FUTURE IACH EVENTS
The next Committee meeting will be held in our usual London venue at 14:00 on Tuesday 19th December 2017.
Agenda suggestions for the next meeting may be passed to the Secretary by e-mail or by form-mail from this site.
Reschedule of 2017/18 AGM and Reunion Lunch
Below is the explanation of why we had to cancel the November 2017 annual lunch. Your committee has identified a provisional new venue and dates, 11th or 18th March 2018. We will advise you here of those details as soon as we have confirmed them.
It is with great regret that I must announce our decision to cancel this year's IACH Reunion Lunch which we had planned to hold, as usual, on the Gun Deck of HMS Warrior on Sunday 19th November. This is entirely due to circumstances outwith our control.
Unbeknown to us, earlier this summer management of HMS Warrior was transferred from the oversight of the Warrior Preservation Trust and subsumed into the operational control of what is now called the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Despite having booked our annual Reunion Lunch event (due this year to have been celebrating its tenth anniversary) in March 2017 with the Preservation Trust's event team, those individuals are no longer associated with HMS Warrior and the terms of our booking do not appear to have been formally handed over or accepted as an pre-existing obligation by the new operators of the ship.
Although the National Museum of the Navy's Events staff have said they will honour the date commitment they have further stated that they will no longer permit the use of HMS Warrior for less than their full venue booking fee. That minimum fee starts at £5000 before the costs of catering and other costs; nor will they now permit the closing off of part of the Gun Deck for the exclusive use we have enjoyed in previous years and which plays such a significant and charismatic factor in permitting Cape Horn rounding crews to re-convene and reminisce in each others' company. In the words of the National Museum of the Navy's Events Manager:
"Whilst I appreciate that you have had a long standing agreement with HMS Warrior, The National Museum of the Royal Navy take a very different view point when it comes to lunches on board and it not our policy to close any part of the ship for private entertainment during the day as this has an impact on the paying public."
This has all come as something of a shock. Our previous years' costs for the lunch have, as you know, remained capped at what we deem an affordable level within the reach of most Members. To absorb this new and unexpected cost is both unreasonable and unaffordable. I have therefore taken the unfortunate decision that we best serve you as the Members who have signed up for the event by pulling the plug before significant costs are incurred.
I believe that from a legal stand-point, we could justifiably argue that a contractual agreement was in place, and that that obligation should have transferred with the transfer of management responsibility and consequently seek restitution of the terms previously agreed with the Warrior Preservation Trust, or seek recompense for loss of revenue, inconvenience and sunk expenses. In reality, however, this would ultimately potentially cost the Association more than we could ever recover. Nevertheless, I shall be writing to Admiral Sir Jonathon Band who I knew well when he was First Sea Lord and is now the Chairman of the National Museum of the Navy to express my disappointment with the Museum's new approach, prohibitive cost growth and the way in which these changes have been promulgated (or not!) and seemingly inflexibly applied. As a sailor's' sailor, I sense he would be equally disappointed. At this stage, however, it is unlikely to change the status quo ante.
We shall, of course make arrangements for the full refund of all monies you have paid as deposit or full payments for tickets.
Please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused. Peter Waring our Reunion Lunch organiser and your Committee will now begin the process of seeking a new venue with the character, sense of history and maritime heritage which befits the Association and our Reunion Lunch event. It may be that this ultimately proves the catalyst for one or more new events to be held earlier in the calendar year. In the aftermath of this disappointing news it may even be that we can reach some affordable compromise for future use of another facility operated by the National Museum of the Royal Navy but time is too short to make such a significant change at this stage. I hope to bring you further updates and more positive news before too long.
Brigadier A P Bristow
Satquote British Defender - Whitbread Round the World Race 1989-90
NB: Please note that a copy of the 2017 accounts are available here.
7 December, 2017