The first meeting of the year took place on Thursday 17 January in The White Hart, Netherfield. A good turnout of members despite the cold weather and Ann Stone our hostess welcomed our speakers representing ‘Emmaus, the homeless charity’. Solidarity – helping others in greater need – is a cornerstone of what Emmaus does, already giving approaching £10,000 worth of furniture and basic household goods annually to local people in need. The organisation now has two vans for house clearances, collections and deliveries. Their Charity Superstore is situated in Whitworth Road (to the rear of the SEAT garage) where new stock arrives weekly. Opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm. One of the speakers told of his ‘riches to rags story, losing a good job, a good relationship and eventually becoming homeless. Since getting involved with Emmaus he has regained his self-respect, became a Companion worker at the site, which has expanded with rooms to offer and a target size of 23 beds, and is now in a managerial position - life has begun again. The Companions work in return for a bed and food and a small allowance, repairing and cleaning the donated goods and furniture which is always welcome including white goods, bric-a-brac and clothing. Sainsbury’s supplies short dated produce which would otherwise be thrown away, ensuring the workers are well fed! Do go and support this important project by paying the store a visit or phoning 755111 to donate.
February - The Club met on 21 February with 20 members and guests present. Subs due this month with a small increase to £16, still very reasonable with guests to pay £5 a visit and teas/coffees will cost £1 per person with the club donating an extra 50p per cup.The April outing will be a trip to the Devonshire Theatre in Eastbourne to see ‘Noises Off’, a very popular comedy. Tickets £20.50 inclusive. A few members may wish to travel separately. Our guest speaker was Terry Utting-Kane who worked for the BBC from age 16 and became involved in local radio stations. We had a wonderful time being transported back to the 50s and 60s listening to and guessing the music themes to many programmes and singers from that era! There were recorded excerpts from ‘Listen with Mother’ to The Goons, Workers’ Playtime, Winston Churchill’s famous war time speech, Hancock’s Half Hour, Henry Hall, Victor Sylvester and so many more – a really nostalgic afternoon. Who knew that The Archers began in 1951? It is still popular with many addicted listeners! Terry stated that he had really enjoyed his time with us and we look forward to a return visit. We had our refreshments, the raffle was organised by May and Sheila. Terry stayed to answer questions.
March – Thursday 21 – the April outing was confirmed with pick up points and times being confirmed. There was a choice of Knole, Nymans or Wakehurst for the September outing. These were put to the vote and Knole was the popular choice. Marian then introduced Roger McKenna, speaking on The Cutty Sark (Gaelic for ‘short shirt’ as worn by sailors) , the famous tea clipper built in 1869 and beautifully restored following a devastating fire nearly 6 years ago, which cost over £50,000,000 to repair! We had a ‘tour of the ship’ with slides, pictures and a fascinating talk by an expert speaker and we heard the history of this famous ship and its travels – a very fast ship until it had to compete with steam.. One of the Captains kept a bike on board and would cycle round the deck, whether for exercise or from boredom we’re not sure! He also kept two monkeys and bred collie dogs! There were only 28 crew compared with 80-90 men who would have been on a similar sized ship if it had been part of the Royal Navy so they had to work extremely hard! Most working ships of that era had a limited lifespan and by 1885 after many round trips to China and Australia Cutty Sark was costing a great deal to maintain and was sold for £2,000 to a Portugese Company, worked for a further 27 years with no maintenance and in 1922 turned up in Falmouth Harbour! Purchased for £3,750 was brought back to Greenwich and used as a training ship. In 1957 the young Queen paid a visit to Cutty Sark and there are now up to 1,500 visitors of all ages daily, so if you would like a good day out……! Roger was thanked for an excellent talk, he has lots of subjects so I am sure will be invited back! Refreshments and the raffle followed. Members stated their appreciation of the varied and interesting subjects they enjoy each month.
After the April theatre trip we will be back at The White Hart, Netherfield for our usual monthly meeting on Thursday 16 May. Our speaker will be giving a talk on the much valued chaplaincy service at St Michael’s Hospice. Members, potential new members and guests all welcome!