Yes, it really is December and it is as usual a busy time for us all. It doesn’t seem to matter how much you do in advance, December is always slightly manic. Last year of course we were advised not to travel and to keep to our own bubble. It was very hard for a lot of us who live on our own but better to be safe than sorry. This year the pandemic is again rearing its ugly head and this new variant is spreading quickly. Most of us will have received our booster jabs and let’s hope that they do the trick and keep us free from illness. I have a few meetings in London during December. They haven’t been cancelled yet and I am hopeful that they will go ahead.
It was lovely to see so many members over Remembrance week-end in London. The noise over coffee was very loud as people met again for the first time in over 18 months. The Churchill War Rooms looked after us really well and the food was of a high standard. Although not quite as convenient as RUSI in Whitehall it was a good alternative while RUSI is under renovation. For those of you who watched the service on Sunday from the Cenotaph you will have heard Debbie’s command of “eyes right” and I hope you noticed that we all obeyed her! We had 4 members take part in the Festival of Remembrance at the Albert Hall on Saturday evening. It is an arduous couple of days for those participants as there is a lot of standing around, walking and stair climbing. Well done to all 4 of them.
You will shortly be receiving a package of letters and forms which need to be returned quickly to us. There have been a few delays with the printers so everything is going out later than we had hoped. There is notification about a new venue for the AGM 2022, an explanation about ROs and how difficult it is to recruit new ones, a data update letter and a draft copy of the new constitution. These are all important subjects for our Association members and please take the time to read everything and send back your replies.
Since my last letter I have had a meeting with Leo Docherty concerning the Campaign 300. As usual when talking with someone new to the post a lot of background information is required to set the scene as one of unfairness and one which requires rectifying. Dr Lewis who is a huge supporter of ours was also at this meeting. While I was asking for reinstatement of pension, Dr Lewis was exploring the Avenue of an ex-gratia payment. All the details and suggestions are now with the lawyers who are trying to come up with a fool proof recommendation which the Treasury could support. Following this meeting members of the Campaign 300 group had the opportunity to join a Teams meeting with Helen Helliwell from the MOD and to ask her questions as well as to describe to her their thoughts and feelings about being left out of the original change to the rules over marriage, cohabitation and the loss of pension. Helen is now in discussions with the legal team and she will come back to us with their suggestions. There is a police widows case which will come to the courts in April 2022. If they win it would set a precedent for all public sector widows.
I will finish by wishing you all a safe and cheery festive season. Send us photos of your celebrations and above all, keep well.
Hope to see you soon, Moira