Dear AOBA Members. I hope this finds you all fit and well. I was going to write, here we go again back into lockdown, but I realise that those members in Wales are currently in lockdown and waiting to come out, those in Northern Ireland are also in lockdown and those in Scotland are under restrictions but not quite locked down. What a mess we seemed to have created for ourselves … one simple message across four devolved nations … I think not. Well, what ever your lock down status, I hope you are remaining fit and well. This is my fourth time of writing and the message has not really changed. Please take the opportunity to get in touch with a mate and see how they are coping – lets pull together and look out for one another. Now that the weather has changed and the nights have drawn in, I think it’s even more important. Just a quick call or email is all it takes, a chat for a few minutes can make all the difference. Thank you.
Other news of interest is that I visited Arborfield today and annoyingly there has been a change in management and my main contact has moved on. This means that after 4 years of relationship building, I have to start again building the relationship with a new team and explaining all about the Army Apprentice College and what it means to us. The good news is that the new team are very receptive and on side. They are keen to move ahead sooner than I expected and I’m looking at getting a lasting commemorative plaque erected in the not too distant future. In all likelihood there will be two – one near the entrance of the old Hazebrouck Barracks for the home of REME and SEAE, and another for us, on the site of the entrance to the College; near the location of the gates I would think. It’s early days, but I’ll keep pushing and keep you informed. There has been so much building that it’s become difficult to orientate the old locations and where they fit in with the new. Some things are still there, and I found that the stables, the entrance to the College and the library are good landmarks. During the visit I came across the stored bricks, some signs and the arch which was over the gates. If you recall, there were two arches and sets of gates, one set was taken to Lyneham and is in the REME Museum and the other remains somewhere in Arborfield – I’ve seen the arch, but not the gates. I’ve taken photos below:
I’ll close now by going through the Governments catch phrases for keeping us safe. First there was ‘Stay indoors and save lives’, then came ‘Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, and Save Lives’ and then as we came out of lockdown earlier in the year we had ‘Stay alert’ and now we have ‘Hands, Face, Space’. Whatever slogan you choose to use, please follow the government guidelines and keep yourself safe.
Mike Tizard, your Chairman.