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EYE By the Hawk
What Do Members ThinThere appeared to be a certain amount of disappointment because The Commercial Motor did not this year publish a "What members think of the RHA " article the week preceding the Association's annual conference at Blackpool. One delegate, when told that there was not to be one, suggested that such a feature was more necessary now than it was in 1964. In last year's article it was suggested, among other things, that the Association was diminishing in stature and that a paid mouthpiece—a haulier eminent enough to be knighted-should be appointed.
It would seem that these suggestions, to some extent, have been taken up. Attempts are being made to improve the image, I am glad to say, and l understand that proposals have been put forward, and others are to follow, that there should be a paid president. I wonder if we shall hear more about this a little nearer the time when the present national chairman, Ronny Butt, is due to hand over his chain of office next spring.
Free Enterprise? Another little matter that is receiving some attention, I gather, is the possibility of dropping Free Enterprise Road Transport" from the Association's badge. It is whispered that, with BRS and the many large groups now in the RHA, the wording is perhaps not now appropriate!
So Many Guests It never ceases to amaze me how a comparatively small number of members in any association can produce so many guests at a good meal. One of the highest member/guest ratios I can recall seeing for a long time was at the annual ladies' festival of the London division of the Industrial Transport Association, which has 480 members. The function, at the Europa Hotel, was over 400-strong and many tributes (deserved ones, I would add) were paid to Smedley's Frank Hand who, as festival secretary, led the organizing team.
This London division of the ITA is a lively one—much more like an association in its own right than a branch of a national body. Active in education, active socially. I am not surprised that their fortunes are thriving.
France in London Top marks to British and French Railways for conceiving, and so cleverly bringing into effect, the idea of transporting a little bit of France to London the other day. I am talking about the visit to the Pool of London of the Newhaven-Dieppe roll-on!roll-off c16 ferry " Villandry ". Before the vessel was thrown open on view to the public, a number of receptions were held on board.
The one colleague Norman Tilsley attended was a cheese and wine party. It was preceded by an hour's tour round the ship where, in the spacious vehicle deck, displays of the various road-rail-sea techniques were on view. There was also a meeting of international hauliers and shipping and forwarding agents addressed by Mr. Dennis (the number two of BR's shipping services at Waterloo) and Monsieur Batisse (assistant general manager of French Railways Ltd.).
Referring to a visit to the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry " Fallaise " at Newhaven last year, one of the French officials described the exercise thus: " Funny, in a way. Last year we took you to the ship. This year we have taken the ship to you. That's life! "
Urgent Airfreight Seeing Mr. Roy Bowles—the London Airport air freight operator—at the RHA conference at Blackpool last week reminded me about an unusual load he has handled recently. It was 16 tons of fan mail for the Beatles which was going out to America. Don't tell your teenage daughters about this—Roy is afraid that goods-carrying minibuses may get ripped apart by souvenir hunters.
Flag Day Unique is the only word to describe last Monday's mid-day sitting in the court room of the North Western traffic area. For the first time, Mr. C. R. Hodgson, chairman, sat with both his Commissioners, Ald. 1. P. Jones, of Blaenau Ffestiniog and Cllr. A. Allen, of Bucklow. The well of c9urt was filled almost entirely by municipal transport managers from throughout the north west. The business of the sitting was to show all concerned the transformation that had been affected in the court room by the adornment of the walls with the coats of arms of all municipalities operating their own passenger transport in the North Western area. Above the desk is the Royal Coat of Arms and, in order not to show undue preference, the others are arranged alphabetically. The municipal plaques were given by the various local authorities concerned and collected by Mr. R. F. Bennett, general manager of Manchester.
From Mr. Harold Eaton, Stockport general manager and newly elected area chairman of the Municipal Passenger Transport Association, came words of appreciation for Mr. Hodgson's hospitality, in the course of which he dropped a delicate hint that it would do something to combat the constantly rising costs if the operators were able to employ conductors at the age of 17 instead of waiting until they were 18. Words of Praise