Banner image - Java FEPOW 1942 Club, 2 logos, with strapline "To keep going the spirit that kept us going..."

The 2009 AGM & Reunion Weekend

Our reunion this year was an overwhelming success, which thankfully reinforced our decision to return to Stratford upon Avon. Personally, I found it a very touching reunion with many of our closest friends not being with us this year, but pleased that so many of us still congregate in their memory!

It was so lovely that Peggy Binns (widow of John) felt up to joining us with her daughter and grandson. It was also great that Terence & Ann Kelly, Maurice Kester, Mary Dewhurst (Hugh’s widow) and Harold Lock also came for the first time in a while.

Local FEPOW, ex Suffolk FEPOW Club and new Java Club member Harold Pleasance come along to the AGM to meet us all despite being in the middle of his 90th birthday celebrations! We were also joined for the day by Norman Wright, Vic & Connie Herman and Martin & Nook Prechner, and it was lovely to see them all if only for a short time!

Some new Associate Members, David Newell and Trevor, Maureen & Heather Lewis who came overnight of interest and to meet some members, but enjoyed it so much that they’ll be joining us for the whole weekend next time! It just goes to show that we don’t bite!

On the Saturday night for our gala dinner we were joined by local dignitaries Mayor Jenny Fradgley, her consort Ian, ex Mayor Donna Barker and her husband Gerry (who met us at our book launch), as well as Councillor Chris Wall who spent the whole weekend with us and kindly organised many things, including singers for our entertainment. Many locals who were interested in meeting us also came along, Joe & Nancy Taylor (new Associate Members), Stuart Taylor who donated the usage of the piano and so generously bid in our auctions, and Maureen Clark who entertained with her caricatures and balloon antics between courses to name just a few. All these people, including dignitaries, came at their own expense, have since expressed their appreciation for being made to feel so welcome as well as wanting to come again next year!

Group photo. Front Row, seated, left to right: Norman Wright, Ray Masters, Ed McDaniel, Bob Boocock, Percy Brown, Fred Ryall, Ron Dennis, Bill Marshall.
Rear Row, standing, left to right: Ian Fradgley (Mayor’s consort), Jason Mayglothling (Hotel Manager), Mayor Jenny Fradgely, Harold Lock, Margaret Martin, Maurice Kester, John Ovens, Lesley Clark, Stan Roberts, John Baxter, Terence Kelly.

Group shot of the attendees.Sorry too many of us to name, but don’t we all look gorgeous?!

The Parlour Consort Singers.

The Parlour Consort Singers were fantastic, leading us in a singalong of 1940s favourites; It’s a long way to Tipperary, The Siegfried Line, Pack up your troubles, White cliffs of Dover and We’ll meet again to name just a few. They travelled from mid Wales especially to perform for us and were deeply moved by the experience, even requesting to be asked back again!

After dinner the Mayor Jenny Fradgley spoke very touchingly of her personal feelings towards veterans and how honoured she was to meet and welcome us to Stratford upon Avon.

Pete Summerton, Chairman of the local RBL then successfully took over the mantle of our after dinner joke teller. He attended with his wife Val as our guests of honour, in appreciation of all they do for local veterans and particularly for us in organising our Remembrance Service and arranging for our warm welcome at their club every time we’re in Stratford.

We then held the raffle, which thanks to the assistance of Allan & Viv Jones raised £295 and 5p. Then the auction of our club’s book signed by Dame Vera Lynn and the Cartoon donated by Glenn Stein took place, which raised another £55 to be added to the £59 raised earlier from the sale of books kindly donated by our Associate Member Ruth Day.

Many of us then adjourned to the local RBL Club house for entertainment by a great singer and dancing into the early hours. We were welcomed by all the members and even given free drinks for the evening!

Thank you to Percy Brown as ever for wearing all the ladies out on the dance floor at 95! And also to Stan Roberts for giving me the privilege of being his first ever dance partner at the age of 94!

Java Fepow Club members.Front row, seated, left to right: Fred Ryall, Ray Masters, Percy Brown, Bob Boocock, Bill Marshall, Terence Kelly. Rear row, standing, left to right: Maurice Kester, Ed McDaniel, John Baxter, Harold Lock, Stan Roberts.

On the Sunday morning we went along to the beautiful Memorial Gardens for our Remembrance Service organised for us by the RBL. It was an extremely moving service presided over by the Reverend E Brian Mason and again, we were joined by many RBL members and locals including the Mayor, ex Mayor and Councillor Chris Wall (order of service included later in your newsletter). A very big thank you must go to all at the RBL for our service, once again all the stops were pulled out with the Standard bearers and even a proper sound system this year!

Poppy wreath.As ever Bill and I jointly laid a wreath on your behalf on the Memorial, donated to us by Stratford upon Avon RBL, with the FEPOW insignia and the wording on the card; “The Java FEPOW Club, here to Keep Going The Spirit That Kept Us Going”, “We Will Remember Them”.

We were joined on the Saturday night and Sunday morning by the local press who gave us extensive coverage (on later pages) and also by BBC Warwick on the Monday morning who broadcast interviews with several of our members. All the photographs taken by the civic photographer, Simon Foster can be seen on his web site

Thank you to everyone for making such a great effort to come, I realise that it is so very difficult for some of you and if it were possible for me to drive around the country in a mini bus to collect you all, you know I would! I suggest that for next year, and future years, you invite extra family members to bring you, and ask that more of our Associate Members step forward to volunteer lifts to enable FEPOWs and widows to attend.