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South Eastern Region

News and Views

The South Eastern Region’s Public Relations Officer, Harry Leach publishes a regular Newsletter, to provide all the latest information from the SE Region’s Units and Sections, together with details of what’s planned for the future from the meetings of the S E Regional Council. You can download the latest copy of ‘SE News’ here…

South Eastern Region News Keep informed - come back soon…! Click for more News of past events Important Announcements

THE 70th ANNIVERSARY PARTY IN THE PARK

The 70th Anniversary Meet is quite a milestone for the South Eastern Region, so the organising sub- committee were briefed to provide ‘an event to remember’ and a very large financial subsidy to help. Harry Leach, Vice-Chair of the Region and chair of the sub-committee, had the unenviable job of putting the programme together which was to include the wide variety of activities and  entertainment, people had suggested over the year or so, leading up to the Event.


The programme agreed, the entertainment booked, the site layout planned and all the volunteers briefed, we loaded our car and ‘van to the roof with everything including the kitchen sink! Harry volunteered to take some of the kit that overflowed from our unit


The weather forecast was very promising and on Tuesday, a very sedate journey to site was undertaken with the car and ‘van creaking under the strain of the extra equipment on board. On arrival we were very pleased to be greeted by the Meet Stewards Trevor and Pauline Wilson. However, although the Farmer had cut the grass beautifully, he had left large areas around the various features of site un-cut. And a new temporary electric fence had been placed along the north boundary, messing up planned location for the Marquee and arena.


On the bright side, the Farmer had installed a new Disposal Point with a water supply and several drinking water points around the perimeter of the camping field. So before we could set up camp, we had to completely re-think the layout, measure and mark out locations for the Marquee, Arena and the surrounding camping pitches. Hoping the remaining short grass was enough for the large number of campers already booked.


It was well into the afternoon by the time we had a workable layout and only just in time as the Crew arrived to erect the Marquee. We scrambled to set up our unit and unload the car, then off again to retrieve the Trailers from storage.


The evening was spent re-measuring the site and re-drawing the pitching plan, to ensure we had enough camping space. Finally before it got too dark, George and Dave installed the Marquee lighting, cables and set up the Generator.


Wednesday morning was another early start as we pitched the catering marquee and set up the kitchen. Later we all set too getting the main marquee, arena and the site entrance decorated. George and Dave spent the morning pegging out the site, to ensure we had the right number of pitches to cover the pre-booked and a good reserve for un-booked.


A number of hours were spent unpacking the trailers and sorting equipment needed for catering, power supplies for the entertainers, audio and TV projection.  The Royal Wedding was a ‘must see’ for many campers and setting up a ‘viewing booth’ took quite a time, particularly as blackout cloths were essential to make viewing in bright sunlight possible. A last minute hitch with our own generator meant David had to extend additional cables from the Region’s generator across to the TV booth. (Luckily George and Dave each brought extra caravan hook-up leads with them!)

Before Wednesday was out, we each went foraging for fuel for the generators and gas bottle re-fills for the ‘welcome teas’ and cooking equipment. Late Wednesday evening the tables were delivered and stacked ready for the next morning.


Prior to the event we had arranged to have one of the Region’s trailers to be serviced and inspected while they were on site and easy to get to. The box trailer, although needing the rusty chassis treated was otherwise sound and with the breaks serviced was now roadworthy – except for the tyres! Having inspected both trailers the engineer condemned all the tyres on both trailers, as being out of date, heavily cracked and perished. After making enquiries a phone call to a Tyre Service Company in nearby Ashford, set up an arrangement to have all the tyres changed, after the event and before the trailers went back into storage.


Thursday was yet another super sunny day and by 9.30 am the first of the campers began arriving. The pitching team soon had their work cut out as the steady stream of units came through the gate. It was clear early on that the fine weather had tempted even more participants, as the number of un-booked units increased.


Some participants volunteered to help set up the tables and soon the Marquee looked very welcoming. That evening the Music Quiz was held in the marquee but the temperature dropped so quickly, not many braved the cold to take part. So, just a couple of rounds of questions were competed for and after a hotly contested ‘tie-break’ the winners took away a box of ‘Celebrations’ chocolates as their reward.


