It is a pleasure to render my Annual Report for Financial Year (FY) 2014/2015.
A most satisfactory year for our Club which saw a successful celebration of the 250th anniversary, membership remaining healthy with new applications rising, the most diners since 2005, our charitable objectives met fully with 5 memorialists supported and both the Surplus Fund and Club funds in good shape and minor surplus. Halfway through the year saw Captain John Hall relieved by Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt as secretary, and John stayed on to mastermind the most enjoyable Founders Day dinner in the Painted Hall, Greenwich.
Membership. In detail, I’m pleased to report that membership continues to hover around 850; currently 851, although that includes some 12 memberships in doubt. Applications for membership have increased in the past 2 years as a result of positive action, and in 2014 there were 12 new members although sadly this was offset by 10 deaths and 11 resignations; but the trend remains good and we should be optimistic, with 10 new members already signed up in the current year. 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 FY 2014/15 improved over the previous year, mainly due to the magnificent 250th anniversary dinner in February 2015, with 494 members and their guests dining compared to 290 in the previous year, and 247 the year before that. The second Club dinner in the West Country in June 2014 at BRNC Dartmouth was well supported and justified planning a return to the West Country perhaps every other year or so. Trafalgar Nights onboard HQS WELLINGTON are proving popular, and in June 2016 we will dine in the state dining room onboard HMY Britannia in Edinburgh – the dinner card has details of a very special price for this so that we can have a good turnout, and the Secretary will be investigating possible hotel and travel deals. I urge your support please.
Reacting to trends in dining, after much consideration the committee rather sensibly voted in favour of reducing from 4 to 3 dinners per FY, dropping the April event but leaving the way clear for an occasional annual drinks reception if shown to be popular. Founders Day will continue to be celebrated in London at Trinity House, entertaining the Admiralty Board as our guests, leaving either Trafalgar Night or the June dinner to be in Portsmouth and the other taken to another regional location.
Surplus Fund. I’m delighted to report that the Surplus Fund continues in good shape, finishing the FY with a minor surplus. Investments are performing satisfactorily, with the new fund managers at Quilter Cheviot making a sound start. Income understandably dropped during the change-over but it is planned to recover this in the near future. Support for an average of six memorialists has been maintained, with scope for more. 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.
General Fund. The General Fund is equally healthy, with expenditure reducing post move of the Club office, and all dinners are continuing to achieve a high standard with costs to members cushioned by Club subsidies. There was minor surplus of circa £1,000 at year’s end which contrasts commendably with the £8,000 deficit last. With dining and socialising together our main raison d’etre, I would ask that you support one at least each year if at all possible.
The approved and signed Independent Examiner’s reports on both the accounts are accessible through the Club web site.
A pleasing year in which the Club celebrated 250th anniversary in grand style with dinner in the Painted Hall on Thursday, 5th February 2015 which, although a Founders’ Day, was exceptionally a guest night. A new Club tie (silk) to mark the occasion is available for sale (£20 each), as is a specially printed Historical Memoir at £5.
This is the appropriate place for me to record the Club’s sincere thanks to Captain John Hall for his excellent 15 years as our secretary, and to welcome his successor Cdr Brian Boxall-Hunt.
If I may repeat “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”.
Members are asked to report to the Secretary changes of rank, address, (especially email addresses), deaths of brother officers etc in order to help him in his support of you.
The new Club secretary is intending to expand the usage of our excellent web site with regular notices and useful information, at www.royalnavyclub.org. Please view it as often as possible, and perhaps monthly. He will also develop the use of email correspondence to those who have access in order to further reduce office costs.
To end on a positive note, our Club continues to meet its aims and objectives well, by arranging dinners and providing peer support to its members whilst discharging the important charitable side in offering financial relief for distressed widows and widowers, orphan children, siblings and dependants of those who have been members of the Club. I much look forward to meeting up with you during the forthcoming year, my final one as Chairman.
Vice Admiral Sir Tim McClement KCB OBE