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Last updated on 1 November, 2020 at 11:42 AM
The reunion took place over two days and everyone who was there said it was a great success. Most members arrived on Sunday 18 September and gathered informally in the Feathers Bar for gossip, drinks and food. The talk and reminiscence lasted until late in the evening when we all drifted away to our beds.
Those who attended were:
Mike and Alison Barnes
John and Sylvia Bench
Bryan and Dorothy
Tony and Judith Mooney
Harvey and Joy Morton
Derek and Shirley Orgill
Gerry and Christ Rich
Keith and Jan Runacres
Mike and Chris Shilcock
Next morning we all had breakfast at our separate tables but most of us sat close together and enjoyed even more nostalgia and memories. Later, at 11 o’clock most of us (Stan felt the effort to get to he bus stop was too much for him) made our way to catch the open-top bus.
We walked through the drizzle with brollies at the ready and were pleased to huddle in the bus shelter against the wind and rain but we were far from faint hearted about the trip. Just before the bus arrived Derek and Shirley turned up and joined the party. Whilst we were sheltering at the bus stop Tony M received a text message from Tony Beard which he read out. The message said:
Just want to send all my best wishes to all 84th colleagues at the 60th Reunion. Sorry to miss you all, but the sun, sangria and everything else on the Costa del Sol does have some compensation!! Have a great Day.
The bus ride out to Sand bay was jolly and we all enjoyed it very much even though we saw very little of the scenery along the way due to the rain. We sat upstairs but chose the enclosed section rather than the open-top part.
At Sand Bay we were told of a local cafe by the bus conductress and we all went there rather than return straight away. It was nice to sit about in the cafe drinking coffee which was generously paid for by Dorothy Hobbs. We skipped a couple of busses and then returned to the hotel. We broke up at that point and everyone went off to amuse themselves.
At 2 o’clock Tony Mooney set up the archive and memorabilia display in the Aperitif bar for the Meet and Greet and made last minute arrangements with the Duty Manager for coffee, tea and biscuits. Just before 3 o’clock John Crockford-Hawley our ‘mystery speaker’ arrived. John is a friend of Gerry Rich and Chairman of the North Somerset Council. He is also a well known local historian.
At 3 o’clock everyone settled down and Tony talked for a short while about how much all the members of the 84th Entry had achieved over the 60 years since they started their apprenticeship. Following that, he introduced John who gave a lively and most interesting talk about RAF Locking, the Apprentices and their association with Weston super Mare. He also mentioned his family’s link with RAF Locking, his honorary membership of the Officer’s Mess, the Freedom Parade, the choice of location for the regional airport, RAF Weston super Mare and how the RAF got the land, the runway and how it was kept when the land was developed for housing, the closure of no. 1 Radio and it’s move to RAF Cosford in 1997, the creation of Locking Parklands on the land which was once RAF Locking and the Helicopter Museum.
The Meet and Greet ended at 5 p.m. Just after Mike and Chris Shilcock arrived. Everything was now set for the pre-dinner gathering in the Feathers Bar at 7 o’clock and ready for the anniversary dinner at 7.30.
Everyone gathered in the Feathers bar in time for a group photo on the main staircase and then we all went into dinner. There was no table plan it having been arranged that couples would split up and sit wherever they wanted to. The dinner was excellent and the service extra special. The meal was served slowly so that we could linger over our food and memories. After dessert was served Harvey Morton said a few words of thanks to Gerry Rich , Mike Barnes and Tony Mooney who had made all the arrangements for an excellent celebration.
Soon after that the company left the table, repaired to the Feathers Bar and eventually made their way to their rooms so ending a truly remarkable day.
There was nothing planned for Tuesday, the day of departure. Everyone paid their bills, said their goodbyes and expressed a wish for another get-together for the 60th Anniversary of our Passing Out in 2019.
PS We have since learned, courtesy of Harvey Morton, that the Halton 84th Entry held a reunion in September as well. They had 18 members attend and with some wives 29 sat down to dinner. By comparison we had 10 members and 9 wives sit down to dinner. I think we can be proud of our turnout. You may care to explore the 84th Entry Halton website.
60th Anniversary Reunion
To mark the start of our Apprenticeship.
Held at the
Royal Hotel Weston-super-Mare
18 & 19 September 2016