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1st Battalion Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association ®

International AGM

Minutes of a meeting of the members of the Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association Committee held at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel, Hatfield on Saturday 27th September 2008.

ATTENDEES: Colonel Ron Reid-Daly (RRD)
George Dempster (GD)
Shaun Ryan (SR)
Martyn Hudson (MH) (Joined the meeting later after discharge from hospital)
Mark Pilbeam (MP)
In excess of 60 full members were present representing all three branches plus proxies from 68 SA members held by G Dempster – Attendance register to be published on the website

APOLOGIES: Ian Buttenshaw (IB)
Ian (Tufty) Bate (TB)
Digger Essex-Clarke (DEC)
APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN: George Dempster (SA Chairman) was appointed as Chairman in the absence of Ian Buttenshaw and Martyn Hudson.  
1. WELCOME George Dempster welcomed distinguished guests and delegates to the inaugural AGM. A quorum was declared based on the number of members present and proxies received by George and Martyn. GD

2. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT Shaun Ryan read out the Chairman’s message - which will be published separately on the website.
3. UK BRANCH REPORT The UK Branch report was delivered by Mark Pilbeam on behalf of the UK Chairman Martyn Hudson. Of note in the UK address was that branch membership exceeds 300.
4. SA BRANCH REPORT GD delivered the SA Branch report as Chairman of the SA Branch. Of note was the results of the August AGM which are currently available on the website. One thousand pounds was donated from the SA branch towards the Trooper rededication with additional moneys to follow during October 08.
5. MESSAGES A message from Tufty Bate (ex CEO RLI) was read by GD and greetings from our ex patron, Brigadier Digger Essex-Clarke, were broadcast.  
6. THE TROOPER Colonel Ron Reid-Daly, our Patron, delivered an interesting and amusing address about the triumphs, trials and tribulations of The Trooper. A separate report of the rededication ceremony makes more detailed mention of this and will be made available on the website. GD
7. MOTIONS PRESENTED There were initially three motions presented, details of which have been published on the website. Two were presented by SR, Legal Advisor, ostensibly to amend the constitution to one man one vote and to amend the composition of the Council, the second to put forward members to fill the Council positions.

A third motion to scrap the constitution and replace it with a charter was put forward by ex patron, DEC, but was withdrawn before the meeting. SR explained the background to his motions in that certain Australian members had demanded a one-man one-vote as they believed that the majority of the members did not support the Exco position over the wording of inscriptions on the Trooper plinth.

Approximately 25 members of the Australian branch appear to have voted for breakaway but fortunately this was withdrawn shortly before the meeting and SR asked the members present if they would accept both motions being withdrawn and the status quo to remain, that being in order to ensure that one region was not dominated by another. The Chairman of each branch would automatically become a voting member of Exco and they in turn would appoint the RLIRA Chairman by vote.

The members present expressed their satisfaction at the withdrawal of the breakaway by the Australian membership and unanimously agreed (by show of hands) that, in the interests of unity, the two motions be withdrawn.

SR then advised that the Chairman, IB, is agreeable to continuing as Chairman under the existing regime. No objections were received – IB was appointed Chairman.

SR advised that John Kirkman from Perth in Western Australia is the new Australian Chairman and he was welcomed aboard by the membership present.

GD advised that Chris Cocks is standing down as public relations and history officer owing to pressure of work and Paddy Lean was asked whether he would be interested in the position but he advised he was not in a position to accept. It was decided that the Exco would fill this post on an ad hoc basis at a later stage and volunteers would be asked for by circulation of broadcast e-mail.
8. FUTURE PROJECTS The maintenance of the Trooper is an ongoing issue but no serious expenditure is foreseen in the near future.

The issue of the sale of merchandise was raised.

Many members expressed concern over the amount of "unauthorised" merchandise that is appearing, especially on many "Old Rhodie" websites. Some discussion took place over ownership of the intellectual property in the Trooper, our badge and other such property. SR explained that the ownership was a vexed issue and at times difficult to ascertain and there were deeper problems in that ownership could vest in parties that would not have our best interests at heart.

