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Y's Retired of UK

YMCA retirees of UK


In what has been a difficult year for everyone, it has been good to feel the warmth and strength of the fellowship of Y’s Retired, even through the tedious days of lockdown and the inability to hold physical gatherings.

We were particularly saddened by the death of our founder President Reg Wake at the age of 100. For so many, he was an inspiration and a shining example of Christian Service and it is a source of great regret that we have been unable (as yet) to celebrate his life in person.

Our Secretary’s report pays tribute to other friends and colleagues who have passed on to eternal rest. We remember them with gratitude and pray for those who will miss them most.  

We have not been purely inward looking. It was very satisfying to be able to reach out to colleagues in great need in other parts of the world by arranging a donation from the former APS/AOS benevolent fund to be made to Secours Speciaux.

The changing world has brought some advantages! The presence of Zoom has enabled The Scottish group to meet virtually and to have a Presidential Visit! It has also enabled more personal conversations between officers and will enable an AGM to happen in real time.

We hope that during the course of this year we will be able to follow the Scottish model and hold some Regional or National get togethers. We are also looking at freshening up our constitution but we promise not to make that too exciting!

I am sure that everyone will want to join in expressing sincere thanks to David Smith for his tireless editing of the Newsletter, and ‘One YMCA’ in Watford for distributing the hard copies. Thanks to Andrew Jenkins for keeping the finances on track and thanks to Vid Hills fir keeping us all on track.

With the rest of the world, we look forward in faith together to a more positive year when family and friends will be able to share together as we would want.

Graham Clarke


Annual Report/President’s Letter

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Please note this letter takes the form of the Annual Report for 2018.

The year under review 2018 has passed without anything untoward occurring! All matters have been attended to as they arise.

Of significance are two items. First the retirement of Ray Allen who has rendered fine service as the Honorary Treasurer for some ten years attending to all matters of finance with due diligence. 

His successor I am delighted to share is Andrew Jenkins who recently retired (2018) as CEO of the Cardiff YMCA and further the first Welshman to join the Executive Committee of the Y’s Retired of the UK! 

The second is the appointment of John Naylor as our representative on the Secours Speciaux Committee in succession to David Smith who due to health reasons had to retire from the post he faithfully served. Both appointments to be ratified at the AGM.

Abbreviated Reports from the respective areas of our work are to be circulated by Executive Members of the committee post 31st March 2019 but here I share that our finances are in good order with all budgeted commitments/subventions duly executed and expenses kept to the minimum! The wise increase of annual subscriptions two years ago have proved fully justified in further establishing the Trust Fund and by no means least our ‘giving’ to Secours Speciaux highly praised by the responsible WFYR committee based in America. 

On the latter I draw your attention to John Naylor’s first Annual Report on this fine YMCA Charity. Here I ask members to fully support additional donations as requested by the WFYR at the four yearly meeting held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2018. 

This will allow further support for retired colleagues living in poverty worldwide due to inadequate income to meet such expenses as medical care and special needs. Such contributions direct to our treasurer addressed to Secours Speciaux, cheques made payable to Y’s Retired of the UK.

I praise most highly the individual members of the committee for their service rendered over the past year and list here their names:-

President. Jim Lamb, Executive Committee – Vic Hills (Secretary), Ray Allen (Hon. Treasurer), Keith Rennie (Scottish Affairs), David Smith (Editor), Consultants – Reg Wake, Prof David Miller and Rupert George (Indian Affairs – London).

The AGM for the year 2018 is held during February/March 2019 when all reports are collated by the Executive Secretary Vic Hills. Minutes will be released to News Editor David Smith 31st March for publication in the next issue of the Newsletter.

Thanks are expressed to all who contributed items for the Newsletter and in particular refer to the March 2019 issue one of the best of members input of some 65 issues under David Smiths fine editorship!

Keep as well as you are able and in good spirits.

Jim Lamb


Greetings from the President of Y's Retired UK        -         AGM Report 2017

Greetings from the President of Y's Retired of UK

President’s Annual Report 2017

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I believe that to a great extent Annual Reports can be similar year by year by nature of following respective Constitutions! The Y’s Retired of the UK is one such report yet maintains the immense value of a Voluntary Organisation sharing with membership that true to tradition a high standard is reached each year on your behalf! The year under review is no exception.

