The Association Chairman's Page
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Brig MacMillan

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN

It has been far too long since my last message to you and for that I apologise. I am standing down early from the post of Chairman for personal reasons and a replacement has been found in the form of Colonel Ken Millar. The Colonels Commandant RAMC invited him to stand, he has accepted, and you will all get the opportunity, through your Branches, to vote him into the position later on in the year through a Charity postal ballot. You will recall that Charity decisions of this nature must be conducted by a vote and the electorate for the Charity are its Directors and each active RAMC Association Branch. I would see, all going well, that Ken takes over the reins by the beginning of November 2022. I’ve known Ken for 55 years, we both trained at Glasgow University Medical School, were RMOs in parallel, were students at the Army Staff College together, commanded armoured field ambulances in parallel, have succeeded each other in various staff posts and worked together on the staff as well. I fully commend him to you – he is much more intelligent than I am.

Coming out of the Covid-19 crisis has been a challenge as lockdown hit the very essence of our being: camaraderie and Branch interaction. Branches did, however, do a sterling job in assisting and supporting their vulnerable members and dependants throughout these difficulties. After lockdown, the Association provided cash grants to Branches so that they could have get back together functions and reawaken their activities. We have now established a system for an annual grant to each active Branch in good standing. In addition, we have invested in advertising support equipment such as pop-up posters and gazebos for use at fetes and fairs that Branches have access to. We have also issued an iPad for each interested Branch to assist in administration of its membership.

Recruiting new Members is the greatest challenge we face and catching the eye of the current soldiering generation is difficult. To help bridge some of that divide, hence forth presentation of welcome gifts to the Corps at the end of Phase 1 training will now be done in the name of the Association and at the same time we are approaching these new soldiers to join the Association. We have had to manage our administration through a clutch of part-time and volunteer efforts since the Retired Officer Secretary post in AMD was disestablished over 10 years ago. Despite valiant efforts from this hard-working and dedicated group, we are less than optimal in our management of the Association. The Charity has thus agreed to fund a full-time Secretary in order to provide the horsepower and time necessary for us to move forward. The job description and advertising for applicants for interview will commence shortly. It will be a work from home appointment which should widen the scope for applicants.

It is quite apparent that what Members are looking for is changing and that there are other groups of RAMC veterans operating in the wider space we also occupy. So wider collaboration with the likes of RAMC Reunited is ongoing and we should learn from examining their approaches to this camaraderie. However, we remain the main avenue for support to our heritage and to the welfare of RAMC Veterans and their dependents. To that end on Saturday 15 October 2022 we are holding a Branch Welfare Officers’ Training Day in the Camberley area. We are also looking at how we balance off the role of the Region now against the Branch as we seem to have fewer volunteers for Branch executive positions than before. Other groupings are going for fewer but bigger events and we may well have to follow that model ourselves.

So I sign off as your correspondent on these pages and wish you all well. I’ve been wearing the RAMC Capbadge since 1970 through various, indeed a myriad of, appointments in both the Regular and Reserve Army, in service and in retirement. Being your Chairman has been the most important and satisfying of all the roles I have played in the interim.

In Arduis Fidelis,
Alistair Macmillan
July 2022