In a change to the traditional March meeting at Altcar Training Camp, this year NW RFCA held its Annual General Meeting for Association Members in June at the Holiday Inn, Haydock. The location was chosen for accessibility from across the region, and the later date allowed Association Members and staff to reflect on a completed year of activity.
In addition to the regular business of the AGM, 2015 marked the handover of the Presidency of the Association from the Lord Shuttleworth KCVO, Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, to Mr Warren Smith, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester. Lord Shuttleworth steps down having completed his four-year term as President of the Association, and on behalf of the Vice Presidents, Chairman, Vice-Chairmen and members, Mr Warren Smith thanked him for his sterling support to the Association.
Following the business of the day, NW RFCA Chairman Col Nick Williams introduced a series of guest speakers, including: AVM Paul Luker, Chief Executive Council of RFCAs; Lt Col Maggie Durrant, 208 (Liverpool) Fd Hosp; and, Lt Col Rosie Stone, HQ 42 Inf Bde & HQ NW.
AVM Paul Luker reflected on the many challenges facing the Armed Forces and, as a consequence, the RFCAs – not least the ambitious recruiting targets for the Reserve Forces imposed by the government’s Future Reserves 2020 policy decision. Despite some of the obstacles to reaching those targets, the picture presented by AVM Luker was a positive one, and he stressed the ongoing importance of the RFCAs and potential new tasks and responsibilities over the coming years.
An example of the professionalism, versatility and training of our Reserve Forces was provided by Lt Col Maggie Durrant, OC Nursing 208 (Liverpool) Fd Hosp, who gave Association Members an account of her recent deployment to Sierra Leone with a combination of British and Canadian Medics to run an Ebola Viral Disease Treatment Unit. Both fascinating and moving, Maggie’s account demonstrated how Reservists can offer a valuable set of skills from their civilian employment to their Reserve service – and, in return, bring unique experiences to their day job. You can read more about her experience in issue 101 of the Volunteer magazine…
For those Association Members who attended, NW RFCA would as always welcome your feedback on both the timing of the meeting and the location.