On Friday 19th June 2015, shipmate Karl Webb, Hon. Secretary for Huntingdon & District Branch, headed off to Folkestone for the Royal Naval Association’s annual conference. On arrival in Folkestone, Karl booked into the Grand Burstin Hotel. From the very start, it looked like this was going to be a great weekend, everywhere anyone looked, RNA personnel were either welcoming the new arrivals, heading off to the bar, or simply catching up with shipmates from near and far.
After checking in, shipmates were able to enjoy a few drinks in the ballroom. Shipmates from No 6 Area touched base to make sure everyone had settled in ok.
The Grand Burstin staff entertained their guests with some live entertainment (and bingo for those that had brought their dobbers!).
A highlight for s/m Karl Webb was meeting up with s/m Shaun (Charlie) Brosnan, after serving together on HMS Berwick 31 years ago, it was great to catch up and enjoy a few more drinks.
On the Saturday morning, shipmates prepared for the business side of the weekend, the ballroom had been rearranged to enable delegates to be seated in front of the top table where the National President, VIPs (which included the Town Mayor of Folkestone, Councillor Emily Arnold), General Secretary and main Council members would be seated. Sadly, the National President was called away on a family matter, so at the last minute the Deputy National President stepped in.
The details of the Conference will be published on HQ’s official website, but the meeting was a great success, as with any democratic process, things will not go everyone’s way, but overall everyone felt that a lot has been achieved in looking towards the future of our Association. On completion of business, shipmates from Area 6 got together for a rare group photo.
A photographer from the Veterans Portrait Project was also in attendance, he managed to photograph a number of shipmates as part of a drive to capture images of veterans and serving members of the Armed Forces. The shipmates photographed on Saturday will eventually be displayed on the Veterans Project website in a couple of weeks: Veterans Portrait Project UK
On Saturday night, shipmates held a gala dinner at the Grand Burstin, a great way to end the day.
As with previous RNA Conferences, the final day was marked with a parade of National, Area, and Branch Standards, shipmates from the RNA and other naval Associations (mainly from Ireland), and led by the T.S. Invicta Sea Cadet Corps’ band.
RNA Standard Bearers march off from the Grand Burstin.
With words of thanks from the Mayor of Folkestone, our National Chairman, prayers from the padre, and an impressive Drumhead Service from the sea cadets, it was time to draw the conference to a close. Once again, a rare opportunity arose to get a photograph of the No 6 Area Standard Bearers before most headed back home.
…not without the traditional tot of course.
Shipmates from Area 6 would like to say BZ to Area 2 shipmates, and HQ staff, for all the hard work that went in to ensure we had a successful conference.
This page will be updated in due course with links to the official summary, and photography, of Conference 2015.
To see more pictures from shipmate Karl Webb’s time at Conference 2015, click on the first thumbnail below and scroll through the images.