The Royal Air Forces Association
Area Headquarters & South Western Office
RAFA House, Chancel Lane
Pinhoe, Exeter, EX4 8JU
Tel: 01392 462 088 Fax: 01392 462 006
Wales, Midland & South Western Area
Newsletter APRIL 2012
THIS NEWSLETTER SHOULD BE DISPLAYED FOR THE USE OF ALL MEMBERS
Whole Area Membership figures as at 30 March 2012 were as follows:
Annual Life Full Total New Ann/Ass 12 Losses Ann/Life/Ass 12
6197 5647 2101 13945 232 1286
Lapsed Members currently appear as part of the Losses figure and this is our challenge!
It is recognised by membership organisations that it is far easier to retain members than it is to recruit new
members. Our Area has Branches and members that are hugely determined and enthusiastic and I would
ask you all to carry this spirit to the challenge of engaging our lapsed members. Lapsed letters are sent
from Area HQ but there is nothing stronger than personal contact from the Branch. You may uncover a
welfare need in so doing. Is it sufficient that Area HQ provides you with a lapsed list in the hope that each
Branch can make contact with those listed? We value your feedback as we look for ways to increase
membership. Don’t forget, also, that your Branch will have the services of an Area Councillor and some
details are enclosed.
2. BRANCH CLOSURE AND AMALGAMATIONS
Regretfully, I must report the formal closure of the Antigua Branch which closed on 1 March 2012. You are
also advised that the Dunfermline District and Stirling Branches will amalgamate. The Branch will be known
as the “Dunfermline and Stirling Branch” and will retain the Branch number 0553. Additionally, The
Farnborough and Aldershot Branch will become a Registered Members Group with effect from 1 March
3. WALES, MIDLAND AND SOUTHWESTERN AREA – EIGHTH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING –
SATURDAY 10 MARCH 2012
Forty one Branches were officially represented at the 8th Annual General Meeting of our Area in Swansea.
The Minutes of the Meeting are enclosed with this Newsletter. Images of the weekend will be made
available in due course and posted on the Association website at www.rafa.org.uk.
Many thanks to all those who made the Weekend such a success. Well done Wales!
4. ANNUAL CONFERENCE – BLACKPOOL – 18-20 MAY 2012
This is the final rallying call for Annual Conference and by the time you read this you may have missed the
deadlines! The letter giving details of Conference was despatched to Branch Secretaries last December. It
is important that the proforma is returned
direct to the Conference Organiser at RAFA Conference, PO Box 316, Leyland PR25 9AX (email
email@example.com ) and not via Area or CHQ. It is also imperative that it is returned by the due
date (Thursday, 5 April 2012) as in recent years many Branches have not made contact until as late as the
week prior to Conference. It is necessary to complete and return the form even if accommodation has
been booked, either direct or through Area HQ - again in recent years many Delegates have assumed
that as they had booked their accommodation there was no need to return the proforma."
5. RAFA CONCERT BAND
This is our opportunity to thank our RAFA Concert Band for their most outstanding contribution at this year’s
Area Reunion. As ever, Peter and his musicians (backed by Pauline and her team!) provided a perfect
finale to a super weekend. Please take a moment to look at their website for this year’s Band engagements
Don’t forget the Titanic Jubilee Concert on Sat 21 April at the Blakehay Theatre in Weston-super-Mare!
6. THE ARMED FORCES DAY NATIONAL EVENT AT PLYMOUTH – SATURDAY 30 JUNE 2012
The City of Plymouth is hosting the Armed Forces Day National Event on Saturday 30 June. This will be an
opportunity to meet the Armed Services ‘family’ and enjoy a spectacular day of exhibitions and displays by
the Armed Forces on land, sea and in the air all centred on Plymouth Hoe against the stunning background
of Plymouth Sound. There will be a packed programme of activities for families to enjoy as well as late
afternoon and evening community entertainment on the Hoe and the Barbican.