It is always a pleasure to report once again we have achieved our objects as you will read in the nine files submitted by our Executive Secretary.

Whilst not necessarily more important it is pleasing to note that due to the forward thinking of the Committee our finances are sound meeting the previously set budgets and increasing the balances to meet future demands as exigencies arise.

Thanks to the Trust Fund we are now able to assist colleagues in attending the four yearly World Fellowship of YMCA Retirees (WFYR) which together with the four yearly ‘appeal’ for retired colleagues worldwide living in poverty due to no State pensions and minimum if any YMCA pensions doing likewise. The highest total yet for £2,470 has been forwarded this year to the WFYR Fund for that purpose.

Each ‘report’ from individual members of the Committee speak for themselves and ask you to read diligently not least the Secretary’s Report which makes reference to the fine service rendered for some ten years by Ray Allen as Honorary Treasurer.

On behalf of the membership I record here sincere thanks to all of the committee, namely:-

Executive - David Smith Editor, Ray Allen Treasurer, Keith Rennie Scottish Affairs, Vic Hills Secretary and Jim Lamb President together with Consultants Reg Wake, Rupert George and Prof David Miller for their voluntary service.

Let us do our bit in making this world in 2018 a better place to live with peace and concord our main aims. For all members our prayers are with you irrespective of rank or station, whether in good health or facing the ailments of ageing that we all may be one!

Warm regards,


Jim Lamb


Greetings from the President of Y's Retired UK        -        AGM Report 2016


The period under review (2016), has proved a year in which all the affairs and responsibilities of the committee have been handled with due diligence.

We are fortunate to have an Executive Committee with Consultants who have attended to their respective ‘briefs’ as outlined below and accordingly their ‘Reports’ will be published in the next issue of the Newsletter.   

Included will be the Financial Report indicating a sound state of affairs holding a credit balance in meeting with budgets set and enhanced this year by the increased subscription introduced in January 2016.   

I take the liberty of thanking them all on your behalf for their dedicated voluntary service.

Loss by death. We all share sadness when losing colleagues who have died, last year: Phil Cheal, Alex Cloke, Joyce Finnemore, Sam Johnston and Peter Robertson. As President, I have on behalf of all members where appropriate, written to the ‘next of kin’ and attended their loved ones funerals. Notes of appreciation have been received.

The four Area Reunion groups have met continuing this fine service always enjoyed - not least I would suggest is the guessing game. “Do you remember so and so!” New area groups are very welcome – if any member would wish to be involved in their area of the UK in organising an annual lunch or ‘residential’ please contact the Executive Secretary for information! In mentioning ‘reunions’ I add the deep thanks we owe to Stephen Milner for maintaining links with The British Boys for British Farms Scheme (BBBF) members holding an annual lunch and keeping individual contact. BBBF was started after WW2 and enabled the YMCA to offer training and the placing of young men on farms for work experience at a difficult time in our history – many were employed in farming as a lifelong career.

The Newsletter. The Newsletter continues to be our main means of communication under the skilful editorship of David Smith with Sue his wife the all-important ‘wordsmith’. The World Fellowship of YMCA Retirees uses extracts in their Newsletter, Bridges, which is circulated internationally!

I have deliberately left a major item to the last! Reg Wake following his retirement from the Executive Committee continued as a Consultant to hold the ‘brief’ of ‘Secours Speciaux’ our main Charity and decided it was time to step down as age and common-sense dictated! Mind you he is only in his mid-90s! The World Fellowship of YMCA Retirees in 1994 resolved that support for SS be a priority goal. Reg became a founder member of the SS nuclear group to take the matter further resulting in it being recognised as having a direct relationship with the World Alliance of YMCAs based in Geneva to which the SS Committee is now accountable. REG PLEASE ACCEPT OUR THANKS AND APPRECIATION FOR A JOB WELL DONE! Note: Reg continues as a Consultant.

Now the problem who to succeed Reg? I am delighted to share that David Smith was nominated unanimously by the Committee and was willing to accept an invitation through Bonnie Mairs, the Secretary of Secours Speciaux, to take Reg Wake’s seat on the Secours Speciaux Committee! This appointment will be ratified at our AGM February/March 2017.

