COVID-19 – UPDATE NUMBER 6 FROM THE REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION
DATED 8TH JANUARY 2021 FROM THE REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION
A Happy New Year to you all.
For those that subscribe, we hope you enjoyed this years Mars & Minerva Regimental journal.
We find ourselves well and truly on a Campaign footing moving into 2021. The battles thus far have been in inconclusive so we play the long game. The roll out of an effective vaccine, hopefully, giving us the strategic edge this year. We have heard of several members being struck down with the virus, mostly mild symptoms but we do have some seriously ill folk out there and we wish them well during their recovery. The virus and subsequent effect on NHS routine has bitten hard in the first few days of 2021, we must be ready for more in the coming weeks.
To that end, in line with national guidance and common sense, the Office will revert to lockdown mode once again. We will staff the office one day per week (Friday) to maintain our systems, ship goods and ensure the small amount of activity not being remote to home working can be accomplished.
Contact details are available via the Regimental Association website (www.marsandminerva.co.uk). We will continue to utilise virtual technology to conduct activity when we have to and encourage membership to do likewise. We remind members that, in these unprecedented times, please contact us if you or someone you know are experiencing severe financial difficulties at present, we may be able to help. We also have a national network of Sentinels who are ready to assist members with any issues to do with mental health, welfare and wellbeing. As ever, please look out and check on each other.
We can confirm that the London Dinner (February) and the Midlands Lunch (March) are both cancelled. We will update members on the status of the remaining events in the spring and early summer (Welsh, South East and North of England) once we have discussed with the regional organisers. We should prepare ourselves for another very disrupted social calendar this year.
John, Tracy and Terri
COVID-19 – UPDATE NUMBER 5 FROM THE REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION
We now find ourselves back in a national lockdown. Scientific data published by the Government indicating that the ‘second wave’ will be more severe than the first in the spring.
Accordingly and in support of the national effort, we will reduce staffing from Monday 9th November 2020, although the office will be manned five days per week. The Association e-mail address will be monitored seven days a week so will be the best means of communication for routine business. In the event of an urgent need to speak to a member of the team, please follow the office answerphone instructions.
We would like to remind members that, in these unprecedented times, please contact us if you or someone you know, are experiencing welfare or severe financial difficulty, we will be able to help.
Unfortunately, the new restrictions have meant that our attendance at Westminster Abbey has been cancelled. Our Regimental crosses and poppy wreaths were laid at Westminster Abbey on the 2nd November. We have conducted a ‘virtual’ Remembrance Service which has been recorded and can be found on this website. The names of all those members we have lost between 7th November 2019 and 4th November 2020 are given in this Service.
We would like to remind everyone that we have copies of the ‘Ascension’ Book and 75th Anniversary prints still available.
John, Tracy and Terri
COVID-19 – UPDATE NUMBER 4 FROM THE REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION
Though the severest elements of the national lockdown have now receded, we still find ourselves restricted in our daily lives to some degree. Unfortunately, our 75th anniversary year will be measured in future years by COVID-19 rather than celebratory activity but we will attempt to put this right in 2021.
We expect to be back to full staffing during the working week from early September. We will continue to utilise virtual technology to conduct activity when we have to, however we are very aware that this cannot replace the ‘face to face’ style which is so important to us. All our decisions on postponement or cancellation of events have this in mind. Those who have visited the website of late, will have seen that we can now accept donations via PayPal and we can now accept payment ‘over the phone’ and ‘in person’ by Debit or Credit Card. The secure area of the website is currently being re-developed. We remind members that, in these unprecedented times, please contact us if you or someone you know are experiencing severe financial difficulties at present, we may be able to help.
You will recall from Update Number 3 that the decision was taken in May to cancel our social events up to the end of October 2020. Regrettably, we have now taken the decision to cancel the following events in November 2020. The Field of Remembrance Lunch on the 5th November and the Ascension Service Lunch on the 6th November. At present we are hopeful we can attend the Opening of the Field of Remembrance ceremony (albeit with reduced ticket numbers and with social distancing) and conduct the Ascension Service (again with restrictions). We await news from Westminster Abbey as to whether we can conduct the Service in the Cloisters in some way on the 5th November. We will update the membership as soon as we have news.
We have also decided to cancel the Annual Reunion on the 14th November due to venue restrictions and the heavy reliance on public transport for this event.
The Annual Newsletter is now at the printers. We are hopeful this will start to drop on your doorsteps during the first week in September. It is the largest Newsletter to date (20 pages) and includes articles on the 75th Anniversary of the Regimental Association, the SENTINELS Initiative, and adverts for a 75th Anniversary Regimental Association Print and the (now completed) Ascension Book. Raffle tickets for the Annual Christmas Draw and information regarding the AGM in October will also be included.