A detailed programme for the day is now being developed and will be announced shortly. For updates
please go to www.plymouth.gov.uk/whatson. The day will include an early afternoon Parade by the Armed
Services, Ex-Service Standards and Veterans with a short Drumhead Service. There will also be a
substantial, largely under cover, ‘Veterans Village’ on the Hoe area with stands to enable you to meet old
friends and enjoy some refreshment. The Association will be well represented with the Motorised Exhibition
Trailer and Simulator. It would be really useful to know whether your Branch intends to Parade its Standard
and how many are likely to march, including wheelchair participants. Please make contact with the Area
Director in the Exeter Office on 01392-462088 or by e-mail as soon as you have some detail and by no later
than Friday 25 May.
7. JOINTLY BRANDED COLLECTING TINS TO HIT RAF STATIONS
We are pleased to announce a new fundraising initiative between the RAF Association and the RAF
Benevolent Fund. From 1 March 2012, static collecting tins branded with both charities logos will begin to
appear on RAF Stations replacing the current tins of both charities. These tins will be run in cooperation
between our RAFALO’s and RAFBF Area representatives with the monies collected being divided equally
between the RAF Association and the RAF Benevolent Fund.
This initiative is designed to resolve the issue whereby collecting tins from individual RAF charities compete
for primacy on station. It is expected that the joint collecting tins will create a greater static fundraising
presence on RAF stations for both charities leading to more funds being donated. The monies generated
for the RAF Association from these tins will continue to be assigned to the relevant Branches who have a
close relationship with an RAF station. Furthermore, this scheme will only be applied to RAF stations as this
is primarily where the 2 charities find their current tins are often competing for the same donations. We look
forward to working alongside the RAFBF on this initiative whilst boosting the RAF Association’s presence
on station. Look out for these tins.
8. ANYONE MOVING TO AUSTRALIA?
If any members are considering moving to Australia, they might like to consider getting in touch with the
nearest RAFA Branch in Australia to where they intend to live. Please feel free to contact the Overseas
Director, Simon Martin on e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel/FAX: 01684-568457.
9. BOMBER COMMAND MEMORIAL
You may wish to enquire about tickets for the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial on 28 June, we
have been given the following information:
Those interested in obtaining tickets should register their details either in writing or by email and they will be
sent a form to complete so that their request can be assessed. Priority is being given to veterans of
Bomber Command and families of the 55,573 men of Bomber Command who lost their lives in WWII.
Supporters and friends of Bomber Command are also welcome.
Contact details are:- Bomber Command Memorial, c/o RAF Museum London, Grahame Park Way, London
Emails to - Bomber.email@example.com
Further details can be found on the website: www.bombercommand.com and click on the “FAQ” tab.
10. RAF MASIRAH AND RAF SALALAH VETERANS ASSOCIATION
You may wish to be aware that the RAF Masirah and RAF Salalah Veterans Association came into
existence in October 2011 and will be formally ratified at their AGM in Harrogate in October 2012 by their
membership. If this is of interest and you require more information then please contact Mr John Graham on
e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org or 003531-4552070 or mobile – 00353-861706121. Clearly overseas
phone numbers so maybe by e-mail!
11. YET ANOTHER GOLF TOURNAMENT!
This time in Scotland but all the proceeds will go to Wings. You are invited to a great golfing day out on
Friday 1 June at Elgin Golf Course way up in Aberdeenshire in Scottish Scotland! An entry fee of £180 per
team of four includes tea/coffee and bacon roll on arrival and a full carvery meal and sweet on completion
of play. More information can be found on the Association website or send the organiser an e-mail –
12. CRIMINAL RECORDS BUREAU CHECKS
A gentle reminder! Please remember that all Branch HWO and Assistant HWO’s require Criminal Records
Bureau (CRB) checks before visiting clients. For full details please see the Association’s Administrative
Handbook, Section 2, Chapter 11 Welfare. Contact your respective Area Welfare Officer (AWO) for the
CRB application form or further information.’
