It is a pleasure to render my Annual Report for 2013.
Membership numbers remain healthy at 851, though there continues to be a gentle decline, as the Officer Cadre reduces and recruitment of Command Qualified Officers continues to be more of a challenge than in previous decades. The latter has been the case for some years, but measures put in place by the Committee such as widening the qualification to Lieutenant Commander rank, improving marketing within the Service, and opting for more appealing dinner venues are beginning to have a positive effect. These measures will be kept under review should consideration have to be given to widening membership qualification further.
Dinner attendance has reduced after last year’s uplift, largely due to the need to cancel the April 2013 dinner because of the limited number of members wishing to dine. Founders and the June dinner in VICTORY remained popular and well subscribed. It is hoped that the 2013 Trafalgar dinner in Stationer’s Hall – a new venue – will be well supported. The success of the OCEAN dinner in Devonport has prompted the Committee to plan for a return to the West Country in 2014, with the venue in June being BRNC Dartmouth. Whilst 4 dinners annually remain the norm, a reversion to 3 will have to be considered in future should low attendance dictate this.
Looking forward to February 2015, the Committee plans to mark the 250th Birthday of the Club’s Founding with a dinner in London that it is hoped will be graced by the presence of our Patron HRH the Prince of Wales. The choice of venue will be dictated by the likely numbers expected to dine, with Greenwich the location of choice if circumstances allow. Early canvassing suggests that the membership will support this historic event in full measure.
Members will wish to note that both General and Surplus Funds are in good fettle despite market turbulence. The Committee has decided to hold subscription charges at their present level but rising costs demand that dinner charges need to be increased by £10. Details of the Club’s Funds (and other notices) can be found on the Club Website.
I would ask that members do not resign when they can no longer dine, but instead bear in mind that their modest subscriptions do help the Club’s charitable work. Members are asked to let the Secretary know of any changes in rank, address (notably e mail) and to report deaths of members.
It has been a privilege to serve this historic and august Club as Chairman for the last 3 years. I am extremely grateful for the support of the Trustees, and the Committee over this period. My thanks in particular go to John Hall for his constant endeavours as Secretary of the Club. Today’s smaller Navy and tougher economic times make this a more testing environment for the Club than previously. I know the membership will give their Club every support going forward, and particularly so come the 250th outlined above. I have every confidence that my successor, Vice Admiral Sir Tim McClement, will value his time as Chairman as much as I have.
Admiral Sir Ian Forbes