It is a pleasure to render my Annual Report for 2014.
Members. I’m pleased to report that Membership continues to hover around 850; on going to press it is 850.The various measures taken to improve recruiting have started to reap results with a healthy increase in applicants for membership; there were 15 in 2013. For those who may be considering their membership, I wish to repeat the appeal not to resign viz: “when members are no longer able to dine, either through infirmity, geographic location or inclination, they will bear in mind that their modest subscriptions do help to support the Club’s charitable work and will not therefore resign”. There is more on the Surplus fund later in the report.
Dinners. Attendance at our dinners in 2013/14 improved over the previous year, with 290 members and their guests dining, compared to 247 in the previous year, and this despite the cancellation of the April 2013 dinner as reported by my predecessor. The second Club dinner in the West Country in June 2014 at Dartmouth BRNC was well supported and justified planning a return to the West Country; perhaps we should do this every other year.
Our Club’s 250th Anniversary. We will be celebrating our 250th Anniversary with dinner in the Painted Hall on Thursday 5th February 2015. Although a Founders’ Day, it will be, by popular demand, exceptionally a guest night. A new Club tie (silk) to mark the occasion will shortly be available for sale (£20 each) and an Historical Memoir is also being printed. Please see the enclosed Special Notice by our Secretary giving more detail about all three.
Finances. I’m delighted to report that the Surplus Fund is in good shape. Trustees have changed the Investment Manager to Quilter Cheviot. Support for an average of five memorialists has been maintained and I urge all members to bring to the notice of the Secretary anyone who is in need of support and eligible to be a memorialist. On the other hand the General Fund took a bit of a hammering from a steep rise in dinner subsidies. Accordingly, the Committee has decided to make a modest increase in both dinner charges and subscription. The latter will rise, for the first time since 2008, by £5 in January 2015. Seeking improved efficiency and lower charges the Committee and Trustees agreed to switch the Club’s bankers to Holt’s Military Banking. The new Independent Examiner’s reports on the accounts are accessible through the Club web site.
General. Members are urged to report to the Secretary changes of rank, address, (especially email addresses), deaths of brother officers etc – members track record for doing this continues to be poor despite appeals by my predecessor. Sadly there is disappointing continuing evidence that too few members are making use of our excellent web site, at www.royalnavyclub.org , which in addition to displaying virtually all the contents of the Blue Book has a useful Notice board for members. I urge you to ‘log on’ from time to time.
And finally; John Hall is to be relieved as Secretary at the end of October by Cdr Brian Boxall-Hunt. I’m delighted to report that John will stay on until the end of February 2015 as the 250th anniversary project officer.
Vice Admiral Sir Tim McClement