FABULOUS, that is the most appropriate word to describe our 125 Anniversary Gala Day.
After a very wet morning which promised to scupper the afternoon’s activities we were blessed with glorious sunshine. Members and guests started to arrive and many had dressed in Victorian fashion and they looked absolutely tremendous. We had beach belles, ladies in posh frocks with, hats and parasols, suffragettes, gentlemen in top hat and tails, a very convincing Sherlock Holmes and a very authentic chimney sweep. We had all the Past Presidents and Honorary members in attendance and our special guests the Dal Ferro family. It was great to see them all again.
The activities started with outdoor bowling. On Green 1, there was a traditional bowling fifteen up competition and on Green 2, a novelty 125 nearest the jacks competition which sounded easy but was in fact very hard. During the bowling the Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress, Councillor Paul McQuade and Mrs McQuade, joined us. After introductions, they received a short bowling lesson from Jeff Lawrenson before “having a go” at the novelty bowling. Whether it was beginners luck I’m not sure but they got closer to the jack than many of our more experienced bowlers! The novelty bowling was won by Allen Armstrong with a very creditable score of 23.
Inside we had the 125 darts competition. The professionals make it look very easy but it proved very difficult for many of us. The wall around the dart board took a bit of a hammering and will probably now need re-plastering! I’m sure there will be many an aching limb after using muscles that haven’t been exercised in years. After a single dart nearest the bull throw off, Jim Molland was declared the winner with a score of 10.
On the snooker tables, we had 125 table bowls on No1 and on No2 we had potting a red (1), the yellow (2) and the blue (5) in the fewest shots. The competition on both tables was fierce and much shouting and hollering could be heard. Mike Henthorn won the table top bowls and after a tie between Mike Johnson and Glyn Friar, Mike was declared the winner of the snooker.
Before the highlight of the day, the Celebrity Mr and Mrs, we had the group photograph ably choreographed by Dennis Glynn and taken by our in house photographer Frank Royston. After the photograph we retired to the clubhouse for a superb buffet prepared by Linda and her staff. Unfortunately, the Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress had another engagement to attend and had to leave early. We thank them for taking time out of their very busy schedule to join us in our celebrations. However, we may now, in fact, have a new member, Mrs McQuade, enquired about joining our unique club.
Our MC for the day, our very own Rob Gerrard, minus the crutches, introduced the Celebrity Mr and Mrs. There were three couples, Mr President and Jean, Von and Jim Molland and Janet and me. Each couple was asked five different questions separately about each other. They would then be brought together to review their answers.
My answer of the bible for Janet’s favourite book completely missed the mark. It will take a long while for this to be forgotten. The Mollands were later heard in the hallway disagreeing with each other after telling everyone they never argue. Mr President lusts after an Audi Q7 as the car he would choose if money was no object. Most guys would be thinking of some exotic sports car, a Ferrari maybe, not a Q7. If I didn’t know better, I would say maybe a bit of coaching had taken place. It was fitting that Mr President and Jean were declared the winners of the Celebrity Mr and Mrs. I, meanwhile, will have to keep a low profile at home until the dust settles.
Jeff Lawrenson presented the competition prizes and then Rob made the draw for the raffle prizes. There were some excellent prizes, many kindly donated by members. Finally, after a very close contest, the judges choices for the winners of the “best Victorian” outfits were Helen Lawrenson and Alan Burns.
Rob thanked the organising committee, Jeff Lawrenson, Pauline Henderson and Frank Royston, for making the Gala a great day. He also thanked Linda and staff for looking after us and those members who had helped to get everything ready. He also mentioned the furniture replacement project that Mr President and Jean had started. He reminded us of the very generous donation of £5,000 by Jean and Bernard and invited all members to make their own donation, as we will all benefit from the project. He said that to date the fund stood at £5,350.
He then asked Mr President to say a few words. Bernard again thanked those who had made the Gala such a wonderful event and he made special thanks to Alan Burns for manning the Cowley car park for three weekends on the trot. He then gave us an update on the furniture fund. On the day, we received a very generous donation of £500 from Mike McManus in memory of his wife, Pat, who spent many an enjoyable Saturday evening at the club. With other donations that had been received on the day, the fund now stood at more than £6,000. He thanked everyone for coming and wished all a safe journey home.
We all had a great fun day made even more special by all our members and guests entering into the spirit of our 125 Anniversary Gala. Who knows, this maybe could become an annual event. I want to thank you all for your continued support and your generosity. I thank the organising committee for making it possible and Linda and staff for looking after us.