DEAR Sir,
The Committee of Conservatives Abroad was surprised to read the letter from Mr Carter (May 2), flagged on your front page, alleging poor recognition of Donald Gaffney's loyalty and devotion.

It is true that Donald, strongly supported by his wife Norma, did indeed work extremely hard over several years to keep the Majorca Branch of Conservatives Abroad alive and flourishing. However by 1998 at the age of 80 he realised that with increasing physical impairment it was time he retired and handed over the reins of office to a younger team. This aim was successfully achieved at the 1999 AGM when a strong seven member executive was elected. This team included Norma who provided continuity as Membership secretary, providing that it was only for one year. She duly resigned just before this year's AGM and we respect her wishes in this matter.

Because of Donald's impressive contribution to the Branch during his chairmanship he was unanimously elected an Honorary Life President, an honour never before granted to a past Chairman, not even Ken Shanks, our founder chairman, or his successors. This non-executive post was meant as a token of the members' appreciation, whilst at the same time, enabling the committee to use his advice when requested.

There is no question of anyone being ‘shunted from any position in the Party.’ Our officer elections are open and fair; any member can seek election and volunteers are usually welcomed with open arms! This year eight members were elected to the executive, unopposed. We are always willing to co-opt others who want to help.

We wish Donald and Norma all the best in their retirement. Donald can now sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labour and the programme of events being planned for the coming year by a dedicated and strong committee.

Jill Climpson, Chairman, and all members of the Committee

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