFA will be the nominated AAJLR Comrades Association for 2012/2013.

Any Other Business
Wreath/Tywyn Military Cemetery
A suggestion had been made that we might consider laying a wreath on behalf of this association at a Tywyn War Memorial or at the Military Cemetery on the Bryncrug road. Mike and Richard had looked at this proposal in detail, including liaison with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and contacting David Morkill, Chairman of Tywyn RBL.
Mike could give 'chapter and verse' about the twenty-seven graves in the cemetery which date between 1917 and 1944, and include Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, one RMP, one Royal Engineers, one Pioneer Corps, two Royal Artillery, five from Welsh Regiments, with the Royal Air Force and RAF Reserve, one ATS and one Home Guard making up the remainder.
Given that that there is no focal point – i.e. a war or other memorial in the cemetery, and that Tywyn itself has four war memorials including the hospital, Mike and Richard felt that as there did not seem to be an obvious place to lay a wreath, we would not proceed with the proposal.
That said, if any member feels we should pursue this further then David Morkill would welcome a representative of this association on parade with them for Remembrance Sunday, when they march past all four war memorials in the town and lay their wreaths at one of those. The march obviously does not go as far as the Military Cemetery on the road to Bryncrug. David Morkill was very supportive even to the extent of issuing an invitation to Officers of this committee to join their annual RBL Dinner which took place in Tywyn last evening. Mike and Richard declined that as they felt their place was to be here 'meeting and greeting' members.
Cadair Idris Plaque
The proposal to erect a plaque in or on the Cadair Idris shelter was started by Mike and then picked up by Terry Scriven, who has committed an enormous amount of time to the project. Sadly, and at quite short notice, Terry and Jan cannot be at this reunion due to his undergoing hospital tests. We wish him every success that these will have a positive outcome.
Terry has had extensive communication with the Welsh Assembly – both at National and Regional level – the National Parks Authority, Gwynedd County Council and other involved organisations with responsibility for the Cadair area, including the widow of the farmer who sheep farmed there back in our day, and whose son still does. A form of wording had been agreed in English and Welsh and all looked to be on course, with the local Welsh Assembly MP - or AM as they call them here – prepared to unveil the plaque at the farmhouse for those who cannot or choose not to climb, and then again at the hut with those who made the ascent.
At the eleventh hour it was revealed that the land on which the hut stands and several acres around it is owned by the Countryside Council of Wales and they do not permit plaques or memorials on Cadair Idris. In truth this is in a way understandable as they are apparently inundated with requests for memorials from families whose deceased family member climbed and loved the mountain; it is therefore one rule for all – no plaques.
Despite Terry's tireless work this project would have died the death there except that Mr Williams of the Countryside Council has invited us to have a small area – as yet we have no idea how small – on the wall of the visitor centre and tea room, which is currently under re-construction in one of the car parks at the foot of Cadair, on which we can display a photograph and a piece about AAJLR. Mr Williams' letter was circulated.
Mike's and Richard's annual pre-AGM meeting in London last month was attended by two regular climbers, Brian Marjoram and Rene Dee, in addition to Terry Scriven who brought all up to date on the plaque project. At that meeting it was felt that whilst it would have been appropriate to have a plaque in or on the hut, if that cannot be then items in a visitor centre which would possibly even be a better option. This because a great deal more people, including school parties, would see whatever we put there and thus AAJLR will reach many more people than if it was up on Cadair itself.
Richard then asked for a show of hands on accepting Paul Williams offer of a small area in the visitors' centre. The members showed agreement with the proposal and now Mike and Richard will hand the baton back to Terry to action.
Reunion Name Badges
It was suggested – somewhat tongue in cheek we believe – that with our rapidly failing eyesight perhaps the reunion name badges could use a slightly larger font. That suggestion will be considered by the committee.
Changes of Address
It was suggested by Herbie Slaughter that when members changed their telephone, mobile numbers and e-mail addresses they should notify the Secretary as a matter of priority.
Website Forum User Names
Herbie also requested that forum users should be asked to provide their real names rather than an unidentifiable nickname. Richard pointed out that this is in Ken Hart's remit and not that of the committee but that such a recommendation will be forwarded to the webmaster for his consideration and comment.
Thanks for the Committee
