INTRODUCTION: – Colonel (Retd) Charles Ackroyd TD RD DL, Chair, SERFCA
With 2023 drawing to a close, it is timely to look back and reflect on the year that SERFCA has had. Without doubt it has had its ups and downs and of course its challenges but it is safe to say that it has gone well. The annual round of Armed Forces Briefings, annual camps, Lord-Lieutenants’ Awards and county committee meetings has been delivered without hiccup (almost) and in addition we staged two magnificent ERS award ceremonies, both in HM Naval Base, Portsmouth when, for the Silvers, the sun was shining. Annual camps looked to be in good order and well organised until that is the training areas were taken away and the fire doors in numerous locations were deemed not fit for purpose and had to be changed. All this was achieved, and alternative locations found so that once again literally thousands of cadets had a great time. In the six years that I have been chair, we have never failed to deliver – in style – on our outputs and that it entirely due to the hard work and commitment of the SERFCA staff, for which I thank you most sincerely. I was pleased when the board agreed to the additional leave of the Christmas stand down in recognition of the efforts of all staff over the preceding twelve months.
2024 promises to be no less pressured, especially as FDIS should become a reality, albeit slightly later than first planned. We hope that this new method of maintaining the Volunteer Estate will be a success, despite the bad press that FDIS for the Regular Estate continues to attract. With D-Day 80 looming, which will include a major event taking place in our region, the Armed Forces will be very much in the spotlight and no doubt SERFCA, our Reserves and our cadets will have a part to play. There is, therefore, much to look forward to, but in the meantime, I wish all in SERFCA and across our region a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.