Summer Reunion Report 2008

From Gill Jackson




It was his first long journey post the health traumas of the past two years and as he headed down the M6 from Blackpool, where he had been visiting his RV site and meeting up with Harry and Susan Snalam, the heavens opened and Dick Dennis our Records Secretary and Webmaster feared we were in for a repeat of the weather conditions of last year. He need not have worried, though it was dull and drizzling when he and I set out on the Friday morning from Wirral and we did have the odd shower over the next three days, generally, the weather behaved pretty well.

The clans began to gather on Friday night and a group of us – Harry and Susan Snalam, Mike and Barbara Adam, John and Margaret Fothergill, Lou and Doris Trotter, Phil Ramsay and Dick and me enjoyed a very pleasant evening at Whinstones’ Bistro.

Inspecting the new chalets at Whinstone View
Inspecting the new chalets at Whinstone View

Saturday morning saw some of us back at Whinstones for a guided tour of the very attractive new chalets the family had built since last year. There are five in all, two singles, and three doubles, they are sited along the edge of what used to be the entrance road, sumptuously appointed inside, each with its own hottub on the veranda, and with most attractive landscaped surrounds. The doubles are self-catering, while the singles are rented on a b&b basis with breakfast served in the restaurant. The wetroom-bathroom is an interior designer’s dream.

This year, Wendy Smith (Arnold) agreed to lead another of her very popular walks - by car to Gribdale Gate and then on foot to Little Fern Deep. A largish group assembled in the Meeting House including our Editor James Slater, his wife Pam, their three children and the dog. George Hetherington was asked by Dick to be the walk’s official photographer, but he had forgotten his camera. I loaned him mine and the resulting photographs are an absolute delight. Mike and Barbara Adam and I left Dick in the Meeting House preparing his computer for OS hits later in the day and arrived at Gribdale just in time to greet the walkers on their return. We sat for a while with Charlie Corner and Jim Shaw, recovering from their exertions, and discussed the actual whereabouts of Little Fern Deep. Charlie, a local lad, reckons that the name is peculiar to Friends’ School pupils. (A walkers' group photo appears at the end of this report).

Wendy points out the route
Wendy points out the route
the walkers will follow

Dick Dennis tells me Mike Adam has been asking for the precise location of Little Fern Deep (LFD) for years. Harry Snalam borrowed Dick’s SatNav and standing beside LFD, he recorded the position as follows: Latitude 54.461° N; Longitude 1.091° W, according to Mike, whom Dick contacted with the information, these coordinates seemed to indicate a location somewhere in the North Sea just off Hartlepool and wondered just what Harry had been up to that afternoon! Confused by this, Dick, with the aid of an Ordnance Survey Map, and corroboration by Google Earth came up with the following and much more accurate data  - 54° 29.4' N,  1° 4.5' W. It appears that the Sat Nav coordinates are in degrees and decimals of degrees, and converting decimals to minutes and seconds of degrees is a task too far for the average arithmetical ability these days (well our ability in this area was over 50-years ago)! This, of course will be of great assistance to others who follow, providing they carry a SatNav or sextant – or possibly even a map.

The Evening Do this year was held in Stokesley Town Hall - a goodish crowd, despite Jenny Summerfield (Smith) our Reunion coordinator’s earlier fears. My contemporary and old friend Angela Gough (Bradbeer) was back for the first time in many years, (in her camper van accompanied by her dog and cat, from their home in France) it was good to see her.

Chris McLellan a 1970s’ OS was over from Texas with his wife, the first time, he said, he had been to a reunion for thirty years. They were sitting at the same table as Gill Cloughton (Parkinson) who was, I believe, attending her first ever reunion. She and her husband Bill met George and Jan Hetherington on a train journey through Europe, the four got talking and the Ayton connection discovered. Gill was a near contemporary of Chairman Diz Dexter and her friend and fellow committee member, Suzanne Potter (Morgan) and the three spent some considerable time looking through photos of their days at school.

Harry finally inaugurated as President
Harry finally inaugurated as President
and sealed with a hug and a kiss

Once all were assembled, Tessa Snowdon (Greenwell), somewhat reluctantly, handed over the medallion of office to Harry Snalam, our new President, and fastened the spouse’s pin dexterously on Susan’s lapel, many photos were taken, and the evening was declared up and running.

The waitress served meal, a choice of three main and three dessert courses, was prepared by a local firm known to Wendy Smith and was universally said to be delicious and a huge success. After we had been fed and watered Jill Wheeler (Rhodes), our Secretary, once again entertained us with a Quiz. Divided into five sections, it was as fiendishly deceptive and difficult as ever. The winning table comprised Tony and Beryl Browne, John and Margaret Fothergill and me. It had been another really enjoyable evening.

I missed morning Meeting on Sunday, but I gather that Ministry had been OS led with Harry, Lou Trotter, and Dick, all contributing. Lunch, provided by the same people as last night’s dinner, was, again delicious, and rather akin to the loaves and fishes, there was more than enough left over.

Harry and Susan Snalam
Harry and Susan Snalam after the AGM

Freezing when the early birds went in, the Meeting House soon warmed up and was full to bursting by the time the AGM started. On advice from Dick, Harry in his Presidential Address, set out to dispel the myth that he was a quiet and serious sort of guy, by describing some of the incredible exploits he and others, including Bill Coates, Clive Olbery and Dick, had been involved with in their early years at school. It is a miracle they survived as many of the things they got up to were of an explosive nature. From where I was sitting, I had eyeball contact with newly retired President, Tessa, her expression became more incredulous as the speech progressed. Harry almost literally had us rolling in the aisles.

Diz took us adroitly though the AGM with contributions from Dick, Secretary Jill Wheeler, Mag Editor James Slater and William Pine our Treasurer, who has only one more year to go before stepping down from a job he has held for eight years. Lou Trotter thanked various OS and committee members for their help over the past and somewhat difficult year for the Association, losing as it had, its base at Whinstones. And, almost before I knew it, we arrived at the point where we announce the President Elect, a task I had the pleasure of performing this year. Former AOSA Chairman and sometime Records Secretary Sue Fox (Turner) will be our President from 2009-10, the announcement was received with much enthusiasm. After Any Other Business, the AGM was declared over, and with it came the end of another reunion and a really enjoyable weekend.

Gill Jackson (Hinds 1950-55)

The group of OS walkers, friends and family, let by Wendy Smith to Little Fern Deep and a nostalgia tripover Cook's The group of OS walkers, friends and family, let by Wendy Smith to Little Fern Deep and a nostalgia tripover Cook's The group of OS walkers, friends and family, let by Wendy Smith to Little Fern Deep and a nostalgia tripover Cook's
The group of OS walkers, friends and family, led by Wendy Smith to Little Fern Deep and a nostalgia trip over Cook's

Go to: Reunion 2008 Report
Go to: Presidential Address 2008
Go to: Reunion 2008 Photos

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