Andrew Banfield welcomed members (38 present) plus guest Chris Walsh and BLESMA speaker, Frank Garside. A tie was presented to new member Norman Williams. £41.65 was collected for the Chairman’s charity. Our New Banner was revealed and is available for display.
Roger Davis was welcomed back but we have since heard that he has been readmitted to Mayday Hospital for further tests and an angiogram and is likely to be transferred to Kings College. Ken Bennett is gravely ill. Please advise news of members to almoner, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel:01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.
Our New Chairman, Adrian Lasrado
Adrian was elected chair at our AGM on 3rd March – see page 3 for report. Adrian thanked members for allowing him this honour. Announcing the Women’s Institute (WI) as his Chairman’s charity, Adrian reminded us that without women, we wouldn’t be here. He had come to this country at the age of 60 and the WI had pointed him towards self-sufficiency which again is important today. Gerry wished Adrian all the very best for the coming year – which was roundly applauded by members. As his first duty, Adrian drew the raffle tickets which raised £34.
Outings and Events
Sussex Coastal Trip with refreshments and lunch: Tuesday 19th April.
Open Meeting Thursday 5th May – open to wives, partners or friends.
Downton Abbey Country Tour including River Cruise – no food is provided but there are lots of pubs: Tuesday 17th May.
Show Boat theatre trip: Thursday 20th October.
Contact: Please phone Jim on 01737 555974 or email email@example.com
May 5th: Christine Jarvis: London Shopping
June 2nd: Bob Ogley:
July 7th: Mick Taylor: Mills on the River Wandle
Annual General Meeting, 3rd March 2016 – Report
Chairman’s Report: Andrew Banfield was pleased to have served – his second term – and pleased to have supported his charity BLESMA. During his year Coulsdon Probus had considered moving to Coulsdon Manor but voted to stay here. Despite falling numbers, we have maintained every activity of which the Barge trip, raising money for BLESMA, was a highlight. Andrew particularly thanked Dennis (Secretary), Roger (Treasurer), Jim (Outings and Website) and Ian (Newsletter) for their support. We remember members Norman Cockcroft, Ian Scales, Don Wilkinson, Ken Carter and members’ wives whom we have lost over the past years. Andrew thanked all members for the support they have given him over the year
Treasurer’s Report: Roger Davis had distributed the accounts. He highlighted: annual subscriptions and receipts for meetings have fallen slightly; our recruitment leaflet printing cost of £250; speakers costs vary considerably; Ladies Lunch produced a surplus due to reduced hotel charges; surplus from the barge trip some of which went to the Chairman’s charity collection. The General Fund had a loss of £528 over the year leaving a carry forward of £726 and the Amenity Fund stands at £1840. The Accounts were accepted nem con. Roger thanked auditor Eugene Lightbody and Graham and David for their support. The Chairman thanked Roger, who is stepping down, for his eleven years of service as Treasurer.
Secretary’s Report: Dennis Evans thanked those who had replied to the ‘Way Forward’ questionnaire. He urged Members to step up recruitment efforts with leaflets in libraries, clubs etc. Our new banner as recently seen in Old Coulsdon is available for special occasions. If recruitment has not picked up by July, the Committee will re-consider some of the rejected ideas.
Other Reports: Membership Secretary Reg Baker (now 45 members), Speakers Secretary Phil Munson , Newsletter Editor Ian Payne, Almoner Hugh Roberts, Webmaster (including outings and events) Jim Mulvey, Luncheon Secretary Andrew Kellard.
Election of Committee: Adrian Lasrado was elected Chairman. All other committee posts and were elected en block nem con (see March issue for full list) including our new Treasurer Mike Southwell. There is a vacancy for Vice Chairman.
Handover: Andrew Banfield handed over the Chairman’s Chain of Office to our new Chairman, Adrian Lasrado.
BLESMA – The Limbless Veterans
Outgoing Chairman, Andrew Banfield’s Charity
Frank Garside (from Huddersfield) had joined the Airforce as an administrator in 1971 and spent 26 years in Europe and the Middle East. In 1997 he joined BLESMA – a charity yes, but more a Membership Association run by amputees for amputees. The Limbless Veterans started in Glasgow and Edinburgh after WWI which saw some 45,000 amputees. It spread to Northern England and then, in 1936 the whole of England and became ‘British’. BLESMA supports members with loss of limbs / eyes through Representation and Rehabilitation. It is member driven, its ethos being member helping member.
