St Neots & District Branch: 40 Years under the Colours

On Monday 11th May, Shipmates from the St. Neots & District Branch met for an informal lunch to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our Standard Dedication.

On this date in 1975, our Branch proudly marched through the Town, led by a 50 strong band from the Coventry School of Music, accompanied by Shipmates and Standards from 25 Branches of No 6 Area. Taking the salute was the then President of the Association, Rear Admiral T.V. Briggs.

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Having Commissioned the Branch in 1972, it took two and a half years to raise the necessary funds to purchase the Standard, associated equipment and the promotion of the event. Financial records of the time show that the total cost was £800, not a huge sum by today’s standards, but at the same time, H.Q. annual subscriptions had just increased from 75p to 80p and one could purchase a three bedroom detached house & garage for £5,000. (No exaggeration, I bought one and still live in it)

The quality standards of the 1970’s must have been somewhat superior to those of today when one considers that our Standard still looks as good as it did then. A testament to the care of our two Standard Bearers, the late S/M Pete Wale who carried it from 1975 – 1995 and S/M Keith Ridley, who took over the duty in 1995 and continues in post today.

An apt piece of music for the lunch would have been “Oh what happened to you, whatever happened to me” (the signature tune to the TV series “Whatever happened to the likely lads”) as memoirs of the day circulated around the tables. Unrecognisable photographs raised questions like “Who the hells that” with answers like “It’s you”!!!! Also circulated was the Order of Service and a press cutting from the Hunts Post (or whatever it was called then) with the headline “Big day at St. Neots for RN Association”. Also displayed was the event advertising poster, hand crafted in colour, and now mounted and framed (courtesy S/M Alan Brown) and preserved for however long we survive.

The luncheon presented a happy day with happy memories, tinged with sadness for some great names and characters that have crossed the bar. We will remember them.

Now it’s on with business as usual, seeking out new members and looking after those we already have.

Tom Mumford, President St Neots Branch

Another month later we got together for a cream tea in Betty Bumbles in the market square. Over 40 years on cream teas and pints have made their mark (click on the images to enlarge).

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Bernie Gold, Press and Public Relations