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GRIPS BENEVOLENT FUND

Thank you letters

4TH ANNUAL GRIPS BRANCH LUNCH

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On Saturday 23rd April the Certified Branch held its 4th Annual Veterans Lunch, returning to our favourite Italian restaurant, ‘The Ruccola’ in Uxbridge. Call time was 12.30. sharp to meet & greet old friends, quaff Prosecco and warm up before the scoff. About 30 members old and new sat down to enjoy good food & fine wine, and talk a load of old rubbish -as only old pals can- well into the afternoon. Veterans had flown in from America and France to attend. Past chairman Nick Pearson delivered the thank you speech, which included a potted history of the Branch along with some amusing and incriminating anecdotes about how we started and who we have to blame for everything that's happened since, over the last 31 years. Nick who had never cracked under questioning before named names (apart from Billy Geddes), so we can only assume that the Chianti & Amaretto over ice got the better of him by the time pudding arrived. Thankfully there were no other revelations on the day, apart from the fact that Brian ‘Ossie’ Osborne at 91 is our oldest member, Ossie worked on the Dam Busters, amongst other gems!

It was also a pleasure for Branch to welcome some of our sponsors, and to extend our thanks and appreciation for the contributions they make each year to the Grips Benevolent Fund, amongst many other things they do for us. Without this invaluable help Branch would not be able to achieve some of the good works we undertake throughout the year, and their continued support is much appreciated by one and all. Ours is a unique industry, and to have the opportunity for all of us to get together, welcome our veterans, chew the cud and, raise a glass or six in celebration is most welcome.

It would seem that the ‘Veterans Lunch’ has now become a regular fixture in the grips annual calendar which everyone looks forward to. So to that end the committee will meet to set a regular annual date for your diary. It has been suggested that the 1st Saturday in May after the May day bank holiday weekend would be a good one to pick. So watch this space. Committee would also like to take this opportunity to say to ALL branch members that the Veterans Lunch is open to all of you. Young, middle aged or senior, everyone is welcome. That includes Crane Techs too. To all those who attended, thanks for making this lunch such a memorable event. A special thank you to James Sams our joint Treasurer, along with Toby Plaskitt, Louisa Court & Vice Chairman Keith Mead for all their hard work in organising this years event and wrangling the membership. And a special thank you to Ed Lancaster for taking the stills again this year. Enjoy! See you all again next year.

3rd ANNUAL BENEV LUNCH

2nd ANNUAL BENEV LUNCH

This June the Certified Grips & Crane Techs Branch hosted its 2nd Veterans Lunch, the accompanying photos were taken by Branch member Ed Lancaster, who also managed to eat something in between snapping the assembled diners. The photos give you a flavour of the great day had by one and all. Thank you Ed.

Last year's lunch proved such a huge success that it was decided shortly after that we would stick our toe in the water a second time around and return to the Rucola restaurant in Uxbridge, (if they would have us), where we were looked after so well in 2013, it was also decided to hold the lunch on a Saturday not a Friday as last year. Toby Plaskitt our esteemed treasurer once again did all the leg work and although we had hoped to host the Luncheon around Easter time events and availability conspired against us and we had to postpone until late June. Nevertheless this year saw another successful day and we were pleased to welcome along with our veterans from last year John Payne, who accompanied our 1st Branch chairman Jimmy Dawes and 1st committee member Brian "Osie" Osborne, all ferried to and from the venue by Phil Murray who forfeited his quota of shant as designated driver in the family people carrier so that the aforementioned could give it plenty during and after lunch.

This year saw some welcome faces who were unable to attend last years lunch, and we were pleased to have Branch members John Flemming, Kenny Atherfold and Ian Buckley (all certified) join us for the jolly, along with veterans Bill Geddes, Paul Brinkworth, Tony Cridlin and Teddy Tucker accompanied by wife Sheila, all of whom attended last years lunch.

Of course the celebrations were tempered somewhat when Tony Rowland rose to say a few words and asked us all to raise a glass in remembrance to those who had shuffled off this mortal coil over the last twelve months, we remembered our dear friends Victor Selwyn Hammond and Ray Hall along with a dozen other friends and colleagues who had passed away. They will all be greatly missed, including Colin Manning who passed away shortly after this years luncheon and was planning to attend next year. Colin's death was another great sadness so soon after our get together. 

Apart from some sad reflection for those above, as is always fitting of the department in general, the turps continued to flow well into the afternoon and early evening, with stories, recollections and memories of all the past pouring out along with the shant. Dennis Fraser who was in America and couldn't attend this year had given a generous donation to put behind the bar after we had eaten, all of it was spent forthwith. We were finally ejected from the venue just before the evenings clientele arrived for dinner, and it can be said that all in all this years lunch was an even bigger success than lasts, We hope to repeat this next year and Branch would like to thank all those veterans and members who attended and those on the committee who helped Toby organise the event.

Hopefully we will see even more members next year, when we hope to hold the veterans lunch once again just before or after Easter.

 


A long overdue update on the Benevolent Fund.

In May 2006 we received our first bank statement for our new account. It had the princely sum of £50 in it. We now have over 100 grips, crane techs, specialist remote head techs, uncertified grips and even one precision driver who contribute regularly to the fund. It is particularly pleasing to see the commitment from our newest and youngest members who can see the benefit of the fund stretching far into the future. And as Andy Friswell succinctly put it, "You'd be a mug not to be in it".

In my original letter I said that it would be nice if we could send the odd Christmas hamper out to our retired friends, and send a few quid to friends and associates in the branch and beyond. Since then we have sent nearly 200 Christmas hampers, bottles of port and jars of Stilton, fruit baskets to the infirm, given several thousand pounds to help our friends and their families, supported cancer charities such as Macmillan, children's charities at the request of our departed friends, hospices where both our friends and their fathers have spent their last days, sent flowers to remember grips and chippies and members of the camera dept, put money behind the jump at end of show parties for grips and sparks and cameramen, and we have even donated to Save The Rhino in memory of a much respected DoP. If grips can't empathise with Rhinos...

Last year we held what I hope will be the first annual Veterans Lunch. In the very civilised surroundings - we are grips after all - of the Rucola Restaurant in Uxbridge, we were treated to a fine lunch with excellent food and the odd glass of wine. We were joined by many of our retired friends who made the journey from as far afield as the West Country and Cambridgeshire. Old friendships were rekindled and many a (sometimes tall) tale was told 'From Behind The Dolly'. The success of the day was tempered by the sadness that our dear friend Vic was not there to enjoy it with us. When we were looking for venues, he had driven me round golf clubs and pubs before taking me to the Rucola and saying how about this. For me personally, I will treasure that day for ever, as I basked in the stories and jokes, which he was still able to tell in spite of his illness. He even insisted on giving me a cheque for his annual sub to the fund, and insisted that I paid it in. A matter of weeks later he finally succumbed to cancer.

The fund has been very generously supported (in no particular order) by Panavision Grips, Camera Revolution, Chapman's, Louma UK, Bickers and Arri Media. With their continued help, along with the steady income from all the boys that put into the fund means that to date, January 2014, we have spent on all of the above, £38,392.84.

Not bad for a fiver a month.

Toby Plaskitt,
Branch Treasurer.

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If you would like to donate or join the grips benevolent fund you can download a form by CLICK HERE and the emailed back to the WEBMASTER@GRIPSBRANCH.ORG.UK