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Email Past and Present President's Message

Dear Colleagues

It is with great pleasure, and indeed an honour for me to have accepted the office of President of the ACC & RLC Chefs (Past & Present) Sergeants' Association from Mr Jim Charlesworth, at our recent dinner on Saturday 10th February 2018. My thanks go to Jim for his work on behalf of the Association during his 2 years in office; a lot of it unseen, behind the scenes during the year!

My Thanks also go out to Mr Dave Butterill, who graciously and without hesitation, agreed to take up the office of Vice-President, thanks Dave.

Whilst I am dealing out the thanks, a tremendous amount of gratitude should go to Mr Geoff Acott for the work he has carried out on behalf of the Association over the last 33 years, he is currently our Treasurer, but has held the posts of President, Vice-President and Secretary at various times, being in one or other of these posts every year since 1985. Thanks also to our Secretary Mr Colin MacDonald who has given much valued service over the last few years; so much of the Annual Dinner organisation is down to Colin, leaving the President and Vice President in no doubt as to their duties on the night! And on many other matters relating to the functioning of the Association, including setting up and maintaining the Association's website.

Gentlemen, on behalf of the Association, I thank you!

Having spent almost a third of my Army career in the WO & Sgts' Mess I can only say that those days were probably the happiest of my life; spent in the company of likeminded people; people who would always go that extra mile to help a fellow mess member. And without a doubt, the Mess that set the standard for me, being my guide and mentor, was the WO & Sgts' Mess at St Omer! I was also a member of the Mess in BMH Hong and 1 Bn Grenadier Guards (A Mess with a difference!) So 3 different messes! Happy days!

When I was first approached regarding the post of President I set about finding out what the Objects of the Association were. This is what I found:

1) To establish a centre by which past and present Warrant Officer, Staff Sergeants and Sergeants may keep in touch with one another.
2) To arrange for the members to dine together at least once a year, and to meet as may hereinafter be appropriate.
3) To assist, where possible, both The Army Catering Corps Association and The Royal Logistic Corps in achieving their objectives.

With the above in mind, I would ask each and every one on you to reach out to at least one former colleague of Mess status and:

1) Encourage him or her to join the Association (Life membership currently £40, free if over 65 years of age!)
2) Encourage attendance at the Annual Dinner

With regards to establishing a centre (1 above), we have the means to do that these days through our website and via social media, so let's promote ourselves and look for our old (and new) colleagues!

This Association has been in existence for 32 years and if we want it to carry on in perpetuity then we must reach out to the more recent Royal Logistic Corps chefs of Sergeants Mess status, together with our former Army Catering Corps and Women’s Royal Army Corps colleagues. We must not forget that the Association is “Past & Present”, therefor we should encourage serving senior rank chefs to join us for the Annual Dinner, so if you have contacts, please use them!

If anybody has any suggestions regarding a preferred location for the Annual Dinner then please contact either one of the Association officers, though my preference is for the Farnborough/Aldershot area as I feel that it is our spiritual home!

There is a saying that there were only acquaintances in the Army and not friends; I refute that, and as I grow older I value friends more dearly, and I didn't make any better friends in my life than through the WO & Sgts' Mess!

Alan Penny

A Message From our President - Alan Penny 18th March 2018