Message from the Chairman

Dear AOBA Members.  I hope this finds you all fit and well and that you’ve been able to venture out and have a socially distanced beer!  What a last few months we’ve had (!) this last lockdown was not nice, and I’m pleased and hopeful that we are at last coming through it; I certainly would not want to go back.  The vaccine programme in my opinion has been a game changer and I hope the vast majority of you have already had one, if not two doses of the vaccine.  We now have more freedom, the weather is on the up, and I’m looking forward to the 17th May, when even more restrictions will be lifted.  Apart from wishing you all well, I thought I would drop you a short note to update you on decisions we made at the Committee meeting earlier this week.  

We had a productive committee meeting this week and we are pleased that things are starting to get back to normal and we can start to make plans.  We are however mindful, that we’ve been here before, and as we discovered before Christmas, things can change quickly, and we can take a backward step. We have therefore been cautious in our approach.  

Reunion 2021.  We have reluctantly cancelled the reunion for this year.  This is on a recommendation from our organiser who has said that it’s too soon, and its fully supported by the committee.  The reunion in July was only 3 weeks after the planned end of restrictions and we thought the risk was just too great.  The more positive news is that we have set a date for next year.  It will be over the weekend 8,9,10 July 2022, so please put this date in your diary.  Shirley from the Isle of Wight Tours is back in business (hurrah) and she will be our organiser again – she has already booked the hotel in Hinkley. It should be a big function as we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary for the 70, 71 and 72 cohorts; we just hope the venue is big enough.    

AGM.  We felt that we could not delay the AGM any longer.  Constitutionally we should hold one annually but understandably we delayed last years.  The date we have set is 8 Sep 2021 at 1900hrs, and it will be over Zoom.  More details to follow, but for now please put the date in your diary.   

BBQ.  We thought it would be a good idea to at least try to get together this year on a more informal basis.  We are planning on holding two functions, one in the north and on in the south, but hopefully both on the same day.  We’ve opted for Sat 25 Sep 21, and we are looking at holding a BBQ at Lyneham in the grounds of the REME Museum, and at another venue near Doncaster.  For now, its case of noting the date and more information will follow though the OBAN and via email.  

Other topics. We did of course discuss the sad passing of our long-standing Colonel in Chief, Prince Philip, and you would have no doubt seen the message I placed on the website expressing our sadness and offering our condolences to the Royal Household.  

We also discussed the consent numbers for data compliance (currently at 82%), having a strategy for the replacement of committee members (we are tired) and widening the membership to have a female focus group.  All are topics for further discussion during the AGM.  

I’ll close now but please keep an eye out on the website and in the OBAN for information regarding the BBQ later this year.  Please also stay safe and follow the Government’s latest catch phrase ‘Hands, Face, Space – Fresh air’; you know it makes sense.  As a cautionary tale, one of our members was hospitalised for 63 days, most of which was in ICU; we need to remain vigilant.  Please keep yourself safe.   

Mike Tizard, your chairman.