Since returning from this year’s reunion at Middlesbrough ARC, I have been thinking over some of the points raised at the Friends/GHA AGM.
There was a good turnout at the reunion, in terms of numbers, although slightly down on last year. How we might improve numbers attending Green Howard Sunday and the Annual Reunion in the ahead is a recurring topic. Col Mantell seldom misses the chance to flag up his and the committees desire to see 1,000 members on parade at one or both of our annual premier events. I offer my thoughts in open forum as a way perhaps of generating some useful discussion.
Much is made, particularly on social media (Facebook) about “The XIX Family”and its strengths, forged in the unique circumstances we faced during our military service.
Above all, loyalty to family is the cornerstone of our beliefs. So I pose the question: When we have people like Tony Warriner (and Anne) and all the other guys and gals who work hard to ensure a successful event, should we not (if attending) be there in a timely fashion rather than being diverted by alternative venues(?). Doubtless, places like the The Don Bar and Longlands Club provide a very popular RV for meeting up with comrades, to fire a couple of ‘warmers into the bank’ before attending the main event but, as seems to happen people get delayed or decide to slip away and continue the party elsewhere rather than at the main event. It is usually most noticeable on Sundays, the day when, among other things we get the opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of our friends (Standard Bearers Competition & 25/50 year badge awards). I think the least we can do is be there, properly dressed in regimental attire to support them.
Few of us have unlimited funds enabling us to attend, what seems to be a growing number of annual events. My belief is, the greater the range of events, the greater the chance that attendance at premier events is diluted. I wholeheartedly acknowledge the success of the ‘Fun in the Sun’ event managed entirely by staunch Green Howard Marty Williams. Having attended a few in recent years, sometimes accompanied by my wife, I know just how successful they are. I was somewhat puzzled to hear at the AGM that a second event to supplement the usual June event was being considered as a wives/partners’ event (?). The June event usually attracts a good number of wives and partners already, so I wonder about the wisdom of introducing a second event. Moving the June visit to Benidorm to early September may, I think be beneficial. That would perhaps increase the likelihood of members/branches attending the visits to Crepon, where many fallen Green Howards are remembered. In the past, such visits have been supported by funding from HQ GHA and have been successful, enjoyable events.
Our two premier annual events are currently N. York’s/Teeside based, enabling the considerable numbers of locally based members to attend without incurring prohibitive travel/accommodation costs. For those travelling from further afield, the example set by Kent Branch should be a beacon to us all. Their ‘can do’ approach ensures the Kent Branch standard is, more often than not, on parade.
Doubtless there are ex-XIX who will never return to the fold but there are still sufficient numbers of us ‘alive and kicking’ and proud of what we are, and have achieved as a regiment, to ensure we are never forgotten. We want our successors in the Yorkshire Regiment to acknowledge our history and be proud to follow in our footsteps. Let’s all focus and make an effort to keep the family strong and above all loyal.