2012 Remembrance and Reunion – Chairman’s Reflections on the Weekend
Wow – what a weekend and to sum it up, a true rollercoaster of emotions for most and certainly for myself as I witnessed my shipmates remembering and celebrating with each other as yet another year has passed since 25 May 1982.
The turnout we had last Friday was impressive, as we mustered, marched and assembled to remember our shipmates still on patrol and those we have sadly lost in the intervening years. That our numbers were so high on Friday makes me a very proud Chairman indeed and to also have members of Steven Tonkin’s family with us – what more can I say, a few tears were shed.
Also, HMS Broadsword - They laid a wreath in memory of Coventry at their own weekend service in Plynouth on Sunday morning and for the Peel of Bells rang out at St Faith's Havant by Bill Skilleter on Friday morning. Thank you Broadsword.
The reunion afterwards at Whaley was all that we needed it to be, to raise a glass, to renew friendships and to spin dits (some of which may even have been true
). All in all a most fitting evening and mission accomplished, I think. Please also accept a big thanks to all those that donated raffle prizes, you will be pleased to learn that we made over £500 towards the Association funds which will be put to good use for future events.
The weekend continued to Saturday with a DTS, AGM and Committee meeting at the Maritime Club, again this was well supported and shows the genuine commitment from many to ensure the HMS Coventry fellowship continues to grow even as the years sail by.
FYI - These are the significant issues discussed and agreed at the AGM/Committee mtg that you will be keen to learn:
1. Purchase of Oak tree and Plaque to remember HMS Coventry and those still on patrol. To be placed at the National Arboretum, Staffs. Please keep checking website for dedication service around late summer.
2. Future Reunions will alternate between Portsmouth and Coventry; therefore the next one will be in Coventry on Sat 25th May 2013.
3. Membership of D118 Association now stands at 70, if you wish to join then please contact Membership Sec.
4. FI indulgence flights for 2012 may well be extended to 2013, please see the SAMA 82 website for further details on how you can fly down at a cheap fare (£275pp) with members of your family. I personally intend to go down early in 2013 with Margaret.
5. A ‘Vote of Confidence’ in the Chairman to continue in post was proposed and seconded by the AGM and a subsequent show of hands was unanimous, therefore I guess you are stuck with me for yet another year at least, but I can assure you all it is an absolute honour to do so.
6. There may well be one or two changes in the Committee and these will be promulgated on the website in due course as and when they occur.
The next AGM will be held in Coventry on Sat 25th May 2013.
Continuing - Sunday saw ex Coventry shipmates marching at the FVF parade in Gosport, once again we had an excellent turnout and were the largest ship platoon on parade, BZ to all those that marched and the families that turned out to support us.
As you will note there are now plenty of pictures up on the website from last weekend and can be downloaded if you wish to hold them privately. They do make for a most fitting reminder of what occurred.
I wish also to give most sincere thanks, on behalf of all of us, to those external to HMS Coventry that helped make our weekend the success it was. I shall be writing to them individually but they are:
1. GI’s Association for allowing use of their facilities, in particular the bar staff;
2. C/O HMS Diamond for loan of Cross;
3. Damien Burke for facilitating the website and for his ‘photographic skills’, excellent.
And from me personally to my fellow committee members and Martin Kirkbride (Sky Pilot) as without their hard work and support throughout the year our weekend would not be the success it has been.
So, we move on now to next year and Coventry, but please keep checking the website for any news in particular for the dedication service of our own memorial at the National Arboretum towards the end of summer. Also, if you wish to join us when we march at the Cenotaph in November, you must join SAMA 82 and apply for tickets now, the list if growing all the time but this year will be special for our platoon.
Finally, it was an absolute honour and pleasure to meet you all again over the weekend and I take away with me many emotional memories of our 30th year remembrance and reunion, I shall never forget.
Yours Aye – Chris Howe MBE