Report from the 2016 Reunion and AGM
Following on from the successful event in 2015 which was organised on our behalf by Isle of Wight Tours Ltd. (IOWT), we took advantage of their services to arrange and manage the 2016 event. Initially, we had planned to stay at a hotel in Scarborough, but when it was established that parking was a potential issue at this seaside hotel, the Committee decided that this was not in the best interests of those attending, and a more appropriate venue was sought. IOWT came up with an alternative programme based at the Kegworth Hotel & Conference Centre just south-west of the city of Nottingham. The hotel offered ideal facilities for our meetings and Reunion Dinner, and an interesting cruise on the River Trent was available on the Saturday, followed by some time in the city.
Our Secretary, David Green, planned to arrive on the Thursday so that he was on hand to liaise with the IOWT team who would be with us for the weekend. On the way to Kegworth, he and his wife visited the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, to carry out some essential maintenance to the 367SU Memorial Bench sited in the Far East Air Force garden. Our thanks go to him for this essential work.
Members started arriving from mid-Friday and were welcomed to the event and checked-in by the IOWT team who had a dedicated 'check-in' table decorated with the Association's traditional 'Governor's Flag'. In the evening we all met for dinner, and old and new friendships were established. Sadly, numbers attending this year were again somewhat down, illness and/or infirmity often being the reason.
On Saturday, IOWT had arranged for a coach to take us into Nottingham to join a cruise on the River Trent. The weather was kind to us for this pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. On board 'The Trent Lady' we settled down to watch the riverside scenery slowly pass as we enjoyed a welcome cup of tea or coffee. A Charity Run was in progress and we saw many participants running beside the river, as we sailed past 'The Brian Clough' stadium of Nottingham Forest F.C. with the floodlights of Trent Bridge Cricket Ground just beyond and then under the modern Trent Bridge itself. A little further upstream we saw the splendid entrance arch to The Memorial Gardens, commemorating the fallen from The Great War, built on land donated by Sir Jesse Boot (of Boots the Chemist fame). On the return cruise back to base, we enjoyed a picnic lunch of sandwiches (various) followed by the biggest 'cream cakes' ever seen! President Tom returned to his nautical roots by briefly taking the helm!
Then back on the coach for the short journey into Nottingham where we were able to visit the city centre which was very busy with throngs of university students in evidence. Finally, we returned to the hotel in preparation for our AGM and Reunion Dinner.
Twenty Members and Associate Members were present at the 23rd AGM, and 'Apologies' were received from a further forty Members. Following a welcome from the Association's Life President - Tom Eaves - during which we marked the passing of a number of members by observing a one minute silence, our Chairman - Ray Whiteoak - led us through the formal business of the AGM. Steve Clark, elected at the 2015 AGM had resigned for personal reasons, and has been replaced by Alan Pearman. The remainder of the Committee were re-elected en bloc! Ken Wilson will continue as our Accounts Examiner. There was a wide-ranging discussion regarding the future of the Association and it was finally agreed to ask IOWT to progress the 2017 AGM/Reunion in early October 2017. The Minutes will be distributed with the Winter 'Newsletter'.
In the evening, the full party assembled in our Dining Suite prior to the Reunion Dinner which was preceded by a wine reception. During the evening, a selection of photos accumulated by Andrew Suddaby and others was displayed on a large screen in the dining room. The tables were appropriately decorated with the Union Flag and the RAF Pennant together with red, white and blue 'tethered airships' (AKA balloons) After a very satisfactory meal followed by the Loyal Toast, the President offered his 'Cryptogram Quiz', for the gents, with a 'Film Quiz' for the ladies. The 'Gents Cryptogram' was won by Andy Anderson, and the 'Ladies Film Quiz' was won after a tie-breaker by 'The Noisy Table' of Nora, Pam, Hazel and Kate, who shared a box of chocolates! Later in the evening, the 'San Mig Trophy' was again competed for, requiring the design of a paper aeroplane and a flight to land closest to the target - a pack of 'San Mig'! There were a number of flights of varying accuracy by members, but in the end, Les Hamp was the winner.
On the Sunday morning, members said their 'Farewells' following breakfast, after what was considered to be another successful event organised by IOWT.
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