The Association Chairman's Page
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Brig MacMillan

It is now 6 months since I became Chairman and quite a lot has been happening since then. We have had a successful Corps Sunday with three Standards dedicated at the Service including one for our new Branch at Chorley. We had a magnificent Battlefield Tour to WW1 sites, conducted by Pete Starling, in September and my wish is that we will repeat such an exercise annually hereafter; there is another planned for May 2020 at Arnhem, the details of which are elsewhere on the website. At the Field of Remembrance one of our members, Michael Cane from Maidstone, scored quite a hit with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, so much so that this featured on ITV news that evening. Forty Association Members marched past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.

Organisational changes are afoot. Our longstanding Secretary, Chris Richards, is standing down at the end of the year and Mike Ryan, recently retired from Regular service, is taking over. I shall pay a tribute to Chris later on at the end of his actual tour of duty. Our Social Media voice, Diane Donnelly, has stepped down from her duties and I have already paid tribute, appropriately on her beloved Facebook, to her work for the Association. Diane will continue to do other work for the Association. Kim Bourne has taken over this role and we look forward to seeing what Social Media innovations she will give us. In the round, we have made new arrangements for this website by employing a professional website operator.

I am exploring how we can improve the linkage between our Branches and the Field Army, Regular and Reserve, in order to promote both understanding and mutual support. From next month there will be a Regular feature about the Association in the Medic Magazine. Further inroads into the blockages in informing and involving currently serving personnel with the Association are ongoing.

The Central Executive of the Association is here not only to direct policy but to help and assist Branches. To that end, Maidstone Branch is to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the death of LCpl Eric Harden VC in January 2020. The Branch’s arrangements are being augmented by the Association at large and I would wish to see such support to other projects, elsewhere in the country, in due course. I am also exploring a model of recruiting mentors and enablers to assist Branches to modernise and recruit. I am starting out in Scotland with a group of recently retired senior officers from both the Regular and Reserve RAMC to see if we might swell membership as well as lower the average age profile. The Association is for both Officers and Soldiers so we need to be attractive to both constituencies through our Events.

That is enough for now. I am ending this short brief with my personal congratulations to three of our Members who have recently received Commendation Certificates from me for their long service and great work on behalf of the Association: Diane Donnelly, Michael Cane and Colin Miles; you may or may not know much of the two latter names but they have been stalwarts of Maidstone Branch for many years. So Branches, if you have a worthy and long standing Member within your firmament who has given service over and above the call of normal duty, please let me know the details so that the Association can bring wider recognition and acknowledgement of this out into the open.

Alistair Macmillan
Nov 2019

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