With a slow turn-over of new recruits, and an ever-ageing fleet of shipmates within the Royal Naval Association, a number of branches have struggled to keep afloat. Bracknell Branch RNA were no exception to this, in November 2015, the branch looked as if it would fold as nobody wanted to take on any of the Branch’s Official roles.
That was until shipmate Nigel Carpenter decided to ‘encourage’ a few shipmates to take the key positions (being ex-Royal Naval Police, Nigel probably had a few techniques in the art of persuasion), S/M Nigel Carpenter managed to convince S/M Mike Daley to take the role as Branch Chairman; three Associate members were then asked to become Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer, and Social Secretary in order to re-energise the branch. At the time Bracknell RNA comprised of around 22 members.
Two years on and with loads of hard work, Bracknell branch has doubled that membership, finances have been stabilized and fundraising has increased, so much so that they have fully met Central Office reporting requirements.
The branch appointed a Delegate for No 6 Area, sent a delegate to the RNA Annual Conference, hosted a No 6 Area meeting and AGM, they have taken shipmates on visits to Semaphore Tower, the Royal Naval Police Museum and D-Day Map Room, Chatham Dockyard, The Falklands Memorial, and the National Memorial Arboretum, etc. Guest speakers (including a Beefeater) have given presentations at the monthly meetings, and the branch have also had fun with quizzes and skittles evenings. A remarkable turn-around for a branch that was so close to closing.
Exceptionally instrumental in the branch’s success have been the 3 Associate members, they have worked tirelessly in support of the Chairman thus cementing the foundations of the new-look branch. The Branch wished to thank these shipmates for their hard work and were awarded Central Office-sponsored Certificates of Appreciation by the Branch Chairman at this month’s AGM.
S/M Nigel Carpenter added that these certificates were awarded because:
Our Branch Secretary, June Boddrell, is the most meticulous records keeper, has totally revamped the branch’s communications capability, and is thoroughly professional and almost indispensable in her handling of all branch administrative affairs, whilst maintaining a humility and measured deference fitting to her role. She also carries out the role of Welfare Officer.
Martin Powell, our Branch Treasurer has carefully managed and turned around our finances, professionally guiding and advising the membership on prudent and above all compliant practice, and providing judicious advice to the Committee, and fiscal confidence to the Branch.
Finally, a key ingredient of this success has been the members interest and satisfaction with the number of official and social events that have been organised on their behalf by Lynne Daley, our Branch Social Secretary, who works selflessly not only on the events mentioned above, but also two successful Trafalgar Dinners, two St George’s Day Dinners, and a number of innovative ‘Master Chef’ dinners at their home for up to 12 members each time raising funds for the Branch. Her sheer enthusiasm encourages members involvement.
Nigel J Carpenter FSyI RISC
Area 6 Delegate
Royal Naval Association, Bracknell Branch
Editor’s comment: BZ to S/Ms June Boddrell, Martin Powell, Lynne Daley, Mike Daley, Nigel Carpenter, and of course all those shipmates from the Branch, an amazing turn-around and one that you should all be proud to have achieved.