Our Chairman, Chris Robert, writes…
The inaugural meeting of what became the Hawker
Committee was held on the 21st March 2002 where the fundamentals of the
constitution were established . A call for membership interest resulted
in an initial 178 members. In the subsequent 17 years the Association
has matured and increased the range of activities and interests, with
the biggest area of expansion being involvement in heritage projects
within the Association, at Brooklands Museum and allied to the Kingston
Aviation Centenary Project.
Membership peaked near to 400, followed by a slow
reduction to 327.
Any organisation that is established primarily for retired people will
follow this pattern. Members are spread throughout the country and some
are resident outside the UK so access to Kingston for the routine
activities is limited. Thus the newsletter is a mainstay of the
organisation, and is, perhaps, the glue that holds it together. The
committee has been considering what changes, if any, are needed to keep
the Association buoyant and moving in the right direction.
Hawker Association Review
After the AGM in 2019 a discussion was initiated to canvass opinions to
give the Committee re-assurance that we are achieving our aims and to
suggest any changes or adjustments that are necessary or simply would
be nice. The Committee then carried out a review of the constitution
and our activities, discussing at length what our options are and the
practicalities of any changes.
One conundrum tackled was the question whether the
Association should change the criteria for membership and the nature of
our activities to attract more members with different interests. This
concept would have some merit if the aim was to create a society that
would outlive the present members. We concluded that we should stick to
the exiting constitution, aims and criteria; the Association being
primarily for ex-employees of the relevant companies. However, this has
not and should not be strictly applied. There are some members who
reached out to us because they have an interest in what Hawkers was and
what it made, and they are very welcome.
Many of the suggestions considered during 2019 are
not practicable because we are neither the U3A nor the Royal
Aeronautical Society, and operate with a tight budget with volunteer
labour for the effort needed to keep aloft. Additionally the number of
members able to attend the monthly meetings is a small percentage
overall, so any changes must benefit the majority rather than only
those close to Kingston.
However, some suggestions have been accepted and the
committee is making a few changes to keep the Association up to date
and these will filter through in due course; for example this coming
year subscriptions may be paid electronically.
It is important that members are confident that
Committee members are not just sitting on their hands without
considering the future and inevitable changes. The Committee is always
keen to have feedback and suggestions; please do not be put off if we
are unable to take them forward. Some suggestions are very interesting
and exciting but we cannot undertake activities such as publishing
books, creating independent archives or organising aviation inspired
Our ears are open. It is your Association.