  There was general consensus that the best way at this time to handle such matters, was to discourage the membership from buying any Rhodesian Light Infantry merchandise from parties not specifically authorised to sell such stock. EXCO
SR will, with Exco, settle upon a certification scheme / licensing regime to advise members on the website which merchandise was authorised by the RLIRA. It was generally agreed that some payment should be made for such certification and this will be settled by Exco with the individual merchandise providers. MH advised that Hugh Bomford had produced quite a lot of merchandise associated with the Rhodesian Army Association in New Zealand and an approach will be made to him in New Zealand to discuss the production of RLI merchandise. SR/
The 50th Anniversary
The question of the 50th anniversary was raised and, as the anniversary falls in February, the general consensus was that we should find an official birthday during the more convivial Spring or Summer months and as The Trooper was removed from Cranborne Barracks on the 25th July, it was felt that the nearest date on a Saturday to the 25th July would be suitable. This birthday is still a while away in 2011 but Exco will begin to plan for this now.
Museum for RLI Artefacts
MH by this time had risen from his hospital bed, arriving at the meeting in time to advise on the question of a museum for RLI artefacts. There were two options –

Richard Frost of the Rifle Brigade had offered space in their Mayfair London premises, free of charge; and the alternative was a floor at the RAF Club in Bedford that will cost £1300 per year.

MH, although he lives nearer to the RAF Club and is in fact on its Committee, felt that the Rifles venue was a preferable option as visitors from overseas and also UK members would find central London a more accessible venue.
A broadcast e-mail will be sent out to everyone to request their opinion. MH has room to store RLI artefacts and SR said that a worldwide broadcast e-mail would be sent out requesting members to advise what artefacts of value they had in their possession and asking them if any were of display value for a museum, and if so, to return these. MH stated that he had enough secure storage to take any such artefacts. MH/ GD
9. FUNDING The question of donations verse annual subs was raised. After some debate a vote was taken where the membership by a show of hands, unanimously agreed to annual subs – payable to the braches – towards approved projects. A sum of £5 was initially mooted - but it was felt that this would be too low. MH also raised the question of differences in value of currency and it was agreed that Exco would liaise with the various branch members to ascertain what level of funding for subs they would think would be reasonable in their areas. Branch chairmen will raise the issue of subs at the next Branch annual general meetings. EXCO
MH stated that there are two sets of accounts for the rededication ceremony, the first being the monies used for donations for The Trooper and the second being for the running of the rededication ceremony which of course was organised and run by the UK Branch Committee separately from the Trooper and Colours donations MH
MH stated that he would be a little later than he thought to get these Trooper and Colours accounts posted on the website owing to his ill health. They will be posted as soon as possible. The Rededication accounts will be posted for the UK members. MH stated that the affairs should be a breakeven once the raffle monies were collected. MH
10. GENERAL There were then matters arising from the floor.

Question of registering as a Charity
Fraser Brown raised a very real issue of legalities i.e. whether we should be registered as a charity. SR explained that, at this time, we are in fact merely a friendly society and as we had no charitable object as yet, we did not have to register with the Charity Commission but of course these things are fluid and as FB sits on various British military committees, SR will liaise with him should any necessary registration become necessary in the future.
Annual reunion
Many members stated that they would like the annual reunion to become a family orientated affair as they would like their children to come along in the hope that, when we are all gone, they will continue with the affairs of the Association. It was agreed unanimously that members should be encouraged to bring their wives, children and relatives to these affairs.
The Original Association
Paddy Lean then gave us an interesting talk on what happened to the original Association that was registered as a welfare organisation and eventually struck off the register by the Zimbabwean authorities. This was an interesting insight into the old Association and to the journey our Queens and Regimental colours made through the Anglican Cathedral.
Membership Age
The Association membership age of 18 was raised and the question was raised as to why this was there. This will be considered but, as an aside from these minutes, SR advises it is not advisable to allow under 18s to join the organisation unless we have specific proof that they have permission from their parents. This will involve us in more administration and, unless the membership is particularly keen on this, it is suggested that this matter be left as it is.
11. CLOSE GD then closed the meeting and thanked everyone, particularly our Patron Colonel Reid-Daly, for their contributions.  

27 September 2008