Friday morning the arena started to buzz as the Boule, Horseshoes and Molkky competitions got underway. The weather just seemed to get better and better. Each day was a little warmer and sunnier than the last. The wind had dropped and it seemed like summer had finally arrived!


Yet more campers arrived swelling the numbers of both booked and un-booked. The camping field was filling up rapidly. I believe the final total was around 100 units attending the Anniversary Meet.


Friday evening’s entertainment was ‘Gnome Racing’ with 50% of the Tote being donated to my Chairman’s Charity “Alzheimer’s Research UK”. During the Interval it was my very pleasant duty to welcome everyone and officially “Open” the 70th Anniversary meet. Thanks go to Yvonne & Harry for hosting the Racing and to Jane & Roger for running the Tote and setting the odds.


Saturday morning the Sports heats began. Terry Axtell volunteered to supervise and it was very calmly and efficiently done. Some members of East Kent DA volunteered to referee various games, which helped immensely. Meanwhile, the remaining tables were set up in the marquee and we set about decorating them. By now the total number of complementary meals needed had risen from around 160 to over 230.



Once again it was off to the local supermarket to top up all the ingredients for the lunches. Sue Moore and her team of seven set about the job of preparing and cooking the meals. Everyone had their tasks and after some frantic moments, it all came together in good time for service at 12.30pm.


While all the food preparation was going on, the other event of the day “The Royal Wedding” was being relayed by video projector in the Gazeebo next to the Marquee. As the 12.00 noon wedding commenced a good sized crowd had formed, seated in the sun, watching the service with a really party style atmosphere. Meanwhile Captain Fantastic entertained the children (and quite a lot of adults) with his comedy show and magic tricks.


As 12.30 approached the diners arrived in the marquee and selected their places. Harry added calm to the occasion by calling each row of tables in turn, to collect their lunches from the buffet bar. Sue and the serving team plated up the 232 meals in just 40 minutes. I’m not sure how that compares with a professional kitchen but I think we did it in record time for a Club event.


Saturday afternoon was taken up with lots of entertainment for children and adults. My craft ‘show and tell’ was a great success with a host of traditional crafts on show. The ‘Sand Art’ was a particular favourite with the children. The table top sale also proved a hit with the vendors and customers alike. Dave joined the TTFCG –SE music group to play a couple of sets of musical favourites and received applause from an appreciative audience, who sung along with many of the tunes.


Not to be left hanging – a small group of football enthusiasts, with a promise of donations to the chairman’s charity, asked for the TV projection to continue to show the FA cup final for the next couple of hours. Fortunately we had collected enough fuel to keep the generator running through until the end of Saturday night’s entertainment.


Saturday evening, the big party began. Glitter Boots were on form and everyone danced or tapped their feet to the beat. The interval was my turn to be in the spotlight. Laurie Bishop was compare for this part, as he announced the charity ‘hair cut’ and set about persuading people to donate to take turns at cutting my hair… By the time my head had been shaved, there was over £300 in the collection bucket.


Sunday morning, Chris Collins and Mike Froude led the church service. After which the marquee became the venue for the Region’s 70th Annual General Meeting. The AGM was followed by an ‘Open Forum’ with presentations and where campers raised questions about Club and Regional issues. Finally everyone moved outside to watch the finals of the games and where the Grand Raffle was drawn.


The whole event was a great success and my thanks go to everyone who helped make the 70th Anniversary Meet ‘one to remember.’ The weather remained hot and sunny which helped a great deal! Thank you, whoever it was who arranged that?


What goes up, must come down! The next couple of days were spent packing everything away and returning the trailers to storage for another year. By the time we had returned home, we had banked over £1,100.00 for the Chairman’s Charity – My sincere thanks go to you all for your amazing generosity. Alzheimer’s Research UK is very close to a solution and your donations will make a big difference, not just to sufferers but to their families equally affected by symptoms of dementia.


Jenny Croney.                                                               <Click here to see the photo gallery>

ARTHUR BROWN

It is with regret we announce the death of Arthur Brown, past President of Surrey DA and a member of the Club for around 50 years. Our condolences go to his wife Mary (President of Surrey DA) and her family for their great loss. Arthur’s funeral received full Surrey Fire Brigade Honours, the cortège was proceeded by the Dress Uniformed Flag bearers and followed by a Fire Engine. A great many of his friends from the Club attended the Guildford Crematorium.