The Arborfield Old Boys Association Reunion weekend
18th - 20th July 2014
(click on photos to enlarge)
The Association Reunion Weekend began with a curry buffet on the Friday evening in
the Paris Suite of the Hinckley Island Hotel, yours truly didn’t quite make it in
time for the food thanks to the hold ups on the M25 then the M1 but a convivial evening
was enjoyed renewing old acquaintances.
The buses to transport us to the National Memorial Arboretum (to be referred to here
from now on as The NMA) were due to depart at 0930 Saturday morning so it was a case
of an early rise if you wanted to partake in breakfast.
The weather forecast for the day didn’t look very promising and there was a slight
drizzle as we boarded the buses armed with coats and umbrellas for the hours trip
to the NMA at Alrewas.
This year was of course the turn of the 64er’s to take pride of place for their 50th
anniversary parade and on arrival at the NMA with the rain increasing in intensity
S/Sgt Scott Brash R.E.M.E & Sgt Stu Bowden R.E.M.E. mustered the troops into three
ranks for the inspection and march past the reviewing officer.
It was splendid to see 48 64er’s on parade, a wonderful turnout. So it was with umbrellas
held high by some and led by the pipe band in their wet weather gear the parade made
its way to where wives, partners and those unable (some would say more sensible)
to march were gathered. Inspecting the parade and taking the salute on the march
past this year was 64C old Boy Lt Col Bobby Haslam who I remember well as a cracking
good bugler in the Corps of Drums. As the rain came down even harder inspection of
the troops was cut as short as possible and the march past and eyes right completed
in double quick time.
On parade, Carl Powell braving the weather, wife Ann had his brolly!!
From the parade area we quickly made our way to the very impressive Apprentices Memorial
site for a service of remembrance. As the rain came down in stair rods at times the
padre battled on and it was with great credit to our duty bugler (former Royal Marine)
and old Boy Piper Alex Burt (62A) that the Last Post and Rouse and Alex’s new composition,
“The Apprentice” lament were played so magnificently.
Ian Tilson with the Arborfield Colour braving the rain.
The Memorial site, Piper Alex Burt stage left
With photos taken and the rain beginning to abate we made our way back to the marque
close to the entrance of the NMA for lunch, this year, a selection of hot dishes
was on the menue. Although it was a very wet day it was extremely warm, with thunder
rolling around us. After the arbitrary visit to the gift shop it was back on the
bus for the return journey to our hotel by which time we were hit with another thunder
storm and torrential rain!!
The association AGM followed our return to Hinckley, presided over by our Chairman
Col Brain (bugs) Hutchins, the usual business was completed as swiftly as possible
and then we had an outline of how the new Joint Services Training Establishment at
Lynham was progressing and that it will be open for business January 2016. Arborfield
will be no more for R.E.M.E come December 2015.
1930 hrs and it was time for pre dinner drinks before being piped into the dining
room by Alex Burt. The 64er’s and their wives and partners took pride of place at
the top table, or several tables as with their wives and partners there were 80 plus
of them, I am guessing at the total numbers of the gathering but it was around 220
siting down to dinner.
It was truly a splendid evening, good food and wine and cracking company. Our thanks
to the Chef and waiting staff for an excellent meal and table service.
62er’s table, Mel Clark and Ann & Carl Powell, with Trish & Neil Turrell
Alex Burt piping in the port
The dinner concluded with the toasts to The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh (our Captain
General), Our Ladies and Our Absent Friends, the toasts were followed by the usual
address from Alec Powell on behalf of the 64er’s
After the dinner The lamp was swung, by some, far into the night and the wet day
behind us quickly forgotten.
At breakfast on Sunday it was time for goodbyes before we dispersed to all corners
of the globe. Our thanks to David Schofield and the committee for all their hard
work in organising the weekend. Look forward to seeing you next year.
Some 64er’s - Ken Stead, Alec Powell, Bobby Haslam, nk, Pete Hull
Note for 62C - Although we had our 50th Anniversary since we joined up in 2012, next
year, 2015, will be the 50th Anniversary since we passed out from Boys School. How
about making a date in your diary for the last weekend in July, watch the Old Boys
Association web site for details, the Hon sec will publish details at the end of
the year @ www.arborfieldoldboys.co.uk/