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125th CELEBRATION GALA EVENING

Saturday, October 7th 2023

125th CELEBRATION GALA EVENING

Click any image to enlarge and navigate in the galleries

A "full house" of 70 members and guests attended the "once in a lifetime" celebration of 125 years of the Club's foundation and 50 years whilst at the current premises. It represented a combination of the usual President's Evening and Annual Dinner to apply special focus.

This was a triumph compared to recent years when around 40 people normally attend the likes of each of the President's Evening and Annual Dinner individually.
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For posterity, the table plan is included here (click any image in this article to enlarge). Many thanks to David Trewin for the herculean task of trying to squeeze everyone in to the available seating space and for producing the final plan.

The event was held (mainly) in the new Edwardian Lounge (thanks to current President Robin Morrison for proposing and making this happen a few months ago) - with the overspill on rectangular tables in the main bar area.

Hon. Secretary Alan Roden played welcoming (or otherwise) music on his piano accordion as the attendees made their way to their places. He was delighted that Betty Banks (a well known local stage Diva for many years) joined in with her excellent voice.

Subsequently, President Robin welcomed all attendees, some of whom (including he and his wife Jenny - now from Nottinghamshire) had come considerable distances. He duly laid the foundation for the evening, its purpose and format.

The Hon.Sec, having put down his accordion, then made a nuisance of himself taking photos of all (hopefully) present - with apologies to anyone missed in the gallery below.

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The retiring President thanked the Club for his tenure of Office, was hugely honoured to have done it twice - and the General Committee for their support over the last 12 months and manipulating the meetings around his diary due to his move to Nottinghamshire. He thanked Tim-and Tracey for their continued service. He then duly passed the presidency and “chain” to Clive Bowen-Davies . Robin conveyed all best wishes to Clive who already had lots of activities in the diary. Clive said that 3 days before the last AGM a stalwart asked him to help by doing the job which he will do with pride.

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After everyone had been served and eaten all they could manage, it was time for the after dinner entertainment. Tracey and her helpers duly cleared the tables efficiently and served the coffee and mints.

President Robin had arranged for the "Lavender Girls" duo to provide the vocal entertainment. They have a wide ranging repertoire across everything from Abba to wartime medleys to swing and have their own Facebook page for more information. When they launched into song, the attendees quickly took them to heart and fully enjoyed their contribution.

However, as a special treat, past President and current Club Archivist Kenneth Wright had assembled various key points in the Club's history and worked with the "Lavender Girls" to provide a seamless programme of narrative and song with appropriate links from one to the other. Always the showman, he was seen holding a full size Stein of beer whilst leading the singing of "the Drinking Song" at the appropriate point in the Club's history of introduction of a bar. Towards the end of the programme Kenneth and President Robin lead the male attendees in a rousing rendition of "There is nothing like a dame".

To add to the entertainment, Vice President Clive Bowen-Davies and Betty Banks provided an impromptu and very professional "jitterbug" dance in the middle of the room while the Lavender Girls were singing "In the Mood". Considering their combined age is over 180 years it gave we lesser mortals something to think about and left no doubt that Clive will be a capably energetic President next year!

Various toasts were proposed during the evening - to the boy King Edward VI (Jem Norris), to the Club Members (with a wonderful narrative ) from President-elect Clive Bowen-Davies and the Loyal Toast (President Robin).

President Robin thanked all those who had made the evening possible and wished everyone a safe journey home - with a present of the posies on each table for the ladies whose birthdays were the closest to the event.

All in all, it was a truly remarkable evening fully deserving of the 125 years celebratory status of the Club.

Alan Roden (Hon.Sec)

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