Report on National AGM and reunion weekend 4th to 6th October 2019
(more photos on the Gallery page)

The weekend took place once again at the Royal Maritime Hotel, Portsmouth and started with the arrival of the members from about 3pm on Friday.  The West Branch had a committee meeting and then got ready for their AGM which started at 4pm. 

The Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer all delivered their reports, with the Treasurers report on branch finances being carried unanimously.

The committee members were duly elected with Ray Wrigglesworth as Chairman, Gordon Whitehead as Vice Chairman, Pat Scott as Secretary, Lindsay Thacker as Treasurer, Janet Barkway as Membership, Alex Saint and Barry Wenman as Welfare.  Jean Wrigglesworth was retained on the committee and was also elected to be National Council delegate along with Ray Wrigglesworth.  Edward Barkway and Robert Davies were elected as Auditors and Barry Wenman and Edward Barkway are the West Branch standard bearers.


The members were told that Janet Barkway and Lindsay Thacker had been working hard on raising funds for the transportation and upkeep of the standard as the cost of taking it to Malta is well over £100.  Lindsay told us about the auction, soiree and general donations that they had secured and reported that the collection currently stands at £691.00.  The members congratulated them on such a great result and also looked through the lovely scrap book that Janet had put together - a great memoire.


The Secretary and Malta reunion organiser reported that the reunion again clashes slightly with Easter and therefore to help with the cost of transport, the Welcome Meeting will be held on the 14th April the day after Easter Monday.  All the usual events will take place during the following two weeks, including the Siege Bell ceremony on the 15th, Anzac Day on the 25th.  All the other events, including some additional ones, will be announced as soon as possible. Hotel accommodation was discussed as there is some dissatisfaction with the Preluna.  Members are free to book wherever they wish although it was generally agreed that it would be nice to all be together, or as near as possible.  Secretary will look into hotel accommodation.
Discussion as to when and where to hold next year's meeting and reunion.  Various locations and venues were discussed, but there is quite a diversity in member's locations.  It was felt that the current venue does represent a "central" location based on where members are located and therefore, we will probably hold the 2020 AGM and reunion at the Royal Maritime Club - TBC

We then had our traditional Rum Tot, donated by Fiona Evans, whom we all toasted with our thanks.  The secretary has put together a slide show of photographs which were projected onto the big TV screen.  Some old and some new, we all found people that we remember with fondness and enjoyed looking back at some good times.

We met again for an informal, relaxed dinner in the hotel restaurant and enjoyed a good meal and great company, plus we had our usual "envelope draw" for a bottle of Champagne donated by Janet Barkway - this raised £29.00 for funds.  After eating and drinking our fill we headed off to get our much-needed beauty sleep.

On Saturday, the National AGM took place in the Nelson Lounge. The Chairman opened the meeting at 10.30 gave his welcome, read the exhortation, and silent tribute.  The usual format followed of apologies and approval of the last meeting's minutes. Followed by the National Chairman's report, National Secretary and National Treasurer's.  Her report on the finances was approved unanimously.


Elections of Principal Officers followed and were approved unanimously, Association Hon. National Secretary Pat Scott, Association Hon National Treasurer Alex Saint.
Appointment of Auditors / Examiners being Edward Barkway and Robert Davies.

It was agreed that as the finances were in a healthy state there would not be an increase in the levy for 2020/2021.
Branch reports and accounts were referred to and were contained in the meeting packs for everyone to read and digest.

Malta Reunion 2020.  This was discussed as per the West Branch meeting, but Pat also reported on the problem with the Siege Bell which requires extensive repairs.  Currently she reported that obtaining information is proving difficult, but she is liaising with Peter Robinson, Malta Branch Chairman, who has been in contact with architect responsible, Perit Ruben Abela who has sent the following: "We have carried out structural studies on the monument itself after noticing a number of cracks and spalling concrete in the main elements of the structure.  At the moment we are also awaiting response from external structural engineers to be able to reinforce the structure without changing its original design.  The interventions we have been advised to take so far are major ones and it is for such reason that investigations are taking so long.  Till now we do not have a date on when the interventions can start as we are still at the design stage. You can understand that we had to take all precautions both for public safety and for the safety of the bell and the monument itself."  This is now a Heritage Malta project and Peter Robinson will keep us informed of developments.  Deborah Plenty asked about the possible fund raising and this will be put to Malta Heritage.

It was proposed that a single newsletter be published and distributed each quarter to all members to include information from the UK branches, Crossed The Bar listing and national news. The two UK branches have agreed to this from January 2020.  This will help reduce the workload. Each branch will be able to forward contributions and will alternatively produce the newsletter, each branch will distribute it to their own members. This was agreed unanimously.

Under Any Other Business Alan Sandall requested that he and other members might like to read the Malta Branch Newsletter, the secretary will contact Peter Robinson and ask if he has any objection and if not, she will email copies to interested members.  It is not thought that it would be cost effective to post it, but members who do not have email could send in a SAE.

Next National AGM 2020 - South East branch are next to host the 2020 National AGM the date and venue will be advised.

The Chairman closed the National AGM at 11:15 and Alan Sandall requested that the thanks from the members for the work that the Principal officers and the branches do to keep the GCIA going be recorded.  This has duly been done.
After the meeting we all disbursed for lunch and a look around the various attractions that the area of Portsmouth has to offer - the Historic Ships, Gunwharf shopping centre, a walk by the harbour and generally enjoying a sunny day without any rain in sight!

We then all met up for pre-dinner drinks in the Nelson Lounge followed by a formal dinner.  Janet and Lindsay organised a fabulous raffle which raised over £96.00 and we thank everyone that donated such wonderful prizes.  Edward Barkway donated a very special bottle of whiskey which was auctioned and raised £41.01 which will go into the fund for the West Branch Standard.  It was a lovely, convivial evening which finished far too soon.


On Sunday morning we had our commemorative ceremony at the War Memorial on Southsea Common with Edward Barkway carrying the West Branch standard.  The Chairman opened our Wreath Laying in Memory Of All Who Gave Their Live In The Santa Maria (Pedestal) Convoy August 1942.  Pat Scott read out a tribute, with Alan Sandal saying the George Cross Island prayer and the Kohima Epitaph.  The Chairman said the Exhortation and also laid the wreath.. This special ceremony finished our weekend after which we all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways, saying that we looked forward to seeing everyone again in Malta in April or at next year's reunion weekend.
Branch Events:

The branches all hold regular social and committee along with a branch Annual General Meeting.  They also hold various special events during the year to mark national and local occasions.
Everyone welcome.  Details from Ray Wrigglesworth 01202 779321. Email - or from Branch Secretary on


To find out what events the branches are holding, you can contact your branch secretary directly or contact the GCIA web master to have your enquiry forwarded on :