John, Tracy and Terri
COVID-19 – UPDATE NUMBER 3 FROM THE REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION
We are now into week nine of what is still, for most, a form of lockdown. We have all had to be adaptable and will need to be for the foreseeable future. The financial and cultural ‘wake’ is now fully upon us and more is yet to come. We standby to assist members and their families where we can.
The office remains open on a part-time basis during the working week (normally Tuesdays and Thursdays 0900-1600 hours). The team are working remotely to ensure that member’s welfare requests and needs can be met. We know that members are conducting meetings by video conferencing, social media and social distancing to keep in touch and keep an eye on each other. We also know that members are assisting each other directly with shopping and the like and many are assisting their local community also. Our network is as active as ever, you are our ‘eyes and ears’, thank you.
We would like to remind members that, in these unprecedented times, please contact us if you or someone you know are experiencing severe financial difficulties at present, we may be able to help.
VE day passed more quietly than many of us would have wanted but local arrangements and national efforts saw us celebrating this historic day with some style. We managed to get six names of our WW2 members on the BT tower on the 8th May in recognition of all our wartime veterans. www.marsandminerva.
In conjunction with our lunch organisers and the venues management we have now extended the cancellation/postponement of Regimental Association events until 31st October 2020. Specifically, the South West Lunch on the 12th September (cancelled), the 75th Anniversary Drinks Reception on the 24th September (postponed until 16th September 2021), the Scottish and Portsmouth Lunches on the 26th September (both cancelled) and the East Anglian Lunch on 31st October (cancelled). Events scheduled for later in the year remain under review and we will update in due course.
John, Tracy and Terri
COVID-19 – UPDATE NUMBER 2 FROM THE REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION
Government Legislation and measures to combat the effects of the virus have been updated this week. The updated guidance and advice, specifically targets the closing of schools in the UK and, again, emphasis on home working, social distancing and curtailing all but essential travel both nationally and internationally.
The office will now be manned on a part-time basis during the working week. Only one member of the team will occupy the office during these periods so please bear this in mind if ringing in, be patient. The remaining staff will work from home to ensure that member’s welfare needs and requests can be met.
We will attempt to keep the membership up to date with all the usual notifications we send out via e-mail. This may not be as timely as usual due to remoting the capability, in particular the notifications of members passing away and funeral arrangements. This is a two way process, we rely on the initial ‘heads up’ from members in the majority of cases, please continue to do this to the office landline number and Association e-mail address.
Our efforts as a Nation to defeat this virus continue apace. Once again we are being asked to step up and deliver. The scientific approach to this problem is the chosen course of action. Tactical actions will have strategic effect. A situation we are all well use to. Look at the detail of what we are being asked to conform to, most of which is achievable as is, the remainder with good judgement and common sense. Please continue to look out for one another and support others where you can. There are a lot of worried citizens out there. We are SENTINELS one and all.
John, Tracy and Terri
COVID19 – UPDATE NUMBER 1 FROM THE REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION
Government Legislation and measures to combat the effects of the virus have been updated today. With these restrictions in mind and to contribute to the National effort, we have taken the decision to cancel all Association social events between now and 30th June 2020.
These are specifically:
SF Transition Drinks Reception – 26th March
Welsh Lunch – 25th April
Portsmouth Club Lunch – 25th April
Hastings Lunch – 9th May
North American Lunch – 22nd May
North of England Lunch – 6th June
London Summer Drinks – 18th June
LRDG Annual Lunch – 20th June
Events scheduled for later in 2020 will be reviewed closer to the time. Even then, venues, caterers and the like will have a policy in place so we must remain flexible to a very fluid situation.
In the event of the Office being closed or a reduction in staff levels leading to a shorter working week, please continue to utilise the Office landline number and wait for it to go to answer machine if there is no reply. A couple of mobile numbers are provided for urgent welfare matters.
Please also continue to utilise the office email address, this will be monitored whatever the physical situation is in the London office. We are also looking at providing basic information via the Regimental Association website (www.marsandsminerva.co.uk).
We will remain fully focussed on the provision of welfare during this period. We would warn membership that the NHS and private healthcare is likely to be under considerable pressure for the foreseeable future and that assistance in a timely manner may not be achievable.
We are entering a period of uncertainty and possibly drastic change in our way of life for a while. Two areas I am sure you, our membership, will have had plenty experience of. If there was ever a time our Regimental ethos was required by all, it is now.
Be an example of that to others. Use your local, national and international electronic contact groups to stay in touch and highlight issues if required. Look out for one another, your family and community.