Last Friday the 7th December, we had our Branch AGM, followed by our Branch Christmas Party. I approached both with trepidation – especially after the week UKIP had just had with mass resignations including Nigel Farage himself. Every day had brought worse news. And I also wondered what was going to happen at the march on the Sunday. A tiny part of me even wondered if we would make it to Friday…
But I am happy to say the AGM went really well, as usual. Everyone was calm and polite and we voted in our Branch Officers and Committee without one word of dissent or complaint, as has been the case for the last two years, since our now ex Chairman Giles has been running the branch. Sadly he decided not to stand this year due to extra work and family commitments, but he is remaining in UKIP and the branch, and on the Committee, plus will continue to run one of our social media sites too – good news!
I cannot go any further without paying tribute to Giles. He took over our Branch as Chairman 2 years ago when we were on our way out, thanks to the destructive acts of some now ex members, which brought the branch nearly to its knees; we lost our huge social media presence, and various members of the branch were targeted. But we stuck together and with the help of our London Regional Chairman we managed to sort it out. I’ll never forget all the emergency committee meetings and ‘ecommittee’ emails, sometimes late at night, in order to save the branch. And the eventual AGM – having to send out letters over Christmas – where the perpetrators turned up and tried one more time to destroy everything. Even when we stood for election we faced abuse. But Giles was there, and Chris too, both of them absolute ‘rocks’ for all of us. I don’t think I would have stuck around without Giles and Chris. But we got through it and Giles has brought a calm, honest and intelligent stance to the branch, as have all the committee, and indeed the branch members all responded really well to the new, positive leadership. I feel we are now one of the best branches around (but I am biased of course!).
As one member said on Friday – Giles will be a hard act to follow. And we cannot thank him enough. But at least he is staying around, so we won’t have to miss him too much! We wish him every success in his new career too.
So, on to our fabulous Christmas Party! Members came along not just from our own branch which covers Brent and Camden, but also from Barnet and Hendon branch, Richmond, Islington, East London and beyond, some having travelled for one and a half hours to be with us! And it went really well. The pub was great, the food was good, and everyone was so happy to see each other. I was pleasantly surprised as to how upbeat the atmosphere was – I think we were all in need of some festive cheer after such a negative week, each day bringing worse and worse news. But the GOOD news is that most of the grassroots is staying put – we are up for the fight for Brexit and we are not quitting! Brexit is our raison d’etre, and we will keep going. We all let our hair down, had a few drinks, laughed, chatted, got to know each other, and it was a fantastic evening, as you will see form all the smiley faces in the photos. I didn’t want it to end. UKIP is blessed with so many pleasant characters. Never was a Christmas party so perfectly timed for some morale boosting!
Thank you to all our branch members who came to the AGM, and to everyone who came to our Christmas Party – we loved seeing old faces and new, and it wouldn’t have been the same without you. We must do it again soon!