Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Air Forces Association,

Aphrodite Branch, held at WO and SGTs Mess RAF Akrotiri

On Wednesday 7th March 2018, at 19.30


Mr. Barry Higgs

Mr. Rob Findlater

Mr. John P Brennan

Mrs. Wendy Phillips

Mrs. Anne Higgs

Mr. Jim Phillips

Chf. Tech. Mark Margrave



Beryl Wilkinson

Fiona Brennan

Kim Guest

Yvonne Trimble

Malcolm Myskow

Joan Fundell

Linda Rowell

Elizabeth Stockman

Jim Wilson



Flt Lt Spike Milligan


Honorary Treasurer/Vice Chairman

Honorary Secretary

Welfare Officer

Membership Secretary

Wings Appeal Organiser




Bob Wilkinson

Baxter Pulling

Richard Hayes

Mary Findlater

Gill Myskow

Rob Fundell

Gordon Rowell

Rick Stockman




Wing Cdr N Critchley

Item 1 Royal Air Forces Association’s Dedication,
The Chairman opened the meeting with the Royal Air Forces Association’s Dedication.

Item 2      Apologies for absence

The President, Group Captain M J Blackburn

Flight Sergeant J Tomlinson-Smale, Charlie Manning,

Nick Williams, Ted Moore, Jane Moore and John Palmer

Item 3    Minutes of the 2017 Annual General Meeting

The minutes were approved as a true and accurate record of the meeting and were Signed by the Chairman.

Item 4    Matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting

There were no matters raised.

Item 5   Chairman’s Report.

The Chairman thanked Wing Commander N Critchley for standing in for our President Group Captain MJ Blackburn who is in the UK. He welcomed our new members; Richard, Yvonne, Bax and Kim who have returned to the fold.        This year has been a successful one for the Branch.  It had three main fundraisers which were the Garden Party in May, the Tiara & Tie Ball in October and Wings week. The Treasurer will give the figures in his report.

Meetings have been held off camp at various venues to enable members without station passes to enjoy RAFA.

Our Christmas lunch was held at RYANS which was well attended.

Mary Findlater who was our Honorary Secretary for 4 years stood down last year.  The Chairman thanked Mary for her excellent input and all her hard work.  John Brennan was appointed Honorary Secretary until this AGM.  He thanked John for taking over the reins.

Rob Findlater has decided not seek re-election as Vice Chairman, Treasurer and webmaster.  The Chairman thanked Rob for all his advice and help over the past few years and stated that he would be a hard act to follow and hoped that he would be on standby, if needed, especially with the webpage.

The Chairman thanked the other hard working members of the committee; John Brennan Honorary Secretary, Jim Phillips Wings Officer and standard bearer, Wendy Phillips Welfare Officer & Anne Higgs Membership Secretary,  for all their commitment and dedication.

He thanked Chf. Tech. Mark Margrave and the RAFALOs for their help and assistance. They have worked extremely hard on their fundraising this year and have raised a lot of  money.

The Chairman and Membership Secretary attended conference last May to represent the members.  If anyone has any comments or matters they wish to raise at this year’s conference then they should contact the Honorary Secretary with their suggestions.

The Branch will continue to pay for member’s criminal record checks. It is hoped that this will encourage members and new members to attend events on Station.

The Chairman had a conversation with the Deputy Commander SBA about criminal record checks and her reply was no change. Everyone has still to go through the process of applying for a Criminal Record Check when obtaining passes.

The web site and Facebook pages are working well.  They are www.rafaakrotiri.com  or www.rafaaphrodite.com for the web pages and rafaaphroditebranch for Facebook. For those members on-line these are both updated on a regular basis and give all the information about forthcoming events.  If a member has any relevant information or photographs that they would like posted then please forward them to the Chairman or Secretary.

There will be no meeting in the Sgts Mess next month as the RAF100 Gala Ball is the April event. Tickets are €50 and are now on sale from Mark Margrave, the Hive or The Chairman. Future events will be posted after the first Committee Meeting.

Finally, the Chairman thanked all for attending tonight’s meeting.  He stated that it was lovely to see so many members both old and new.

There were no questions put to the Chairman about his report.

Item 6    Treasurer’s Report and Statement of Accounts 2017

The Treasurer stated that a copy of the end of year accounts has been distributed and he has a copy of the full cash book, which was agreed by the auditor should anyone wish to see it.

He thanked Tracey Colacicco, Station Audit Clerk, Service Funds, for auditing our accounts. She very generously did this for us at no charge to the Branch. She will be happy to audit our books again at the end of the year. Ms Colacicco came across a couple of minor findings, however overall the books are well presented and organised. Her few observations needed no amendments. They are attached to the 2017 Cash Book.