Members wished their thanks for the organisation of the Association by Mike, Richard and Larry minuted. Larry stated that he "answered a few e-mails and makes a comment or two throughout the year, but its Mike and Richard who do the work". The committee thanked the membership for their support and stated that they were content to continue in post; in fact that running the Association was a pleasure.
10th. Anniversary Reunion
Next year is the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Comrades Association and the Committee would welcome suggestions on how this can be marked in some way.
The reunions go from strength to strength and have all been massively successful. All who attend have a great time. We do our bit for the local economy and we raise monies for charity. It may be therefore that members feel to meet is enough and that next year should be treated much as those which have gone on since 2004.
However, I have had a letter from Chris Elsey who has attended a number of reunions. Sadly, his wife Barbara has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease and the prognosis is not good, so it is unlikely we shall see him here in the next few years. In Chris' letter he makes the suggestion that "there should be a parade/march or walk past the Tywyn war memorial". Chris also says that that Tywyn has a small band for which the instruments originally came from an ex-Para who had been at Morfa Outward Bound School. Chris says that this person is now old and ill but that he still lives in Tywyn. Also he thinks that a chap who worked in B Company cookhouse still lives in the town. Our own Barbara Parry is still a member of Tywyn RBL and if required I'm sure David Morkill will assist.
So, any suggestions about how you might wish to recognise our tenth anniversary as an association can be minuted now, or to save time, passed to Mike or me for research as to the practicalities of the idea, and a decision. Obviously though any suggestions or proposals must be made early to give Mike and me time to carry out whatever work on them would be required.
Other (Mini) Reunions
Richard said that for those regular followers of the website proper, and/or the forum they would know that there are occasionally mini-reunions in London. These are sometimes convened when our Chairman Colin Gunning is over from Canada, then there is the St Fagg's Day Memorial Luncheon and last year we held our first joint luncheon for AAJLR and the Inns of Court and City Yeomanry. These last two events are organised by John Sabini, the St Fagg's one having started off as a St George's Day Luncheon three years ago and have gone from strength to strength – though numbers are relatively low – with much amusement and in good company.
For those haven't dined in the Civil Service Club or the Rifles Club they've missed a couple of treats. The only reason Richard raised this was to encourage anyone who can get to London to come and take part – "you'll have a good day". We always 'flag' such get-togethers on the website but if any member who doesn't use a computer wishes to be kept informed of likely mini-reunions then to let Richard know by 'phone or letter, or here this weekend.
If any member wishes to organise mini-reunions in other parts of the country (or wider world – Stan Preece and Ken Hare meet up in Australia regularly; it does help that both live out there!) then Mike and Richard will publicise it as will Ken Hart on the website.
Richard added that all mini-reunions are funded on the day by the participants and not from the association kitty!
Apropos of nothing at all!
Richard told the meeting that earlier in the week while trying to track down a personal copy of "The Military in Towyn" by R. Ivor Jones (who was a friend of Barbara Parry's family) which is long out of print; he had a telephone chat with the man who runs the Talyllyn Railway Bookshop. Richard said that the members may know why the Bailey Bridge over the Dysynni Estuary – our walking route from Tonfanau into Towyn, or in his case Aberdovey – is no more, nor has been for many years, but in case you don't Richard told the members.
The army were prepared to leave it in situ provided the local council took over its maintenance and that they would not guarantee to do so the military dismantled it. The good news is that there is again going to be a bridge over the Afon Dysynni but a footbridge only as part of a long distance footpath. The story is that it should be completed this year. So, if we were still based at Tonfanau we would be able to walk to Tywyn without recourse to the railway bridge!
Closing Notes
The President reminded members that there is likely to be a speed trap, in the shape of a Police camera van, somewhere along the road out of Barmouth – traditionally in Bontddu - and he advised members to keep within the speed limit on their way home on Sunday.

Venue/Date - AGM 2013
This will take place at 1700 hours, on Saturday 23rd. March 2013 in the restaurant of The Min-Y-Mor Hotel, South Promenade, Barmouth, Gwynedd.
Members were advised to book early for the 2013 reunion and are reminded that rooms are still available at the Hotel.

There being no other business the President closed the meeting at 1822 hours.

Mike Owsley
Honorary Secretary
AAJLR Association

 Return To The 2012 Reunion Page 


If you have any reunion photos I would love to show them.

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