President's Report - Winter 2014
By Charles Rees
Firstly I would like to thank the members for electing me President of the ACWRTUK at the AGM. It is a great honour and a hard act to follow. Greg Bayne has been a fine President for six years and has left the Round Table in a better state than he found it. However I have asked him to stay on as acting President until the Conference in April for several reasons. The meeting dates for next year have already been set and I will be away for the first one. Greg always wanted to be President for the 150th anniversaries of the whole Civil War. It will be a good time to give him a proper send off. It will give me time to organise a new committee. Lastly it will give me time to facilitate the Conference which I am glad to say is now taking shape.
Of course there is always work to be done. The various offices of the RT need to be filled. What is to become of the Johnson collection currently in Greg Bayne's spare bedroom much to Mrs Bayne's delight? What is to become of our Library, currently in Len Ellison's study with at least 70% of the books of poor condition and no value? How do we engage our full membership and not just the London area members? I only have to come from Bournemouth, 120 miles, and I know how difficult it is. If it isn't the track repairs to South West Trains, it is closure of the District line or an International at Twickenham, or sometimes, all three. For many the main attraction of the RT is the meetings and we try to get the best possible speakers. But we must not neglect our home grown talent. At the November meeting we had Phil Alderton in a maiden presentation explaining why Missouri was both unruly and untamable. It was a fine explanation of a little known topic which deserved more time than we had allocated him. Equally interesting was Roger Blake's explanation of how the iconic Gettysburg address was not exactly that when it was first released on the world. And he always pulls out something that nobody else has heard of. And lastly Ray Wilkinson reminded us of the genius of Buford at Gettysburg and how his depleted Division held up a veteran Division of General Heth for several hours with the loss of a few hundred casualties.
For those too far away to attend the meetings, Crossfire, the Conference and the Field trip have been the main connection with the RT. We have been thinking of an email bulletin between Crossfires to maintain our link, but not all have email.
I can assure the Membership that intend to run the RT through the Committee according to the Constitution. The Committee is already forming with Terence Bermingham fortuitously taking over from John Laskey as webmaster. Many thanks to John for his fine work. Derek Young will succeed me as Vice-President which will bring on board a tireless worker for the RT.
Membership is arguably the most important role in the RT and we now have Peter Lockwood bringing his widespread and unsurpassed knowledge to this post. Naturally I will bring a change of emphasis to the RT. Whereas Greg with his school master background brought an authoritarian aspect I, as a GP, will be more avuncular. Next time you buttonhole me do not be surprised if I respond, "there's a lot of it about, bowels alright?, How's the wife?"
Merry Christmas and see you next year.