Without blowing our own trumpets, we have been told by everyone what a fabulous weekend it was! Thank you for all the lovely letters of appreciation, but both Margaret and I are so glad that you all enjoyed yourselves and that our hard work was truly worthwhile. Just seeing your smiling faces gives us a boost to knuckle down for another year working on your behalf!
It was so lovely to see so many Java Club members, especially our FEPOWs, partners and widows, namely John Baxter, Bob Boocock & Flora, Jim Brown, Percy Brown & Carole, Dave Blatt & Edna Fry, Jim Gale, Herbert Gregory, George Housego & June, Terence & Ann Kelly, Bill Macauley, Bill Marshall, Ray Masters, William Mundy, Stan Roberts, Stan Vickerstaff, Elsie Edwards, Pam Stubbs, Erica Thompson, Joyce Willgoss and Margaret Williams. Along with many family and Associate Members. Thank you to all of you who were able to make the journey to join us.
George & June of the London FEPOW Remembrance Social Club also brought some of their friends who aren't members - Ernie & May Boswell, Vi Shrimpton, Eve North & Eddie Smith and Joan Youden - but are known by many of us and who were all very welcome!
It was especially lovely to have Jim Brown and Herbert Gregory with us, who had both sadly lost their wives since they were with us at last year' reunion but were brought by their daughters Jackie and Margaret. Also Marian & Katy Rutherford and Yvonne & Caroline Field, daughters and granddaughters of Reg Beck who passed last September. For these especially it was an emotional weekend, but hopefully they found some comfort by being amongst their Java Club family!
We also had family of other deceased members with us who were there to meet with their fathers' old friends, namely Sue Kent daughter of Derek Casswell, Sue Turner daughter of Reg Turner, Lesley Fisher daughter of Laurie Stevens and Tony son of Jim Perkins - how lovely for them to be able to join us. I think we struck a nice balance between business, fun and honouring over the course of the weekend. Saturday morning we concluded the business end with our AGM, which you've heard about.
Saturday evening was our Annual Gala Dinner (attended by 84 in total!), where we were joined by local friends and members including Chris Wall, Keith & Elaine Lloyd, Dave & Margaret Hastie, Sheilagh Sandle, Nancy Cooper, Simon Foster, Adrian Hollis, Christine & Alan Broadhurst and Jo & Derek Marchant. Some also travelled from afar to join us, Martin & Nook Prechner (over from France) and Mike & Lesley Fisher (from Portugal).
2012 Group photo
We concluded our dinner with a fabulous sing-a-long with Rose & Steve which included The White Cliffs of Dover, I'll Be Seeing You, We'll Meet Again and a rousing chorus of Land of Hope & Glory (complete with flag waving) - thanks to them especially for volunteering to come along and entertain us! This was followed by the 'usual suspects' sneaking off to the RBL club for some dancing into the early hours, including 98 year old Percy Brown and his lovely partner Carole.
Sunday morning saw our Remembrance Service, held in the beautiful Stratford upon Avon Garden of Remembrance, organised for us by the RBL, taken by Canon Andrew Dow. This service and particularly his address was very moving for us all and a fitting tribute to our FEPOWs. Bill Marshall read the FEPOW & Kohima Prayers and continued tradition with Bill & Lesley laying the wreath.
We thank our Stratford upon Avon Java Club friends, Cllr Chris Wall, Mayor & Mayoress Keith & Elaine Lloyd, Civic Photographer Simon Foster, Civic Secretary Charles Wilson, singer & support Rose & Eric Smith and Steve, for their time, help and support throughout the weekend. And certainly not to be forgotten are Dave & Margaret Hastie and our friends at the Stratford upon Avon branch of the RBL for helping with the Remembrance Service and making us so welcome at their Club throughout the weekend.
In order to print them in colour I have included more photographs later in this newsletter - please note, all photographs courtesy of Stratford upon Avon Civic Photographer Simon Foster, thank you Simon!