Medway Branch

We have just one more meeting this year. In December we will be visiting Brick Lane Music Hall for Dinner and an evening show, which should be really good!

November saw a good number of Members attending this year's Remembrance Services which were held in Medway, one at The Great Lines and the other at Rochester Cathedral, we then enjoyed a lunch together at the Crown Rochester.

Eric Goldsmith about to lay the Wreath at Rochester Cathedral War Memorial.

Ray Welsh, Rosie & Michael Jennings, Sybil Wyatt at the Great Lines.

To complete November Alan Stockwell came along to our Branch and reminisced about his career on the stage entitled "Puppets, Panto & Piers" which was light hearted, interesting and very amusing.

October saw us enjoying our Annual Dinner held at the St Georges Hotel Chatham. Once again our Members turned out in force and we were supported well by Whitstable, Sittingbourne & Deal branches. Medway would like to say a big "thank you" to those three branches for their support.

The Mayor, Cllr Josie Iles & her Consort, Steve Iles, attended our Dinner as did the County Vice Chairman & Chairman of Deal, Carol Stickler together with her husband Geoffrey. The food was again excellent and the entertainment provided by Mick Abbott kept us laughing as well as nostalgic with some very good stories and playing music from the 60's!

The Mayor of Medway, Councillor Josie Iles & Branch Chairman Peter Wyatt

The evening was well controlled by our MC, Mick Veness, one of our Members who kindly volunteered his services (or was he "press-ganged into it?). A very big thanks to Mick for making sure the timetable was adhered to and without any mishaps along the way! As always an event like this takes a lot of work arranging to ensure everything is right for the night and it's a big thanks to our Committee for all their hard work on this as well as the years excellent Events programme.

It was our Quiz Night in September and once again we had nearly a full turn out despite the arduous task of finding the answers to difficult quiz questions! We complemented the questions with a Ploughman's Supper which fed the brains of everyone. The food went down well as did the questions and all had a very entertaining evening.

In August we were blessed again with the summer sunshine for our Annual BBQ & Bat and Trap event held at Brian & Lorna's house near Kits Coty with over forty members attending.

This year's event was in aid of the charity, Porchlight, who sent along a Representative, Rachael Van Hogan, to tell us about the support they provide in the Community and who gave a really interesting presentation which all enjoyed.

On the day we raised £120 for the charity. The food was delicious, rounded off with traditional Strawberries & Cream, the Strawberries being sourced by our Members, Maureen & Ron Thorne! The Strawberries were the best we had ever tasted!

In the photo above eating their Strawberries & Cream are from left to right, Jean Weaver, Ernie Weaver, Wendy Abnett & Roy Underdown.

There was fierce competition in the afternoons Bat & Trap competition which was won by Mike Smith and you can see from the photo Mike (in the hat) was delighted to receive the Trophy presented by our Chairman Peter Wyatt.

On the evening of June 12th we held our now famous (or infamous) Duck Race evening. At the start of the evening our ex Chairman of many years, Roy Underdown, was invited to become our Vice President which he gracefully accepted, everyone applauded Roy's new role.

The evening was very well attended with over 50 attendees. Six races were held and during the interval everyone enjoyed their Fish & Chips supper. The event generated a total profit of £30.00 which will be donated to Porchlight our preferred charity for this year.

On July 17th we all boarded the MV Pocahontas at 10:00 for a river trip on the Thames from Gravesend to Chelsea Bridge.

John Richman navigating!

Just cruising!

Not Manhattan unfortunately

Waiting to board in the sun!

It was a really hot, sunny day but everyone thoroughly enjoyed their "Cruise" on the Thames with some of the Party alighting at Greenwich to have a peek at the revamped Cutty Sark Tea Cutter. During the return trip to Gravesend we all enjoyed an excellent Cream Tea on board and never mind the calories!

We are now looking forward to a very busy August with a BBQ plus Bat & Trap, a coach trip to the Hythe Festival, attending the Blessing of the Waters at Whitstable, another Bat & Trap contest at Oare and a get together at Canterbury to celebrate the Cricket week with other branches!

We had a very interesting visit to Hever Castle on 15th May, enjoying a Guided Tour around the Castle. Because of our numbers we split into two groups and below are one of the groups crossing the bridge into the Castle and assembling in the Courtyard.

It was very enlightening to see how well this Castle was restored by William Waldorf Astor in 1903 and to get an idea how, as a child, Anne Boleyn lived during the Tudor times.

After the tour some of us grabbed the opportunity to rest our weary legs!

Michael Jennings, Ray Welch, Sheila & Bill Underdown and Ann Muckle, took the opportunity of enjoying a rare glimpse of the sun!

Bob & Daphne MacDonald, Roy Underdown and John Muckle are all looking forward to a hearty lunch in the Moat Restaurant and very good it was too!

A final view of Hever on the day.

Our branch is looking forward to a busy events programme for the rest of the year which includes our annual Duck Race in June and a Thames river boat trip to London on the MV Princess Pocahontas in July.

MV Princess Pocahontas

August will see our annual BBQ plus Bat & Trap competition held in Lorna & Brian Culver's garden. Also in August we will be attending the Hythe Venetian Fete held once every two years.

September is going to test our general knowledge as we have a Quiz night and in October is our annual Branch Dinner and entertainment will be provided by Mick Abbott.

November we will hear about "Puppets, Panto & Piers" provided by Alan Stockwell and in December our year is rounded off by spending an evening at the:

Brick Lane Music Hall.

Our March AGM was postponed because of severe weather but the AGM was a "Full House" in April where we received the sad news our Chairman of over 20 years, Roy Underdown, had decided to retire from his post. Roy's wife, Mary, also decided to retire from our Committee at the same time. We wished them both a well earned rest and were really pleased they will still continue as members of Medway.

A New Chairman, Peter Wyatt, was elected and to replace his role of Vice Chairman, Rosie Jennings stepped up to the plate as well as continuing as our Social Secretary. Two new Committee members were also elected, Jack Brett & Michael Jennings, both of whom will be positive additions to our team. It was agreed we would support Porchlight as our charity for this year.

On 6th February we enjoyed a very interesting presentation about the history of the Guildhall, Rochester delivered by Jeremy Clark. He took us from the very early beginnings of Rochester through to the current day illustrating the important role the Guildhall played in the developing Rochester.

The Queens Jubilee gave the branch an excuse to have a great Jubilee Tea Party. We managed to pick one of the fine days of the summer.

The Hat competition was well supported being won by Brian Hook seen on the left of the picture

The annual Medway formal Dinner was again well supported with 65 members and guests attending at the St George Hotel Chatham.

After dinner Maryanne Martin entertained us with many poetic verses that amused everyone.

The dinner bringing to an end a splendid programme of events for the branch over the summer

Brian Culver/Peter Wyatt

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