Annual Report published in the Gazette 2009 Issue No. 32
PRESIDENT: Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter KCVO., OBE.
VICE PRESIDENTS: Lt Col P.E. Hills FLCM, psm
CHAIRMAN: Mr P Lawday
SECRETARY: John Morgan
TREASURER: Mr A Jones
MEETINGS: Committee meeting will be held on the first Monday of each month at the Royal British Legion, Staple Hill.
Well, where to begin with this year's report. In the 3 years that I have held this post, I have never been so busy; so let's go back in time a bit to November 2007!
For the second year running the Branch were lucky to secure the services of the Guards Division Corps of Drums Association to lead the Veterans Contingent on the Bristol Remembrance Day Parade. We stepped off to the words of command from our very own Parade Marshall, Ex WO2 Colin Till. The sound of the Corps brought back a lot of happy memories for the thirty Branch members who participated. Paul Lawday, (Branch Chairman) had the honour of laying the wreath at the Cenotaph. After the Parade it was off to the local watering holes for some well-deserved refreshments.
On Saturday 24th November, 64 Branch Members and their guest gathered for our Annual dinner & dance. Once again we were treated to a great night of food and entertainment at the BAWA leisure club in Filton. We had the honour of having Major Grant Baker, (Regimental Adjutant) as our guest speaker; however, I am sure that he regretted attending the following morning! During his speech Major Baker was informing us all of the excellent work the battalion had done on their recent tour of Afghanistan. He related one particular action and summed it up by saying, "He's only a Drummer"! Oh my, what a mistake with Drummers a plenty in the crowd! Still a memorable evening was had by all, and those that stayed until the end were entertained into the early hours of Sunday morning by the Roulettes-, a local group playing various hits from the sixties and seventies.
We now move on to December and the Household Division Dinner and Dance, kindly hosted by the Bristol Branch of the Coldstream Guards Association. 30 Branch Members once again attended the dinner & dance at the Royal British Legion Club in Staple Hill. Our very own John Frost, (Vice President), was once again called upon to offer the Toast to HM The Queen, this was conducted in true Grenadier Style, and I am sure that John will be called upon once again this year to perform this on behalf of the combined branches. We more than hold our own on this occasion, and we now have an entire table to ourselves, with the Coldstreamers having to combine with the Welsh Guards to make up their numbers!
Life in the Branch then returned to normal, with just the Regular meetings to look forward to. Then in February 2008 the Branch hosted a fund raising night in aid of the Colonel's Fund. Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, (The Boss) took time out of his busy schedule to support us in our aim to raise some cash for a very worthwhile cause. Although we were not very well supported by Branch members we still managed to get around 70 people in for an Auction & Raffle. Our very own Police Sergeant from Bad Lad's Army (Nigel Till) gave an opening address to all of those present, explaining why we needed to raise this money. At the end of the evening the Branch had collected £2,000, which was a great achievement for such a small number. My personal thanks go to all of those Branch members who supported the event and indeed in some cases supplied the goods.
On Monday 3rd March, the Branch held it's Annual General Meeting. The meeting was well supported with some forty plus members in attendance. The sad part of the evening was the resignation of Paul Lawday as Chairman. Paul informed the committee that due to work commitments and the fact that he was also the chairman of another group in Bristol, he simply did not have enough time to give to the post. We offer our best wishes to Paul for the future and offer our humble thanks for the help and support he has shown the branch. Matthew Allen then stepped up to volunteer his services, as our new Chairman, Matthew has been a staunch supporter of the branch for some years now and we offer him our best wishes on his appointment.
At 08:00 hours on Sunday 18th May, the Branch was back on the M4 making its way to London for Black Sunday. What a sight to behold this year with the battalion actually being able to participate, to see all those young guardsmen marching back from Horse Guards with so many medals on their chest was certainly an indication as to how times have changed!
Our next trip down the M4 was on Sunday 29th June, for Grenadier Day at Lillie Barracks. The Branch as in so many years in the past paraded in force for this one, the cider was a great success for the branch this year, mostly down to the gallant efforts of the young guardsmen from the Queens Company! We also raffled an LCD television in aid of the Colonel's Fund which we managed to raise a total of £250.00 profit on, our thanks go to our Chairman for efforts in setting this up and keeping the interest going throughout the day. I must not forget to mention Christine Lawday and Anita Morgan who throughout the day worked tirelessly in the selling of tickets for the television and indeed the cider, well done to the both of them.
Sunday 3rd August saw the Branch parading in Bristol in some strength for the Blessing of the new Branch Banner by the Dean of Bristol Cathedral. The service was very well conducted, and the Dean had obviously done his research on our Regiment and its Traditions. The Bristol Evening post also offered their support by covering the event and running a full page article in the paper which did wonder's for the sale of tickets for the Regimental Band concert. The Chairman and I were both interviewed and great emphasis was paid to the up and coming concert.
My final chapter for this years report focuses on the Regimental Band concert, which was held at Bristol Cathedral on Sunday 17th August, in aid of the Colonel's Fund.
This was the big one of the year and not an easy one to put together. Several branch members and their wives worked tirelessly on this, ensuring the posters were displayed all over the city. We experienced a really slow start with the sale of tickets, but thankfully things picked up in the final two weeks. On the actual night the Cathedral looked magnificent, with the entire centre being almost sold out, the band performed some wonderful pieces of music during the concert and a standing ovation was given to them at the end of the evening by the people of Bristol.
On a final note I would like to offer my personal thanks to Sue Flemming, an associate member of the branch for her outstanding contribution to the Branch this year, and to all those other members and wives who have shown so much support in a really busy year for the Branch.
The Regimental adjutant involved in after dinner banter
with 'only' a group of Drummers!