13. MILES MORE MINUTES CAMPAIGN
The Miles More Minutes campaign has been a great success and the support from Members, Branches and
members of the public has been absolutely fantastic – thank you.
However, for some time, the Royal Air Force Community Support Team has been expressing concern that
the opportunity for Branches to directly distribute or determine who receives the Miles More Minutes cards
that they have funded, has inadvertently and unintentionally unbalanced the distribution of welfare provided
to Royal Air Force personnel deploying to Afghanistan.
I am sure that you will understand that neither the Royal Air Force Community Support team nor the
Association was willing to continue to support a process that did not ensure that this welfare provision was
distributed fairly or equitably across the Royal Air Force. Consequently, we have agreed a revised more
equitable, needs-based process which relies on the expert and well-informed judgement of the RAF
Community Support Team, in regular liaison with Station Personnel Services Flights, to distribute the
Telephone Cards more fairly and no longer allows Branches the opportunity to determine how the Miles
More Minutes cards, that they have funded, are distributed.
We do appreciate that the direct provision of welfare from a Branch to a squadron or station strengthens the
links between the two and that this news may be very disappointing to some of our Members and
Branches. We have tried to mitigate this impact by agreeing with the Royal Air Force that, if a Branch does
have a clear preference for which role (such as medics), squadron or station receives the Miles More
Minutes cards that they have funded, their preference is passed on to the Royal Air Force Community
Support team. However, it must be understood that Community Support cannot guarantee that some or all
of the cards that the Branch have funded are sent to their preferred location, but have agreed to take it into
consideration when distributing the cards. In the event that some or all of the Cards are able to be
distributed to the Branch’s preferred location, the Royal Air Force Community Support Team has
undertaken to make the recipients aware that some or all of their Telephone Cards have been funded by a
specific Member or Branch and to provide the Squadron or Station with contact details.
In summary, it is no longer appropriate to directly allocate monies raised by Members or Branches to fund
Miles More Minutes cards for nominated recipients whether they are individuals undertaking specific roles
(such as medics), squadrons or stations. To minimise the impact of this change on Members or Branches
who do have a clear preference, we have agreed to inform Community Support of the size of the donation
and the preferred recipients so they can take this into account when issuing the Miles More Minutes cards.
We hope that this revised process will be seen as the fairest way of distributing Miles More Minutes phone
cards for the benefit of Royal Air Force personnel deployed to Afghanistan. Many thanks.
14. GRAND DRAW 2012
We have recently reviewed the current system of delivering raffle tickets for the Grand Draw in 2012. This
system was introduced in 2009 and offers either sheets of personalised raffle tickets distributed through Air
Mail and direct to previous Grand Draw supporters, or by request, a traditional style raffle ticket booklet
containing only 5 tickets which are freely available on request to Branches, Members (via Branch
Secretaries) and RAFALOs.
The main reason for this change to the system in 2009 was to ensure the Association was being more cost-
efficient whilst enabling more effective purchase and processing of the tickets. Improved data capture of
Grand Draw supporters (conforming to the Gambling Commissions advice on best practice) also played a
key part in the decision as this would help to ensure the future success of the Draw. The revised system
has already increased our new supporter database by 14,000 contacts at minimal cost to the Association
whilst also significantly reducing the overall cost of running the Draw. It has been decided to retain the
current combined ticketing system for the Grand Draw in 2012 and the sheets of personalised raffle tickets
will continue to be proactively distributed through Air Mail and direct to previous Grand Draw supporters.
However, if you would like to order traditional ticket booklets for the Grand Draw 2012, please contact your
Branch Secretary or RAFALO by May 2012, or Neil Everall at CHQ on 0116 268 8756.
