On Saturday 24th October 2015, shipmates from Huntingdon & District Branch celebrated their annual Trafalgar Night Dinner. This year the dinner took place at the Black Bull in Godmanchester.
Shipmates Karl Webb, Pete Aston (and his daughter Maisie), Graham Murray, and Adam Rushton (who would be providing after dinner entertainment) decorated the hall and prepared the Rum Table (thank you for the loan of the Rum Tub. S/M Andy Duthie). For the first time at one of Huntingdon Branch’s dinners, the Standard was on display, thanks to our new stand built, and donated to us, by Barry Limbrick (S/M Pete Aston’s father-in-law), thank you Barry.
With the room decorated, the committee members went home to get changed for the evening’s entertainment. Shipmates and guests were greeted with a glass of fizz before sitting down for the President’s welcome to our VIPs, the Mayor and Mayoress of Godmanchester, David and Wendy Underwood, and also to our guest speaker, guests, family and of course Huntingdon Branch shipmates.
The Branch President, S/M Graham Holt, had invited two friends, John Moran MBE and Bob Maurer BEM (both had served in the RAF), Graham presented a trophy and a medal for attendance at three dinners in a row and surviving their time with the RN.
S/M Pete Aston also had a presentation to make, earlier in the month, Pete had run a half-marathon in support of Blesma, the Limbless Veterans Charity. The Mayor of Godmanchester kindly recieved the cheque on behalf of the charity and thanked Pete for his efforts.
With the presentations complete, shipmates returned to their seats. Sadly this year, shipmate Ben Dear was not well enough to attend, or to carry out his usual duty of piping ‘Hands to Dinner’; so with a recording of the Pipe, shipmate Graham Murray called ‘Hands to Dinner’. Before the starters were brought out, the Hon. Secretary, S/M Karl Webb, took on the padre’s role (unfortunately the Branch Chaplain, Revd Andrew Milton, was also unable to attend this year) and said Grace and recited Nelson’s Prayer.
Everyone tucked into a great meal cooked and served by the staff from the Black Bull. As people were finishing their tea or coffee, shipmates Becky Murray and Marion Twigden went round selling raffle tickets. In a turnaround for the Hon. Secretary (who was also taking photos throughout the evening), the Mayoress of Godmanchester, Wendy Underwood took some photos of Karl, Bill and Pete with the Mayor (thank you Wendy).
Once the tables had been cleared, S/M Becky Murray thanked the staff for the excellent service provided and then called for Claire Ferrante, Manager at the Black Bull, to come forward and she presented an RNA Crest as a thank you from the Branch.
The next event for the evening was the Loyal Toast and Toast to the Immortal Memory, it was the turn for our Rum Bosun, S/M Geoff Twigden to call for guests and shipmates to line up for the issue of their tot of Pusser’s Rum, beginning with the Mayor and Mayoress.
Our guest speaker, Adam Rushton was next (Adam is ex-navy and a friend of S/M Pete Aston), closely followed by the Chairman and his wife, shipmates Bill and Terry Small.
Huntingdon Branch affiliated with the Sea Cadets earlier in the year, it was a real pleasure to see members of staff taking part in our celebrations.
Once everyone had a tot in front of them (including the staff from the Black Bull), the president handed over to the Branch Chairman for the Loyal Toast, the President then gave the second toast, the Toast to the Immortal Memory.
Everyone then returned to their seats whilst the Hon. Treasurer, S/M Pete Aston introduced our guest speaker and explained that not only is Adam a friend but is ex-RN and a comedian by profession, and would spin some dits about his time in the RN.
Adam certainly had everyone in stitches and we will be welcoming him back (as guesta with his wife) to our parties in the future. Thank you Adam.
Finally, as the evening drew to a close, it was time for the raffle. The raffle is always popular at the annual BBQ and Trafalgar Dinners, and this year was no different, we had some great prizes, including a lot of items donated by Boots the Chemist, who have supported the Branch a number of times over the past few years.
The Sea Cadets were also pleased, they managed to win the framed announcement of the victory at Trafalgar and the sad loss of one of the Royal Navy’s greatest leaders, Admiral Nelson.
With the evening’s entertainment complete it was time to say goodbye to our guests and shipmates, an excellent night was had by all, BZ goes to the Mayor and Mayoress, Adam Rushton, our Committee members, but also to everyone who made the night the success it was. We are already looking forward to next year.
Click on any image below to view more photographs from Huntingdon & District’s Annual Trafalgar Night Dinner: