13th Reunion at Sheringham, Norfolk
27th to 28th March 2004
The 13th Annual Entry Reunion took place during the weekend of 27 & 28 March 2004 at Southlands Hotel in Sheringham, Norfolk.
Roll call started on Friday afternoon and by early evening most members and their ladies had arrived and had been warmly greeted by Tony and Estelle.
Soon after arriving, everyone gathered in the lounge for a 'cuppa' and a chat to get up to date with each other. As is customary, a bit later we continued in the bar.
This year we were able to meet more old friends who were attending our reunion for the first time. John and Susan Goodman travelled up from Gloucestershire and Bob Newman came down from Lancashire. It was great to have them with us and each had interesting stories to tell.
It was also great to see all the regular folks together again in particular Dave and Jean Smith and Mike and Gwyneth Frost who put aside their health difficulties to come to Sheringham. Pat O'Shea made the trip in from Florida in the US and Steve Chimelowski came down from Lancashire with his new wife Jane.
Good to meet you Jane - hope it wasn't too much of an ordeal meeting Steve's 83rd family all in one go.
On Saturday morning, after enjoying an excellent breakfast (me - I had fresh figs and a full cholesterol feast), most folks went out and about into the Norfolk area. The weather was dull, with rain and a chill in the air. Janet & I wanted to visit the Steam Museum near Holt but it was closed (out of season!). So we went to Downham Market instead to find "The Antique Museum" that had been featured on Flog it - the TV programme. It was well worth a visit and there is an amazing array of interesting items ranging from collections of Admiral Lord Nelson, Barbara Cartland and Freddie Garitty memorabilia to modern and antique telephones and equipment, various horse drawn carriages, an old cobblers shop full of original equipment, Dickens dioramas, cars, jet engines and many other things.
The Reunion Dinner
Come the evening, the Reunion Dinner was preceded as usual by everyone gathering in the Bar to enjoy pre-dinner drinks and to speculate on the likely outcome of the RBS 6 Nations Rugby match between France and England at Stade de France. Due to conflict with an 8 pm kick-off, Tony had kindly arranged a TV in the lounge so that the rugby enthusiasts could keep up to date with the score during dinner.
At the prescribed time 'Jock the Peeps' piped members and their ladies into the Dining Room. And, as is customary Tony, Estelle and their staff looked after us all in grand fashion with everyone enjoying a very nice four course meal suitably complimented with good wines. Mike Tuckman kindly provided the after dinner Port and Pat O'Shea gave Jock the Peeps a bottle of Whisky for regularly playing his bagpipes and saying grace at our gatherings (grace is always sincere but usually very amusing). Cheers Mike and Pat - nice touch.
After dinner Ivor did his usual members update and covered various administration matters. However, the final rugby result was not good for England fans but the Jocks seemed content! Then Ivor introduced Maurice Raven as our after dinner speaker.
Maurice came to his first reunion last year so this time he was asked by Ivor (more likely coerced) to tell us about his exploits after leaving Halton and since leaving the RAF. After Halton Maurice spent much of his time on 'V' bombers ending up as a Crew Chief and traveling to many places around the globe. The travel bug stayed with Maurice when he left the RAF because a lot of his time was spent overseas in all manner of strange and, at times, unhealthy places designing, installing and commissioning power systems. Travel still seems to be a feature of his semi-retirement because Maurice and Pauline have recently been down to New Zealand visiting family and were also able to spend time with Libby and Spike Armiger - our Kiwi brethren.
Finally, it was time for a group photograph prior to finishing off the evening in the BAR. After last years disaster, this year we managed to get a good result (see below). The new location in the Dining Room and addition of an RAF Ensign (it's not a flag) has also improved the overall effect. By the way, it didn't go unnoticed that probably everyone had brought their own camera with them this year and Tony (mine host) seemed to be taking pictures of the group with all of them. How's that for back-up in case I had another camera failure - o ye of little faith.
Click on image to enlarge image and see names list