Last post for Harrogate’s naval link

Harrogate and District RNA branch members with their Standard outside Beckwithshaw Church
Harrogate and District RNA branch members with their Standard outside Beckwithshaw Church

A Harrogate organisation has formally marked the end of its existence after 47 years.

The town and district’s branch of the Royal Naval Association was officially wound up at a ceremony last weekend.

“Sadly on Sunday, January 31, the Harrogate and District Branch of The Royal Naval Association, which had been in existence since October 25, 1969, ceased to exist,” said Honorary Secretary Doug Pointon.

“It was a sad day after 46 years, but age, immobility, lack of recruitment of new members and the inability to form a constitutional committee led to our demise.”

The Branch Standard Laying-Up Ceremony was held at St Michael and All Angels Church, Beckwithshaw, and the service was conducted by the Rev John Smith, the Honorary Chaplain of the Harrogate and District Branch RNA.

In attendance were The Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate, Coun Nigel and Mrs Lynn Simms; Andrew Jones MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough; Lord and Lady Willis of Knaresborough; and Commodore Paul Sutermeister DL RN, the RNA Area President; and his wife Mrs Sue Sutermeister.

Branch Standards from RNA Area 11 (Yorkshire and North East) were paraded and Harrogate Sea Cadets played The Last Post and Reveille to a full church.

Refreshments and the Traditional Rum Issue, Naval style, were observed in the church hall afterwards.

Nationally and overseas the RNA has about 370 branches with more than 20,000 members and supports former Naval service personnel and relatives of the Royal Navy.

Across the region there are surviving branches in Wetherby, Northallerton, Leeds and York.

The RNA holds regular social events, advises on welfare and employment and extends the camaraderie of the service to “civi street”.

Mr Pointon said the Harrogate and District Branch thanks all the people for their kindness, support and generosity, through street and supermarket charity collections over the years.