The first year of the Essex Historic Military Vehicle Association (EHMVA) Charity has been both interesting and challenging. The Charity has attracted a lot of local interest, with the EHMVA Website and Facebook pages up and running in addition to our Event website which now has 3000 followers as well as an extensive mailing list. We would like to acknowledge and thank our dedicated IT team and also the EHMVA Trustees, who made this possible for us.
We held our Charity Launch day at a local Public House, the same venue where we hold our monthly and Trustee meetings. A small selection of vehicles and military artefacts were presented on the theme of 'Meet the Essex HMVA' which provided an opportunity for members to present and talk about who we are and what our aims are to the public. This event was also attended by the local press with an article featured in the County Newspaper.
We have continued to forge links with other community organisations, particularly HAVCO (a Council Scheme aimed at the support and promotion of local voluntary and charitable organisations) and the London Borough of Havering, both of whom I would like to thank for their help and assistance.
We are now a member of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle clubs and BADA, the British Air Display Association and are partnered with The Imperial War museum and BBC's cultural promotional activities.
One of our biggest difficulties this year has been the setting up of the Charities bank account. Being one of the first to take up the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) mantle, we found that the banking fraternity were reluctant to deal with us. There did not seem to be guidelines from the Charity Commission to banks on how a CIO should operate, as a result it took several months to set up an account and a massive amount of paperwork which involved completing the same documents numerous times, more trustee background checks and generally a lot of stress, particularly for our treasurer.
Our associate membership goes from strength to strength, exceeding expectations, with many members actively supporting the charities work throughout our sphere of operation, thanks go to our membership secretary for his hard work.
Our first major outing as EHMVA was to Sanford Mill, Chelmsford City Councils Industrial Heritage Collection an event we have supported for a number of years. With the museums extensive Marconi Collection, we theme our presentations and display on military radio communications.
Our next activity was following a request made through our website, we were asked to visit a school in the north of the Essex County to support their "Wartime Weekend"; an event aimed at awareness and education of local wartime events on both the military and home front for primary school pupils, their parents and local residents. The Event was attended by approximately 200 visitors. Including the mayor. This resulted in our fist mention on air with a small feature on the Charity on BBC Essex radio and since then I have conducted six other radio interviews on the charity and its work, all of which, generated an awareness in us as a Charity and also in local military history and the "bigger picture" as to where and how it fitted in. The Charity has visited several other schools and many other events, especially in support of armed forces day, at the Chelmsford event we were approached by Essex County Council to take part in some of their activities for 2015.
Our feature event Military and Flying Machines in August was attended by 15 thousand people over the course of the weekend and received excellent reviews in the local press and radio. We were able to freeze the entry price again for the third year and offer concessions for those who would perhaps not otherwise be able to afford this type of event and were extremely pleased when approached by the JIVE ACES a very well-known 1940's band who agreed to perform for free at the event, having recently performed at the Commonwealth Games.
We feel we have had a very successful first year and we plan to build on our experiences and activities in our public outreach. For 2015 the EHMVA is already pursuing opportunities to build on its success and I would like to thank everyone involved for their continued support.