The Federation Of Plymouth And District Ex-Services Associations
The Federation was started up in the early 80s by a small group led by a Mr Phil Dyer who had decided it would be good to hold a Remembrance Festival. In those days it was held in Plymouth Guild Hall for which the council made no charge and all the associate expenses were covered by sponsorship from some of the local large stores and companies.
As things progressed it was decided to put things on a more formal basis with the former Lord Mayor of Plymouth Councilor Walter Ainsworth becoming President and when Walter died his wife Phyllis became our President, a position she still holds today and like her husband Phyllis is a very active & hands on President.
When Phil Dyer died his place was taken by Councilor Tom Browne who was followed by the team of Ron & Veronica Carter. By then the Federation was expanding and taking on more commitments. Unfortunately financial restraints on many business saw the demise of a lot of sponsorships and the Federation become more dependent on collections to provide funds to cover the cost of the Festival.
With the expansion of the Federation and the taking on more commitments supporting Service Associations and Veterans’ there was a need to be able to have funds to meet those commitments with the bulk of our income needed to provide the Festival that is run every year. This event is organized and financed solely by the Federation, an organisation that is not a large National such as the Royal British Legion or the Royal Navy Association and the like but just a small group of local people with a desire to provide Plymouth with a Remembrance Festival and support its local Veterans and service related organisations.
As well as the Festival, when we can afford it, we support small local Service Charities and good causes. We also arrange the attendance of our Associations Standards at appropriate events and Funerals under the command of our Parade Marshall Jerry Josee.
There was a time a few years back when the Federation was having some difficult times and the Delegate of the local HMS Ganges Association, of which I am the secretary, suggested I may be able to help. I was asked to consider being vice Chairman and eventually by default became Chairman, a position I still proudly hold at this time. The first unpopular decision that I had to make was to cancel a Remembrance Festival due to the lack of guaranteed funding. It was decided that we would never sign a contract unless we actually had the funds in the bank to meet the commitment which relates to some £7,000.
The Federation is now in a stable situation and has become a Limited Company by Guarantee registered with Company House. Obviously we hope to continue with our provision of a Remembrance Festival and support of Veterans but urgently need the injection of some younger blood to carry on the work as those actively involved are all getting older with the associate problems and illnesses that age can bring.
Due to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan having such good Media Coverage the general public have become very aware of the commitment of our Armed Forces and our Veterans, more so with Plymouth being a Military City. Our hope is that as conflicts come to a close we all continue to support those past and present who place themselves in the path of danger on our behalf.