WWII saw 13,000 amputees and wars since from Korea to Afghanistan have seen a further 1,000. Injuries from modern warfare tend to be worse with a large number of trauma cases. Amputation doesn’t necessarily shorten life – there are still 140 from WWII and, of course, many widows whom BLESMA also supports. Douglas Barden was a member in the 1950s when BLESMA began organising sports. This led directly to the Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games and then the Paralympics and more recently the Invictus Games. BLESMA supports any age and its instructors are themselves amputees.Frank, with many photographs, too by BLESMA: climbing, skiing, biking, sub-aqua, golf, parachuting, archery, discus, rowing, kayaking. Specials have included all-amputee Channel swim, Atlantic row, cycling in a straight line from Lands End to John O’Groats and many cycling events abroad. Eight members are hoping to go to the Rio Paralympics. BLESMA used to run three Rest and Respite homes but now only has one in Blackpool. The home gives wonderful care, catering for anyone who has lost a limb after service (not necessarily war), and has a bar! But the stigma of amputees is now much less and most live normal lives in the community. The core values of BLESMA are: Fellowship and shared experience (through regional clubs); Prosthetics advice; Advice on pensions and allowances; Grants and financial assistance; Assistance in finding employment; Make representation to government; Plan and organise members’ activities and events; Counselling service both pre and post amputation. It also supports members and widows through home adaptation.
Above all BLESMA is for all ages and its challenge is to give its members self-worth. Coulsdon Probus was pleased to present BLESMA with a cheque for £1,000.
Our Trip to the Amazon [Part One]: Andrew Banfield
or ‘Chairman’s excuse for missing our New Year meeting’
In early 2014 Jenny and I decided to book a cruise to the Amazon. This trip, which included a number of stops in the Caribbean, involved sailing up the River Amazon as far as Manaus, the capital of the Amazonas state of Brazil. It did mean being away over the Christmas and New Year. This did also mean being away from our children and grandchildren for the holiday period.
We left London Gatwick on Friday 15th December flying on the new Dreamliner plane to Barbados. We embarked on our cruise liner, the P & O Ship Adonia. It is the smallest ship of the P & O fleet taking about 700 passengers and 300 crew. We sailed that night calling at Dominica, St Lucia and Grenada. We had been to these islands before and mostly made our own arrangements for shore excursions. On the 16th December we docked in Scarborough, the capital of Tobago. We made our own way ashore and visited amongst other sights the Botanical Gardens.
On the 17th we left for the South Atlantic. We felt that at this point our adventure had begun. For four days we travelled along the South American coast, passing Devil’s Island in French Guiana until on Sunday 20th December, after crossing the Equator, we approached the mouth of the mighty Amazon. With a river pilot on board we sailed up the river to the port of Santarem. This city is in the Pará Region, home of the Amazônia National Park. It is a particularly dense swathe of Forest. Very green and hot!
Mile after mile of green dense jungle with the occasional ship or boat passing us, filled our day. We had plenty of information on what to see and we particularly were on the lookout for Pink Dolphins. Jenny saw one but I only saw its tail disappearing into the water. The Amazon is the second longest river in the world and can be as much as 68 miles wide at points. The ship was rigged with mosquito nets, because of the extensive insect life. On Tuesday 22nd December we docked at another river port called Parintins. This was a smaller town and we explored it on foot. A lovely place but a world away from leafy Surrey and only accessible by air or boat.
Another day on the river and we arrived at the City of Manaus, the capital of the State of Amanzonas. A sprawling city of over 2 million people. It operates completely on the river. There are floating shops, fuel stations and other facilities. We went ashore and saw the old city including the famous Opera House. This and other buildings date from the golden age of the rubber boom when the rubber barons made fortunes from rubber. The Opera House is famous over the whole world and is a symbol of the mad world in Manaus before the First World War.
part two to come