The 78th Entry Constitution

Introduction

1. The 78th Entry Association (hereinafter referred to as The Association) was formed to develop the spirit of camaraderie and self-fulfilment that was originally engendered on the 7 September 1954 when the Entry was formed, at The Number One School of Technical Training, Royal Air Force Halton.

2. The sole purpose of The Association is to facilitate, and further nurture, the comradeship and mutual support that is an essential element in any assembly of people whom share a common heritage. This will, in the main, take the form of an Annual Reunion, complete with an Annual General Meeting (AGM) which will normally be held in the 9th or 10th month of each year, at a venue previously decided. In accordance with its essentially social function, The Association will be administered with the absolute minimum of formality, commensurate with good governance and financial probity.

The Association Committee

3. The wide dispersal of The Association membership render ‘face to face’ meetings, other than at the AGM, virtually impossible. In light of that distribution, and in order to ensure competent and representative management of The Association, it is essential that the Committee members can achieve, and maintain, a high standard of intercommunication. This would normally require electronic mail (email), as this enables a clear record of such interactions, to serve as ‘Minutes’ and ‘Decisions’ from the process, particularly where financial expenditure of The Association’s fund is involved. It is also important that the Committee is numerically sufficient to enable ‘continuity’ of function in the event a ‘key’ post holder were to suffer an incapacitating event.

4. Therefore, it is essential that The Association nominate, from among its membership, individuals to fill the following roles:

• Chairman

• Secretary

• Treasurer

            • Deputy Chairman

  • Webmaster.

5. Invariably, and to ensure the credible integrity of The Association Committee, the Chairman, and at least two of the other four Committee members (i.e. 60% of the Committee) are to be drawn from those persons that were members of the 78th Entry at Royal Air Force Halton between Induction (7 September 1954) and Graduation (31 July 1957). In the event this condition cannot be satisfied, consideration is to be given to closure of The Association (Paragraphs 20 et sequitur).

6. The nature of The Association’s business will not require frequent Committee meetings, but occasions will arise, more often than not due to ‘Last Posting’ events, which will require a response from ‘The Association’, necessitating a degree of Committee involvement, and possible disbursement of Association monies.

Terms of Reference

7. The Chairman will preside at all Association functions and, in the case of the Annual Formal Reunion Dinner, will superintend and nominate the individuals to instigate and conduct the following Toasts: ‘The Loyal Toast’ (Mr Vice – by convention the most junior (by age!) member of the Entry); ‘Absent Friends’ (during which the assembled company remain seated); ‘The Ladies’ and, finally, ‘The 78th Entry’. In the case of Committee Meetings, the Chairman ‘conducts’ the proceedings and will only vote where a ‘decision’ is ‘tied’.

8. The Secretary will be responsible for all correspondence, other than that directed to and emanating from the Treasurer in relation The Association fund which, in turn, should be copied to the Secretary for information. The Secretary will deal with all other aspects regarding The Association’s business and interaction with external agencies, for example, viewing and booking hotel accommodation and eliciting and informing the membership of all related pertinent facts, e.g. ‘single occupancy’, disabled facilities, dietary requirements, menu choices etc. The Secretary’s post is a particularly demanding role and will remain so unless and until The Association’s policy on Reunion venues is reviewed and developed or altered. The Secretary will also act as custodian of The Associations regalia, ensuring the availability and utility of that regalia at all functions which the Committee deem appropriate.

9. The Treasurer will be responsible for The Association’s monetary assets. This includes: collection of membership subscriptions; preparation of an annual Balance Sheet, for presentation at the AGM, depicting the overall financial status of The Association fund; preparing and issuing cheques, to be signed by himself and the Chairman, or other formally nominated member, in respect of goods or services purchased by, or on behalf of, the Association.

10. It is not intended that the Association Fund will be an appreciating asset, merely a Fund that exists to support the administration of the Annual Reunion and AGM, together with any expenditure authorised, either by AGM or Committee decision, that demonstrably supports the Association's declared aim.

11. It must be noted that any requests, to the Treasurer, in respect of funds to be paid by the Association, MUST be accompanied by properly issued or authenticated receipts, and/or a Committee ‘Decision’ record, relating specifically to that purchase.

