Changes at the top in the IBMT: report from our Aberdeen AGM

Post date: 19/10/2015

The IBMT has a new Chair, Richard Baxell, and a new Treasurer, Manuel Moreno. Both were elected at the IBMT Annual General Meeting held in Aberdeen on 17 October.


Richard is a historian and founding Trustee of the IBMT in 2001, since when he has served continuously on the IBMT Executive Committee. He is the foremost expert on the British volunteers who went to Spain and author of, among other books, ‘Unlikely Warriors: The Extraordinary Story Of The Britons Who Fought In The Spanish Civil War’ (2014).


Manuel Moreno is a longstanding IBMT member and active supporter of the Trust. He hails from a strongly Spanish Republican background, both his parents having fled from Franco at the end of the Spanish Civil War. He was for many years the CEO of London-based wine importer and merchants Moreno Wines. 


Richard Baxell (left) and Manuel Moreno. 


Richard Baxell replaces Dolores Long, who decided to step down as the IBMT Chair after five years in the post. He was elected in a ballot at the AGM in which he received 30 votes against fellow candidate Charles Jepson, who received 22 votes. 


Manuel Moreno was elected unopposed, as was Jim Jump, who was re-elected for a sixth year as IBMT Secretary.


Charles Jepson did not seek re-election as IBMT Treasurer, having served in that capacity for over three years. Along with Dolores Long, he was elected in Aberdeen as one of the Trust’s 11 Executive Committee members.


Another nine Executive Committee members were re-elected by ballot at the AGM: Mike Arnott, Pauline Fraser, Mary Greening, Christopher Hall, Hilary Jones, Duncan Longstaff, Manus O’Riordan, Danny Payne and Mick Whelan.


They join IBMT President Marlene Sidaway and co-opted member Marshall Mateer on the Executive Committee.


Richard Thorpe failed to be re-elected, though he will continue to serve as the IBMT’s Education Officer.


The AGM was attended by 52 members and representatives of affiliated organisations and was part of a weekend of activities commemorating the International Brigades.


The following motion has meanwhile been tabled in the Scottish Parliament by Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland):


That the Parliament congratulates the Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) on hosting the International Brigade Memorial Trust’s (IBMT) annual event to commemorate the role played by British volunteers during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s; notes that a series of events were held in the city from 16 to 18 October 2015, which included a civic reception with the Lord Provost, a social evening of film, music and poetry in the Town House and a march along Union Street; recognises that the ATUC and the IBMT unveiled plaques to mark the contribution made by two Aberdonians in the International Brigades, John Londragan and Bob Cooney; further recognises that 19 men from the north east joined the brigades, five of whom gave their lives during the conflict, and commends the IBMT and the trade unions from across the UK in their efforts to keep alive the memory and spirit of all of the men and women who volunteered and joined the International Brigades to defend democracy and fight fascism in Spain from 1936 to 1939.



A plaque dedicated to International Brigader Bob Cooney is unveiled at Bob Cooney Court in Aberdeen by his nephew, Labour councillor Neil Cooney. Looking on are Reinhart Silbermann, of the KFSR German Internationl Brigades friendship group, and IBMT member Margaret Jepson. As part of the AGM weekend's activities, a plaque was also unveiled in honour of fellow Aberdeen volunteer John Londragan at the Aberdeen Trades Union Council offices in Adelphi.



Plaque to Aberdeen Brigader John Londragan, which was unveiled at the offices of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council by grand-daughter Nina Cunnington.

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