Y’s Retired of the UK Committee:

President:                          Jim Lamb                       Consultants:          Prof David Miller

Executive Secretary:         Vic Hills                                                        Rupert George

Hononory Treasurer:          Ray Allen                                                    Reg Wake

Editor:                                David Smith

Scottish Affairs:                  Keith Rennie

Independent Examiner of the Financial Accounts:                               David Bennison

Distribution of the Newsletter:                                                               Herts YMCA (One YMCA)

Pensions Representative:                                                                     Rev Ron Ingamells

(We are indebted to both David Bennison and Herts YMCA for the fine services they have rendered free of charge assisting financial outlay and not least to Rev Ron Ingamells in his final year of service to the Pensions Committee )

It has been my privilege to present this Annual Report. I wish all readers the best of health available and that 2017 will be a year of peace and goodwill.     

Warm regards,

Jim Lamb


This letter from the President reflects the Annual Report for 2015.

Members of the Y’s Retired of the UK would wish to be aware that we have enjoyed the year under review without mishaps due to voluntary service from all who hold office and members for prompt payment of subscriptions.

We have been fortunate to have a committee of five executive members and four consultants who have been unanimous in decision making and exercising good practice in management of the Y’s Retired affairs - not least financial! The wise increase in subscriptions as agreed following debate in 2015.

We bear in mind committee members receive no remuneration but give of their time as volunteers in serving the needs of the Y’s Retired of the UK. As shared in the Treasurer’s Report we have met the Budgets set for 2015.

The Area Reunions have continued to be held in the South West, Scotland, Cambridge and am delighted to report that the late Sam Johnston initiated a new area meeting which we are presently referring to as the Southern Group and enjoyed two meetings - another is planned by one of our new members Blair Crawford. Off the record Blair has invited enquiries from members in the Southern area to the third meeting which will be held in Bournemouth in the summer – contact email: [email protected] or tel:07785 286623. Any member wishing to start a Reunion Group in their area please contact Vic Hills who will furnish the names and addresses of retired members residing near to them.

Communication. The Newsletter is our main form of communication with the Membership and Friends of the Y’s Retired of the UK and here express appreciation to David Smith for his fine editorial. Extracts are published also in Bridges the newsletter of the World Fellowship of YMCA Retirees (WFYR).

Loss by death (2015). We have been much saddened during the year to record colleagues who have passed away and here name: Brian Pears, David Belotti, George Reynolds, Eddie Brady, Richard Gooch, Phil Heath, Gordon Wickens and Les Yeates E&OE. We acknowledge with due reverence their service to the YMCA.

We give thanks and are indebted to the following. The Committee as listed below *, David Bennison (Independent Examiner of the Financial Accounts), Herts YMCA (distribution of the Newsletter), Rev Ron Ingamells (Pension Fund) and here record thanks to Stephen Milner in keeping in touch with the British Boys for British Farms scheme and developing reunions of their retirees. Included in this issue of the Newsletter are reports from the Treasurer, Executive Secretary, Newsletter Editor, Scottish Group, Secours Speciaux/WFYR and Indian Retirees (UK).

The year under review has proved one of success in support of YMCA Retirees.

Committee Members 2015. President: Jim Lamb, Executive Secretary: Vic Hills, Honorary Treasurer: Ray Allen, Newsletter and Website Editor: David H Smith, Scottish Rep: Keith Rennie, Consultants – Sam Johnston, David Miller (Lay), Indian Affairs (UK) : Rupert George & Reg Wake.

Members are reminded that should they be interested in serving on the committee to contact Vic Hills, Executive Secretary. It is not an onerous piece of service!! Whilst preparing this report I have received the sad news of the passing of Sam Johnston and add this tribute.

The passing of Sam Johnston has come as a shock to those who have known or heard of this stalwart of the YMCA. His death after bravely fighting cancer over recent years was indicative of his nature. He gave of himself without reserve in all areas of life whether personal or nationally as the driving force in raising substantial -funds in the establishing of a National Memorial to the YMCA or counselling a young person in need of comfort or support.

Sam played his part as a consultant to the Y’s Retired of the UK Committee as he did in service to the churches of Wesley and Dry Drayton Methodist Churches where he was pianist for the congregational singing.

We have all lost a friend, a colleague and a man devoted to his family and now live without his presence, his wry sense of humour, his contribution to debate and discussion but nothing takes away the positive memories of a true Christian gentleman. Warm regards,

Jim Lamb President