Welcome To The Cotswold Branch

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The Cotswold Branch of the RSA was formed in 1986 by three retired ladies from the Printing & Publications Services Division, Greville House, Cheltenham.    They were, by name, Gladys Lines, Rose Barnfield and Doreen McKenzie. All three have passed on now, the last being Rose Barnfield in March 2011. We are very pleased however to have welcomed Rose’s two daughters to several meetings since. It is a measure of how close knit Cotswold people are.

The founder ladies received strong support from the Central Committee, especially the late Pat Paterson and Hugh Wilson-Chalon. From small acorns grow large oak trees, thus the Branch now has some 300 members, but sadly only around 20 could be classed as regular attendees at our meetings and social activities. We meet on the first Tuesday of the month at Albion House, North Street, Cheltenham.

We do what we can to help ourselves financially in that we hold a raffle at every meeting and periodically have a "bring and buy" sale, all to help keep our heads above water. Our meetings usual include a social feature, such as a speaker or slide show but the Branch is we believe unique in that since P&PS closed in 1991 we have no parent unit in the area to rely on for any administrative support services as maybe enjoyed by some other branches, hence our main income, the grant from the Central Fund, has to meet all administrative expenses to start with. The recent introduction of the £1-00 voluntary levy on RSA members has given rise to an improved grant from the Central Fund. This in turn has eased our finances and allowed for a broader programme being planned for 2014, thus helping to keep the Branch alive as its numbers dwindle.

Our major social functions include a meal in the summer months and Christmas lunch. These are supplemented by "wine and nibbles" at our normal meeting venue at the AGM in March and again in November.

In earlier years we have enjoyed summer garden parties at the homes of four different members and have organised outings to ride the canals at Newbury and Llangollen. We have had a day out at Weston-Super-Mare. Highlights of our visiting calendar have included Highgrove House gardens in Gloucestershire and Filton Airport at Bristol to have a "climb" over Concorde GBOAF. We also enjoyed an extra lunch sponsored by the Home Front Recall organisation to honour those of our members who saw action in World War II. This was part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of peace.

These visits are remembered with affection and now Branch finances have improved a little we hope to "get on the road again" occasionally in 2014. How nice it would be if some of our nearly 300 "dormant" members came and joined us!

Many of our active members live a fair distance from Cheltenham but a number still live local to our meeting venue. Our local members are mostly ex service staff from Greville House, Aston Down or Birdlip/Winstone Radio Station. However, CAA staff who have retired from other units to the lovely rural area in which we live now form a sizeable proportion of the Branch membership. To those members and any prospective new ones we extend a very warm welcome. We were delighted to welcome recently new members John Ross and his wife Myra who have come to live in Cirencester. John has now happily taken over as Secretary from the late Dereck Wallage who served diligently in the post for a remarkable 17 years. This is well over half of the time the Branch has existed. Dereck helped us celebrate 25 years as a Branch in 2011 and his presence is now sadly missed.

The Committee has co-opted Ron Russ to see to the web entry and report Branch news to the Contrail Editor to make the Secretary’s life easier.

Cotswold Branch Committee 2013

Cotswold Branch Committee 2013

   Committee
(left to right)
Jessie Strawson(Chairman)
John Ross(Secretary)
Keith Plumridge(Treasurer)
Jean Plumridge(Committee Member)
Ron Russ(Co-opted Member)