Association members gather for AGM and appointment of new President HM Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Mrs Helen Nellis BA (Hons), MA Barrister

Tuesday 21st March 2017 marked the 54th Association AGM held at Coldhams Lane Army Reserve Centre in Cambridge.

Nearly 90 Association members, guests and staff from across the East Anglia region had the opportunity to hear Chairman Major General GS Smith CB QVRM TD deliver his annual report, network, ask questions and discuss ideas.

Chairman delivers annual report at AGM

Presided over by HM Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Mr Richard Jewson JP MA DCL, the first half of the meeting covered business items and then moved on to key note speaker Major General Simon Brooks-Ward CVO OBE TD VR Deputy Commander Field Army. 
Major General Simon Brooks-Ward Deputy Commander Field Army delivers AGM key note

Championing the historical and contemporary importance of reservists, he presented the challenges facing recruitment and retention; acknowledging that being a reservist is now an active lifestyle choice competing with the many distractions of modern life.  He underlined the need to understand and appreciate the specifics of what benefits the reservist, not simply what the MOD gets from the reservist. He highlighted a need for flexibility in approaches to sabbatical leave, more unit interactions and increased connectivity via digital platforms within the reservist community. The goal is to ensure reservists feel it’s ‘too good to leave.’

Attendees then enjoyed a presentation from the Royal Navy Presentation team. We were guided through how they deliver their Military Operations, Constabulary Operations and Diplomatic Responsibilities and gained insight into the Surface and Submarine Fleets, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the Royal Marines, the Fleet Air Arm and the Maritime Reserve. One of our local Reserve units 6 Regiment Army Air Corps also displayed a selection of their equipment and provided demonstrations.

Royal Navy Presentation Team at AGM

The 2017 AGM was a significant one marked by the appointment of the new Association President HM Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Mrs Helen Nellis BA (Hons), MA Barrister.

President HM Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Mrs Helen Nellis at AGM

Taking over the post from HM Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Mr Richard Jewson, Mrs Helen Nellis commented, “It is a pleasure and an honour to take on this responsibility. Thanks to Richard Jewson for your wisdom and guidance. I will try to emulate your contribution.”

Helen Nellis was appointed by HM The Queen as the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire and began her term of office in February 2012. Helen’s career has spanned the law, higher education, health and the commercial sector. She has been Chairman of a number of large organisations including, in her own county, Bedfordshire Health Authority, Luton Health Action Zone and Bedford Hospitals NHS Acute Trust, as well as a member of university governing bodies and councils in higher education including Vice-Chairman of the Universities of Luton and Bedfordshire and a Governor at two state sector schools in the County.

Her first official act was the presentation of a plaque to our outgoing president HM Lord-Lieutenant for Norfolk Richard Jewson. 

The two retiring HM Lords Lieutenants for Essex Lord Petre KCVO MP JP and HM Lord Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire Sir Hugh Duberly KCVO CBE also received plaques on behalf of East Anglia RFCA, presented by Richard Jewson.

HM Lords Lieutenants for Essex and Cambridgeshire at AGM

Several employees received a certificate from the Lord Lieutenant for their long service (above fifteen years) and good conduct, demonstrating the continuity of knowledge and experience of Reserve Forces and Cadet matters the Association maintains on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

This year’s recipients were

Lieutenant Colonel J A Allan (Deputy Chief Executive)

Major P D Barlow (CEO, Beds & Herts ACF)

Mrs B L Day (AO1, Cambridgeshire ACF)

Mr S A De’Ath (CAA, No 2 Coy Cambridgeshire ACF)

Mr K W Holmes (CAA, D Coy Essex ACF)

Mrs A Inman (AO1 Beds & Herts ACF)

Miss S J Lethbridge (AO Estates)

Mr N J Stephens (Head of Business Services)

Congratulations to all.

RFCA long service awards at AGM

The Chairman’s report is available here to download as a pdf. The EA RFCA 2017 Year Book containing useful information about our Association, key dates and our people was also distributed at the AGM. This is available to the EA RFCA membership and staff. Requests can be made to

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