In May the Branch will be hosting the No.5 Area meeting, the first for many years. This prompted me to look back in the minutes to a previous Area event which the Branch held.
The following is an extract from the monthly minutes of April 1984.
The occasion was a Dinner Dance organised by Norwich on behalf of the Area.
A few people were not happy!
Considerable concern was expressed over criticism which had been received regarding arrangements for the dinner dance. Both S/Ms Hemmings and Wilson had found fault with the manner in which the raffle was drawn, the lack of a top table and the shortage of speeches. S/M Folkard (Norwich) confirmed that at the Area meeting it was S/M Wilson who had requested ‘no speeches‘. He felt that the limiting of speech making contributed to the success of the evening; he also said that he would bring this to the notice of delegates at the next Area meeting.
He continued, it was at the Area meeting that he had been advised not to expect more than 250 at the dinner, but due to the favourable response the decision was made to dispense with a top table to provide sufficient seating space for all who had applied for tickets, this had resulted in being able to keep the tickets reasonable priced at £5:50p. (In chairman Gordon Heighway’s annual report he said that as many as 350 could have been there).
Rear Admiral and Mrs. Wilcox had written to thank the Branch for an enjoyable evening, and Dagenham Branch sent a card of congratulations on the success of the event.
A vote of Thanks was passed to S/M’s Gwen Pye and Rhoda Self for their indefatigable support with table arrangements and tickets sales.
In summarising, Chairman Gordon Heighway commented that it was disheartening that the Area Chairman (Wilson) should find cause to complain when Norwich Branch had been requested to organise, and contributed a lot of hard work to, the first No.5 Area dinner for many years.
It’s ironic that Norwich was asked to organise a Buffet Dance for 1986!! Sadly the event made a loss so, at a later Area meeting, Mike Mizen sought to get reimbursement for the shortfall. The vote for the full amount was lost by only two votes, but it was agreed that 50% would be refunded. Apparently, this came to £168.20. So, well done Mike!
Incidentally, in 1985 the Branch had only been in commission for about six years but had built up a membership of 121 shipmates. A great deal of hard work must have been needed to achieve this result. I seem to recall that when I became Membership Secretary in 2001 the figure stood at 112. Even today, with a general dwindling of members in the Association, the figure still stands at around 100.