12. Deputy Chairman will act in the absence of the Chairman, for whatever reason. He will also maintain a ‘watching brief’ on the day-to-day management of The Association to support any unforeseen contingency that might, otherwise, jeopardise the smooth running of The Association's affairs. In this role he will also provide democratic ‘depth’ to the Committee’s deliberations.

13. The Webmaster will manage the Entry Website, including payment of the annual registration fee for that Website, utilising funds being provided by the Treasurer. The Webmaster will update the Entry Website database in respect of all matters relevant to the Association. He will also maintain a ‘watching brief’ on the day-to-day management of The Association to support any unforeseen contingency that might, otherwise, jeopardise the smooth running of The Association's affairs. In this role he will also provide democratic ‘depth’ to the Committee’s deliberations.

Committee Elections

14. Elections to the Committee will normally take place annually, concurrent with the AGM. To provide continuity, the extant post holders should identify their willingness, or otherwise, to continue in post. The Chairman should invite potential nominees for the specific posts, regardless of the incumbent’s willingness to remain. The vote should then proceed in the conventional manner.

15. In the event of a Committee post falling vacant, it is open to the Chairman, in consultation with the remainder of the Committee, either to continue to the next AGM without filling the post, or to invite a volunteer, from among The Association membership, to be co-opted onto the Committee to fill that vacancy pending the next AGM.

The Ladies & Dependants.

16. The Association has, from its inception, enjoyed the company of not only the members, but also their wives and partners, where they have provided both a refining and steadying influence, as well as refreshing and charming company.

17. This demonstrates that the definition of ‘member’ is in need of broadening, to create a more inclusive structure. To that end, the term 'member' will now include, not only those persons who were part of the 78th Entry of Aircraft Apprentices, but also the wives and partners, of those members, whom state a personal desire for formal membership of the Association. Those wives and partners will be identified as Associate Mem-bers, to distinguish them from those members who formed part of the 78th Entry, but in all other respects, they will enjoy all the entitlements of Association membership. It should also be noted that any Association member has the fundamental right to draw the Committee's attention, via any Committee member, to any matter which is perceived as being in need of Committee scrutiny.

18. Additionally, and by the same token, Dependants of deceased Association Members should, where they express the desire, and subject to the decision of the Committee, be afforded the same Association status as that available to wives and partners of Members, as described above.

19. Other than these two above situations, membership of The Association will, while the member re-mains alive, always be the specific right of that individual who joined, or latterly became, a member of the Royal Air Force Aircraft Apprentices 78th Entry, at Royal Air Force Halton.

Closure Of The Association.

20. Notwithstanding the above Membership qualifications, The Association will eventually have neither a meaningful, nor purposeful, existence. When that event comes to pass, the monetary assets of the Association shall be offered to The Royal Air Force Benevolent (RAFBF) in furtherance of their charitable purposes.

21. The value of the remaining Association Resources may be realised, with any money, again, passing to the RAFBF or, where this is not practicable, bequeathed to the Apprentice Trenchard Museum at RAF Halton, or to wherever that function may be subsequently located, for disposal as the Apprentice Trenchard Museum deem suitable.

22. Nothing in these criteria, neither stated nor implied in paragraphs 20 and 21, for closure of The Association, shall be construed as precluding the surviving members of The 78th Entry, together with any Associate members, from forming a new social group, either amongst themselves or with like-minded members of other, similarly situated, groups. Notwithstanding this qualification, the condition, regarding disposal of The Association fund, to the benefit of the RAFBF quoted in paragraph 20, is to be strictly implemented.

23. However, The Association Resources may be retained, where expressly desired, to facilitate a credible relationship and identity with the origins of that new group. Should those Resources not be so identified, then the requirements of paragraph 21 are also to be strictly implemented.

24. The newly formed group is to create a new identity for itself which may associate the new group with its origins. However, the title ‘The 78th Entry Association’, in its entirety, shall not be used within that title without some additional content that enables it to be recognised as a separate, albeit linked, social entity.