The Branch started the year with €4,234.11 in the general Account and ended the year with €3,199.49. The level that accounts have to be kept to allow for any unforeseen emergencies is around €3,000. The Branch was once again very fortunate to receive a donation of €1,000 from the RAF Akroteri’s Station Charities. This is to be used for the benefit of our members. Unlike previous years, the amount could not be added to our end of year accounts as we did not get it until January. We usually receive it in November.

In the middle of the year the Committee took the decision to use the €1,000 from the RAF Akrotiri’s Station charities 2016 donation to encourage members to attend a formal Branch event, the Tie and Tiara Dance. The tickets were subsidised   to a very low price, however, in spite of much publicity the take-up from our membership was extremely low, somewhat indicative of the support the Branch receives from its membership. The very successful dance was well supported by the friends of the RAFA members who attended. Opening the invitation to others, who were not branch members, was the only way not to lose a hefty deposit paid to secure the venue.

The Welfare Account stood at €2,065.45 at the beginning of 2017. The Branch received a welfare rebate from the Wings submission to CHQ of €878.13. The Welfare Account ended the year with a balance of €2,138.25.

The total sent by the Branch to CHQ for the Wings Appeal in 2017 was €5,715.45, this was made up from the collections raised during the 2017 Wings Appeal, a donation of €2,227.35 from RAF Akrotiri’s RAFALO Committee and a transfer of €235.59 from our General Account.

The fund raising for 2017 included; merchandise sales at various Station events, the Akrotiri House Garden party which raised €1,560, the Battle of Britain Wings Week collection from outside Costcutters which raised €633.88 and the Wings boxes located around RAF Akrotiri which raised €2279.38. The last two items, the Branch is indebted to the personnel of RAF Akrotiri who gave so generously to our fund raising throughout the year.

Statements for the UK based Sterling Account arrive quarterly and at the end of 2017 stood at £477.13. The  only liability is €240 for membership. The 20% rebate from the 2017 Wings submission, as yet, has not been allocated by CHQ. Once it arrives it will be placed into the Branch Welfare Account.

The donations made this year include three made at the request of the Branch’s President following the Akrotiri Garden Party: €400 to the Army Benevolent Fund, €280 to the Akrotiri Military Wives Choir and €280 to the RAF Akrotiri Voluntary Band. All of these organisations gave substantial support to the event. The Committee made a donation of €300 to No1 overseas ATC Squadron and they made several Welfare donations throughout the year, which cannot be disclosed.

The Treasurer opened the floor for questions.

The Wings Appeal Organiser Jim Philips asked the Treasurer to explain the money which has been received from the RAF Benevolent Globe located at Air Movements.

The Treasurer stated that to date it has not appeared on our account. The Wings Appeal Organiser received a call from Air Movements informing him that they had a large RAF Benevolent Globe containing foreign currency in all denominations notes and coins. The coins cannot be exchanged, as Service Funds and the  banks do not accept them. There was approximately €1500 which was put into the Wings account although it was labelled RAF Benevolent Fund. The Branch has the authority to do so and have had this authority for a number of years ever since Jim Beveridge died, as the RAF Benevolent Fund were unable to appoint another representative.

Item 7   Committee Report

The Honorary Secretary gave the report on behalf the Committee.

Welfare                                                                                                                                                                                    2017 has been a very busy year for the Welfare Officer. She has travelled almost 4000 kilometers visiting clients in the Limassol district and beyond. In particular there have been two very complicated cases, which are still on-going.

During the past year, over €700 has been spent on equipment and medical aids. The equipment continues to be loaned out on a regular basis.

Research has found, isolation and loneliness leads to, depression, dementia and to the use of medication, particularly in the ex-military community. An official course has been set-up within RAFA to train ‘befrienders’. The service pairs volunteers with veterans and their families who are in need of assistance. The befriender is there to offer advice or to be a friendly face over a cup of tea and a chat. Further information can be obtained from the Welfare Officer.

Membership                                                                                                                                                         Unfortunately the Branch has lost 9 members this year; 7 have returned to the UK and 2 have decided not to renew their membership. However, the Membership Secretary has recruited 2 new members and persuaded one lapsed member, to return to the fold. There are a further 6 people, who may join the Branch in the near future.

Despite a healthy 113 members in this branch, there is some concern about the continued lack of support from our members at our monthly meetings.  The Committee thanks those members who attend on a regular basis, but unfortunately they are few. We have 48 members living in Cyprus who are non-serving members.  There are 45 RAFALO’s or serving members.

If a member has any suggestions with regards to what events they would like to see take place at the monthly meetings, then please contact a member of the Committee with their recommendations.

At the Annual Conference last year, Nick Bunting our General Secretary asked each member to recruit one new member for the Association.  The committee passes this request on to you and asks everyone to try and recruit a new member this coming year.