15. PRESS RELEASE DISTRIBUTION
We recently received a call from a RAF Station Media Communications Officer (MCO) regarding a press
release that had been sent to a large national news site by a branch member which contained some
incorrect information. Regrettably, the impact of the incorrect information was so potentially damaging to the
RAF Station and Association that it therefore had to be removed with immediate effect. If you are looking to
send out a press release, to local, regional or national press to help promote an event you have coming up
or to shout about the amazing work you have been doing, please ensure you send it to the Marketing
Department at CHQ for a final check before sending it out to the news desks. This is to prevent any
potential embarrassment, should any of the content be incorrect or require approval from a third party,
whilst enabling the Marketing Department to offer you additional support in promoting your
event/fundraising through the website and social media channels. Email email@example.com
16. RAF RETIRED SERVICE CARD
Since 1998 the RAF Association has offered a RAF Retired Service Card to members of the Association
who have since left the RAF. Many of you who have served will know the feeling of loss you felt when you
handed back your ID card to the General Office. The RAF Retired Service Card helps to bridge that loss,
whilst having the added benefit of acting as a photographic form of ID in many instances.
The card has recently undergone a review and to ensure that it is a viable offer to our members from the
Association we have increased the price to £20 per card with immediate effect. The money raised from this
card will go towards supporting the ongoing costs of membership and enable the continual improvements
being made to the membership offering from the Association. The decision to increase the price of the card
has been carefully considered as a result of a recent costing exercise. For more information please contact
Stuart Haigh firstname.lastname@example.org (0116-2688762) or to apply for a Retired Service Card visit here.
17. WELLESBOURNE WINGS AND WHEELS 2012 – SUNDAY 17 JUNE 2012
The 655 Maintenance and Preservation Society proudly present ‘Wellesbourne Wings and Wheels 2012’
which will take place on Sunday 17 June 2012. Gates open at 1000hrs. There is a classic vehicle line-up
on the day which will complement XM655. If you have a classic car or military vehicle that you would like to
exhibit please contact the Classic Car Co-ordinator, Avril, on 07804 686222. More information about this
event is available at www.xm655.com/events.
18. RAF MEMORABILIA
It is amazing just how much RAF memorabilia is out there that has real historic value. WWII Log Books are
an example of items that should be cherished and protected. If you come across these types of historic
items then please give consideration to our RAF Museums so that we can maintain our links with the past.
19. DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
North Wales Region Meeting at Wrexham RAFA Club (2pm) – 14 April 2012.
West Glamorgan Region Meeting at Swansea (2.30pm) – 16 April 2012.
Cornwall Region Meeting at the RBL Truro (2pm) – 21 April 2012.
Cornwall Region Annual Quiz at the St Charles Social Club, St Austell (7.30pm) – 9 May 2012.
East Glamorgan & Gwent Regional Meeting at Cwmbran Branch Club - 26 May 2012.
Cornwall Region Annual Lunch at the Carlton Hotel, Truro (1230pm) – 26 May 2012.
Cornwall Armed Forces Day at Bodmin – 23 June 2012.
Cornwall Region Meeting at the RBL Truro (2pm) – 14 July 2012.
Wall Memorial Dedication Ceremony at Rusudgen, Cornwall – 28 July 2012.
North Cornwall RAFA Battle of Britain Parade and Service at Kilkhampton Church (11am) – 2 Sep 2012.
Barry Branch RAFA Concert (location to be confirmed) on 7 Sep 12.
Falmouth RAFA Battle of Britain Service at King Charles Church, Falmouth (1030am) – 9 Sep 2012.
Bodmin RAFA Wreath-Laying at Sea (Padstow) (5pm) – 9 Sep 2012.
Cornwall Region Annual Service at St Eval Church (6pm) – 16 Sep 12.
Cornwall Region Meeting at the RBL Truro (2pm) – 3 November 2012.
As ever, please let me know what’s missing (or what you haven’t told me about!).
P R Baker
Live a good honourable life. When you get older and look back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second
time. Have a happy Easter!
1. Area Councillor Branch Coverage.
2. Area AGM Minutes.