What we do
SANO: Maintaining naval contacts and interest in Sussex and beyond
The association provides a lively focal point for serving and retired naval officers and others in Sussex and beyond. We offer a varied social programme in a wardroom environment, encouraging and maintaining the spirit of the Royal Navy and preserving contact with it and naval affairs. We also maintain links with affiliated ships/units and kindred organisations, and support naval charities.
As the nearest equivalent to a traditional wardroom mess remaining in Sussex, the association enables naval officers, regular or reserve, serving or retired, and others sympathetic to the traditions and values of the Royal Navy, to keep in touch and meet in friendly company. However, attendance at events, residence or service in Sussex and naval or military service are not conditions of membership.
Our wide membership of currently around 115 includes many throughout southern England but some as far afield as Argyll, Cornwall and Australia, in addition to wherever those still serving might be. Joining may be of interest and benefit to officers leaving the service, especially those intending to work or live in the south-east. Those from the other services, Merchant Navy and civilian life are welcome.
In normal times we hold around 8 events per year. Our wide and varied social programme includes visiting speakers, visits, (both usually with a naval, military or maritime theme), lunches, social gatherings, cocktail parties and formal dinners, including a Trafalgar Night dinner. We hold some events jointly with other associations, boosting numbers and variety of company.
Some of our events are at the Hove Club, Fourth Avenue Hove. Its comfortable surroundings, with spacious rooms, a relaxing bar and charming garden, are an ideal setting. We also use venues further afield, such as sailing clubs, the English Wine Centre at Berwick and various pubs. We keep other venues under consideration, and our visits are not limited to Sussex.
Links and affiliations
We are an active affiliate of HMS SHOREHAM and Sussex University Royal Naval Unit, the only RN establishment left in the county. We also maintain links with HMS Sussex Shipmates’ Association, the Association of Royal Navy Officers and our sister organisations nationwide, and are a member of the Conference of Naval Associations.
Support for naval charities
We support service and maritime charities, often in thanks for providing a visiting speaker or hosting a visit. We have donated to, among others, the RN Officers’ Charity, local Sea Cadet units, Blesma The Limbless Veterans and the Royal British Legion.
The association started in 1948 as the RNVR Club (Sussex), aiming to keep ex-RNVR officers in touch. Since then the name and membership have moved on in line with changes to the Navy. From an original close association with Sussex Division Royal Naval Reserve until it closed in 1994 – anthemised in “our song” – our members now include many serving and retired regular Royal Navy officers, including 5 admirals. In 2014 we extended eligibility to Army and RAF officers, and to other individuals sympathetic to the traditions and values of the RN.
SANO is run by a team of, currently, 9:
- President: Vice Admiral Sir Peter Woodhead KCB, a former CO of HMS Illustrious, Flag Officer 2nd, 1st and Surface Flotillas and Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic
- Chairman: Lieutenant Commander Richard Stanton RN
- Newsletter Editor: Lieutenant Commander Bob James RNR
- Venues Liaison: Peter Jukes OBE
- Webmaster and temporary Membership Secretary: Joe Kirk
- Treasurer: Lieutenant Commander Dusty (David) Miller RN
- Minutes Secretary: Christina Stanton
- Trophy Custodian: Commander Ian Wright RNR
- Secretary/Social Secretary: Lieutenant Commander Ray Wright RN
SANO member Commander Mike Maddox RN acts as auditor.
For our aims and rules, see our constitution.
There are current and upcoming vacancies on the committee, and we are keen to receive offers to serve or assist. In particular, our Newsletter Editor wishes to stand down at the 2020 AGM, so we need a relief.
Eligible for membership are:
- Men and women who hold or have held a commission in the UK armed forces, their reserves or associated formations
- Officers from Commonwealth navies, allied navies and the Merchant Marine
- Wives, husbands, partners and widows of the above
- Any other individual, with or without an armed forces background, sympathetic to the traditions and values of the Royal Navy
Although many of our members have served in the Royal Navy or live in Sussex or the surrounding counties, there is no requirement to have served in the forces or have any connection, past or present, with the county.
A modest annual subscription, currently £15 for new members, due 1 January annually, covers running costs, including a newsletter and this website. Concessions apply for those joining in September onwards.
Contacting us or joining