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.