First, an apology. It had been hoped to get this newsletter out in May but, as you can see it is now well into June. After a great reunion I was told, by she who must be obeyed, that it was time I got down to the list of things that needed doing around the house! As always happens, other things became emergencies and the list got longer. At the same time, my computer, which had been causing some concern in the run up to the reunion, decided to give up the ghost completely. I had been gradually moving all the membership records, accounts, etc. to a new box when it happened. The last complete back-up I’d taken was on 19th March but it still has meant an awful lot of work to get it all back together. Please therefore forgive me for being late.
You will have gathered from the last couple of newsletters that our Chairman, George, was determined that we should have paid attendants on the car park at the reunion. This was, of course, because of his experiences which made him unwell at Reunion 2003. Whilst down at Eastbourne previously he had made enquiries at several agencies but basically they would just pull people in off the street - if they could get them. Subsequent enquiries were made of the local Sea Cadet Corps and the Police Cadets by Janet Grist. Again, no joy. Christopher Dean, the Manager of the Burlington Hotel, then thought that he might be able to persuade an off duty member of staff to do the job. Chairman George was determined to be on hand first thing on the Friday morning to give whoever his instructions for the layout he wanted, etc.
So, bright and early on the Thursday morning he set of for Eastbourne in his “trusty” Rover Metro. Some 40 miles down the road his engine became a cause for concern and he stopped at the roadside to call the AA. Some time later the AA man arrived and took his carburettor apart. He succeeded in getting it going again and once more the intrepid Chairman turned his car towards Eastbourne. 20 miles further on the same problem occurred again. Out phone and on to the AA again. Another AA man arrived, and then the original one who was passing also stopped to help. Eventually the car was towed to a garage where a blocked filter was determined as the cause of the problem and fixed. By this time, George and Pat were exhausted and of course there was still a long way to go. They therefore decided to call it a day, go home and start off again next morning.
Almost home George stopped at a road junction but the young lady driving a Ford Escort behind didn’t. Exchanging insurance details and with the boot lid bashed in George and Pat arrived back home about 5 o’clock, eight hours to go roughly 60 miles to nowhere.
Next morning they were on the road again. This time it was a breeze - well at least until they turned off the M25 onto the A22 to take them to Eastbourne, when his clutch went. Stopped in a dangerous position on a roundabout, George and Pat had to push the car into a safer position. No mean feat for a lady of more mature years. On the phone again for the AA. Whilst they were waiting Les and Jean Taylor passed by and, recognising George and Pat in distress, turned back at the next roundabout to try to help. The AA arrived and it was agreed that Les & Jean would take George and Pat on down to the Burlington and the AA would follow carrying the car down. Les & Jean said that it was quite unusual for them to go that way to Eastbourne so it was quite fortuitous for them to see G & P.
Arriving in the Burlington Hotel George’s first words were “What a mess in the car park. Who’s been looking after the parking?” Somehow, I don’t think that he’ll find it easy to find someone to look after the parking next year!
From our Chairman Shipmates and other members,
Well, another wonderful reunion over and, once again your effort in our support was outstanding, not only in the attendance numbers which mean so much, but also the total support in the raffles run by Jean and Les and my raffle on the Sunday. These raffles brought in the money so that the Association can purchase some state of the art display boards that fold up into carry cases. This will make it a lot easier for Keith Batchelor, our Archivist, and also help to take better care of our historic collection of photographs. In the days when Reg Doring looked after the archives we had tried to get him to have some of these boards but he, and then Keith, always felt that it was difficult to justify the cost. However, the deterioration of the old boards made it imperative that something should be done. Your donations and the raffle takings made it easier. Well done.
The highlight of the reunion was the attendance of Mr. Henry Allingham at our reunion dinner. Aged 107 at that time, his 108th birthday was on D-Day 6th June, he made a supreme effort to raise himself from his wheelchair to stand for the loyal toast. Perhaps we can persuade him to attend again next year.
My thanks go to all the members in our organising group who do wonders in making our reunion run so well. So, well done to you all.