After a ‘dog watch’ of a mere 20 years, Shipmate Keith Ridley stood down as Branch Chairman of St Neots & District Royal Naval Association, at their recent AGM. His successor is Shipmate Mike Milne (Tel: 01480 474949, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Keith has been Chairman of the St Neots & District Branch of the RNA for the last 20 years. Before that, he was Branch Secretary on two occasions for a total of 9 years and Branch President for 6 years. He has also been Branch Standard Bearer for the last 20 years and, before that was Branch Deputy Standard Bearer for 15 years. Keith continues as the Branch Delegate and National Council Member for No 6 Area. He stood down as Branch Chairman because of increasing commitments from the National Council; he remains as Branch Standard Bearer, St Neots Committee Member and National Council Member.
The New Chairman’s Vision
I’m delighted and honoured to have been elected as Chairman of the St Neots & District Branch. It’s clear that our previous Chairman, Keith Ridley, as an ex-stoker, has left a huge pair of ‘steamies’ to fill and I hope that I can come somewhere close to the high standards of commitment to the RNA that he has set. I’m going to need plenty of help and encouragement from my shipmates, as I have a very steep ‘learning curve’ to climb, but I’m sure that, with their support, I’ll succeed.
Although I’ve only been a member of the RNA for a ‘dog watch’ compared to some, I’ve come to appreciate the comradeship and friendship that membership brings. I truly believe in the RNA’s motto “Once Navy, Always Navy” – if you’ve ever been in the RN, it never leaves you! I was a ‘greenie’ from 1966 to 1972, well over 40 years ago, but have lasting and fond memories of my time. I never came across any of the members of the St Neots Branch during my service, but shared experiences of life afloat and ashore make for easy conversation and endless ‘dits’.
I trust that the St Neots Branch will continue the success that it’s had over the past few years. It’s a very active branch, both in terms of social events and supporting local good causes. We had an excellent year in 2014 and there’s a very full programme for 2015. I’m sure that we will go from strength to strength in the future. I intend to be a light hand on the tiller and will curtail my desires to interfere with things that are working perfectly well, remembering the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”. My overriding aim is to engender the spirit of harmony and comradeship between all shipmates that epitomises the ideals of the RNA.