If a members Station Pass has expired, contact the Chairman or the RAFAO’s to arrange access to the Station, for RAFA Branch meetings and events.

Wings Appeal                                                                                                                                                                         The Wings Appeal, for the period Jan 2017 to Dec 2017 has been very successful. Thanks mainly to the generosity, of the men and women based at RAF Akrotiri.

The sum of €2279 was raised from Collection Boxes strategically placed around the station.

The total sum raised was €3564; this amount was obtained from; Collection Boxes, Cost Cutters, Wings Week, donations, raffles and other sources:

It must be said, that whilst many members and some of the RAFALOs have worked very hard to achieve these figures, there needs to be more help from the membership. Therefore, the committee is asking members to give a little more support, by volunteering their assistance when necessary i.e. Wings Week, the Aki 10’s and other RAFA organised functions both on and off the station.

Media                                                                                                                                                                                        Our Website and Facebook sites are both running well, it is important for members to utilise both mediums to keep up to date with Branch news. The minutes are published on the website, once they have been approved.

Thank you                                                                                                                                                                                The Committee and the Branch are very fortunate to have the continued support of the RAFALOs, especially Senior RAFALO Chief Technician Mark Margrave, for which we are very grateful.

The Committee thank, WO Skinner, Chairman of the Messing Committee for granting permission to use the WO and Sgt’s Mess.

Also our thanks go to the Mess Manager, Andreas Theodorou for his assistance throughout the year.

The Honorary Secretary personally thanked Mrs. Mary Findlater for all the assistance and help she gave him when he took the office of Secretary. Her efficiency and wealth of knowledge made the changeover very straightforward for him.

Item 8  Election of Officers: Nominations for the Officers Posts:

Chairman                                                                                                                                                                              Nominated: Mr Barry Higgs,                                                                                                                                                 Proposed by: Chf Tech Mark Margrave                                                                                                                             Seconded by: Mr John Brennan                                                                                                                                                      Mr Barry Higgs was elected Chairman unopposed

Vice-Chairman                                                                                                                                                                     Nominated: Mr Jim Phillips,                                                                                                                                                Proposed by: Mr Barry Higgs                                                                                                                                               Seconded by; Mr Robert Findlater                                                                                                                                                 Mr Jim Phillips was elected Vice-Chairman unopposed

Honorary Secretary                                                                                                                                                            Nominated: Mr John Brennan                                                                                                                                             Proposed by: Chf Tech Mark Margrave                                                                                                                             Seconded by: Mrs Anne Higgs                                                                                                                                                         Mr John Brennan was elected Honorary Secretary unopposed

Treasurer                                                                                                                                                                              Nominated: Mr Baxter Pulling                                                                                                                                             Proposed by: Mr Barry Higgs                                                                                                                                              Seconded by: Mrs Anne Higgs                                                                                                                                                          Mr Baxter Pulling was elected Treasurer unopposed

Item 9    Nominations for Additional Members                                                                                           Nominated: Mrs Elizabeth Stockman                                                                                                                                Proposed by: Mr Barry Higgs                                                                                                                                               Seconded by: Mr John Brennan                                                                                                                                                    Mrs Elizabeth Stockman was elected Additional Member unopposed

There were no other nominations from the floor

Item 10   Appointment of Committee Members                                                                                               Honorary Welfare Officer: Mrs Wendy Phillips who is appointed by CHQ                                                               Membership Secretary: Mrs Anne Higgs                                                                                                                                Wings Appeal Organiser: Jim Phillips                                                                                                                                 Standard Bearer: Jim Phillips

There were no  objections to these appointments.

Nominations were asked for the vacant post of Entertainment Coordinator. There were no nominations

Item 11   Election of Auditor or Independent Examiner                                                                           Nominated: Tracey Colacicco                                                                                                                                             Proposed: Rob Findlater                                                                                                                                                     Seconded: Barry Higgs                                                                                                                                                                      Ms Tracey Colacicco elected Auditor

Item 12   Any Other Business                                                                                                                                               Flt Lt Milligan briefed the meeting about RAF100. He commented on the charities involved and the RAF 100 Gala dinner.

He stated the RAF 100 celebration is open to all organisations RAFA, Airborne Association, British Legion, the Breakfast club, expat community etc. He asked the members to pass on the information about RAF 100 and upcoming events.

Members should check their websites and Facebook pages as he will pass all the details to the Chairman to post.

Wng Cdr Neil Critchley addressed the meeting and updated them on what has been happening on the station over the last 12 months. He also informed them of RAF 100 events in the UK and on island.

Wng Cdr presented Gordon Rowell with the RAFA 50 year membership pin.

Item 13   Close of meeting                                                                                                                                                There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 2025 hours. The next Annual General Meeting; Wednesday 6th March 2019 at 1930 hours in the WO and Sgts Mess.