KIRKHAM EX-BOYS AND ARMOURERS ASSOCIATION
President: Wg. Cdr. John Rush MBE, BA FCIM Ieng Fraes RAF [Ret’d]
Life Vice President: Bryn Richards
Chairman & Welfare Officer: Fred Knox BEM
Vice Chairman: Bill Baker
Treasurer: Peggy Reading
Secretary& Membership Secretary: Des Stewart
Entertainment Member: Ken Brown
Service Liaison Member: Gary Smith
Partners Liaison Members: Jeannette Stewart & Gillian Williams
General Secretary & Membership Secretary’s Contact Details: Des Stewart, 31 Crossmead, Watford, Herts, WD19 4JQ – Tel No. 01923 461 056; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again a great reunion enjoyed by all who attended. All evening meals were table service, with all meals served to each table at the same time, so no queuing up for a buffet.
Meeting Friday evening was, for some of us, a bit of an emotional experience. Sylvia Humphries and Cynthia Barnes came to the reunion and after some tentative moments, enjoyed the weekend. It was also the first time in 50 years that the few members left of the 27th Entry all met together, Tony Bott, Norman Williams, Kevin Nee and yours truly. Kevin and his wife Sandra were attending their first reunion as members of KEBAA. Kevin was put back into the 28th Entry, as a result of high jinks at summer camp in Southport. It was his birthday, so naturally we gave him the bumps. Unfortunately someone let go off the blanket during the bumps, and Kevin crashed to the ground and breaking either his shoulder blade or collar bone. Some birthday present! Anyway, we were glad to see you both at the reunion
Saturday most of us went to Trentham Gardens, and the first port of call was for a cup of tea! Within the gardens were outlet shopping village, various walks, a large lake with a hourly ferry service to the other end of the lake for those not wishing to make the long walk; a small model railway system giving rides to children and adults alike; a monkey park where the monkeys roam free. The place was quite large and most of us only managed to cover a small part of it.
Saturday’s evening meal started with a wine reception followed by the table service meal. Whilst everyone was getting seated, Jeannette and Gillian went round all the tables, giving little wrapped hand made handbags, with two chocolates inside, to all the ladies. Jeannette had wanted to do something special for the ladies, so started making the handbags a month before the reunion. Gillian and Norman Williams came and stayed with us for a long weekend prior to the reunion, and Gillian helped Jeannette in making, packing and wrapping the handbags over the weekend. (Norman and I made ourselves scarce by going to the De Havilland Museum at London Colney and the RAF Museum at Hendon!)
Once everyone was seated, and before the meal was served, Shirley lit the candle on the Absent Friends table. What followed was a very good meal of 4 courses, (Starter, Main, Sweet, Cheese and Biscuits) and Coffee. At the end of the meal various toasts were given to Her Majesty the Queen, The Association and finally to Absent Friends, when the candle was blown out.
Bill Barker kindly placed the statuette of the armourer on the table.
Once again, John Morris provided the music for the dancing and finished at 00:45 hours, by which time only a few revellers were left.
The raffle had 70 prizes and was completed in 15 – 20 minutes. The prizes were all numbered and as the raffle tickets were drawn, a second ticket was drawn that corresponded with one of the prizes. This prize was then taken to the winner at their table, either by Jeannette or Gillian. As they were taking the prize to the winner, the next ticket was being drawn, followed by the next prize number. Thanks must go to Pat Collyer and Hazel Jones for selling the tickets, Ralph Merry in helping Ken with drawing the raffle tickets, Jeannette Stewart, Gillian Williams and Patricia Bott for drawing the prize numbers and delivering the prizes to the winners. George Cook, once again donated wooden aircraft models of a Spitfire & Hurricane that he had made, for auctioning after the raffle. All the proceeds raised were donated to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children.
Mention must be made to a conversation that Shirley had outside during the evening with a younger guest staying at the hotel, and not a KEBAA member. He told Shirley that it didn’t seem right that us oldies were keeping the youngsters awake, instead of the other way round!!!! We know how to party!
Sunday after breakfast and the AGM, coaches left for Shugborough Hall, the home of the late Patrick Litchfield, royal photographer. Again it was another very good day out, with the first port of call being the teashop for a cuppa! Armourers and their wives do like a cup of tea at any time of the day, don’t they?
We also learnt how the “Loo” came to be called so. At a wedding reception one of the female guests staying there got up some of the young boys noses, so to speak. For revenge they put a W/C sign on her door so that people staying there would think it was the toilet. As her name was Louise, people started to refer to it as Louise’s toilet, then shortened it to Loo’s toilet, and finally to just plain Loo. Can’t remember when all this took place, but the story is displayed for all read out the said room.
Shugborough Hall is now part of English Heritage and acts as a living museum of the history of the life of those upstairs and downstairs, with demonstrations given within various rooms. They even brew their own beer and give out free samples. Heady stuff!
Sunday night, after the meal, was given over to fun, games, quizzes – both paper and musical and a little bit of mayhem. These were provided by Richard Leighton, musical entertainer and organised by Shirley. One of the games included horse racing where four contestants had long pieces of string attached to their horse. At the off the ‘jockeys’ had to wind the string around a wooden handle they were holding to bring their horse first past the winning post. There is a definite knack to it, and not everyone had it. Four heats were held, followed by the final. Two of the runners in the final were withdrawn, leaving a two horse race, with the winner winning a bottle of wine.
We also had Play your Cards Right, which winners received a bottle of wine. It got frustrating at the last game as it took over ten to fifteen attempts to get a winner. However, it did raise a lot of laughs and good-natured groans.
A couple of old time dances like the Barn Dance and the Valletta were done, but only a few of us knew the steps.
Altogether it was a glorious weekend, including the weather. The package price also included the coaches and the cost of entry into each venue on the Saturday and Sunday.
Once again thanks must go to Shirley and her staff for the organising and smooth running of the weekend. President John Rush, on behalf of KEBAA, presented the hotel staff with a cheque of £100 for making our weekend enjoyable.
The 2013 reunion will be held at Tillington Hall over the weekend of 24th to 27th May. This gives a bit of breathing space to think about where to go for the 2014 reunion.
I have just spoken with Elizabeth Palmer re Rod. He is managing ok, but she had a fall in the garden and injured her back, so to a certain extent Rod is looking after her!!
If any members attending the reunion have photos of the weekend, if they could send them to me I will include them in the next issue, if they so wish.
I have been informed that the following received their PWR’s to St Barbara’s in 2011, dates not confirmed.
KEBA 411 – Dickinson Gibney; KEBA 456 Paul Marketis; KEBA 486 Fred Tandy Nov/Dec
On behalf of the KEBAA Committee, I would like to welcome the following new members to the association:
530 Duncan & Jenny Robertson; 531 Archie & Vera Carrick; 532 Murdo & Ruth Fordyce;
533 Stephen & Jan Taberner;
This brings our current membership number up to 281. This almost the same as on the previous newsletter, as although we have had new members join, sadly more of our members have gone to visit St. Barbara, than have joined.
Membership & Gen. Secretary