members with wives / partners or escorts spent a very enjoyable Autumn
Reunion at the Novotel Hotel in Long Eaton, over the period 17th to
21st October. Members started arriving on Thursday afternoon.
Derek Jackson, who has organised the Spring and Autumn Reunions for the last 22 years, was unable to attend due to being hospitalised and had sent his best wishes to everyone who arrived. In his absence Richard and Liz Woolley looked after the 'Welcome Desk' on the Friday. A few minor problems cropped up but all were satisfactory sorted by the end of the day.
Friendships were renewed and new ones made. Memories were shared, photo albums looked at, tales and jokes told, and certainly, friendly discussions about football and rugby. Individual outings to some of the tourist attractions in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, shopping trips to Derby and Nottingham were a must. There was plenty of laughter, but on a few occasions a touch of sadness when it was remembered this was to be the last official reunion. Some members are already talking about arranging their own weekend meetings.
The final Parade and Service was held on the Saturday afternoon by the SVA Memorial Garden at the National Memoriam Arboretum at Alrewas.
(Report of the Parade is now on the website at: www.sunsandcanal.co.uk/parade.html
The Gala Dinner was held on the Saturday evening when 103 people sat for a varied menu, choices had been made previously. Before the meal started the Rev. Peter Folks said 'Grace', Monty Murrell gave the 'Exhortation' and then the 'Loyal Toast'. Entertainment was supplied by the Ockbrook and Borrowash Big Band, good music, a lot in the Glen Miller style. The vocalist sang songs from the 50s era, and gave a good rendering of 'See the Pyramids Along the Nile'. All the entertainment was much appreciated by those attending.
During the bands interval,Evelyn Norton and Liz Woolley cut a decorated cake that had been supplied by Cedric Barker, and then cut into portions by the restaurant staff and handed around. Tony Spray presented a 'Goodies Basket' to the Rev. Peter Folks who had eagerly officiated at the Parade and Service held earlier in the afternoon at the National Memorial Arboretum.
On the Sunday morning the last Annual General Meeting was held at the hotel and was attended by just over 100
people - they didn't all sign the booking-in form.
(Report of the AGM is now on the website at: www.sunsandcanal.co.uk/agm-sva.html
Sunday afternoon was the time many of them said their sorrowful good-byes with plenty of hugs and kisses. A few stayed over Sunday night and it was a similar scene on Monday morning. "Cheerio, it's been nice to know you, and good luck for the future".
A 'Wishing You A Speedy Recovery' card, signed by everyone at the event, has been posted to Derek Jackson
The hotel staff looked after everyone very well and a couple of them, who have known many of the Suez Vets a long time because of the reunions held at that hotel, had tears running down their cheeks.
Will some groups meet up again in the future? With so many friendships made, they deserve to - Good Luck.