Faversham Branch

Summer/Autumn 2013

The first coach trip of the season was a repeat of a popular trip from four years ago.

The party travelled to the 'Pilot' at Dungeness, famous for its large portions of fish and chips, for lunch.

A few members also took a walk on the shingle spit to visit the lifeboat station. The coach then took the party to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway station. By this time, it was raining heavily and there was not much to see out of the windows on the trip behind steam locomotive 'Hercules' on the way to Hythe.

In May, the branch took the opportunity to visit the recently restored Cutty Sark.

The visitor centre encloses the keel and lower part of the hull and there is a bridge from the main deck to a glass pavilion to the starboard side of the ship. This allows most areas of the ship to be much more accessible with lifts.

From the deck, there are marvellous views across the river to the towers of Canary Wharf and up river to the Shard at London Bridge.

In the dry dock is a superb collection of figureheads. Members of the party also walked along the river where the new cablecar further downstream could be seen and visited the National Maritime Museum.

In August, the branch hosted the Woodgate Shield Bat and trap match, Four branches took part, Faversham, Canterbury, Medway and Whitstable. All teams played each other and the two top teams, Faversham and Canterbury played off in the final.

Tony Tennant, the captain of the Faversham Bat & Trap team, being presented with the Woodgate Shield by Association Chairman Mick Backhouse.

This was won by Faversham who will be hosting the match in 2014.

The coach trip in September was to Hever Castle. The park and lake is very extensive, and there was a replica of the 'African Queen' operating boat trips on the lake together with boats to row. The footpath takes in the sluice and cascade which manage the outflow from the lake.

Within the formal gardens, the Italian Garden includes a superb collection of sculpture including sarcophagi and columns collected in Egypt and Italy. The border of dahlias was at its best, with many spectacular blooms.

The castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and has been well restored at great expense by the Astor family as a country house. Two weddings, one using the garden and one the 'village' conference area added to the interest.

There have been two speaker meetings as part of the winter season. In October, Ann Kneif talked with a fascinating collection of images about Kentish seaside resorts in the 19th century.

The November speaker was James Preston, who had an extensive and very good collection of slides on aviation in the Medway area. This included many of the flying boats and other experimental planes developed by Short Brothers between the First and Second World Wars.

Also in November, 30 members and friends attended the branch annual lunch at the Old Wine Vaults, including branch president and Mayor of Faversham, Cllr. David Simmons. The meal and service were very good and this was the best attended of these events so far.

Anne Salmon

The first speaker of the winter programme was Bob Parvin. Bob was a former member of the Black and White Minstrels, who were well known in television in the 1960s and 1970s. His talk was about his career in singing, from touring small halls and clubs around the country as a solo artist to full stage shows with the group.

He began as a singer in a classically trained choir and still sings in a church choir in Canterbury. He brought along an album of cuttings from many magazine advertising campaigns where he and his family had been used as models. He finished his talk with a fine duet with his wife.

Faversham Branch annual lunch - The Chair's table.

The branch held its Annual Lunch on Saturday 3rd November at the Old Wine Vaults.

Faversham Branch annual lunch - the Secretary's table.

The food and service were good and the event was well attended and enjoyed by all.

The second speaker of the season was Wilf Lower, who worked for many years at the BBC. Wilf was in charge of the crews who prepared the studios for the programmes at TV centre. This, in his time, was a large and populous department and very resourceful.

He showed how a large, empty studio could be transformed into sets and how this process had evolved technologically from the earlier days of broadcasting on TV. He described how popular shows such as The Good Life were made.

He was at the BBC through the prime of many of the well known comedy performers and variety shows, which he described as the Golden Years of Television.

Anne Salmon

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