Last weekend we held our Annual General Meeting in Bristol and it was a very successful weekend. Over forty members attended from various parts of the country and on the Friday evening we had our welcome get together in the function suite of the Radisson hotel. The happy chatter and smiling faces from that night set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Our first get together of the weekend is always an informal evening where we get the chance to meet new friends and catch up with everyone.
Saturday morning was our AGM and at this meeting we said farewell and thank you to our outgoing National Chairman, Chris Rankin, and also to our Treasurer Helen Rendle. Chris handed over to Sue Williams who will be our National Chairman for the next three years. We also had a Vice Chairman appointed, Christine Payne, and a new Treasurer, Sandra Walker.
A change to our Annual Dinner was that this year we had it in a venue away from the hotel. We went to Avery’s Wine Cellars where we had a very generous (hic) tasting of wine followed by a superb meal supplied by Cherry Picked Catering. In true Watch Ashore style it was an evening full of fun and laughter.
Sunday morning was our outing and this was slightly overshadowed because of the rain but it didn’t dampen our spirits! We had a tour around the Bristol waterways; passing Brunel’s SS Great Britain and admired all the fancy yachts moored in the Marina.
All too soon it was time to head back to the hotel and say our farewells.
A few words from Chris Rankin
…after last night’s great evening catching up with so many Watch Ashore friends – and of course enjoying a few cocktails, it's time for some coffee whilst preparing for my final AGM as National Chairman when I will hand over to the new Chairman Mrs Sue Williams. It's been an amazing 7 years, 3 as Vice Chairman and then the last 4 as Chairman. I've enjoyed working with so many Maritime charities and learned so much from you all so I'd like to thank Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) Seafarers' Advice and Information Line (SAIL)
Mission to Seafarers the Fishermen's Mission Seafarers Awareness Week Trinity House Sailors Childrens Society Sailors' Society Apostleship of the Sea AMB Marketing Limited the Merchant Navy Association.
I wanted to thank the hardworking Executive committee, Sue Williams, Suzanne Spencer and Helen Rendle for their amazing support. All their hard work has paid off and our AGM weekend has started in its normal fashion -renewing friendships and a spot of retail therapy as we gather together at the Radisson Blue Hotel Bristol. Some of our members have been unable to join us through illness and we wish them all a speedy recovery and look forward to meeting up with them at our 2017 AGM wherever it may be!