As many of you will know only too well, managing and running any charity during this past year of ‘Covid’ has not been without its challenges. Lockdown restrictions have severely limited what can be done both legally and safely and has therefore turned many of our activities to being ‘virtual’. The first casualty for the South Atlantic Medal Association 82 (SAMA82) was the April 2020 AGM and Gala Dinner weekend which was due to have taken place in Hull during April 2020. As with so many other events, it had to be postponed.
Not to be totally beaten by this dreadful pandemic, the SAMA82 Board and Trustees very quickly realised that regular communication during the forthcoming months was going to be essential if routine business and planning were to continue. The decision to start using Zoom for Board meetings was swiftly taken and with good success. Of immediate concern were the various legal obligations of the Charity Commission, so attention was turned to either a delayed AGM, or indeed should Covid restrictions continue, the planning of a virtual AGM. Now in Jan 2021 the conduct and planning of a virtual AGM, to be held in April 2021, is well underway.
As well as taking care of the compulsory and legal aspects of SAMA82, the planning of future events and projects continues at a healthy pace throughout. SAMA82 individual members also planned and executed various fund-raising activities during 2020. Most worthy of mention is the ‘Airborne Ride of Respect’ which, for the second year in a row, took place during July 2020. This was organised and led by former paratroopers Paul Moore, Charlie McColgan and Tony McKie, who rode around the whole of the UK visiting over 80 FI 82 veterans’ graves over an 8-day period covering around 2500 miles. A truly remarkable achievement and not without its logistical challenges to overcome due to the pandemic. Hopefully to be repeated in 2021, further information here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-moore48
Looking forward, hopefully to a better year than 2020, the SAMA82 Board are planning with a positive approach and are focussing considerable effort on events for the forthcoming 40th Anniversary in 2022. This includes but is not limited to:
- Support to various film/programme companies working to the BBC Commissioners and others for documentary type projects involving FI82 Veterans. The varying media projects are covering different aspects and stories from the 1982 conflict and Veteran’s lives since.
- SAMA82 Board members are embedded into the Falkland Islands Government Office (FIGO) 40th Anniversary planning committee for 2022. This involves giving full support and effort towards an extensive programme of events running both in the UK and the FI during the 40th Anniversary year.
- The SAMA82 Regional Co-ordinators are, as always, remarkably busy working in committee within their local areas up and down the countries of the UK.
- Individual SAMA82 members around the globe continue to plan and carry out a whole host of fund-raising activities within their local communities.
In summary, the Covid year of 2020 has indeed provided challenges for not only the SAMA82 Board but also so many other charities and organisations. However, with the energy, inspiration and comradeship our members enjoy from being a part of SAMA82, it is clear so much can still be done with sound direction, planning and regular communication. As we now look to 2021 and beyond, it is felt that much can be salvaged from where we have been these past 12 months. Indeed, it is essential that we continue these efforts in order that we get back to our ‘normal’ lives where we will once again meet and greet our fellow Veterans and supporters of what is the SAMA82 family.
For further information on SAMA82 https://www.sama82.org.uk/