News From The Downs Branch

Follow Us : Facebook Twitter     
Font size   : Plus Minus Restore

News From The Downs Branch (April 2008)

Already it is the start of April and I am sitting at the computer looking out the window on a slight covering of snow thinking what to write:

Since I last wrote we have held our 29th Annual General Meeting on the 27th February at the HAWTH CENTRE in CRAWLEY where we hold our coffee/lunch social meetings on the last Wednesday of every month starting at about 11.30am in the Spotlight Room and finishing towards 2.30pm. This years AGM was similar to the previous in that we had 40 people attending, and our committee members were all re-elected, with the good news that our membership has increased to 563. At present we are looking for someone to take on the tasks of our social organizer as Albert Moore had indicated to the committee before the AGM that he wished to give up the work as he thought it was time for younger shoes. I am sure you will all wish me to thank Albert on your behalf for the splendid work which he has done as our social organizer over the years. He is however, staying on the committee as our Vice Chairman.

Downs Branch Committee - photograph provided by Dave Cox;

Committee Members

Wednesday the 9th April will see the first of our BARN LUNCHES, thanks to Ann (Cox) and our happy band of volunteers who make the occasion such a memorable delight for us all. At £5 per head they manage to serve us a three course gastronomic delight which includes a glass or two of wine. Our BARN LUNCHES are held twice a year at the Ifield Barn, Ifield, Crawley and after our spring event the next feast will be held on the 10th September 2008. For further details and bookings please contact Dave and Ann Cox on 01403 710578. Don’t forget to book early as we can only sit about 55 maximum to avoid disappointment.

Selection of pictures taken at the Barn  Lunch, again provided by Dave Cox.

Barn Lunch Pic
Barn Lunch Pic
Barn Lunch Pic

Barn Lunch Pic
Barn Lunch Pic
Barn Lunch Pic

Barn  Lunch Pic
Barn Lunch Pic


Spring has just started and hopefully this will be followed by a long hot summer (p.s. I must be able to get it right 1 year in 25!) plus a colourful autumn which should give all of us time to book for our next Xmas Lunch which will be held on Tuesday the 9th December 2008 at the Hawth Centre. Again to all those interested please contact Albert Moore on 01293 534625 or our new social organizer when we find someone to fill the vacancy!!


Our intrepid adventurers all returned safely from their great escape on the 16th January 2008 where a fantastic time was had by all, on the island of Madeira. Invitations and forms are now available for those who wish to sample the delights of CRETE staying at the HOTEL IMPERIAL BELVEDERE for 14 nights, from Monday 29th September to Monday 13th October 2008. To anyone who is interested from our branch or any of our other branches please contact Albert Moore on 01293 534625.

As a final note we would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new members and see you soon at the Hawth Centre in Crawley, (last Wednesday of every month).

The DOWNS Branch

A Brief History as written by the late

C.H.(Chunky) Brooks

and saved for posterity thanks to Albert Moore


"Whilst still working at T.E.E. I found myself having a chat over a cup of tea with a colleague always known as Roy Wild although his initials indicated that he had indeed a different given name.

During that conversation he told me that he had just returned from a meeting in London to consider the formation of a Retired Staff Association for the members of staff of the C.A.A. He was very proud to tell me that he had been appointed to the steering committee who were charged with the task of drawing up a constitution and to report back in as soon as possible.

We now know that a constitution was approved at a subsequent meeting and Roy was made the first chairman of the association. The main object of the Association was to encourage the setting up of branches to the association for with such a dispersed membership it was almost impossible to respond to the needs of all members.

At his own expense he traveled to Scotland and held a meeting with potential members. They could see difficulties as they felt that due to their remoteness they would be unable to not only contribute to the Associations aims and objects but neither could they receive benefits from their membership. Roy discussed this with the new committee who agreed that there should be a forum comprising of branch delegates who would meet the R.S.A. committee before any A.G.M. when they could express their views and desires. To save transport costs (to be covered by the R.S.A.) and to ensure that an A.G.M. would have as broad a coverage as possible it was decided the meeting would be held in the morning preceding the AGM.

Roy then turned his attention to forming a local branch and called a meeting at Redhill. The first chairman Stan Langford, had a committee, one of whom is still with us, Dot Smith. Roy acted as treasurer and secretary and they decided that members of the R.S.A. could join the Downs Branch as it became known for the princely sum of ten shillings a year to cover branch expenses

Whilst working at H.Q. I traveled home on the train with Roy and was invited to join the Downs Branch as it was open to all C.A.A. staff over 58 years old, so I handed over my 10/-.

At the first meeting I attended of the Downs Branch the chairman whose name I cannot remember (he was from Redhill House) encouraged me to join the committee and at a subsequent meeting I suggested that we should try to keep in touch with members by the issue of a News Letter. I should have known better for I was unanimously elected to undertake this task. The question then arose what else could we do for the members. I suggested that perhaps we could visit places of interest locally and those of us with space in our own cars could transport the others who may want to go. The first place chosen was Churchill’s place at Chartwell. I had informed members of the date and time in a news letter and had arranged to pick up Mrs Marjorie Brazier at Redhill. On arrival at Chartwell we could not see any others from the branch so leaving a note in the car window we partook of refreshments as there was a timed ticket to visit the house. The first outing of the branch was a success in all but numbers.

At the next A.G.M. of the Downs Branch I was nominated as chairman and in the event of no other nomination I was duly appointed. I would have liked to have been elected and to feel that it was a real majority decision but Lorna and I readily undertook the task. In order to provide a means of meeting members at regular intervals Lorna and I looked for a meeting place at which we could have refreshments. The committee agreed that we should arrange the first meeting at the new Golf range at Pease Pottage. It was announced in the next Newsletter and about eight people turned up. Food was available but there was no program of events. This as we all know has developed to the "Coffee Mornings" at the Apple Tree for we have had to find other locations as the number attending each Wednesday seems to be increasing and many cannot now find seats. This is not too much of a disadvantage as it no doubt encourages people to wander around and talk more than if all were seated at tables.

The next day trip was to Singleton Open Air Museum which was much better attended. The branch welfare 0fficer (a task which fell to me for a time) was felt to be of great importance especially as there were those who through no fault of their own were alone and glad of a chat. Those that were sick or ill had a visit or a bunch of flowers as well as a card from the Branch.

When the C.A.A. found that the R.S.A. was a going concern they decided to give a grant to the Association funds dependent upon the number of members. It was surprising that with a life long membership fee of only £8.00 it was only a minority of members that joined. Even so from the new found wealth of the Association grants were made to Branches to cover expenses. With this wealth the Downs Branch decided to dispense with the 10/- entrance fee and include all retired people in our catchment area. How this area was decided on I cannot remember but with the aid of the facilities at C.A.A. establishment where photocopying and postage was made available we were able to keep in touch with members some of whom we have never seen but it is hoped that they are aware that there is an organisation that is prepared to help if ever they require it.

Today the members have not only "Coffee Mornings",but days outings, annual holidays in the U.K. & overseas as well as lunches organised by the ladies of the branch. Much work has been undertaken on behalf of the membership which has added to our social standing.

Footnote: The Downs Branch now meets the last Wednesday of each month at the Hawth Centre, Crawley from 11:30am to 2:30pm approx. All are welcome.